bushshark

Big Trout no room to play them. Advice?

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Hi all - I spent the last few days fishing very rich tailwaters and focusing on a single 20 yard pool.  I am catching many large trout on size 20 and 22 nymphs, but once hooked up there is a fast run downstream which the big boys flee to.  Any advice on trying to keep fish in front of you once hooked?  I can't follow them downstream due to current and depth.  Running along the banks is treacherous so I really need to land them in the pool I'm wading in and keep them from going downstream.  Hooking them has been relatively easy, but landing them I'm not having great luck.  Any thoughts?  

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A few things that I do when fishing fast water, after you hook up put your rod tip as deep into the water as possible and fight them from below the water line. Don't try to muscle fish from the get go, fight them with moderate pressure and lead them to net. If a fish bolts down stream loosen up on the pressure, sometimes, with less pressure, they will swim back upstream.

 

None of these works every time but they work often enough to be worth my effort.

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1 hour ago, bushshark said:

Hooking them has been relatively easy, but landing them I'm not having great luck.  Any thoughts?  

I wouldn't mind having a problem like that.

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30 mins ago, smath said:

I wouldn't mind having a problem like that.

:) These are relatively unpressured fish on a stretch of river with difficult access.  Walking back up to the truck the hike is so steep I have to take breaks to catch my breath every 10 minutes or so.  I have seen more bear than people down there.  But, man, there are hogs and not just a few.  I'll post photos when I can land em. 

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1 hour ago, DAQ said:

A few things that I do when fishing fast water, after you hook up put your rod tip as deep into the water as possible and fight them from below the water line. Don't try to muscle fish from the get go, fight them with moderate pressure and lead them to net. If a fish bolts down stream loosen up on the pressure, sometimes, with less pressure, they will swim back upstream.

 

None of these works every time but they work often enough to be worth my effort.

Thanks DAQ.  I will try fighting them below the water line - assume you mean at an angle almost parallel to the water's surface?  

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A vid/blog by Devin Olsen helped my quite a bit. It's "5 steps to landing more hooked fish". I'm oversimplifying what he said but basically you put the rod parallel to the water and up stream. He talks about specific anglers and such and I haven't really followed it that closely. 

 

This spring, I've been fortunate to have hooked a few bigger fish, pushing the 20" range or more. I have still lost more than I've won but my percentage is up lately. This past week I landed one 20" fish and lost another (I had decent control of the fish) due to a wind knot in the tippet (I didn't know about it). Both fish were in medium to fast water, both fish wanted to get to the main current. I fought both fish both vertically and horizontally and quickly found better control by being horizontal. The fish that I lost, 3 times I had him upstream of me only to have him make a turn for the current. I was able to stop him every time. When I lost him he had just went back to the main current but I was already moving him back again when the line parted (I've lost sleep over that one - I haven't been the best about checking for knots in the tippet...).

 

I've also use the tactic on smaller fish, both with slow and faster currents and generally get them to me much faster now.

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Well, you haven't given any details, for perfectly understandable reasons, but I assume the problem is your tippet strength.....given the very small size of your flies.

 

I am reminded of the reality that, in the past at least, on some of the most pressured and hallowed waters such as Armstrong Spring Creek in MT, known for technical minutiae and gossamer tippets, that a guy could (and did) come in there throwing huge fire engine red streamers (on heavier tippets) and cleaned up.

 

Just last week heard from a reliable source who is using bass poppers.....gently chugged......for steelhead.....on a thin-ish, clear river here in OR.

 

Rainbows especially are really secretive sluts when it comes to taking out of the place nasty things.  But the other species are not far behind.  Must be boring making a living taking one grain of rice at a time.  I can relate.

 

If the fish are not pressured then I would immediately start thinking out-of-the-box.  Crawfish, minnows, grasshoppers, .....ducklings......things that distract from that heavier tippet.

 

It won't work for long.....on any given day.  Fish talk amongst themselves, you know.  After a couple of head-shaking toe-to-toe battles keeping them in the pool after the initial hookup every fish in the pool knows something is up and will shut their mouths.  Then you can go back to your minutiae.

