12 lost, 1 landed - HELP!

Ian Carter

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I think its time I asked for help because this is getting ridiculous. I have lost 12 salmon on the fly and only landed 1.

My technique:

-Mostly swinging flies but I do tend to cast 60 degrees across.
-Normally allow a downstream belly to speed up the fly.
-Cast is usually not straight on landing but straightens out in a second or 2.
-When I feel a take I lift to see if its just another weed, feel head shakes then lift the rod tip up to around 60 degrees.
-Reel when they come closer, drag is set relatively light so its allows a run.
-When splashing on the surface I keep the same pressure / bend in the rod but drop the rod tip near the surface rather than pulling upwards.

I have lost fish everywhere, far away, near the net, deep under water, splashing on the surface, 3 have broken strong carbon (might blame a clinch knot that weakens the line when pulling tight)

Manage to land this ranched fish the other day in fast water on a treble hook. He was hooked deeper on the tongue.
IMG_0795.JPG
 

Mattytree

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I think it’s just the way it is , last season I did about 10-12 in a row and it was sickening! I did blame a new Rod being to stiff but then landed the next ten... Are the takes on the dangle ? If you know where the fish will be try and induce a take mixing in a few line pulls or slow figure of 8 on the swing so the fish turns and hooks itself , I’m convinced a lot of the time they follow and then it’s the stripping to recast that gives them incentive to take a fly which seems to always be hooked lightly, with fresh fish and sea trout they will pull the hook easily.
it’s always tempting to lift to early at the first pull so don’t lift until it goes solid.
 
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Jockiescott

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Fish get off. That's what keeps us coming back.

My previous all time run of fish lost was 12 in a week a few years ago. That was surpassed last year when I went 22 before landing my next. I think I'd come into contact with 30 odd fish last year by the time I'd landed my second.

Once lost six in a single morning too for no known reason.

It would be boring if you landed them all!!! :ROFLMAO:

It would be a hell of a lot worse if you weren't hooking them so you're really not doing anything wrong.
 

simonjh98

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I have hooked 10 fish this season and landed One!

I have had periods of time, weeks and days where I have hooked and landed them all.

I think its very subjective in terms of how the fish behaves. I also believe the action in a rod can help. A softer rod is better for absorbing headshakes from a fish but you also may lose some control with too soft of a rod.

I don't really think there is much you can do other than play the fish hard to try and get it in quick and hope for the best :ROFLMAO:
 

Rennie

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This happens, every once in a while you'll have a spell of losses and for no apparent reason!.
If it helps any (which it won't!) I seem to remember a similar spell this time last year for myself and a lot of others on the forum before the hot weather broke and we all got water!
I've had a spell of 11 on the trot, one after the other when those about me were landing everything!, mindst you when I kicked the run I had 3 out before lunch !.
All I can suggest is to be a bit more positive on your 1st reaction to the fish, get your hook set positively!.
May I respectfully ask, whats that on your leader in the photo?, just curious thats all!.
What I would say, is try and ride this streak out, because I assure you swopping changing and mucking about will make things worse for you and make the streak a lot worse to break.
Swearing loudly always helps, as does violence towards unimportant in animate objects (do a John Cleese on something)!
Best of luck with it,Pedro.
 

Rrrr

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Last year i lost about 10 in a row in low water before landing 5 in a row. Mostly daft things lile seatrout slack lining me or fresh fish with soft mouths. Its just the way it goes sometimes.
Aslong as your hooks are half decent and sharp theres not much else you can do.

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Possibly lifting into them too early? Head shakers tend to be lightly hooked in my experience so that’s usually a bad sign. Usually not a lot you can do but I would maybe try to let them have a bit more time perhaps. Easier said than done I know
 

MCXFisher

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As others have said, it happens. For me 2019 was the year of the lost fish, in which I lost count of the number that failed to stay attached. On the Helmsdale in the spring of 2018 I had huge problems getting a fish to stay on. In contrast, in 2011 I only recall 2 coming off (4%).

There are so many reasons for the hook failing to hold: I try to explain some of the dynamics of the take in the post Crash! Bang! Pluck! on J1W. In particular, if you look closely at the Icelandic underwater film of salmon taking flies you will see clearly just how marginal the whole hooking process really is. Then there are all manner of other factors like the freshness and size of the fish to consider. I'm wearily resigned to the majority of fresh grilse coming off. My only advice would be to avoid being too firm in the early stages of the fight.

