Hooking Salmon On The Fly

plotter

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i hooked my first ever salmon on the fly last night:D, just sat there shaking his head, then gone:(.
Oh well try again. Very good info coming on here, my point is i hooked 1, so i am at least doing something right. Just got to land one now
 
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silverleapers

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i hooked my first ever salmon on the fly last night:D, just sat there shaking his head, then gone:(.
Oh well try again. Very good info coming on here, my point is i hooked 1, so i am at least doing something right. Just got to land one now


Congrats!

Try and remember exactly where you were standing and the exact casting length and line angle you hooked the fish on...I mean exact! This target (aka salmon) is 2-3 feet long and they don't eat flies with their tails...you very likley caught the fish from what is called a "lay". This is THEE magic three letter word in salmon fishing...and the next is "presentation" (which is more than just swinging a wet fly at a certain speed or depth).

Knowing exactly where the "lay" is on the river bottom and which presentation makes the average fish using it move to a fly = salmon hooked. Its all about a few square inches of water in a big blank ocean...if you are doing it right that is. :p

Welcome to salmon fishing (you poor bugger! ;):D )

Cheers!!;
Silverleapers
 
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Dryfly

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Lost four fish in a sinlge day last week..... :(:( and another the day before. So four days fishing and no fish banked.

Lessons learnt? practice more:D
 

CharlesW

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I too used to agonise over what to do when a salmon takes the fly. Then I thought about it. When fishing a devon minnow down and across it follows much the same path as a fly in an arc accross the river. Every time I have fished a devon with the rod held high to keep most of the line out of the water, I do nothing when I get a take until I feel the weight of the fish. Then I hold the fish hard to set the hook. They very seldom come off.

So why not adapt the same tactic with the fly? Wait to you feel the weight of the fish. Then lift your rod into it to set the hook. With the minnow you often feel one or two knocks then the line goes solid. If you strike at the first knock, no fish or one that comes of before long. The same with the fly.

I have found that giving line either by dropping a loop or off the reel usually results in disappointment. I suspect this advice dates from a time when salmon flies were mostly tied on singles and giving line allowed the hook to slide back in the salmon's mouth until the single point went into the scissors. Now modern doubles and trebles are so sharp that they do not do this and stick into whichever part of the mouth first grabs it. I recall Hugh Falkus grumbling about the sharpness of modern hooks for this very reason.
 

Fruin

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I suspect this advice dates from a time when salmon flies were mostly tied on singles and giving line allowed the hook to slide back in the salmon's mouth until the single point went into the scissors. Now modern doubles and trebles are so sharp that they do not do this and stick into whichever part of the mouth first grabs it. I recall Hugh Falkus grumbling about the sharpness of modern hooks for this very reason.

That is a good observation; I've never really thought about it that way before.
 

salmohunter

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Reg Righyini carried out a lot of experiments on this subject and his favoured method was to hold firm and not feed slack line to a taking fish.

the slack line method does seem to have come from the use of the old styled single hooks and seems to have continued even up to present day prefered by some anglers.

i have given up feeding slack line to a fish and would prefer to hold firm or adopt Abk,s method described by him in his very detailed earlier post in this thread, his hooking stats show over 75% of all his fish landed that is as good as we could ever hope to achieve with any method or style of hook combination.
or as Reg Righyni suggests if you hook and land around 7 out of ten fish regardless of what you are using leave well alone, only mess around if your dissatisfied with the hooking/ landing ratio.

interesting to notice that Reg Righyni,s hooking /landing ratio must have been around 70% similar to ABK, an educated guess of course assuming he landed 7 out of ten.
many thanks to ABK for providing the forum with such valuable stats.
 

The Pope

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Hooking Salmon on the fly

Many years ago I worked for a man who only fished a wet cel 2 and caught more fish than anyone else I know( legally too!). I only fish with sunk lines too now and although I'm not vastly experienced on a lot of different rivers I am known as a very lucky angler. I tend to fish medium size rivers.
With a sunk line hooked fish he probably has not had to come up so much to take the fly, so when you feel him you have him, as he has already turned away, and the thought of giving a fish unrestricted line before setting the hook would make me feel very strange. Often in slow flows you wonder if you have hooked a rock but on tightening it's a great feeling when you feel that elastic movement from below. It's also a surprise to see how little the fly has travelled before being taken, and yet the whole line has bagged across the stream allowing an even better hookhold by almost pulling the fly sideways into the fishes mouth. I also find that I don't tend to have many lost fish or ones that come short with a sunk line. It is just a matter of getting the interest to start with!
 
