Landing bigger fish

ian1104

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Jul 6, 2020
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138
Hi all,

I've hooked 3 big fish within the last couple of seasons, landed one and lost the other 2. In my limited experience, as soon as the bigger fish are hooked, they tend to run straight towards the tail of the pool and try to leave the pool to the one below. Due to fishing a spate river, if the fish leaves the pool I have no real hope of landing it due to trees, bushes, rocks etc in-between the pools. As such, I have been trying to put some pressure on the fish to try and persuade them from leaving the pool. This has resulted in one snap off and one coming off the hook. Any tips /advice for when this happens?

All the best
Ian
 

Teal Blue And Long John Silver

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Ian they are consummate masters of trickery and escape. Perhaps your most realistic option might be to go with a heavier rod and line set up in the hope that you are able to make your 'persuasion' slightly more persuasive. The thing is though is that if they are running hard to escape all you can really do is let them run and tire which evidently you cannot or try to arrest them which has it's own catalogue of potential stumbling blocks ;)
 

ian1104

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Jul 6, 2020
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138
Ian they are consummate masters of trickery and escape. Perhaps your most realistic option might be to go with a heavier rod and line set up in the hope that you are able to make your 'persuasion' slightly more persuasive. The thing is though is that if they are running hard to escape all you can really do is let them run and tire which evidently you cannot or try to arrest them which has it's own catalogue of potential stumbling blocks ;)
I don't think I want to go higher than my #7 for such a small river, but then again it might land me more fish!

You're not wrong there.... masters of escapism....It's so frustrating though!!! 😫
 

Teal Blue And Long John Silver

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It's the age old conundrum with bigger fish in smaller rivers or indeed any rivers for that matter. Always really good to get the best sport we can utilising relatively light tackle but enough to suit the river and species. Sadly though some poor pilgrim neglects to inform the biggest fish and they make bloody fools of us. I must add though that the fish in the picture you posted a while ago was an absolute minter :cool:
 

elwyman

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It's not easy sometimes, particularly if the fish manages to get into a strong current which it can use to its advantage.

I remember hooking an autumn salmon on Upper Caberston on the upper Tweed. It took the tube fly and ran straight out of the pool into fast shallow stream. I had no choice but to follow it by running 200 metres over the shingle bank between the pools. It was unstoppable, even on my 15' B&W salmon rod. I managed to land it and was surprised to see it was "only" a 10lb very red cock salmon, which was obviously in aggressive spawning mode.

I lost a very fresh salmon from the Sharksmouth pool on the Conwy, which again I just couldn't hold as it ran out of the pool into a very fast stream.....the treble hook pulled this time.

All I can suggest is use strong leader material, good hooks, hold your rod high as it runs, turn up the disc drag as it runs, hope for the best and give it as much stick as you can to stop it from leaving the pool. No shame if the hooks pull, it happens a lot with sea trout anyway.
 

Teal Blue And Long John Silver

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there is a
I don't think I want to go higher than my #7 for such a small river, but then again it might land me more fish!

You're not wrong there.... masters of escapism....It's so frustrating though!!! 😫

I can cast a fly to a relatively moderate standard. Sometimes choosing to fish with an 8 weight rod rather than a 7 weight is not a matter of shoring up my personal inadequacies. Certainly not when modern rod and line combinations can make even my own rather fumbling efforts appear at least half reasonable. The thing is though if there is a chance of a salmon while fishing for sea trout then I want every ace I can stash up my sleeve. I also have a 9 weight rod and line set up and would not be shy about using that either if conditions dictated it ;)
 

ian1104

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138
It's not easy sometimes, particularly if the fish manages to get into a strong current which it can use to its advantage.

I remember hooking an autumn salmon on Upper Caberston on the upper Tweed. It took the tube fly and ran straight out of the pool into fast shallow stream. I had no choice but to follow it by running 200 metres over the shingle bank between the pools. It was unstoppable, even on my 15' B&W salmon rod. I managed to land it and was surprised to see it was "only" a 10lb very red cock salmon, which was obviously in aggressive spawning mode.

I lost a very fresh salmon from the Sharksmouth pool on the Conwy, which again I just couldn't hold as it ran out of the pool into a very fast stream.....the treble hook pulled this time.

