Spey Landing Salmon/Steelhead solo

Grayone

Fishin' to the end, Oc.P
WFF Premium
I don't like forcing them on their side, even in shallow water. I've seen far too many fish end up on the short-bus side of life by braining themselves as they desperately flop around in the shallows.
My technique is semi-similar to those described above by goatboy and creature, with a few twists...
1- I fish #20 tippet in most situations (if it ain't 20, it's #16), for the express purpose of being able to grab the tippet and control fish in deeper water, and
2- I don't slack off the line for the final grab.

When I get the fish close, I make sure I have a few feel of the head and all the tip/tippet out of the guides and I am holding a bit of slack Then I push the rod away from me (still holding the handle) in what I describe as "the iron cross"...much like the gymnastics manuever on the rings, it can occasionally make a fella's arm shake a bit. With the non-fishpole-holding hand, reach out until you are semi-close to the line, then "steer" the rod hand in such a way as to pull the fish closer yet not go into the 180°+ territory that makes rod dealers cringe. When you get ahold of the tippet or tip, just tilt the rod back into your fish hand to create slack and Bob's yer uncle. When done correctly it's super easy, and as a bonus you can get friends to take yer pic when you go full-superhero landing your 3rd steelhead from the run.

steelie Mike D's pic of me rockin' the iron cross landing technique in a good 16" of water...a long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away. View attachment 264259
That could be me.
 

Grayone

Fishin' to the end, Oc.P
WFF Premium
I can't remember if you took that pic, or if Mike D did. Is that you (barely visible) on the other side of me? Or is that Mike?

Damn, I'm old. Can't remember anything these days...
I just meant that as how I land fish
 

skyrise

CCA, Hatchery Wild Coexist
check out fly tv. some of the videos show them landing Salmon without a net. I like the one “Fishing with two handed rods”. Antis makes it look easy. Funny that they use tube flies for most fishing situations. Also Frodin flies. Mike his own methods for sure. Tak.
 

_WW_

Geriatric Skagit Swinger
WFF Premium
As a rule I generally try to shake them loose when I get them in close. Don't have to touch them or break a rod and nobody gets hurt. On the rare occasion when I want to land an exceptional specimen I'll get a hold of the line like @g_smolt showed and then rip more line off the reel so there is slack between my hand and the tip of the rod, in case the fish tries another dash...at least that is the plan. Sometimes fish just have their own ideas though and shit just doesn't work out.
 

CreekScrambler

Active Member
Skyrise, the flytv episode was excellent. Makes a great case for not over-thinking it and making sure the fish is ready to be brought close enough for a release. Dude is a smooth operator and it's cool to see the techniques/strategies in play.

WW, I think that accepting that the fish won't cooperate all the time is significant. Close enough for a good look and then shaking free is a good way to go about it for sure. When they won't shake free, I'll make a reach for the leader with some slack ready to be deployed.
 

CreekScrambler

Active Member
As much as I hate carrying my net (happens to be a relatively cheap Frabill knotless, rubber coated), every time I catch a steelhead, I'm glad for the net.

Someday, I may arrive at this conclusion, but even if a net for 20"-35" fish isn't too spendy, I'd still have to lug it out to the river and wade with it. That's a lot stacked in the 'against' column when half of what I've been enjoying about this kind of fishing is how little I need for a day out (boots, waders, loaded hip pack, rigged rod, suitcase of confidence).

Spey rod or not, it's always good to add to the conversation. I've never ever fished with a net on hand, except for a few times with guides, where the net was not needed for lack of fish.
 

cdnred

Active Member
I've also had problems landing large Coho on the shore with my 11ft. rod. I don't want to beach them if they're wild or wanting to release. I've been looking for a net with a long telescopic handle, if such a thing exist. Any recommendations?
Kind of cheap and not sure how long they'd last but Walmarts has a few to choose from. Quality might not be the best, most likely coming from China..

 

cdnred

Active Member
Bring them into shallow gravel so the fish is forced onto its side. If you keep the line tight they will not flop around.. all you have to do is unhook them and let them swim off, rarely even need to touch them..

By shallow gravel, I mean shallow water over gravel...
I agree with your logic but I think that's a bit off topic. What @CreekScrambler was referring to was trying to land fish 80' from shore in knee-deep water so in his case bringing them into shallow water would've been an issue..
 

CreekScrambler

Active Member
Thanks @cdnred I wasn't going to march the fish all the way to shore when the fight didn't take long enough and there wasn't much depth available anyways. My fish happened to Houdini-bind itself in the leader, requiring me to unravel him with some help from the current before I could start pondering how best to unhook.
 

Rob Allen

Active Member
I agree with your logic but I think that's a bit off topic. What @CreekScrambler was referring to was trying to land fish 80' from shore in knee-deep water so in his case bringing them into shallow water would've been an issue..


My question then becomes what are you doing 80 feet from shore? As soon as you have a fish solidly hooked you should be heading to shore preferably on it.
 

Eco.Geeko

Member
I'm Team Net. I feel I can play fish harder and faster if I'm just trying to get them into a net, which is better for the fish. No need to risk breaking a rod tip. And, I might be able to get a picture, if so desired. Its not a perfect solution, mostly because a large, modern, rubber-mesh net is a bit of a pain to hike-in, but catching and cleanly-releasing a big fish makes it totally worthwhile (for me).
 

CreekScrambler

Active Member
My question then becomes what are you doing 80 feet from shore? As soon as you have a fish solidly hooked you should be heading to shore preferably on it.
That's a legitimate question. 80' from shore had me right about knee deep and casting into 3-6' of water. 40' from shore was barely shin deep and my boot tops would be greeting the sun through an inch or two of water at 20' from shore. Backing up to shore wouldn't let me get the fish any closer than maybe 30' without beaching it in the way too-shallows.
 

O' Clarkii Stomias

Active Member
That's a legitimate question. 80' from shore had me right about knee deep and casting into 3-6' of water. 40' from shore was barely shin deep and my boot tops would be greeting the sun through an inch or two of water at 20' from shore. Backing up to shore wouldn't let me get the fish any closer than maybe 30' without beaching it in the way too-shallows.
If I was 80' from shore, pretty good chance I would be casting a single hander
 

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