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An Sionnach

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Thanks ABK

I have only been fishing for Salmon since last season (June 2011), i began using the spinning rod and landed 4 fish. In August i purchased a 14 foot Oracle and to date i have been almost an ever present figure on the river... All to no avail unfortunately, i assume i am doing a number of things incorrectly but i keep trying and trying. I have hooked 4 fish but lost each one very quickly. I want to thank you for your very helpful advice it has invoked within me the desire to keep going until i land my first fish on the fly.
I am informed that my casting is pretty good (Darzea) and i have invested in all the appropriate equipment so i just dont know where i am going wrong. My last visit to the river proved the most frustrating and i have not fished inover a week since. Your efforts have re-energised me and from reading them i feel that i just have to go back and keep trying....
My day will come, please God :eek:

Thanks again


There has probably been more written about hooking fish on the fly than any other aspect of the sport, but much of that which has been in the past is merely regurgitated literature from past authorities. Today anyone taking up salmon fishing and reading books on the subject finds that there are as many ideas on the hooking of a salmon as there are books relating to the topic, and find themselves confused not knowing which practise to follow. Some contemporary anglers, including myself are starting to question the methods preached, and used by those still adhering to the old techniques.

When a salmon comes to a fly the two main practices are to either feed slack, or tighten as soon as a fish is felt. The first of these I question in some detail, because as soon as we give the fish slack line, its opportunity to eject it instantly rises to 50%. The majority who fish in this fashion strongly believe that the fish need to be fed line in order to secure a good hook hold. By feeding them line the logic behind this idea is that the current will pull the fly into the corner of the fish's mouth. This is all very well provided that the fish does not turn in the same instant as taking the fly, however a lot of fish that decide to take our fly will usually follow it round and take it either by turning away or towards the angler, or by taking hold of it and continuing on upstream before tailing back downstream with the current. If we look at the first of these, Figure 1, the fish that turns away from the angler when given slack line. Some of these fish will stand a good chance of being hooked, as the line is pulled downstream by the current dragging the fly into the right hand side maxillary bone of the fish's jaw. See Figure 1. However if the fish turns towards the angler see Figure 2, then the chances of the fly being pulled out of the fish's mouth will be greatly increased, because as the fish turns and heads downstream the current will start to pull the fly out of the fish's mouth, particularly if it is still open. If these fish are hooked at all, it is usually in the lower or upper lip, and as a result frequently come off.


Feeding slack line to a fish that has taken, and moved forward as shown in Figure 3 in the same instant will only be hooked if the current is strong enough to pull the line downstream before the fish starts to tail back in the current. If the current is strong however the hooks maybe pulled in while the fish is still moving forward, but if the current is slow, then the fish may start to tail back at a faster rate than the flow and if this happens the chance of the hooks being pulled out of the salmon's mouth will greatly increase. The overriding factor with the slack line method is the way in which the fish takes our fly, this and this alone will determine whether or not it will be hooked or not. Because of this fact of it not always being possible to tell which way that a fish has taken my fly the uncertainty makes me tend to shy clear of it.
Fish that move forward and suck in your fly, and then keep moving forward before tailing back downstream in the current, as shown in Figure 3 are the very devil to hook, because by the time you realise that they have taken your fly the chances are that they will have ejected it before they have tailed back far enough for it to register as a pull on the line. It is very difficult to detect these takes, because very often the fish will merely suck the fly in and carry it forward in a pocket of water between its open jaws. The only indication that the angler gets with this taking behaviour is a feeling similar to that when the fly comes into a slack dead section of water. If you suspect that this type of take has occurred start pulling in line at a good rate of knots, feeling for the fish as you do so. If it has closed its mouth you will feel the fish and the rod should be lifted into it, however if the fish keeps its mouth open the chances of hooking it will not be good, because all we will be doing is pulling the fly out of the fish's open jaws. One thing to watch is the two or three yards of line that you have just pulled in, don't let it get tangled around anything. As if you do feel the fish, and tighten into it, it generally disappears quickly once the fish realises what is going on.

Practitioners of the slack line method point out that if the water temperature is on the low side during the spring or late autumn the fish will come to and turn on the fly in a much slower fashion. This I can accept and if there is perhaps a time to give slack then this is it, but many who fish the slack line method also do so during the warmer summer months. This I cannot accept, because this is when we should in actual fact be lifting into the fish, and not feeding line, because the fish will be rising to them much more quickly due to the warmer water temperatures Many anglers who fish for grilse complain that they are very difficult to hook. If they are the same people who are in the habit of giving line then I am not at all surprised, because these fish usually rise, and snap at flies in a trout like fashion and because of this they should be tighten into. I do not know of any trout anglers who feed line!