All I can suggest is use strong leader material, good hooks, hold your rod high as it runs, turn up the disc drag as it runs, hope for the best and give it as much stick as you can to stop it from leaving the pool. No shame if the hooks pull, it happens a lot with sea trout anyway.
Cheers elwyman, I've done all of what you suggest above, I guess it's just one of those things out of control - sometimes you land them, sometimes the hook pulls..... doesn't make it any easier when it happens though 😄 - hope your season is going ok on the Clwyd/Elwy?

Geoff - I also own a #9, mainly for bass, but will be giving it a cast in heavy water for Salmon this season
 

T7

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I’d settle for hooking anything at the moment!

As the lads said above, I’d consider an 8 weight and some seagur fluoro (or similar) to increase breaking strain but without having to use tow rope! Turns over the flies beautifully as well 😉
 

elwyman

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I’d settle for hooking anything at the moment!

As the lads said above, I’d consider an 8 weight and some seagur fluoro (or similar) to increase breaking strain but without having to use tow rope! Turns over the flies beautifully as well 😉
I've used Seagur Ace Hard since last season and can highly recommend it. Reliable knotting, low dia for bs, and good stiffness.
 
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alun

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May 9, 2008
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The more pressure you apply to try and stop them the more they will try and leave the pool. In my experience you have only two options, 1 you let them run down to the next pool and you follow them which is always the best option wherever possible. 2 you do the complete opposite to what you have been doing, as soon as the fish starts heading for the sea instead of applying loads of pressure to try and stop it which 9 times out of 10 will result in disaster by getting snapped, hook staightening or pulling out, try easing the pressure and drag right off so you only have the slightest bend in the rod and the fish will more often than not stop where it is, now you need to get yourself on the downstream side of the fish asap before applying more pressure and the fish will tend to head up river rather than down away from the angle the pressure is being applied. Try and do this asap after hooking fish rather than part way through the fight when the fish may already have made its mind up, so hook fish and immediately ease off pressure, get below it straight away and then you can start putting the pressure back on.

Theres a tail of a big weir pool that used to be superb for hooking salmon in a bank high flood right in the last 3 yards of the tail running out, but it had hundreds of yards of very fast bolder strewn water below which was imposible to follow fish down in a big flood and every fish you hooked there would turn and be gone down in the fast water in no time, one day i hooked and lost 13 salmon!
It was from that day i learnt to do things differntly, which was to take off all the pressure almost leaving the line go slack as soon as a salmon took, run down below the tail / fish, then gradually start putting some pressure back on and the fish would most of the time swim up into the weir pool where i could play it on my terms!

I hope you find this useful, it takes a bit of practice but it can make all the difference sometimes (y)
 

elwyman

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The more pressure you apply to try and stop them the more they will try and leave the pool. In my experience you have only two options, 1 you let them run down to the next pool and you follow them which is always the best option wherever possible. 2 you do the complete opposite to what you have been doing, as soon as the fish starts heading for the sea instead of applying loads of pressure to try and stop it which 9 times out of 10 will result in disaster by getting snapped, hook staightening or pulling out, try easing the pressure and drag right off so you only have the slightest bend in the rod and the fish will more often than not stop where it is, now you need to get yourself on the downstream side of the fish asap before applying more pressure and the fish will tend to head up river rather than down away from the angle the pressure is being applied. Try and do this asap after hooking fish rather than part way through the fight when the fish may already have made its mind up, so hook fish and immediately ease off pressure, get below it straight away and then you can start putting the pressure back on.

Theres a tail of a big weir pool that used to be superb for hooking salmon in a bank high flood right in the last 3 yards of the tail running out, but it had hundreds of yards of very fast bolder strewn water below which was imposible to follow fish down in a big flood and every fish you hooked there would turn and be gone down in the fast water in no time, one day i hooked and lost 13 salmon!
It was from that day i learnt to do things differntly, which was to take off all the pressure almost leaving the line go slack as soon as a salmon took, run down below the tail / fish, then gradually start putting some pressure back on and the fish would most of the time swim up into the weir pool where i could play it on my terms!

