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Thread: Striking fish

  1. #1

    Default Striking fish

    I was looking at the trailers for Henrik Mortensen's DVDs and noticed how quickly and firmly he tightens into a fish - in fact at times I would say that he positively strikes them. You can see the trailers here:
    http://www.henrik-mortensen.com/?q=node/37

    Striking is often said to be a problem among newcomers to salmon, particularly if they come from a trout fishing background. But Mortensen is a hugely experienced fisherman, and I don't supose that he gets so over-excited when a fish takes that this is an involuntary reaction! But his method does seem to go against the conventional wisdom - in Britain, at least. Though there are different opinions as to exactly how best to hook fish (clamping the line, dropping a loop etc), the one thing that is usually agreed on is that striking is to be avoided at all costs.

    Any thoughts?

  2. #2

    Default

    Graeserr (sp?) said that he always struck (although he talks about giving line when fishing the hitch). Some people do, most don't. Some people tighten quickly in some situations (with grilse, for example). Some people release a loop of line, some let the fish take line off the reel, some folk tighten slowly and steadily when they feel the fish.
    Personally (and this doesn't come from a large amount of experience, just three seasons now) I have lost many more fish from tightening too quickly than from not quickly enough.
    Mortensen does tighten very quickly and it surprised me when I first saw it. However, he does catch plenty fish.

  3. #3

    Default

    I beleive that when you feel the fish on the line there is nothing to be gained by waiting any longer. If the fish is coming off a lie and turns back when he takes the fly all you need to do is to hang on. If, however, the fish is a running fish and moves towards you to take the fly there may not be enough tension on the line to hook him before he rejects the fly; a short pull can help to hook the fish.

    In many cases you can see the water bulge as the fish is coming for the fly, and some people get buck fever and strike the fish before it has taken the fly. I think that this is where all the talk about waiting originally came from.

  4. #4

    Default

    I simply, as I assume most people do, 'lift' into a fish at the point of sudden realisation. Nothing too excessive, just a positive lifting of the rod from just above the horizontal to around 2 o'clock.
    It's at that point, or a few nano seconds later, that I give it just the merest hint of added 'wellie' to either set the hook firmly or shorten the inevitable due to what was probably a poor hook hold from the outset.

    Interesting observation from Miramachi regarding "running fish" - it's certainly a tactic I have adopted when targeting sea trout and grilse but, for some unknown reason, never needed to consider for fish.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Oct 2007
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    Default

    I remember reading an article on fishing in Russia where the guide had told the fisher to strike immediately with every fish.
    I honestly don't believe that we can guage what fish to strike what fish to give more time to. If you are fishing slacker or still water with good visibility of a take it may be possible to determine what way a fish has taken and adjust your technique accordingly, but for most situations I think that it is a guessing game. With that in mind, I am of the opinion that for most fishing situations you should pick your tactic and stick to it.
    My own fault, I think, is not setting the hook properly for fear of pulling it away. This only leads to losing the fish later in the fight, unless the fish has taken very solidly and the hook setting is not a doubt.
    "... the grand excuse for loitering in peaceful places."

  6. #6

    Default

    I do most of my fishing on the lower section of the Miramichi, and if we have a little raise we frequently have a fair amount of fishing running along a rocky side of the river with what one guide describes as fast slow water. A friend fishing that stretch one day in Sept. hooked seven or eight fish in one pass down through the pool and they were almost all off quickly. He was an experienced salmon fisherman used to a faster river on the Gaspe where he had fished with the loop for 30 years. We switched him from a single hook to a double, had him fish with the line dead to the reel, and he started landing a much better percentage of his fish.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Aug 2009
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    Sweden
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    Default

    I fish high gradient rivers and my method is always the same. I carry a loop of line and I let it slide through my fingers under slight tension when a fish grabs the fly. When the fish is tight on the reel, even sometimes after a couple spool turns, I will sweep the rod low towards the bank I am fishing on.

    One thing that really surprises me is that I will have at least one fish a season that grabs the fly and then just sit there in the current not moving. It doesn't pull out the loop. Just stays there with the fly in it's mouth with the occasional tug on the line. With these types of takes I strip set the line like saltwater anglers do.

    So I guess I never raise the rod tip and set the hook like Mortensen does but he has caught a gazillion more fish than me so he must be doing something right!

  8. #8
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    Oct 2007
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by miramichi View Post
    We switched him from a single hook to a double, had him fish with the line dead to the reel, and he started landing a much better percentage of his fish.
    Mirimachi,

    When you say "dead to the reel", do you mean that the drag is set to run out when the fish takes, or that no line is offered to the fish?
    "... the grand excuse for loitering in peaceful places."

  9. #9
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    Aug 2008
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    North Yorkshire
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    Default

    Having watched the trailer link I would say "striking" is probably too strong a word for what he does. It's hard to say how long after he feels the fish that he lifts into it but he certainly does make a positive lift. I have come to the conclusion that I need to do this judging by the amount of fish I part company with soon after the take. I don't think I am setting the hook properly in many cases. I rarely seem to get the sort of takes that you can't miss these days but that is maybe reflected in the type of rivers I fish most, medium to slow paced.

    SP8

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Oct 2007
    Location
    Ayr
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    1,439

    Default Stretch

    With the amount of stretch in a fly line (as much as a few yards) I prefer to try and drive the hook home as quickly as possible.
    Works ok for me but I also think the hook is a major factor in positive hook ups.
    Mike

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