Pages: [1] 2 3
Author Topic: Hook Placement in Big Flies  (Read 13208 times)
riveraddict
Sr. Member
****
Offline Offline

Posts: 418


View Profile
« on: November 08, 2011, 09:50:55 AM »

   Any opinions out there on the most effective positioning of hooks in big flies (2" or longer) in regards to different species of fish? I'm highly confident of the effectiveness of an "in the tail" placement for steelhead and AK Kings, silvers, and 'bows, but my recent experiences with swinging streamers for Browns is making me wonder if I need to make an adjustment for those particular fish. The hits-to-hookup ratio on streamer Browns for me seems to be running around the 4 to 5 fish "missed", for every fish actually hooked up. Is this "normal", or would an "in the head" hook positioning be more effective? Anyone with experience/thoughts on the subject?   
     
Logged

G_Smolt
Jr. Member
**
Offline Offline

Posts: 78



View Profile WWW
« Reply #1 on: November 08, 2011, 01:19:59 PM »

I would say that the 'bows are the most variable of the lot when it comes to hook placement/solid hookup ratio. During the spring, I throw flies up to 6"-8" at fish eating lamprey and smolt. Most of these flies allow for variable-drop rigging, but some are hard-tie with the hook at the end. These hard-tie ones now stay in the box for the opener, due to the extremely low solid hookup ratio. I have a much better success rate on large flies with the hook <2" from the head.

In the Fall, it seems to be a different story - the same 6"-8" flies are in play, but if you fish the hook <2" from the head, you generally get grabs that result in ripped-up flies and no fish. I hang the hook back so it rides 1"-2" from the end of the fly.

As far as the "why" behind all of this, I don't know, but I DO have a theory. In the spring the trout are basically in a feeding frenzy, and are actively searching out and pursuing prey. In these situations, I believe that they approach the fly at a high rate of speed and from "odd" (read: not the traditional below and behind) angles. Looking at the damage to my flies indicates that these smolt and lamprey oriented fish hit broadside and towards the front of the fly.

In the fall, it seems like the fish feeding on flesh and other dead salmon parts take up feeding lanes. They will move about the river a bit, but their "prey" is now dead-drifting towards them for the most part, and there isn't really the need to go tear-assing around the riverbed in search of food. These fish seem to eat the fly from the more traditional below and behind, and the success rate of "the long hook" reflects this fact.

As for kings, I have had the most success with hook-placements at the end of flies. After watching hundreds of fly-eats by these pigs, I think I know why this is (at least for my local component) - they are followers. They will occasionally coast along behind a fly for a maddeningly long time before eating, and I think this behavior is reflected in the solid-hookup ratio (and hook-in-head location) on flies with a deep trailing hook...although I seem to be going smaller and smaller for my king flies these days.

Steelhead...not even gonna go there. I have had them take from above, below, behind, in front of...damn near every prepositional position you can think of. I have caught them on swung sz 12 sparse dresses (and barely lipped them on same), and I have caught them on 9" rear-hooked bunnystrips that I had to pull out of their esophagi...The bulk of my steelhead fishing is now done with flies smaller than 2", and for the most part hook positioning has become a moot point.
Logged


riveraddict
Sr. Member
****
Offline Offline

Posts: 418


View Profile
« Reply #2 on: November 09, 2011, 12:38:45 PM »

Thanks for the input G. I haven't had the opportunity yet to chase those particular big river AK lake-runs, but I have plenty of friends that guide or have guided the big N and K and I think they take great pleasure in torturing me with pictures of those 'bows-that-look-like-steelhead! I have experienced lake-runs in the late season (salmon spawn) in much smaller upper tribs in my first few years of AK guiding many moons ago, but they sure didn't look like the ones that you have in your pics.
Logged

rlh
Newbie
*
Offline Offline

Posts: 4


View Profile
« Reply #3 on: November 09, 2011, 01:37:30 PM »