Don't change anything, keep on fishing and it will come good in time.
 

mc andy

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As everyone has said it happens, but I do have a slightly different take on it. I have two ways to hook on differing water styles.

Classic flowing water letting the fly swing I do nothing but clamp the line firmly till you feel the full weight of the fish. Then lift. And it may sound obvious but I was amazed last season watching others play fish how little pressure they applied to a fish, barley having a bend in the rod. Get that rod bent. Imo of course

Second is slacker water and retrieving your fly. Square casts and figure of 8 retrieve. In this situation I strike, I know that everything ever written or said about salmon fishing takes this is not the done thing. Well I meet a angler going through a pool, and as we talked he had a fish take! Well the fish was struck! So he played it landed it then released it. Afterwards I said? I hope you don't mind me saying but you struck that fish, oh yes he said, If a fish pulls I pull back! Simple . He suggested he was easy 1 in 8 losses. I never done it for years and as I say now on retrieving only. But its working for me. I'm currently on 39 landed for 4 losses. For the last 2 seasons.

Cheers andy
 

charlieH

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As has been said, fish do get off - that's part of the agony and ecstasy of salmon fishing. But that's certainly a bad run. I'd make a couple of observations:

1: If a fish breaks you, you should really ask why. 3 out of 13 hooked is a high proportion, and with modern materials, unless they get into weed/branches/rocks it really oughtn't to happen with that frequency. First of all, I'd certainly think about jettisoning the fluorocarbon and go back to a conventional nylon (e.g. Maxima). I think it's a bit more tolerant of less than perfect knots, and is less inclined to break if you do get a wind knot, too. And if you're using quite a stiff/tippy rod and/or a fly line with little stretch, the fact the fluoro doesn't stretch can mean that any sudden shocks, like when a fish lunges or thrashes, aren't cushioned. Nylon has more stretch, so is better able to absorb these shocks. Incidentally, although we all get them from time to time, wind knots are often a result of imperfect casting technique - and I also note that you say the leader doesn''t usually land straight - so perhaps a casting lesson or two might be in order.

As a final point on breakages, is your leader properly matched to the rest of the setup? If you're using fluorocarbon it can be tempting to go too light on account of the claimed breaking strain. Diameter is far more important than breaking strain, not least because the leader needs to carry the fly properly. If you're using a medium weight single handed rod and smallish flies (no bigger than size 8, say) you could go down to about .275mm diameter, but otherwise it's probably wise to stick to about .32mm diameter (12lb test if you're using Maxima).

2. One of the most hotly debated subjects in salmon fishing is hooking technique. I don't believe there is any single right answer to this - if there were, we'd all be doing it the same way! But I think a common mistake is tightening too fast, and when you say that when you feel something you lift the rod to check if it's weed, that makes me suspect that you're reacting too quickly. If I feel a check on the line and don't know whether it's a fish or weed/rock I do nothing, and let the weight of water on the belly of the line tighten it all up - usually saying "shake your head you bu**er" at the same time. That couple of seconds should give you long enough to establish whether the thing on the other end is alive or dead - and you can then react accordingly. It can be particularly difficult if you come from a trout fishing background, but IMO you definitely shouldn't be lifting the rod every time you feel something.

When it comes to hooking, I am in the 'clamp the line and do nothing until the fish pulls' camp, but having had a bad run of losses last year someone suggested that I still wasn't waiting long enough before lifting the rod. I then forced myself to wait until I really couldn't hold the line any longer, and landed the next four fish I hooked. But as I say, others will advise you differently on this.

PS - is that the Erriff?
 

Oscar

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Looks like the Erriff that - fine fish too, well done.

The one stat that sticks out to me is the broken cast (3 lost). Out of around 80 salmon landed, I don't think I've ever had a leader break. I traditionally used Maxima and tucked blood, and now use either a turle or tooked blood with Seaguar fluoro.

I would recommend sticking to a knot and leader combo that is very reliable, as to lose a fish that way must be excrutiating!

Otherwise, at least you're hooking them!

Oscar.
 

Tangled

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Just on the knot thing. I watched a guide tie on a fly with a clinched blood knot. When he'd done it he put the hook into the finger hole of his forceps and pulled on it like crazy. The knot slipped, he swore and tied it again. It slipped again. He swore again and tied it again. This time it stuck.

He was a very experienced guide and I watched him very closely on the second knot, I couldn't see anything wrong with it.

