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increasing hookups with tiny dry flies

Joined:
2010/8/24 20:13
From Bucks County
Posts: 288
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Today I had a great day on a special regs/wild creek. After some experimentation, It turns out what the browns really wanted was a really tiny, size 22 (maybe 24, it was real small) parachute adams hi-vis. I was getting what I believed to be complete strikes but I couldnt hook up. I'd say 70% I would miss. Should I wait a little longer before I set the hook? I was fishing pocket water across and down does that matter? It seemed I was just yanking it right out of their mouths and into the brush behind me. Or, is this just normal for tiny dries. Ive been nymphing almost exclusivley for some time and my hookup rate has been way better. Thanks for the help.

Posted on: 2012/3/25 22:05


Re: increasing hookups with tiny dry flies

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2008/1/31 17:19
From Pretty much everywhere at some point, Thorndale today.
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Yes, the hook up rate will be worse with smaller flies. But yes, you can improve it some too.

Fishing down does make things tough. Bad angle for hook setting. Unfortunate, as it's often a good angle to get the right drift. You can help, though, with the direction of the hook set. You always want to strike to pull the fly towards the side of the fish. Towards it's tail isn't bad, but towards it's nose is. So if you're fishing down and across, then set the hook on your downstream side as much as you can.

Strike lighter. Tiny hooks penetrate lips more easily, you don't need much force.

It could be that the fish aren't fully committing to your fly. You may be striking on last second refusals or "test" sips. Common with midges, and tough to correct. But generally I take it to mean that I "almost" have everything right. You've got whatever attracts them down, but they're noticing something at that last moment. The slightest change can sometimes help, a change in the way the hackle is tied, or 1 size different, etc.

Make sure the hook isn't bent. That happens easily with tiny hooks, and skinny wires for dry flies.

I think you gotta strike a touch quicker with smaller flies. Fish take em in and spit em out so quick. With bigger flies, getting it in their mouth is a bigger commitment and takes a split second longer.

If it remains a problem, you can get oversized hook gaps.

Posted on: 2012/3/26 9:00


Re: increasing hookups with tiny dry flies

Joined:
2009/7/28 19:49
From Shrewsbury, PA
Posts: 182
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I fish small flies alot. It is the nature of the beast that you're not going to get the hook-up percentage with a larger hook.

What I do to increase the odds is to: increase the gap by bending it upwards in the vise or use small hooks with a wide gap opening (Tiemco 518s and 2488s; off set the barb by bending it to the side. These actions have definitely increased my hookup percentage with small hooks.

I also use a full-flex rod where from expeience helps with hook-ups and protecting light tippet during the fight.

Dale

Posted on: 2012/3/26 9:40


Re: increasing hookups with tiny dry flies

Joined:
2010/8/24 20:13
From Bucks County
Posts: 288
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Thanks for the great advice guys. I don't think that I'm not setting the hook quick enough. I was missing so many tried slower and faster sets with not much luck. I never thought about what direction I was setting in. I think that may have alot to do with it. Incidentally I was using a new rod, a fast action reddington, not my usual orvis mid flex... If only fish didnt love tiny dries so much!

Posted on: 2012/3/26 18:04


Re: increasing hookups with tiny dry flies

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2011/6/12 20:15
From Newville, PA
Posts: 381
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When fishing downstream, you can increase your hook up rate, regardless of hook size, by delaying the hook set. A British friend of mine is fond of saying "God bless the queen" before setting the hook. I usually just try to wait a one count. This approach is best suited for fast action rods, but will work with any action.

Another option is the slip strike where you allow 6-8" of line slide or slip between your rod hand and the grip whennsetting the hook. This serves to somewhat delay the strike in that your are not putting the full force of the rod into the strike. I'm I mid-full flex guy and this is my preferred approach.

Bottom line is you just need to find out what works best for you.

Posted on: 2012/3/26 20:18
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Re: increasing hookups with tiny dry flies

Joined:
2008/1/31 17:19
From Pretty much everywhere at some point, Thorndale today.
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The strike direction is helpful with flies of any size, though I think it does become more important with tiny ones.

Posted on: 2012/3/27 10:00


Re: increasing hookups with tiny dry flies

Joined:
2006/9/9 11:22
From New Castle, PA
Posts: 1572
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Assuming that your getting full fledged takes and not nose bumps or last minute refusals...

