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Thread: fighting a fish on fly

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Nov 2011
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    Default fighting a fish on fly

    On Monday I realised that I need some instruction on fighting fish on fly tackle.

    Let me fist add that I know how to fight a fish in general. I have been competition fishing for years, so I know the basics, and as a papgooier I lost very few fish compared to my peers.

    That said, on Monday I finally broke my curse of losing every single yellow I've hooked on fly that was of any substantial size. I hooked a nice fish about 100m upstream a small creek(?) at Vaal Hackle. Having lost all my good fish up until this point in my ff career I decided to play this one extra lightly as a change of tactic. All went well for a while, and I even started to get my net ready. Then all of a sudden the yellow just took off. That fish took me all the way down to the main river plus another 150+ meters down stream before I could land it. The poor fish was so exhausted that I had to spend minutes trying to revive it, and even then it was very weak. I actually don't know if this fish made it. I didn't have anything to measure or weigh with, but this sm yellow was just under an arms length (finger tip to armpit).

    Later in the same spot I hooked another yellow of size. This time just over a forearms length. I decided there is no way in the world I'm hiking/wading all the way back again, so this yellow is staying right here in this very pool, so I gooi brakes. A few minutes later I got out at the exact same spot where I landed the previous one. Wet and somewhat defeated (although I did net this one as well).

    Here is the catch. I'm currently fishing a 9 weight rod. What on earth am I doing wrong? How much strain can one put on a fly rod before it will break (assuming the rod is not damaged in some way)? I would think that with a 9 weight I should be able to drag that fish over the water like popper Ok not quite, but at least be able to contain the fish within a radius of 30 m. Right? I shiver to think what yellows would do to me on a 5 weight rod...

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
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    Johannesburg
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    Default

    Your #9 should be able to hand the SM's as I have seen Werner pick up a couple of SM's on a #4.

    The first question that comes to mind is what leader setup are you using and what strength mono do you fish? The breaking strength of your mono would more determine how hard you can pull wrt fighting a fish.

    A #9 will give you more backbone to turn the fish when it heads down/up stream than a #5 would. We fished Strome early in December 2011 and there were to fellow FF about 80m upstream from us, the next moment I look up I see that one the 2 FF are about 15m from us. He hooked into a carp and it ran him a good part of 50m downstream.

    this was the forum post he made: http://www.flytalk.co.za/forum/showt...=3317&page=369 look at post 3686
    Frederick

    "If women are so bloody perfect at multitasking, how come they can't have a headache and sex at the same time?" - Billy Connolly

    "The harder you try, the luckier you get" - Gary Player.

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  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jan 2012
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    Default

    Holy Smokes! A 9-weight?! I believe that's a bit excessive for yellows in the Vaal. I've been using a 5/6 weight with no problems at all (same rod last three years). I imagine the reason you've been losing your fish is that you weren't giving enough line, and then - when you did - you were giving too much perhaps? You have to find just the right medium. Not too tight, not too loose. Butr a 9-weight is more suitable for saltwater fishing. I recommend a lighter rod for the Vaal. certainly not heavier than 6 or 7.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
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    gauteng
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    i have fished for yellows with a 5wt for 2 years, only recently stepping up to a 6wt as i kept getting a lesson from the really big boys.
    tippet/leader can be your only problem along with the hooks you are using.
    a 9wt rod, you'll battle to break on yellows unless you really bend the rod over your shoulder at very acute angles.
    if you're fishing 4kg mono, you can pull pretty hard.
    i think a good test is to tie it onto a branch in your garden or at the vaal, and pull until you are either comfortable with how hard you're pulling or the line breaks. this will give you a good indication of how hard you can pull with your set up. you will be surprised at how hard you can pull with good quality 4kg tippet...
    i use 3.6kg tippet on the vaal and have landed a number of fish over 4kgs lately without too much of a problem. just manage the initial runs and you'll be fine.
    bushveld scalies - worth the blood, sweat and tears

  5. #5
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    Sep 2006
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    Hi BenzoV,

    What you might be missing is countering the fishes runs, ie when he runs you just let him with the rod up.

    I would suggest that first of all you tighten your drag a bit so he has some resistance when he swims (but not too much)

    Along with that i would suggest learning about applying side pressure to a fish. If he dashes off to the left, drop your rod down to the right, and this will add a significant amount of pressure to the fish and they will often arc round instead of being able to dash off. This keeps you very much in control instead of him being in control. We have managed to keep Sm yellows very close to us by quickly counteracting his runs with side pressure, continuously changing the angle of the rod depending on where he runs and therefore landing them a lot quicker than if they go on a big run.

    Some however are just unstoppable, and i have found that often chasing them is not the best thing to do. Very often the fish goes on a big run then realises he wants to be back in his hole and swims all the way back to where you are standing. It's happened far too many times to be coincidence - just make sure you're ready for when he turns otherwise you'll lose him.