Ever since then I've properly tested every knot I've made either in my forceps that are hanging off my vest or a zipper tag for small trout flies - you can't do it just in your fingers. I've been amazed at how many knots that look fine, fail that test. That tip might save you a couple of fish; it has me :)
 

Hemmy

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Some stick....some don’t........you can eliminate human error and defective materials to increase your chances but no guarantee they will stick
 

Oscar

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Looks like the Erriff that - fine fish too, well done.
As has been said, fish do get off - that's part of the agony and ecstasy of salmon fishing. But that's certainly a bad run. I'd make a couple of observations:

1: If a fish breaks you, you should really ask why. 3 out of 13 hooked is a high proportion, and with modern materials, unless they get into weed/branches/rocks it really oughtn't to happen with that frequency. First of all, I'd certainly think about jettisoning the fluorocarbon and go back to a conventional nylon (e.g. Maxima). I think it's a bit more tolerant of less than perfect knots, and is less inclined to break if you do get a wind knot, too. And if you're using quite a stiff/tippy rod and/or a fly line with little stretch, the fact the fluoro doesn't stretch can mean that any sudden shocks, like when a fish lunges or thrashes, aren't cushioned. Nylon has more stretch, so is better able to absorb these shocks. Incidentally, although we all get them from time to time, wind knots are often a result of imperfect casting technique - and I also note that you say the leader doesn''t usually land straight - so perhaps a casting lesson or two might be in order.

As a final point on breakages, is your leader properly matched to the rest of the setup? If you're using fluorocarbon it can be tempting to go too light on account of the claimed breaking strain. Diameter is far more important than breaking strain, not least because the leader needs to carry the fly properly. If you're using a medium weight single handed rod and smallish flies (no bigger than size 8, say) you could go down to about .275mm diameter, but otherwise it's probably wise to stick to about .32mm diameter (12lb test if you're using Maxima).

2. One of the most hotly debated subjects in salmon fishing is hooking technique. I don't believe there is any single right answer to this - if there were, we'd all be doing it the same way! But I think a common mistake is tightening too fast, and when you say that when you feel something you lift the rod to check if it's weed, that makes me suspect that you're reacting too quickly. If I feel a check on the line and don't know whether it's a fish or weed/rock I do nothing, and let the weight of water on the belly of the line tighten it all up - usually saying "shake your head you bu**er" at the same time. That couple of seconds should give you long enough to establish whether the thing on the other end is alive or dead - and you can then react accordingly. It can be particularly difficult if you come from a trout fishing background, but IMO you definitely shouldn't be lifting the rod every time you feel something.

When it comes to hooking, I am in the 'clamp the line and do nothing until the fish pulls' camp, but having had a bad run of losses last year someone suggested that I still wasn't waiting long enough before lifting the rod. I then forced myself to wait until I really couldn't hold the line any longer, and landed the next four fish I hooked. But as I say, others will advise you differently on this.

PS - is that the Erriff?

Looks suspicially like Beat 9 to me, RH Bank. Possibly the Square Pools?

Oscar.
 

Rrrr

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I always try to wait until i feel the fish turn before lifting but the issue is that when you get a take then all bets are off and it seems to be an " oh ****" type of reaction rather than sticking to a plan.

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Loxie

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Loosing fish is inevitable but often avoidable. Use balanced tackle, soft rods are always better in pretty much every way. I'm also a do nothing hooker, as it were. It's pretty hard to get broken on fly tackle, even on a light leader. Always check your knots. Always. As you get more experience you will land more. I haven't been broken often, maybe 3 times in the last 500 salmon, 2 from dropper snagging and one jumped through a tree, but I use very low breaking strain leaders more often than not. I usually loose around 1 in 20 but never evenly and some years are worse for some reason.
 

Walleye

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I don't catch a lot on fly, up to 5 a year, but I can't remember losing a salmon on fly which has made contact in the last 10 years.
I have the worst technique, according to the book. I do everything wrong. The best description I can come up with is I sh1t myself and lift into them far too quickly and too hard. I see guys on YouTube release line then gently lift into them. I honestly believe I can't do that because I've tried and never been able to. But I don't lose any on fly and I gave up thinking at all about what to do when a fish takes many, many years ago because I'm totally useless at it. I'm fishing by my own "jumpy" instinct but I am in the moment and not thinking about anything other than fishing. I think some people are naturally able to react "by the book" by instinct so they don't have to think at all during the take which probably makes a big difference. They are fishing and not thinking about what to do. If you are thinking too hard about what to do if a fish takes, I reckon you are not in the moment, which is definitely not right. Just my theory.
 

simoncassidy

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I think its time I asked for help because this is getting ridiculous. I have lost 12 salmon on the fly and only landed 1.