I hope you find this useful, it takes a bit of practice but it can make all the difference sometimes (y)
I wish I could hook and lose 13 salmon to practice the technique Alun!
Always a good idea to get below a big fish if you can. If a fish is holding below you and you need to get it moving upstream, try letting out slack line to form a bow in the line downstream of the fish....the fish will feel the line pull and hopefully swim upstream. Worked for me a couple times.
 

alun

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May 9, 2008
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I wish I could hook and lose 13 salmon to practice the technique Alun!
Always a good idea to get below a big fish if you can. If a fish is holding below you and you need to get it moving upstream, try letting out slack line to form a bow in the line downstream of the fish....the fish will feel the line pull and hopefully swim upstream. Worked for me a couple times.
This was going back over 20 years, cant hook that many in a season now unfortunately. Yep the downstream bow also works if you cant get below it
 

ian1104

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Jul 6, 2020
Messages
138
The more pressure you apply to try and stop them the more they will try and leave the pool. In my experience you have only two options, 1 you let them run down to the next pool and you follow them which is always the best option wherever possible. 2 you do the complete opposite to what you have been doing, as soon as the fish starts heading for the sea instead of applying loads of pressure to try and stop it which 9 times out of 10 will result in disaster by getting snapped, hook staightening or pulling out, try easing the pressure and drag right off so you only have the slightest bend in the rod and the fish will more often than not stop where it is, now you need to get yourself on the downstream side of the fish asap before applying more pressure and the fish will tend to head up river rather than down away from the angle the pressure is being applied. Try and do this asap after hooking fish rather than part way through the fight when the fish may already have made its mind up, so hook fish and immediately ease off pressure, get below it straight away and then you can start putting the pressure back on.

Theres a tail of a big weir pool that used to be superb for hooking salmon in a bank high flood right in the last 3 yards of the tail running out, but it had hundreds of yards of very fast bolder strewn water below which was imposible to follow fish down in a big flood and every fish you hooked there would turn and be gone down in the fast water in no time, one day i hooked and lost 13 salmon!
It was from that day i learnt to do things differntly, which was to take off all the pressure almost leaving the line go slack as soon as a salmon took, run down below the tail / fish, then gradually start putting some pressure back on and the fish would most of the time swim up into the weir pool where i could play it on my terms!

I hope you find this useful, it takes a bit of practice but it can make all the difference sometimes (y)
Some very useful advice there Alun, thank you
 

RichardGW

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Jul 21, 2009
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What you need is lots of luck.

I am not a night sea trout fisher so my experience (trying to!!) handle big sea trout when they decide to copy and exceed Olympic gymnasts or take serious amounts of backing is limited to two occasions, both using a salmon spinning outfit.

One on the Towy I hooked on a small mepps what I thought was a 1-2 lbs sea trout. My colleague fishing above me had seen better came charging down the bank with a net and like me witnessed an almost aerial fight with lots of line being taken. Fortunately he netted the fish just as it expelled the hooks. Not big but at 6.25 lbs but a PB.

The second occasion on the Usk involved a fish that leaped out 30+ yards of line in a micro second with triple sulcos twists and all that. My initial guess was a salmon of 10-12 lbs but he assured me it was a sea trout which made the loss even worse. Thanks Jon! I just couldn’t do anything even though I tried to ease pressure and calm the fish down.

Oh and just to make things worse with more losses likely, here in Wales we now have to use barbless single hooks on all spinners! Trebles (barbless as are all hooks for Welsh sea trout) are only allowed for flies (small sizes only) so I envisage losing more fish, particular sea trout, on both fly and spinner.
 

Lgraydonflyfishing

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Sep 19, 2020
Messages
416
What you need is lots of luck.

I am not a night sea trout fisher so my experience (trying to!!) handle big sea trout when they decide to copy and exceed Olympic gymnasts or take serious amounts of backing is limited to two occasions, both using a salmon spinning outfit.

One on the Towy I hooked on a small mepps what I thought was a 1-2 lbs sea trout. My colleague fishing above me had seen better came charging down the bank with a net and like me witnessed an almost aerial fight with lots of line being taken. Fortunately he netted the fish just as it expelled the hooks. Not big but at 6.25 lbs but a PB.

The second occasion on the Usk involved a fish that leaped out 30+ yards of line in a micro second with triple sulcos twists and all that. My initial guess was a salmon of 10-12 lbs but he assured me it was a sea trout which made the loss even worse. Thanks Jon! I just couldn’t do anything even though I tried to ease pressure and calm the fish down.

Oh and just to make things worse with more losses likely, here in Wales we now have to use barbless single hooks on all spinners! Trebles (barbless as are all hooks for Welsh sea trout) are only allowed for flies (small sizes only) so I envisage losing more fish, particular sea trout, on both fly and spinner.
I fish for trout fully barbless and honestly it doesn't make one bit of difference, confidence factor maybe so but from losing fish perspective not a bit (in my experience)tight line is all you need.
 
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