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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Ok, so first off i'm a very inexperienced fly fisherman. With 5 days on the river so far i've had much more success then i had expected. I recently moved to Ellensburg and have fished the Yakima canyon and a few of the creeks around it. Last night I was doing some wade fishing down near the big pines area.
Tossing big dry flies i hooked up and landed many in the 8-12 inch range, and was having the best time of my life! Thats about when all hell broke loose. I saw a LARGE rainbow rising along the bank ahead of me and presented my fly to him, sure as heck he sucks it under and away he went. I was pretty much just holding on at this point. He didnt go far for the first few minutes but really thrashed the area jumping and splashing about. I was quickly learning how to deal with a fish of this size when he turned downstream and BOLTED toward heavy, fast water. I ran with him till i was at my wading maximum, the water just got too deep and fast for me to continue.
This is where i need advice, when i get to this situation what is the best approach. I tried to hold him above some rough water that would have been certain to end my fight with him. he held up for a few minutes and then made one more run (DEEP into my backer at this point) i put some pressure on him so he wouldnt spool me... and the dreaded **SNAP** happened.
It took me a good ten minutes to regain my composure. I went back upstream a ways and again hooked into another big boy. This time i wasnt going to let him run me downstream like the other did. The issue and ran into this time was with the more pressure i put on the fish the more it jumped. 3 or 4 times until he spit the fly back at me..... It gets worse, when i think i see the same fish feeding back up where i hooked into him, casted again and he slurped it again. I tried my best and lost him 5 minutes later on a wild jump/thrashing near the bank. Depressed and without sight (9:30pm) i packed my stuff into the bed of my truck and went home.

What can i do to land one of these monsters. A very conservative estimate is low 20"s, the first fish closer to 23-24" if i were to guess.

Thanks guys, and i appologize for the novel.
Ian
 

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Switch Rod Samurai
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Experience is a great teacher, and whn they are THAT feisty, there's not a whole lot to do, lower your rod tipwhen they jump, try a bit heavier tippet for more muscle.
How big were the dry flies you were using? What some of us steelheaders do is tie dries with a smaller octopus hook dropper off the back, cutting the point off the original hook. Octopus hooks hold fish very well, even barbless, and for me, my hookup to landing ratio has gone WAY up since I started tying my steelhead flies this way. I don't know if it can be done with all dry flies by any means....but I bet it would work on bigger stimulators, maybe even big elk hair caddis patterns.
Its great you got into some big fish though, good stuff
 

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Keep in mind, even the most experienced fishermen LDR fish. There are so many factors that contribute to fish coming unbuttoned it's amazing we ever land the feisty ones! Hang in there, maybe step up tippet size and check your knots!
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Thanks for the tips guys! I'll do my best to land one of these guys if i ever hook into one again, and when i do i'll do my best to get a picture with my HUGE smile! haha

SS- last night i was using size 8 flies, and now that you mention it i've had more LDRs with that sized fly in my few outings than any other. I've been using lots of size 16 PMDs and small elkhairs and if my memory serves me right i havent lost but just a few fish. Last night was my first try with the larger dries and landed some fish but had more LDRs than landed. Interesting.
 

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dirty dog
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A sharp hook, a little heaver tippet,(3x instead of 5x) side pressure when the fish runs, lowering your rod tip when the fish jumps.
Wholly shit dude your hookin em up don't complain.
O.K. and welcome aboard, newbie
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
HAHA! ya know Jake, i had thought about that myself. If you all are in drift boats its a piece of cake to get to, but if you're wading it takes some serious effort to get to! If this damn wind would let up a bit i'll try my luck again this evening. Looks like the flows have increased a bit today so that might prevent me from getting to the "spot". Ill definitely stop by the fly shop to grab some heavier tippet though. 5x didn't cut it last night.

Thanks for all the pointers and good wishes
 

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card shark
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Once the fish was in heavy current, downstream from you and into your backing, the game was already decided. The old adage of keeping your line tight and tip high placed you into an unwinnable position.

Next time a large fish begins to make its move to put you into that same position, be prepared to give it full slack, to settle it down, and quickly throw a loop of line toward the fish. Generally the fish will settle down to the nearest holding water close by once pressure is released, then when the down stream loop comes tight below the fish, it will react by resisting the pressure and head back upstream toward you. Don’t worry about having a barbless hook and a slack line, it won’t throw the hook unless the original set was already marginal to begin with.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Don't worry about having a barbless hook and a slack line, it won't throw the hook unless the original set was already marginal to begin with.
I think thats one major thing im having issues with to be honest. I grew up a bass fisherman. This barbless hook deal is throwing me for a loop, my biggest fear has been having slack line and the fly will just "fall" out of its mouth. Im sure thats something that time will help cure, getting the feel for it. Like what to do when the fish is jumping and flailing about on the surface. My first reaction was to lift the rod tip and keep pressure just as you said. I've watched some fly videos on the internet today and notice most bowing the pole down when the fish gets airborn. Thes probably a big part of why i lost the last two, both were airborn when the hook came out. I'll get it figured out, this stuff is just new to me. I appreciate the feedback greatly.