Here's some anecdotal evidence…
I had similar results living in Colorado fishing streamers to tailwater  browns. Unlike the rainbows, the browns would first hit the “prey” to try to kill or stun it momentarily by slamming it with some part of its body, often the tail area, then circle back and eat it. The bows would do this at times as well, but not as often as the browns. They tended to just try and eat it. So when I felt a “grab” while stripping and the line would go slack, I would immediately stop the retrieve for a few seconds. More often than not the fish would come back and eat, but not if I kept stripping.
Logged

riveraddict
Sr. Member
****
Offline Offline

Posts: 418


View Profile
« Reply #4 on: November 09, 2011, 10:55:45 PM »

Well rlh, that would seem to explain why/how I ended up hooking a couple fish in their sides on this Fall's angling forays on the Madison. I was starting to develop a suspicion along that line of "stunning the prey first" as I could not fathom any reason for just incidentally snagging fish while using such a shallow, just subsurface presentation. I'll have to remember to try letting the fly "die" after hits in future streamer sessions. Thanks for that!   
Logged

yuhina
Full Member
***
Offline Offline

Posts: 156


View Profile
« Reply #5 on: November 10, 2011, 08:26:21 AM »

Great thread!! Enjoy reading it!

well... this is sort of related information...
I just attended a gathering event/slide show with Brian O'keefe last night, he put up some amazing video clips. One of them is the river dwelling golden dorado... man those predators are really voracious... very often they eat the streamer right away when it hit the water. But there are some clips clearly showed the fish came up and slap the streamer with their tail... amazing behavior...
Mark
Logged


riveraddict
Sr. Member
****
Offline Offline

Posts: 418


View Profile
« Reply #6 on: November 10, 2011, 10:16:07 AM »

   It's kind of a funny deal that when I am swinging Kings up in AK and I feel "bumps" on the fly, my "natural" reaction is to thrust the rod towards the fly to get it to "drop" to the fish. However, when stripping streamers for trout my natural reaction is to immediately setup on any touches to the fly. I'm going to have to work on that!

   I remember a long time ago seeing vid produced by, if I recall correctly, Charlie White. He had installed a camera on a downrigger system and recorded footage of salmon interacting with baits/lures being trolled behind that rigging. Besides actual "takes", some of that interaction included fish doing "flybys" - veering extremely close to the bait in such an attitude as to produce an almost contact with their lateral line.     
Logged

chaveecha
Guest
« Reply #7 on: November 10, 2011, 07:29:08 PM »

I spent a fair amount of time chasing big browns in tiny eastern sierra creeks, and found the biggest fish to be nearly impossible to trick (in daylight hours). Every dark hole and/or undercut had one or two BIG fish, and they would consistently nip at offerings. I tried hanging stingers off the back--didn't help. And that appeared to be the only sane response to what they were doing. They never hit the head of the fly. They would move onto the fly very quickly, then either refuse it or nip at it without tasting the hook. In the end, I settled on very fast presentations, trying not to let them get a long look at the fly. And I still only occasionally hooked the big ones.

These same fish would turn into idiots as darkness fell...

How's that for completely worthless input?
Logged

skagit mist
Full Member
***
Offline Offline

Posts: 144



View Profile Email
« Reply #8 on: November 11, 2011, 06:55:46 AM »

I dunno about you guys, but the sea-run bull trout is by far IMO the most retarded fish on the face of the earth. They climb all over flies, and for that exact reason I don't dangle my hooks way back, in order to keep deep hooking to a minimum. There are a hell of a lot more bleeders when the trailer is back tickling the tail feathers, rather than up in the meat of the fly. I've luckily had the opportunity to watch off of a few high bank spots how LARGE (24-30") bull trout eat a fly, and basically it goes like this. Spot the prey, stalk the prey, swim over and smash the prey. They just clamp down on it with their mouth, they don't turn on it, or head shake or anything, just shut the gates of death and hold on. And usually its the whole fly, all 4+" of it.

