Spey Landing Salmon/Steelhead solo

CreekScrambler

Active Member
If I was 80' from shore, pretty good chance I would be casting a single hander
It's a big, 450' wide river in that spot. 80' from shore is where I could swing the nice 3'-6' water over cobbles & bowling balls with a 70' cast. Why horse a single hander around to cover water when a TH rod will do that easy as pie all day long?

Edited to add: I don't have a single hander in a suitable weight for salmon & steelhead-sized fish.
 
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O' Clarkii Stomias

Active Member
It's a big, 450' wide river in that spot. 80' from shore is where I could swing the nice 3'-6' water over cobbles & bowling balls with a 70' cast. Why horse a single hander around to cover water when a TH rod will do that easy as pie all day long?

Edited to add: I don't have a single hander in a suitable weight for salmon & steelhead-sized fish.
After 30 years of spey, there is something I find very satisfying about finding opportunities to swing with a single hander. I wasn't being critical.
 

CreekScrambler

Active Member
After 30 years of spey, there is something I find very satisfying about finding opportunities to swing with a single hander. I wasn't being critical.
Cheers to that! I lack the gear/big-water experience to fish this particular river with a single-hander, so I swing with the spey rod as a matter of confidence. The Yak, however, is super fun to swing with my 5wt and I have a blast there with anything olive and a sink-tip line. That's a river I can wrap my head around with a single hander.
 

CreekScrambler

Active Member
I really appreciate the insight and scrutiny here. A critical eye goes a long ways in helping us all (especially the less-experienced) be a bit more thoughtful in selecting our methods. I've learned some really good stuff here and look forward to taking the new knowledge out to the river before long.
 

skyriver

Active Member
I fished for 30 years without a net. Early years I beached them like everyone else and then evolved to tail them in shallow water. All that with single hand.

About 2010 or so I started using a net for trout since all the science out there says if you don't have to touch them, don't. I will admit, it also helps to snap a quick pic of them when solo. Mind you, the pics are those crappy, too much net pics, but it's better than phone in one hand and the fish in the other pics. And, I have big hands. ;)
For whatever reason, that hadn't quite translated to steelhead or salmon. Maybe because the catch rate is much lower? Maybe because I'm decent at bringing them in without a net. The longer 2 handers took some getting used to, but still not terrible. Maybe just because I'm dim.

About 2015 I started packing a net. I clearly remember it was a chum session off the beach that I thought "I need a net". And pinks off the beach like to roll so I took it there too. Well, now that I had my cheap and lightweight rubber C&R net from Bass Pro Tacoma, just big enough for most steelhead, that I hacked down to the right length to put on my back, I started packing it steelheading and salmon fishing on the river as well.

It it my opinion that I should have started this LONG ago. I have always fought fish very aggressively to get them in sooner than later and the net makes that even easier. Even if I'm 80' out in the river I move "down & out" of the river to get even or below the fish. Several guys I admire very much taught that to me many years ago. Make the fish fight you and the river.
I see people lose fish all the time because the fish is way downriver of them and they never leave their spot. Not only is this a sure way to lose a fish, it's also a very good way to kill a fish. It makes landing much harder as well.

My advice...get a net just big enough that you can still hike in with it. I've hiked several miles with mine and it's only tripped me once. ;)
 

CreekScrambler

Active Member
About 2010 or so I started using a net for trout since all the science out there says if you don't have to touch them, don't.
Lil' troots, and biggish ones, too, are awfully easy to separate from a fly. I find a reach with hemostats for smaller flies or good ol' fashioned booger hooks for big flies avoids the need for touching the actual fish.

About 2015 I started packing a net. I clearly remember it was a chum session off the beach that I thought "I need a net"...
I'm anxiously awaiting/avoiding this particular moment. It's always been no net, no problem, but that could change

Even if I'm 80' out in the river I move "down & out" of the river to get even or below the fish....
I'm sure if the fish would have given me a hard time, I would've started moving downstream and shallower. This one was easy until it was close enough to release and then I found things awkward.

My advice...get a net just big enough that you can still hike in with it. I've hiked several miles with mine and it's only tripped me once. ;)
Forecasting exciting new curse words when I trip over my net.
 

skyriver

Active Member
Lil' troots, and biggish ones, too, are awfully easy to separate from a fly. I find a reach with hemostats for smaller flies or good ol' fashioned booger hooks for big flies avoids the need for touching the actual fish.