Ian
 

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I grew up a bass fisherman. This barbless hook deal is throwing me for a loop, my biggest fear has been having slack line and the fly will just "fall" out of its mouth.
It's a proven fact that you will hook more fish with the barb mashed down than you will with the barb. Also unless you just throw yards of slack at the fish, the barbless hook won't fall out.

Another factor is that unlike bass fishing where the fish is slinging a heavy lure around, flies are virtually weightless so trout get no leverage during a jump. The main problem with a big trout jumping is that you get surges that can break you off. With a bass on a lure, you want to pull it over as it starts a jump, but with a trout on a fly, you need to lower your rod or even bow toward the fish to give it some slack until it finishes the jump.
 

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"Chasing Riseforms"
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Fighting and playing trout is a lifetime of learning. Hard to describe sometimes. I have lost plenty of large fish and landed plenty. Sometimes it just leaves a big question mark in your head. I lost 4 large fish in a row last fall on a river. I know how you feel...... ha! You poor soul! I have had hooks bend (I now tie on stronger hooks for some waters) occasionally. I think that can piss me off more than anything. When I used barbs back in the day..., I could - would drop my rod tip every time a fish jumped. NEVER remember losing a fish doing this. I was quite confident doing that. But the guy that said doing that with barbless works fine. I don't agree with that totally, so you can lose fish doing that but it still works fairly well. I have a hard time doing it now with barbless. The line should keep enough tension even tho you drop your rod tip tho still. Fighting a large trout downstream from you is somewhat dangerous, especially if they are pointed your direction. I try to get sideways or downstream from them while fighting a large trout. The fly tends to come out when they are looking at you from downstream and there is tension on the fly. I can't tell you why, but I always feel in danger when this occurs. I'm no good at physics, so I'll leave it at that. If a fish takes your line around a large boulder, well, you know where that leads when your line is dragging low in the water.... If there are large boulders in the area where I am fighting a fish, I will hold my rod high to keep the line coming out above the fish so he can't run it around a boulder easily. It helps tremendously. If the fish goes down a fast run, you are probably shit out of luck my friend. Slacking up line in that situation could make the fish rest or head back upstream like another guys said here. I just plain don't put a lot of pressure on a big fish unless she is headed for danger and there is no other option. Changing your rod to sideways pressure can help throw the fish off balance and change direction. Sometimes I think this can make a fly come out if done too much or even once. Lastly, don't pull the fish upstream in current to try to land it unless there is no choice, they like to come unbuttoned that way. Too many variables. The thing is, you HOOKED some nice fish, you should be happy. I have smiled many times on losing a fish, and thought, "Well, you son-of-a-bitch, you won!" especially if you played it for a while and had a good battle. Even a 1 minute battle can be nice. Yeah, you can shed a few tears, its ok my son. Don't fret, HAVE FUN! :thumb:
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Dear Mr. Larry,
Thank you for the long, detailed reply! I hope to hook into another large trout again soon so i can apply some on this advice. In these 3 cases they were all in the same general area and there are no real big rocks to speak of, just a few troughs of very fast violent water. Thats EXACTLY where the first fish headed towards. I was able to stay next to him for a few minutes but he turned and went downstream and there was just no place for me to go, as i was on a bit of a gravel bar or hump in the middle of the river, deep fast water on both sides. Although i lost all 3 fish, like you said... i had an absolute blast. and got to fight the fish for quite a long time. That was an action packed 45 minutes or so of fishing between the 3 of them!!

Tonight i ventured back down into the canyon, noticed not a single drift boat, and not a single person wading. It was windy, but not THAT bad. When i got on the water there was virturally no action on the surface. Water seemed to be flowing pretty strong so that may have had something to do with it. I stuck with it for an hour or so, had 3 strikes on my bug but no hookups. i moved up stream a few miles to a slow moving bend and hooked up and landed one fish about 11 inches or so, and missed on a few other strikes. That was it for the night. Still had fun though! Im hooked on this fly fishing BAD!!!

Thanks again for the input everyone. You'all are helping me get rid of my "Newbie" status as Gary calls it :)
 

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Fighting a good fish is one of the most enjoyable aspects of the sport (and sometimes the most heartbreaking!) Others have had good suggestions. Make sure your drag is set correctly. 99.9% of "trout" should not even come close to "spooling" you if your gear is appropriate and drag set correctly.
 