My technique:

-Mostly swinging flies but I do tend to cast 60 degrees across.
-Normally allow a downstream belly to speed up the fly.
-Cast is usually not straight on landing but straightens out in a second or 2.
-When I feel a take I lift to see if its just another weed, feel head shakes then lift the rod tip up to around 60 degrees.
-Reel when they come closer, drag is set relatively light so its allows a run.
-When splashing on the surface I keep the same pressure / bend in the rod but drop the rod tip near the surface rather than pulling upwards.

I have lost fish everywhere, far away, near the net, deep under water, splashing on the surface, 3 have broken strong carbon (might blame a clinch knot that weakens the line when pulling tight)

Manage to land this ranched fish the other day in fast water on a treble hook. He was hooked deeper on the tongue.
View attachment 46457
Next time you feel a take do nothing let the fish take line first maybe wait a few seconds and gently lift into him.I bet he wont get off then
 

goodwin8288

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Hi as already said it happens to most of us to some degree last year on the fly i lost 13 and landed 3 and in 2015 i lost 8 and landed 4 mostly grilse that tend to take on the dangle and the swim straight at you rather than turning and hooking themselves if i feel this happening i try and pull on the line and or strike lift hard to try and set the hook as they are coming at me its a lottery fishing this way but worth it to feel the pull and land a few i have tried all the methods including leaving it to develop and the fish just tend to continue at you and spit the fly and are gone without even raising the rod i am talking about this mainly happening on one pool that can only be fished on the dangle If i do get a fish take on a conventional swing its much easier i just let them take and turn hooking themselves and then lift into it!! stick with it!
 

Gralaks

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Just on the knot thing. I watched a guide tie on a fly with a clinched blood knot. When he'd done it he put the hook into the finger hole of his forceps and pulled on it like crazy. The knot slipped, he swore and tied it again. It slipped again. He swore again and tied it again. This time it stuck.

He was a very experienced guide and I watched him very closely on the second knot, I couldn't see anything wrong with it.

Ever since then I've properly tested every knot I've made either in my forceps that are hanging off my vest or a zipper tag for small trout flies - you can't do it just in your fingers. I've been amazed at how many knots that look fine, fail that test. That tip might save you a couple of fish; it has me :)
I always do that. It's just common sense?
 

chrishconnolly

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This is probably the kiss of death to my observations but here we go.
I never and I mean never fish with s loop of line.
I fish off the reel and I let them take line at least a couple of times before I lift.
I use small trebles on my tube flies small gold mustad predominately.
I don't catch vast numbers of salmon but I have racked up respectable numbers over the years and on the fly I have lost very few.
My fishing buddies have ripped me many times for the size of those baby trebles I use
But then they haven't landed a number of fish in excess of 20lb and one of 25lb on my wee trebles.
I hope this is or may be helpful.

Chris
 

Oscar

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This is probably the kiss of death to my observations but here we go.
I never and I mean never fish with s loop of line.
I fish off the reel and I let them take line at least a couple of times before I lift.
I use small trebles on my tube flies small gold mustad predominately.
I don't catch vast numbers of salmon but I have racked up respectable numbers over the years and on the fly I have lost very few.
My fishing buddies have ripped me many times for the size of those baby trebles I use
But then they haven't landed a number of fish in excess of 20lb and one of 25lb on my wee trebles.
I hope this is or may be helpful.

Chris

Shame they are, or soon will be, banned on most rivers! I too have success with small hooks, they just seem to embed better.

Oscar.
 

Ian Carter

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Wow that’s a lot of help thanks lads!
I’m fishing the Blackwater tomorrow that will be in a small spate so I’ll try some Maxima. I almost never use it due to its thickness to strength ratio, preferring “Dragon” or similar brands that offer 18lb with .28 thickness. I use a Shakespeare 12.5ft oracle 8/9 weight.

Lots to think about there, lots of contrasting techniques. Hook sharpness is a possible issue that I could improve. I’ll bin any dull hooks in my fly box.

One thing I didn’t mention is the fact that the 10 salmon I have landed in the past few years have all been on spinner and have landed 80% of them. Very little fight though and they tend to just come to the net whereas the fly is FULL of drama and excitement.
 
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