 

The alternative is, on those gossamer tippets......DON'T fight them.  Light line on a long rod.....say 9' 3 wt.  Slight hookset that does not panic them and then very gentle pressure that bothers them but does not cause a panic response.  If they go instantly beserk then you probably hooked them in the tongue.  OOPS!   But otherwise they will swim around bothered but not enough to leave the pool. Every time if they bolt....freespool.  Keep it up like that and pretty soon they are tiring and don't have the energy to leave the pool.  Doesn't panic or alert the other fish in the pool either.  Takes a long time, but you get your hero picture!

 

Ask me how I know.

 

If either of these works you owe me some intel.

Edited by Peter Patricelli

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in heavy curent and no room ,you need heavy line to controll the fish.when i fish heavy curent for steelie 24" to 30" with 6# test i have no controll,with 20# i can put presure on fish.

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9 hours ago, bushshark said:

Thanks DAQ.  I will try fighting them below the water line - assume you mean at an angle almost parallel to the water's surface?  

Low and above the water does often work but I mean, put the rod tip into the water and fight the fish with it there. You obviously need to keep an eye out for any obstacles but it works very well. 

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When the fish runs below you, slowly feed slack into the current so that the line bellies in the current downstream of the fish, also while keeping your rod tip in the water (so that all of the line outside the rod tip is under water). The current will keep tension on the line so hook won’t come loose. And the fish will feel the line pulling from downstream, so he should move against the tension back up into the pool. When he’s back in the pool slowly reel up the line belly so you can fight him on a direct line.

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On 6/20/2020 at 8:01 PM, DAQ said:

A few things that I do when fishing fast water, after you hook up put your rod tip as deep into the water as possible and fight them from below the water line. Don't try to muscle fish from the get go, fight them with moderate pressure and lead them to net. If a fish bolts down stream loosen up on the pressure, sometimes, with less pressure, they will swim back upstream.

 

None of these works every time but they work often enough to be worth my effort.

This is about the best advice there is, especially if fishing #20 and #22. Tough to fish 3x with those. A lot of times when you get the tip in the water they will stop trying to pull down stream and you can slowing work them back up to you. They don’t seem to mind being coaxed upstream as long as it’s not also up in the water column. 

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As mentioned, sideways pressure is very useful, rod low to the water, and don't hesitate to switch sides frequently. I think that switching sides messes with their minds a bit and gives the angler the advantage. Fact of the matter is, big fish on tiny flies and light tippets means the fish are going to win many times. Good luck, and post some pics of one of these bad boys........when you land one! :p 

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I fish a similar river in Wyoming.   Fighting sizable fish on flies smaller than size 18 is really tough.  I have found using jig hooks improves the amount of pressure I can apply to the fish greatly.  With that being said I do my best to stop the initial run with angles and pressure.  

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20 yards is a big pool, do you mean 20'?

Its bad etiquette but if you are fishing alone in a pool that size, let the fish blow the pool up and sit a few minutes and watch until the fish rise again. while its hooked apply pressure to its head attempting to turn it back and forth and keep letting it dart across the pool. 

Are you using the drag on your reel or are you also pointing the rod to get a bend and squeezing  the fly line to the cork handle with your finger?  

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Thanks to all for advice.  I rigged a team of #20s through 3x.  It can be done!  And hiked down this afternoon to give it a shot keeping in mind all of the above.  Now I don't usually tape fish, let alone take them out of the water, and I hate this photo, but i had to know.  I revived her in the water after a brief fight, lay her down on the bank and then held her until she swam away.  I believe this is a legitimate 25" fish if I stretched the tape.  Taken on #20 black beauty variation with flash.  My take on dorsey's top secret midge.  With side pressure, tip in the water, and the heavier flouro I feel like we did this together.  Thanks SOL for helping me land my PB bow.  Im on cloud nine.  I can't believe how this all came together!  I'm celebrating tonight!

IMG_20200629_150306.jpg

IMG_20200629_150639.jpg

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