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There's nothing like having an evening dancing with big fish that drive away to get a person hooked on fly fishing. I've been told that cocaine users are always trying to get that "first use" high every time they use again. Great report and I'm picking up lots of good pointers from your post, too.
 

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I think you're getting good suggestions. Use the heaviest tippet you can get away with and learn good knots!! And use enough rod. Personally I can never remember to throw slack at a screaming fish, but I'll work on that. I very rarely land trout that I put a lot of muscle too, but sometimes there is a "it's either this or else" situation because you run out of room to wade, chase, etc. That when you hope your hook-set and your knots hold.... And yes, when you get a fish deep in the backing (particularly beneath you) it is often game over. I think the reel/drag situation is not to be overlooked. It is a balancing act...hook size, tippet strength and rod strength all play into the right drag setting, IMO. I've LDR'd far more big fish than I've broken off, so I'm not a fan of trying to overpower the fish with a drag. But it also needs to be difficult for the fish to run, or at least not easy.
 

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Irork -
First congrats on nice evening on the water and find some dandy fish. Whenever we encounter an exceptional fish it is always a rush which of course part of the problem in successfully landing the fish.

The advice on being prepared to deal with those exeptional fish is spot on. That includes having not only appropriate sized leader/tippet but insuring that it has its original strength and having good knots that have not weaken during your fishing or playing other fish - I check my leaders and knots frequently and probably re-tie more than most. As you are finding out and important part of success is being mentally prepared - having a plan if you will.

Have never seen the use of barbless hooks much of an issue in landing fish and that is especially true in flowing water which seems to always keep some pressure on the fish - the very drag that we fight in presenting our flies works in keeping that hook in place once the fish is hooked.

I believe that there are 3 general schools on playing fish -

1) brute force - what we often see with bass fishing
2) Tiring or wearing the fish out - Many anglers general approach
3) Breaking the spirit or will of the fish

Across the range of our potential fishing experience we find ourselves finding situations where any of the 3 general approaches are useful and often some sort of hybrid method is key. That said I find that in the typical light tackle situation we fly anglers find ourseleves in the idea of breaking the will of the fish to resist combing the highest average success in landing the fish with low stress on the fish (most likley to survive its encounter with the angler). I general use very light drag with constant changing pressure and angles to keep the fish off balance and find that the fish will give up the struggle without being completely exhausted.

There are lots of nauances in the list approach but lets talk a minute about the classic upstream dry situation you seem to have found yourselve. The first step of course is take a minute to think out your appraoch once you fool the fish. Eventually you will find that your instincts will take over but until then it is helpful to have a plan.

We often see violent reactions from large fish we hook but we can control that with care. You will find that usually with a gentle hook set and light pressure immediately following the take the fish will settle down in its holding area often with head shakes; once the fish settles down we can slowly increase pressure and while the fish will react usually it is not nearly as violent as a sudden hard pressure. If the calm fish is facing upstream it often move upstream away from you - an ideal situation leaving you much more in control. If the fish decides to rush downstream you can often move the fish towards the safer side with side pressure that turns the fish's head in the direction you want the fish to go. Once the fish is in an area where you can play the fish I like to let the fish run against a very light drag and as some as it stops I put more pressure on the fish moving back towards me. This constant changing pressure and angles of prssure seems to cause the fish to give up the tactic of running a way from you and you are soon in control.

Using those sort of tactics have allowed me to consistently land some relatively large fish on light tackle, light leaders, and small hooks.

BTW -
If you find yourself wanting to give the fish slack the best time is early in the fight before the fish gets in the heavy water; in that situation it is very difficult to get the line below the fish. However early in the fight throwing loose line via a roll case (either downstream of the fish or to the current side of the fish) will get the heavy fly line below the fish which hopefully cause the fish move back upstream against the new pressure from the line being downstream of it.

Tight lines
Curt
 

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card shark
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Well stated Curt.

Seems that 99% of the talk and literature discuss locating fish, casting, presentation, and what fly to use to fool a trout. Very seldom do you see much of value to the playing and landing of big fish. Identify the fighting behavior of your quary, and learn the technique best suited for each behavior.

I highly recommend the book reviewed by Bob Triggs in the article section of this forum: "Fish On! A Guide To Playing and Landing Big Fish on a Fly": http://washingtonflyfishing.com/boa...uide-to-Playing-and-Landing-Big-Fish-on-a-Fly
I read it 6 years ago and wished I had someone tell me those things 20 years ago.
 
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