The Graveyard Shift

What fly sizes eliminates size classes of stripers taking fly

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S.K.S. wrote......

"The hooks do not make contact with any part of the fish until we set the hook or the fish turns it head to swim away. It is when either of these happen that the hook then pierces the fish."

 

I disagree.  After the suck in, involving a lot of water AND the prey/fly, the striper expels the water out its gills and crushes the prey/fly.  Especially true for prey that has erectile defensive spines which makes the actual swallowing a head-first-mandatory affair.  That is often the reason for the short tail-bite or sideways attack.  Then it is just like holding onto a small bass or even bluegill in your hand.  You must smooth or move to flatten the spines and then hold on tightly!  I also presume that the frequency of those defensive spines on prey species is a reason fish will often hold and tolerate the prickly HOOK for awhile....trying to settle it like spines.

 

But even that is not necessarily "when either of these (hook set....depending....but turn head definitely not) happen that the hook then pierces the fish."  The hook does not "pierce" the fish until the fly MOVES. The fly MUST MOVE for the hook to "set".  If the fisherman's strike or resistance to the fish's turning is sufficient to MOVE the fly......then yes, the hook can/will set.  I can hold a fly in the palm of my hand and you can try and "set the hook" all you want but I have ZERO chance of getting hooked until I release enough pressure that allows the fly to MOVE.  If the fish is holding/crushing the fly, then that must be overcome by the force of the hook-set or resistance to the fish's movement.  It is perhaps easier to do this when the fish turns, or increases the chances that. if the fish does not release the fly until after it has turned that the loose fly will catch on the lip making the run.  But, the turning is not THE issue, only may facilitate THE issue.

 

A small bit of hair-splitting but IMO an important one.

 

I have broken off floating flies, such as a popper, on really vigorous hood-sets......only to have the fish then spit out the fly, completely UN-set, as it swims away.  The fly or popper appears on the surface and I realize what happened.

 

The bigger the striper, the tougher the mouth and jaw structures and bone.....and also the harder they can hold onto the fly without movement.  Setting the hook takes either luck at whether the hook strikes anything as the fish spits it out.....(and yes, a turned head increases those chances).....or....a jaw and fly wrenching hook-set AND continuous pressure for the first 4-5 seconds until you are sure that initial holding and crushing of the fly is over.

 

My experience and the coaching of guides has taught me that with big stripers, the time to test the limits of your tippet is those first 5 seconds, with the rod low to minimize the cushion effect of rod bend.....and DON"t start raising the rod and clearing loose line until well past that initial stage and you are sure you have a solid hookup.

 

Use a  "heavy enough" leader...use that strength....and hold onto that force for longer than a second or two.  Not true of all fish, but definitely for stripers.

Edited by Peter Patricelli

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So I threw standard flies finally in desperation to save day at cheeky caught a ton of micro 12-14 inch fish.  

 

From the one day of small flies I have 21 fish all under 15".  It was sort of fun after so many slow nights hunting big fish.  But reaffirmed nothing under 10" at night for me is still the policy because I want to see this threw to the end of season and see how numbers stack up.

 

Big flies were able to move the big fish but could not get a strike in daylight.  Broke both my 9' 9WT and TH 10 WT.  a very humbling day for sure.

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On 5/18/2019 at 11:38 AM, Peter Patricelli said:

S.K.S. wrote......

"The hooks do not make contact with any part of the fish until we set the hook or the fish turns it head to swim away. It is when either of these happen that the hook then pierces the fish."

 

I disagree.  After the suck in, involving a lot of water AND the prey/fly, the striper expels the water out its gills and crushes the prey/fly.  Especially true for prey that has erectile defensive spines which makes the actual swallowing a head-first-mandatory affair.  That is often the reason for the short tail-bite or sideways attack.  Then it is just like holding onto a small bass or even bluegill in your hand.  You must smooth or move to flatten the spines and then hold on tightly!  I also presume that the frequency of those defensive spines on prey species is a reason fish will often hold and tolerate the prickly HOOK for awhile....trying to settle it like spines.

 

But even that is not necessarily "when either of these (hook set....depending....but turn head definitely not) happen that the hook then pierces the fish."  The hook does not "pierce" the fish until the fly MOVES. The fly MUST MOVE for the hook to "set".  If the fisherman's strike or resistance to the fish's turning is sufficient to MOVE the fly......then yes, the hook can/will set.  I can hold a fly in the palm of my hand and you can try and "set the hook" all you want but I have ZERO chance of getting hooked until I release enough pressure that allows the fly to MOVE.  If the fish is holding/crushing the fly, then that must be overcome by the force of the hook-set or resistance to the fish's movement.  It is perhaps easier to do this when the fish turns, or increases the chances that. if the fish does not release the fly until after it has turned that the loose fly will catch on the lip making the run.  But, the turning is not THE issue, only may facilitate THE issue.

 

A small bit of hair-splitting but IMO an important one.

 

I have broken off floating flies, such as a popper, on really vigorous hood-sets......only to have the fish then spit out the fly, completely UN-set, as it swims away.  The fly or popper appears on the surface and I realize what happened.

 

The bigger the striper, the tougher the mouth and jaw structures and bone.....and also the harder they can hold onto the fly without movement.  Setting the hook takes either luck at whether the hook strikes anything as the fish spits it out.....(and yes, a turned head increases those chances).....or....a jaw and fly wrenching hook-set AND continuous pressure for the first 4-5 seconds until you are sure that initial holding and crushing of the fly is over.

 

My experience and the coaching of guides has taught me that with big stripers, the time to test the limits of your tippet is those first 5 seconds, with the rod low to minimize the cushion effect of rod bend.....and DON"t start raising the rod and clearing loose line until well past that initial stage and you are sure you have a solid hookup.

 

Use a  "heavy enough" leader...use that strength....and hold onto that force for longer than a second or two.  Not true of all fish, but definitely for stripers.

Hmmm this is all interesting.  I switched to heavier gauge hooks with good point design and leader 25lb or 40lb depending on rod.  I think its made a major difference in landing fish.  I also hit a fish one to two more hook-sets after the strip strike.  If I get the additional hookset I rarely lose a fish.

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