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I took the future Wife-y fishing yesterday. We we're on the Green and the little ladie hooked up with a steelie just a little bigger than a shaker and just as it was starting it's first run she palm stopped the reel and pulled back too hard and snapped the leader.

While she was elated and jumping for joy. I was a little bummed she could have had an incredible story about the first steelhead she ever caught. But instead she has "the one that got away."

So I come to friends with a problem. How can I teach her how to fight larger fish effectivly with out her spending all the time in the field neccessary to hook up with real battles? I just want her to be able to say I landed an increddible fish after a tough fight.

Is it just experience that teaches or are there certain guidlines that can be followed to land larger fish?

Thanks
:DUNNO
 

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Idaho Resident Craftsman/Artisan
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When I guide I just give the following instructions: If there is slack in the line reel it in, but otherwise do not touch the reel. Let the Drag do its job. Though it never seems to work on the first fish it seems to make more sense thereafter. No ammount of verbal instruction can compensate for fish hooked and played. Time logged with fish on has got to be the best teacher there is.

MacRowdy :pROFESSOR
 

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AKA: Gregory Mine
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PUT HER IN FRONT OF A SCHOOL OF CHUMS. GIVE HER THE CHANCE TO PLAY FISH, LEARN HOW TO FIGHT THEM AND LET YOU GIVE ADVISE ON THE SIDE. SHE WILL LEARN THE FIRST TIME THAT WHEN YOU LET GO OF THE REEL, TO GET YOUR THUMB OUT OF THE WAY WHEN THEY RUN. THEY WILL GIVE HER EVERYTHING SHE WILL NEED TO PRACTICE WITH, ON TOP OF THE FACT THAT YOU CAN LOSE ALL YOU WANT, THERE ARE PLENTY OUT THERE. TO ME ITS A LOT LIKE TELLING SOMEONE HOW TO RIDE A BIKE, YOU CANT DO IT ON THE COUCH, YOU HAVE TO GET OUT THERE AND DO IT YOURSELF.
 

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When the fish is running, I let the reel do the work (test drag prior to casting). When the fish isn't running, I'm cranking, and using the rod. IMHO, the most common mistake in C&R practices is fighting the fish far too long.
 

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One time while fishing at Uculet, I saw a woman with a big king on her line. Her drag was set way too light, but her guide had told her to reel constantly which she did. Finally the salmon was killed.
But what a horror show. She looked at me as if she felt stupid. Yes, that is what it looked like--the guide was stupid.
BOBLAWLESS
 

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The chums are a good idea, and so would spending some time on a quality lake next spring. If you go to Lenice during the tenderloin of the chironomid fishing, she should get plenty of chances to play some big rainbows, perfectly challenging and exciting. You learn to land big fish the same way you get to Carnegie Hall, practice, practice, practice.

I don't necessarily subscribe to the let-the-drag-do-all-the-work theory. I believe there are two ways to lose a big fish: you can lose big fish because you horse them too hard and they break off; or you can lose big fish because you let them spend too much time in the water trying to get away. It may simply boil down to a philosophical choice, but me, I don't like to screw around.

Obviously, clamping your palm down on the reel while the fish is running is a bad idea. And you always need to be mindful of the limits of your tackle, and artful in how you test/handle those limits; that's part of why we're using flyrod's after all. But for pity's sake fellas, isn't part of the whole point showing the fish who's boss? I think you've got to be willing to take some chances and TURN that sumbuck. Keep diddling around and he's just going to eventually shake the hook or wrap you on something. Besides, as has been noted above, waiting for him to just wreck himself is not a particularly responsible way to practice c&r.
 

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Good points Ray. I'd rather C&R a feisty fish than hope and pray reviving a skunked one. Show em who's boss! Practically speaking, a stronger leader helps a lot. The water has been low and clear, but now that it's rising, a good 10lb test isn't overkill. I use 12# often. Also, the ability to pounce on and grab a bigger fish is something learned through time. Grab that fish firmly so he doesn't flop on the shallow water rocks, and release that hook. That's a hard thing to learn though, that's for sure. Most of these west-side fish have great spirit. Also, make him fight the rod by holding it high. Sometimes I find it easier to let slack line by slipping it to a running fish under a pinning finger, rather than reeling like crazy. When the fish hits the reel or ends its run, I crank hard with rod high. That said, even with best practices, we all lose fish!
 

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fish fighting techniques for Rocky Ford

I've got a fishing-fighting question for those whose fish Rocky Ford: how do you land those big guys that thrash their heads along the bottom? I fished there late this summer from dawn till dusk and got six hook-ups with BIG fish. Five of them just buried their heads in the weeds and thrashed their heads on the bottom until the tippet popped. I tried giving them slack, I tried putting as much pressure as possible (with a light tippet) to keep them off the bottom...I couldn't figure it out! Any suggestions for next time would be appreciated. Thanks!
 