I'm anxiously awaiting/avoiding this particular moment. It's always been no net, no problem, but that could change


I'm sure if the fish would have given me a hard time, I would've started moving downstream and shallower. This one was easy until it was close enough to release and then I found things awkward.


Forecasting exciting new curse words when I trip over my net.
Haha. Yeah, watch that net!
The other downside to actually fishing with a steelhead net on your back is deep wades. I usually take it off and leave on the bank where I'm going to get out. Otherwise it's trying to do all sort of annoying things. But most swing water wades (especially with the 2 hander) are no biggie.
I'm a bit of a net man snob too. I've had "help" go wrong a few times. Lots of nice guys just haven't netted big fish before. Kinda like nice guys with terrible "fishing" dogs. ;) I won't go there. ;)
 

CreekScrambler

Active Member
Good point; I'm a lot more hesitant to wade deep by myself in cold weather and big water anyways, so that's another tally in favor of the net for swinging water. The only time I've seen a net dude flash into action was when a guide smoothly netted my buddy's first steelhead (on his first steelhead trip). Years later (but not many trips), I'm still in the hunt for #1 and still a bit envious).

Aw jeez I've known some really sweet dogs who went bonkers with curiosity when they realized a critter was on the end of the line. They were never marketed as "fishing" dogs, though.
 

Rob Allen

Active Member
Rods should never be lifted more than 45 degrees in any direction ever..
At 45 degrees the whole rod is bending and taking the force, beyond 45 degrees the bottom of the rod straightens and the force moves up the rod, your putting the same force on the rod but your putting that force into smaller and smaller portions of the rod, at 90 degrees you're putting all that force on maybe the top 10 inches of the rod. Most rods that break break because people do this...

It's bad rod handeling...
 

CreekScrambler

Active Member
Rods should never be lifted more than 45 degrees in any direction ever..
At 45 degrees the whole rod is bending and taking the force, beyond 45 degrees the bottom of the rod straightens and the force moves up the rod, your putting the same force on the rod but your putting that force into smaller and smaller portions of the rod, at 90 degrees you're putting all that force on maybe the top 10 inches of the rod. Most rods that break break because people do this...

It's bad rod handeling...
I think the issue is over the magnitude of the force and matching it to the appropriate section of the rod. That's why all these brazen rod-lifter/line slippers can make a grab for the leader with the rod swung high above 45 degrees and get away with it . . . there's no more load than a few grains of rod and leader/sink tip/line inertia can provide.

The iron cross pictured earlier even has some inherent protection: it would take a FIRM grip and criminal stubbornness to keep a long rod near vertical if the fish decided to take off or otherwise spike the load in the rod. The load on the rod tip with the butt at ~90deg from horizontal is very low as pictured or we'd see a LOT more deflection at the tip.

This has been a great discussion, folks!
 

Rob Allen

Active Member
I think the issue is over the magnitude of the force and matching it to the appropriate section of the rod. That's why all these brazen rod-lifter/line slippers can make a grab for the leader with the rod swung high above 45 degrees and get away with it . . . there's no more load than a few grains of rod and leader/sink tip/line inertia can provide.

The iron cross pictured earlier even has some inherent protection: it would take a FIRM grip and criminal stubbornness to keep a long rod near vertical if the fish decided to take off or otherwise spike the load in the rod. The load on the rod tip with the butt at ~90deg from horizontal is very low as pictured or we'd see a LOT more deflection at the tip.

This has been a great discussion, folks!


Apparently firm grips and criminal stubbornness are common among fly anglers as evidenced by the hundreds of rod's I've repaired with notes like " i was just landing a fish and it broke"
 

the_grube

Active Member
I don't want to carry a net when I'm wade fishing. If I can't make a move to tail a fish w/o risking it or my gear than I drop the rod tip and let the fishy go. I might try to snap a few pics of the fish still hooked up beforehand if I can
 

sourdoughsmitty

Active Member
I have several cane spey rods and can relate to the landing issue i have noticed in the uk and canada some use tailers are those legal in the us?
 

Salmo_g

WFF Premium
I have several cane spey rods and can relate to the landing issue i have noticed in the uk and canada some use tailers are those legal in the us?
Don't use a tailer for fish that are to be released. Lifting a steelhead by the tail (or the head) can stretch the fish's spine and fatally injure it. They aren't built to be suspended above water that way.
 

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