My own preferred method of hooking salmon is to tighten by lifting the rod progressively into them. This is because until someone can prove to me that a salmon takes a spinning bait differently from a fly then I am quite content to lift the rod, and pull the hooks home as soon as I fell the slightest resistance. Anyway with the small modern outpoint trebles the force needed for them to penetrate beyond the barb is minimal, and the force transmitted along the line that tells the angler that a fish has mouthed his fly is usually enough for these hooks to take hold. At this point I merely lift the rod until I feel the weight of the fish. I see no logical reasons for feeding a fish slack that already has taken my fly into its mouth, and given it a good tug. I have yet to meet anyone who when spinning for salmon pulls a yard or so of line off their reel at the moment of the take. The governing factor which determines how well fish are hooked with any method employed is in the direction in which it moves or turns after it has taken the fly. Because we seldom see the take there is no "one" right way, or wrong way, there is only the preferred way.

Without any doubt if the fish turns away from the bank from which the angler is fishing, the fish will be well hooked, but if it turns towards the bank from which we are fishing, or moves forward in the same instant then the chances of it being hooked well, will not be so good. I can recall fishing one day late in the season on my local river, when a run of fish came into the stretch I was fishing. To cut a long story short I hooked played and lost 5 fish, all within the space of a few hours. At the time I put it down to just bad luck, but on reflection four of the fish that took turned towards me and was on for only a very short period of time. The final fish of the day turned away from me, and was only lost at the very last minute when the hooks came away, just as I bent down to tail it out. This instance in itself might not prove much, but since then I have been more observant when it comes to the direction in which a fish turns or moves in relation to where I am fishing from at the time. By doing so I have come to the conclusion that the only way in dealing with most fish is to lift the rod progressively into them immediately they are felt. Most of the fish which turn towards me after taking the fly, if tightened into at once, are nearly all hooked in the top left hand side of the mouth, whereas the ones that are tightened into, that turn away from me, are almost without exception hooked in the corner of the right hand jaw. In both cases the hooks very well in.

Some fish will merely pluck at the fly, and as far as I am concerned this is connected with a feeding response. I believe that this occurs when fish are very fresh run and still have their feeding instinct still partially intact, they are merely touching and tasting This type of taking fish is very difficult to hook. One method that works reasonably well is to keep the dressing well within the bend of the hook. This solution came to me one day by pure chance, I had been fishing away most of the day and was becoming very frustrated, because I had hooked and pricked a good number of these "devils". I tried all sorts, changing up, changing down, tightening and yes feeding slack line, but all to no avail. After a while I went full circle and returned to the fly that I had started the day with, a small Silver Stoats Tail tied on half inch of Biro refill. After tying the treble to the line I pushed the hook right into the end of the tube. The bends of the treble where now hard against the end of the tube. Next Time down the pool I took a fish of 16 lbs firmly hooked in the roof of the mouth and lost two others during play. The only difference now was that the hooks where now within the hair. Before they where extending about half an inch beyond the end of the tube.

The one take that I have not mentioned yet is the one that occurs when the fly has come to the dangle below the angler. If the fly comes to the end of its swim, and merely hovers with the force of the current any fish that do take at this time are usually not well hooked. I suspect that they have followed the fly round, and for some reason remain uncertain right up to the last moment whether to take or not. The take if it does come is generally from my experience a tentative one, with the fish being very lightly hooked on the end of their noses. One method to that I now use to overcome these tentative takes on the dangle is to increase the flies water speed by pulling in a yard or so of line before the fly gets to the dangle. This action usually results in the fish being well hooked, possibly because it arouses the fish's predatory instinct as it sees the fly escaping and heading off upstream. By speeding the fly up and pulling it away from the fish we usually get a much more positively response.

