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Landing bigger trout

Joined:
2016/12/29 13:17
Posts: 3
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Any thoughts/tips on landing bigger trout? I lost 2 20” plus trout recently. I am using a Battenkill III click/pawl reel on a 5wt rod and both fish took line when hooked. Should I let the fish run or slow it down more from the start. I am keeping my rod about shoulder heigth and in opposite direction of the fish. Any advice appreciated.

Posted on: 6/11 21:08


Re: Landing bigger trout
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Joined:
2016/1/24 14:30
From Gettysburg
Posts: 2573
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It's always frustrating when we lose a big fish (or two!).

In the cases you describe, it's hard to determine what caused the fish to get free. It could be several factors, or combinations of them. There's nothing wrong with your gear - it can certainly handle 20" trout.

Usually when fish get off, it is because the threw the hook or simply twisted free from it. Line break offs are much less common.
Depending on the strength of your tippet, you may have given the fish too much leeway to pull from the reel and this allowed slack and the fish got off. Or perhaps you didn't get a good hook set to begin with.

I tend to fight fish aggressively and lean on them by keeping the rod angle low and pulling in the opposite direction of the fish's movement. By fighting the fish "low" this will help if they do pull off as your fly will swing back to the side rather than upward and into the trees to get snagged.

Posted on: 6/11 21:46


Re: Landing bigger trout

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2014/9/30 15:26
From Lehigh Gorge
Posts: 122
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Most fish are lost in the first 15 seconds and the last 15 seconds. A 5 wt is plenty of stick for large trout. I would let fish run but under tension. Get fish on reel as soon as possible and augment the reels drag by using your finger to pinch line against rod handle. You have more control that way.

Let him fight the rod. Keep enough tension to keep him out of fast current, logs, debris etc. Get him into a large pool with no obstacle s if possible and get down stream of the fish so he is fighting the current and the rod. Side pressure back and forth so that he tires quickly. Don't let him get used to fighting in one direction. Kind of like making him do suicides (sprint conditioning drill). When fish starts to turn on his side he is about done. If you don't have a net, reel up to where fly line meets leader. Do not get leader into tiptop guide off your rod. Keeping an obtuse angle between you, rod tip and trout (you are downstream), point rod to shore and slide fish onto shore.

If you have a net, basically same procedure and slide fish into net. HEAD FIRST. Do not try to net fish from tail forward

Good luck. Hwres to hoping you get lots of practice.!

Posted on: 6/11 21:58


Re: Landing bigger trout

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2016/12/29 13:17
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Thanks for the tips. Hopefully I can get into another bigger trout and put it to good use!

Posted on: 6/11 22:15


Re: Landing bigger trout

Joined:
2011/5/3 12:22
From Morgantown, PA
Posts: 1329
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To clarify, did the fish break the tippet, or did it come free from the hook? Those are two different issues, with two different solutions.

If it’s the former, can you successfully fish a heavier tippet? You may not be able to if using a small fly for a delicate presentation, but if you’re fishing a bigger dry fly or a big nymph you can use surprisingly heavy tippet without reducing your effectiveness IMO…Certainly 4x, and often 3x. Those should be able to handle a 20” Trout in most scenarios, even if you’re a little sloppy technique wise. If you’re fishing streamers, you can go heavier than that even. You generally want to use as heavy of tippet as possible to still be effective in getting strikes for a given fishing scenario. Assuming you have the tippet size figured out right, how did you have the drag on your reel set? The lighter the tippet, the lighter you need to keep the drag to avoid the fish from breaking it, thus giving the fish more of an advantage…back to why you want to fish as heavy of tippet as you can get away with. Your reel should be fine in handling the drag on an occasional 20” fish, but recognize that for consistent big fish angling, a disc drag system is generally more effective and reliable than a click/pawl in terms of engaging smoothly and consistently. If you’re suffering breakoffs it’s also important to know how to fight the fish. It’s difficult at times, but try to not let the fish get downstream of you, especially into heavy or fast water…this magnifies the weight of the fish and the strain on your tippet, and/or your reel. Easier said than done with a big fish…that’s part of the fun. If it does, you’re often not going to be able to reel or fight it back up to you…you’ll need to chase it downstream into the next bit of calmer water and try to land it there.

If the fish threw the hook, that’s a bit of a harder problem to solve with any consistency. It happens. To everyone. Make sure you’re getting a good initial hookset, and work to keep the line tight on the fish at all times. One of the hardest scenarios I run into is when I hook a fish upstream of me, and it immediately runs downstream. You often can’t reel fast enough with a 1:1 ratio fly reel (It’s much easier with a spinning reel where you have a 5 or 6:1 gear ratio advantage), and you can’t strip line in fast enough either sometimes to keep the line tight. I know I got a good hookset, but when I catch up to the line, the fish is gone…Got off while the line was slack and the barbless hook wasn’t under tension in its jaw. The other scenario fish get off after a good hookset is usually while landing it. Use a net for big fish, and recognize when a big fish isn’t ready to be landed yet. When it’s time, raise the rod tip and try to keep the fish’s head out of the water if you can as you bring it toward you and into the net. This will limit its ability to make a last second bolt at the net. As others have said, you typically lose a fish either right away in the fight, or at the end when landing it. After a good hookset, it’s pretty rare to lose one mid-fight as long as you keep the line tight, though it does happen on occasion…Try as best you can to avoid letting the fish get into any structure in the water that it can wrap the line around.

Posted on: 6/12 8:44


Re: Landing bigger trout

Joined:
2016/12/29 13:17
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Thank you for the tips. I was using a tapered leader that I recently began to tie myself. I had 5x tippet tied to a 16 bead head pheasant tail. The rainbow got into some current upstream and I think I tried to pull him back with too much tension. The 2nd fish thru the hook quickly after I set it. May have been a poor hookset on my part. I will def switch to 4x tippet. Thanks again for the response.

Posted on: 6/13 12:04


Re: Landing bigger trout

Joined:
2015/6/1 16:22
From Burke VA
Posts: 1570
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Quote:

thavelka wrote:
Thank you for the tips. I was using a tapered leader that I recently began to tie myself. I had 5x tippet tied to a 16 bead head pheasant tail. The rainbow got into some current upstream and I think I tried to pull him back with too much tension. The 2nd fish thru the hook quickly after I set it. May have been a poor hookset on my part. I will def switch to 4x tippet. Thanks again for the response.


I think your tippet was just the right size, 4x stiffens the drift of the fly too much on 16 imho. Better to have loved and lost than to never have loved at all. You will fight the bigger fish better next time, it's all experience.

Posted on: 6/13 21:35






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