Wait for the fish to go under with the fly in it's mouth and then just tighten up. Just raise the rod and strip in any slack as the fish swims away and kind of hold firm when you feel the weight of the fish. With flies that small they will often hook themselves. Little pressure is needed to bury the fine point of that size hook.

I also like to use curved shank caddis style hooks in those sizes so as to get a larger gap to shank length ratio. I think as large a gap possible is helpful in such small sizes.

Posted on: 2012/3/28 16:44


Re: increasing hookups with tiny dry flies

Joined:
2009/4/1 21:52
From Johnstown, PA
Posts: 4458
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Try widening the hook gap slightly in the vise when u tie them or on stream with forceps just a little bit goes along way and too much will make it worse............GOOD LUCK ...... HAVE FUN

Posted on: 2012/5/16 8:50


Re: increasing hookups with tiny dry flies

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2012/7/16 16:37
Posts: 60
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Try waiting a split second longer on the hookset and set downstream, not straight up.

Posted on: 2012/7/19 10:50


Re: increasing hookups with tiny dry flies

Joined:
2011/9/27 20:41
From Central PA
Posts: 213
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take your hemos and twist the barb to 1300 if you are holding the fly with the eye at 1200.

Posted on: 2012/9/23 20:38


Re: increasing hookups with tiny dry flies

Joined:
2012/3/14 6:23
From Lancaster
Posts: 859
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+1 on the larger hook gap. I have done real well using Tiemco 2488's in small hook sizes. I also feel that a curved shank hook is stronger than a straight hook - less likely to bend on a decent fish. If you are fishing a hook with an offset point, try to set up for your drift so that the offset hook is pointing toward your position rather than away from you - I seriously think this improves your hook up percentage. I have tested many of these techniques fishing Tricos over the past few seasons. Good luck!

Posted on: 2012/9/27 22:08


Re: increasing hookups with tiny dry flies
Moderator
Joined:
2006/9/11 8:26
From Chester County
Posts: 8611
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Quote:

dc410 wrote:
+1 on the larger hook gap. I have done real well using Tiemco 2488's in small hook sizes. I also feel that a curved shank hook is stronger than a straight hook - less likely to bend on a decent fish. If you are fishing a hook with an offset point, try to set up for your drift so that the offset hook is pointing toward your position rather than away from you - I seriously think this improves your hook up percentage. I have tested many of these techniques fishing Tricos over the past few seasons. Good luck!



Interesting. Explain how that's done and how that works.

Posted on: 2012/9/28 6:51


Re: increasing hookups with tiny dry flies

Joined:
2012/3/14 6:23
From Lancaster
Posts: 859
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Afish,

I like fishing the curved shank, wider gap hooks for many of my smaller size dry flies. Many of these hooks have an offset point. I very rarely am fishing directly upstream, so I find myself fishing a particular run from one side or the other. I try to choose a fly with an offset hook point directed toward my position so when I lift the rod tip on the take the hook point is in line with my rod. It could just be me, but I feel my percentage of fish hooked has increased since I started paying attention to this detail. Hope this makes sense and my theory may be able to be shot full of holes by some folks but it is what I was trying to explain in the earlier post.

Posted on: 2012/9/28 11:26


Re: increasing hookups with tiny dry flies

Joined:
2006/9/13 18:28
From chester ct
Posts: 460
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dc - I have assumed that the Tiemcos in that model are stronger due more to the metal alloy and temper than the shape of the hook itself.

I like your point on the kirbying or offsetting of the hook point. I like the Orvis BigEyes in 22s down, and some I will bend to the left and others to the right. Then I will pick the fly according to my position relative to the trouts.

tl

les

Posted on: 2012/9/28 17:54
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tl
les


Re: increasing hookups with tiny dry flies

Joined:
2012/3/14 6:23
From Lancaster
Posts: 859
Offline
les,

I thought the added strength came from the shape of the hook, but you may be right. I don't know enough about the material that these hooks are made out of to comment knowledgeably. However, I have also had good results with small curved shank Daiichi hooks seeming to be very strong and resistant to bending as well.

The detail about the position of the offset hook point I think is well worth considering when fishing small dry flies. Till later. dc

Posted on: 2012/9/28 21:28



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