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AKA: Gregory Mine
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fish fighting techniques for Rocky Ford

IF YOU CAN, RUN(NOT LITERALY) UP OR DOWN THE BANK TO GET A BETTER ANGLE ON THEM...ONCE THEY PLUG, IT IS TOUGH, BY GETTING A BETTER ANGLE, YOU HAVE A CHANCE TO STEER THEM TO WHERE YOU NEED.... THAT OR PRAY
 

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I will second that with the emphasis on: the only time your hand should be on that reel is when he is not running and needless to say... then you should be getting "down and dirty". For the guys that don't know...Down and dirty is referring to a technique developed by Billy Pate to play a fish in order to land the beast quicker hence the link. (http://www.flyfishsteelhead.com/stories/playing.htm)

Swing the flyrod
StealheadJunky
(I classify fishermen into two types " those who catch fish on a fly and those who catch steelhead on a fly ) :BLUSH
 

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Stop Killing Wild Steelhead!
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Stlhdjnky had some great advice in referring to that article. I agree with most of Billy pates "down and dirty" technique except that I have learned that after you angle the rod away from the fish, beyond 90 degrees there is no effect. Keep the butt of the rod no more than 90 degrees, perpendicular, from the fish, and horizontal to the ground, and you are really hammering them with the rod's flex.When you angle farther away than 90 degrees you actually begin to lose power.Some people do this to avoid playing too low an angle or having the fish pull down the rod tip, and it can be because of tired arms. And this is when people break rod tips. It happens allot while landing fish at your feet or while "lifting" fish in the fight.At the moment when we should be lightening up on the fish we put way too much pressure on them and it always fails. Lifting fish only panics them.And of course as you play the angle toward the fish the pressure increases exponentially.

Read Lee Wulff's "The Atlantic salmon", some great tips and stories there. Lee used a trick of slack-lining fish that were panicing or sulking. It was a way to finnesse the fish into submission, or to reposition them for a better advantage from shore. You can do that with the chums; try the lightest to moderate pressure and you might be surprised how easily you can lead a chum to your feet without the thrashing and violence.The old adage of "Never let the pressure off", or "Never give them any slack", or "Keep the rod tip UP!"; aren't always the best strategies.

Keep your eyes open for an upcoming book titled "Playing Big Fish", by Floyd Franke, I think it's from Nick Lyons Books or Globe Pequot press.Maybe spring of next year. It's an impressive work and includes much of Lee Wulff's original work and research on the subject, and Floyds decades of experience.


I have found that this is one of the hardest things to teach some people while guiding.I won't go into the treatise here, but I do think that article from Dennis Dickson's site is very good.

Part of good catch and release fishing is playing a fish cleanly, without putting them into exhaustion, and most importantly- releasing them without avoidable injury. Playing the chums will help in many ways, but only if you are not taking them for granted and beating them up unnecessarily.And of course it takes practise and encouragement and lots of fish on the line to get the hang of it.In the old days they said, " a minute a pound" for playing big fish. I think that might be stretching it. And sometimes youll wish it could be that brief.
 

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fish fighting techniques for Rocky Ford

Young_gun,

Listen to the words coming from my mouth: leach pattern and 8lb maxima ultragreen supersoft limp. Trust me on this one. The only reason you will lose one of those bruisers will be because of the barbless hook.

MacRowdy :THUMBSUP
 

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fish fighting techniques for Rocky Ford

Hey Mac...I have heard quite a bit about Rocky Ford and was curious where it was and how the fishing is?? Would it be worth my time to come over to your side of the state to fish it?? Just always been curious and never asked :DUNNO

Later
~Patrick
 

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fish fighting techniques for Rocky Ford

Thanks for the advice...I've never been a religious guy, but prayer makes sense when you hook an "OH S***" fish!Dave at Tolo Vista (a great little place to stay at Soap Lake) gave me the same tip a few years back with the leeches and maxima ultragreen--very good way to catch a real HAWG! Now, if they could come up with 8lb. test 7X tippet for fishing tricos... :LOVEIT
 

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fish fighting techniques for Rocky Ford

being politically correct sucks

while i dont know rocky ford i have a lot of similiar experiences. as soon as you set the hook on the fish you have got to turn their heads away from the bottom. keep the rod high and keep pumping on him and get the fish on the reel. if you can get him turned right away they usually forget about the bottom and they try other tactics. once turned try holding the rod low to the water. i have noticed that if i hold the rod relatively low sometimes they stay on the surface. no two fish are the same, so try several things throughout the fight.

~sean~
 
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