Not all fish respond to the fly in the same fashion, the four fish that turned towards me in the incident described earlier all took in a similar way, but this I think is extremely rare. I have witnessed fish from the same group reacting to the fly in a completely different fashion, with some turning away , and others turning towards me. I have tried to tabulate results from my diaries to see if the different takes fall into a specific pattern in relation to light conditions, time of day, freshness of fish, or clarity of the water, but there appears to be no consistency. I have tried all the other methods of hooking fish, rod point held high to create droop, with line held between index finger and the rod handle, being released the instant a fish takes. Another method tried was holding the rod at the point of balance with the handle tucked under my arm. The theory being that by the time I had felt the fish and moved the rod into the standard position the time delay between one position and the other being enough for the fish to turn. One technique used was fishing off the reel. This method allows fish to take line directly from the reel, and then after perhaps a yard or more had been pulled off clamping the line against the handle and lifting into them. Bill Currie uses this method to great success and describes it as "letting the reel speak". I have discovered that the last two techniques work relatively well when fishing with the sinking line and large flies early or late in the season, but after 30 years of fishing for salmon on the fly I prefer to tighten as soon as I feel the fish. Each method works well at times, however no method seems to work all the time, it is therefore just a question of trying each technique, and sticking to the one that produces the desired results. Tightening at once is my choice, because for me the hooking to landing ratio is far greater by using this technique than any of the other methods described, and tried. I like to use methods which I have confidence in and by tightening into fish as soon as I feel them I am happy, because this technique has landed me over 75% of all fish hooked for me, whether they took small flies fished just subsurface on a floating or a 2 inch tube on a sinker.



 
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Hooking Salmon on the Fly

Probably the most talked about subjects within the bounds of Salmon fishing and most answers to that question are all opinions.
A belief or judgment that rests on grounds insufficient to produce complete certainty.
None of which will ever be the one and only.
The same answer applies to why he takes that fly in the first place..:confused:
 

eddie corry

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Salmon fishing as I was told once by an angler 'is not a science'. Its hard to call it at times on the best method of when to lift into a fish. The views of anglers seem to differ..everyone seems to have their own idea on how its done. The views of experienced anglers is really worth reading. I love to hear the reel and see line coming off the reel before I lift..I think for me that has to be part of it. When im not fishin off the reel its also part of the excitement to feel the line being pulled thro ur fingers...role on 2013!
 

gotoneon

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Salmon fishing as I was told once by an angler 'is not a science'. Its hard to call it at times on the best method of when to lift into a fish. The views of anglers seem to differ..everyone seems to have their own idea on how its done. The views of experienced anglers is really worth reading. I love to hear the reel and see line coming off the reel before I lift..I think for me that has to be part of it. When im not fishin off the reel its also part of the excitement to feel the line being pulled thro ur fingers...role on 2013!

Good post. . . .and one of the worst feelings is lifting into the weight of yer line and flee only!!!!!:(:(
 

stormrook

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Lost four in a row last season out of about sixteen takes giving them line. changed this year - lost three out of twelve takes, so still not convinced either way
 

salmo salar1979

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Lost four in a row last season out of about sixteen takes giving them line. changed this year - lost three out of twelve takes, so still not convinced either way

When i hook a fish i bend right in to it. In 2008 0r 2009 on the River Faughan i lost 6 or 7 in a row. This year i went through a spell where i landed 20 something in a row. I don't think it can really be accounted for. Personally, i have come to accept the luck of the draw.
 

JRP39

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I think one of the most important things whether you give line or not, is to hold the fish really firmly when you bend into it, to make sure the hook pulls fully home.

It's a bit scary at first, but when I first started fly fishing, I found I was terrified to bend into them in case the hook pulled out, but often it fell out anyway.

I think a salmon normally grips the fly really tightly, so It needs a firm steady pull to pull it home. I'm sure a light pull, or even a quick strike probably doesn't even move the hook, then the fish can just open it's mouth, and out pops the fly.

I often just hold against the fish until it's almost pulling the rod out of my hand, then lift the rod and start playing it. I always use strong nylon mind!
 
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One of them mind destroying things we will doubt ourselves time and time again over, that's for sure....
My granda always taught me "when you get the pull the first thing to do is to make sure you do nothing"......"if he's hooked great, if he isn't, then it simply wasn't meant to be, but by not disturbing the fly he may come around again for another go"......
"If he's hooked and runs away from you, then your lucky, so feed him the line in your hand and he should put himself on the reel for you, if he comes towards you then lift the rod gently, keeping the line tight and then pray because anything can happen after that".....
Wise words or not? who knows for sure, very wise when it works i suppose and not so wise when the battle is over before it begins....but can we really affect how to set a hook in a Salmon from 60 feet away? i highly doubt it, i think we'r in the hands of lady luck on this occasion....
 