Bulltards, gotta love em.
Logged

Northwest winters make steelhead chrome that much brighter

riveraddict
Sr. Member
****
Offline Offline

Posts: 418


View Profile
« Reply #9 on: November 11, 2011, 09:11:32 AM »

   Chaveecha, I wouldn't consider that input worthless. My experiences on Browns this Fall produced results similar to yours... the faster presentations produced a higher percentage of hookups. The fact that you could actually see some of the takes and note that hook positioning didn't seem to make any difference is valuable information to me. It seems to imply that working on presentation aspects is of more importance than trying to "engineer" a better hook-position fly design. I appreciate the observations.

   Mist, I would agree with your opinion under certain conditions, that being for fresh and/or unpressured fish. However, it doesn't seem to take very long on the rivers I fish for the Bulls to become quite "educated" when exposed to fishing pressure. This capacity for "learning" seems to be of a high enough degree, that I have learned over the years to institute as part of my Bull-trout fishing strategy, a 4-day-minimum resting period before fishing the same area/pool again.   
Logged

skagit mist
Full Member
***
Offline Offline

Posts: 144



View Profile Email
« Reply #10 on: November 12, 2011, 08:35:51 PM »

Ed, talking about searun fish on coastal river, some times only a few miles from tide water. Sorry for the lack of clarification.
Logged

Northwest winters make steelhead chrome that much brighter

SLSS
Newbie
*
Offline Offline

Posts: 31


View Profile
« Reply #11 on: November 13, 2011, 04:36:58 PM »

I find an upstream and across presentation different than a swung fly. Up and across and stripped back tends to get a head oriented take, while a sung fly seems to hit towards the rear. I've always assumed because the swung fly was getting chased down from behind or followed across. I think the up and across with downstream strip gets the more aggressive take from a fish intercepting the fly in the way downstream.

That said, I love swinging flies and find myself fishing that way more than ever, not being that bothered by the misses, short strikes and lost fish. Most of the fish I remember best are the ones that kicked my ass.
Logged

riveraddict
Sr. Member
****
Offline Offline

Posts: 418


View Profile
« Reply #12 on: November 14, 2011, 09:52:10 AM »

   Skagit Mist... got it. The Bulls I fish over vary from fresh, unmolested fish, on up to individuals that have found a good enough living in the river to have therefore established an in-river residency.

   SLSS... the misses, short strikes, and lost fish are definitely a very memorable part of the game for me too. A couple of my most vivid remembrances of this past Fall's trouting are of a couple sizeable fish that violently exploded through the river's surface while chasing my streamer, but didn't hook up. Being able to so clearly see such a "terminate with extreme prejudice" attitude of these fish on full display, along with a visual confirmation of their size, was plenty enough for me to call it a very fulfilling angling experience. However, the angling "scientist" in me still strives to get a better understanding on the "why's".   
Logged

camosled
Administrator
Hero Member
*****
Offline Offline

Posts: 809


View Profile
« Reply #13 on: November 14, 2011, 01:41:45 PM »

I want to spend a season fishing Leech type flies with the hook in the forward 1/3rd of the fly.   I get tons of grabs using these patterns, but loose far more than when I use a squid looking pattern.   I wonder if the business end of the leech hangs out the other side of their mouth.   I wonder if a rigid hook rig swings completely out and around the mouth when the fish grabs the fly and it pivots in the corner of the jaw.  I wonder if the material in the end of the fly, like bunny strip, compete with the hook gap....Something to add the SM3 I guess.   

Nice to read your posts EW...

JM

Logged

SLSS
Newbie
*
Offline Offline

Posts: 31


View Profile
« Reply #14 on: November 14, 2011, 11:39:41 PM »

....., the angling "scientist" in me still strives to get a better understanding on the "why's".   

Just one of the reasons I enjoy your posts RA. I love the flow of the river, the casting and the fishing, but the problem solving is also part of the fun.
Logged

Pages: [1] 2 3
Print
 
Jump to: