September 7th, 1998
How to Hook 'em!
You may not need this information now, but someday
lets hope you do. For years fly-fishing in Michigan and Montana I
had no use for it. This is about how to hook a big fish on a long line.
It may be in opposition to all you have learned and practiced for
years. At least, it was to me.
I use the under-the-arm method often to
reduce the fatigue of casting and holding the rod with the same
hand. I think you will find this will increase your percentage of
hook-ups and even be a bit more comfortable too.
If you have been in the habit of holding
your fly rod to the right while striping in line, you probably
pulled the line with your left hand in a fairly open angle relative
to your index finger. Moving the rod to in front of you will close
this angle some and may put more friction on your finger. You
can correct this by making your pulls more to your left and
back, rather than straight left.~ JC
Till next week, remember ...
For the most part, when you get a hit you
lift the rod tip, in some way 'pick-em-up,'or otherwise set the
hook. But, when you get onto big water for big fish, raising the
rod tip only puts the flimsiest part of your rod against the fish.
Sure, it does take some of the slack out, but that is about all.
Chances are, it you are using a hook larger than a number 4,
you do not have enough pressure with the rod tip to sink the
hook into the jaw of a decent fish.
For some time I found myself, when fishing
for salmon from waist deep in some ocean tide flat, raising my rod
tip and striping line like crazy to set the hook and take up the slack
line. The result was often a lost fish. Not hooked. Then I read
something about line-striking for big fish. Sorry, I can't give any
credit to wherever it was. I don't think the author claimed he had
invented it anyhow.
This is about he explained it. After the cast,
keep the rod tip low, just above the water, and pointed right at the
fly. No appreciable slack. Virtually, as little as possible. Strip line in
what ever rhythm and speed appropriate for the fish you are after.
If right handed, of course stip line in over your index finger of the
rod hand, pulling with the left hand. Keep the rod pointed at the
fly; this is critical.
When you feel a 'hit,' do not raise the rod;
pull with your left hand. ( I often will give a good fish at least three
good pumps). It is like a 'tug-o-war.' That will set the hook. Now,
raise the rod. Get the slack under control, hopefully on your reel, and
continue to land the fish as usual. You may have to go to some great
lengths to break yourself of raising the rod on the strike. One way is
to after the cast, put your fly rod under your right arm. Strip line with
both hands. You will find plenty of time to grab the rod when a fish
hits, after you have given him a 'line-strike'.