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Rennie

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To add a little more to an already excellent thread and topic.Things have now changed a lot in the way we fish for Salar.Non stretch fly lines, shooting heads and running lines,fluro carbon and the design/manufacture of sinking lines which in the way they hang and fish in the water means we now have a far more greater and direct contact with our quarry than we ever did in years gone by.
I'm pretty confident we now feel Salar a lot sooner in the taking process than we ever did, Salar will also be aware of us a lot sooner too and will quicker realise "summat's up!".
Better design and manufacturing of hooks, smaller barbs, sharper points, chemically etched points, all can work to our advantage.
If Salar wants it, then its pretty hard to miss(I can do it though!:rolleyes:),however as takes lesten in confidence or aggression then they can get more awkward to convert to a fish on the bank.Maybe its not so surprising that numbers of fish are "lost" as we're aware of far more "takes" and most of those may well be marginal takes that would have gone largely un noticed not too long ago.
It could well be catch 22,the good old takes won't be a problem(as long as the hooking technique is some where near sound),we might hit a few more of the more positive marginal takes, but may well miss/loose more of the real iffy ones as we feel more?
Feeding slack,I feel is well probably not the wiser thing, far better to fish quite firmly in control of the line, if its a sock on 100% wants it take, by the time the sphincter stops twitching you'll be playing the fish anyway, all the others just tighten firmly and positively-not a wild snatch or gurt big whack, but steady and firmly.If they're on they're on, if not-well if you can find a working crystal ball can I borrow it sometimes!,lol.
Best of luck with it,Pedro.
By the way, two weeks back on t'Tay I had a take on a inty/2/4 and tip to a 1 1/2" tube with a 6 terrible,I heard it as I felt the smack of the take , the line ripped out of the water, the running line was pulled right out of my grasp(it was clamped solid to the rod!), the rod was bent right over and the reel howled for 2 or 3 seconds, it was about 45 deg. out into a strong flow.Guess what-I missed it.Now tell me how that happened?
P.
 

RUSH

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Thanks for this Russel. I now see why I have dropped so many fish this season. Definitely I am lifting in to them too soon and too hard :mad::mad:

It's a great clip John though not all takes are as good as that I just fish straight off the reel and don't hold a loop of line
 

keirstream

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It's a great clip John though not all takes are as good as that I just fish straight off the reel and don't hold a loop of line

Doing that encourages some people to clamp and lift too quickly Russell although if they can control the urge to do so then it works equally as well as a loop. Also, if you are fishing with a disk drag then you need to have it light for the take and then mess about getting it set when you need to be concentrating more on what the fish is doing than what you are doing.
It's all about timing, and a loop of line is a great indicator of correct timing.
When it's gone simply lift firmly and set the already well positioned hook.
All referring of course to standard swing tactics on floating and sink tips.
A take on the retrieve or cast lift off means you can do little than hold on and hope for the best.:)
Sinking lines are different in that there is usually a fair old loop of submerged line between rod and fly and quite a lot of the takes seem much slower anyway especially in Spring. Straight off the reel with drag set for the fight. Simply clamp and let the fish straighten out the submerged loop for you to find again that the fish has hooked itself. With a tube swinging across the fish, inevitably the fly is taken side on and slides easily into the scissors as it turns away from the line.
All this works for me, key is to not react too quickly in those situations.
 

RUSH

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Doing that encourages some people to clamp and lift too quickly Russell although if they can control the urge to do so then it works equally as well as a loop. Also, if you are fishing with a disk drag then you need to have it light for the take and then mess about getting it set when you need to be concentrating more on what the fish is doing than what you are doing.
It's all about timing, and a loop of line is a great indicator of correct timing.
When it's gone simply lift firmly and set the already well positioned hook.
All referring of course to standard swing tactics on floating and sink tips.
A take on the retrieve or cast lift off means you can do little than hold on and hope for the best.:)
Sinking lines are different in that there is usually a fair old loop of submerged line between rod and fly and quite a lot of the takes seem much slower anyway especially in Spring. Straight off the reel with drag set for the fight. Simply clamp and let the fish straighten out the submerged loop for you to find again that the fish has hooked itself. With a tube swinging across the fish, inevitably the fly is taken side on and slides easily into the scissors as it turns away from the line.
All this works for me, key is to not react too quickly in those situations.

Spot on tom I set the drag so the current isn't pulling any line off and now after a lot of practice am able to do nothing when I get a take though I might give holding a loop a go
 

piyila

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[QUOTE = "fredaevans, post: 75130, membro: 124"]
Boa leitura!

Embora eu esteja pescando (normalmente) truta prateada, o 'melhor' conjunto de anzol (eu costumava usar o 'feed a loop') tem sido manter a ponta da vara baixa e posicionada varrendo a vara na praia (rio abaixo).
[/CITAR]
é o que eu mais aprecio pescar, especialmente salmão.
 

Mattytree

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It’s an interesting one for sure ,.. I have never left a loop and I doubt I ever will and would say I’m very happy with my hook up rate.
 
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