    It is amazing how much pressure a rod can take and i have seen 5wts bent double with guys trying to land yellowfish without the rods breaking - they can take serious strain - just try apply more and more pressure each time you hook one. You will eventually apply too much pressure and start popping fish, but you won't know the limits until you exceed them, and that's the best way to learn in the long run.
    "So hereís my point. Donít go and get your ego all out of proportion because you can tie a fly and catch a fish thatís dumb enough to eat a car key.." - Louis Cahill - Gink and Gasoline

  6. #6
    Join Date
    May 2007
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    Parys, Free State
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    Quote Originally Posted by BenzoV View Post
    How much strain can one put on a fly rod before it will break
    With your 9wt in excess of 12lb.My guess would be around the 15lb mark SO you should always pop your tippet first before the rod goes. Trust me, 12lb exertion on a rod is bluddy hard boet!!! I still maintain you're foul hooking a lot of fish and those are lost easily if you don't follow them down to Bloemfontein. If I KNOW I foul hooked a fish I straight stick it and tie on a new leader and flies as simple as that. With a bit more experience you will learn to recognize solid takes (a rubbery feeling) and hence you would know when to fight (side pressure) and when to let it go. (most often Muddies foul hooked)
    Last edited by Gerrit Viljoen; 04-01-12 at 09:10 AM.
    Gerrit Viljoen

  7. #7
    FlyFanatic Banned User

    Default

    One question, did you hook both fish properly in the mouth? If not there is no way in hell you would be able to control them.

    Then another thing which Gerrit told me, as soon as you hook it put heavy side pressure on the fish, in opposite direction as to where the fish wants to go. Then steer the fish as quickly as possible to the calmest water, even a moderate sized yellow will kick your ass as long as you let in swim in the main stream. For the first minute or so the fish normally fights upstream, thats typical of smallmouth yellows. Try and force the fish into calm water during this part of the battle, as soon as it turns downstream you're in for sh@t if you havent managed to get it out of the main stream!

    Lastly if it was a solid take you can punish the fish quite hard without breaking the tippet, it is definitely not the rod, you would be able to tame a 10kg barbel easily with that rod.

    Let us know how it went!

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Nov 2011
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    Parys, Vrystaat
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    I know the 9 weight is too much for yellows in the Vaal. Here is the background. I'm getting an Xplorer Classic II 5/6 weight in February as a gift, so in the mean time I wanted to buy a rod of a different weight for other applications. It was either a 3 weight for light stream fishing, or a 8/9 weight. Decent 3 weights are hard to find at an affordable price, so I got a fairly soft 9 weight in the meantime for when I want to target barbel and occasionally some light saltwater ff when I get the chance. My main target will be yellows though, and there is no way I'm sitting at home thinking about catching yellows just because I don't have the ideal weight rod yet .

    Good point Jaco, both fish were double hooked, mouth and dorsal fin. Mmmh, in a stream I guess that makes a huge difference. In a dam its just dead weight that doesn't really fight that much.

    Gerrit, I think I'm starting to get the feel for a foul hooked muddy, especially in fast flowing water. There is very little fight, you just feel you are hooked, almost as if on a rock, and then the line starts moving around with little jabs as the muddy kicks to stay in current, and then nothing as the hook pulls out. I noticed that with a properly hooked yellow there is no question once you set the hook. The fish races away at speed, alotta fun indeed. Not sure about a foul hooked yellow though, haven't got one out yet.

    I was fishing an 8lb straight leader with 5 lb tippet.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by BenzoV View Post
    I know the 9 weight is too much for yellows in the Vaal. Here is the background. I'm getting an Xplorer Classic II 5/6 weight in February as a gift, so in the mean time I wanted to buy a rod of a different weight for other applications. It was either a 3 weight for light stream fishing, or a 8/9 weight. Decent 3 weights are hard to find at an affordable price, so I got a fairly soft 9 weight in the meantime for when I want to target barbel and occasionally some light saltwater ff when I get the chance. My main target will be yellows though, and there is no way I'm sitting at home thinking about catching yellows just because I don't have the ideal weight rod yet .

    Good point Jaco, both fish were double hooked, mouth and dorsal fin. Mmmh, in a stream I guess that makes a huge difference. In a dam its just dead weight that doesn't really fight that much.

    Gerrit, I think I'm starting to get the feel for a foul hooked muddy, especially in fast flowing water. There is very little fight, you just feel you are hooked, almost as if on a rock, and then the line starts moving around with little jabs as the muddy kicks to stay in current, and then nothing as the hook pulls out. I noticed that with a properly hooked yellow there is no question once you set the hook. The fish races away at speed, alotta fun indeed. Not sure about a foul hooked yellow though, haven't got one out yet.

    I was fishing an 8lb straight leader with 5 lb tippet.
    Increase the distance between your flies slightly should help with foul hooking a bit.
    PK

    I am haunted by waters - Norman Maclean

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by gkieser View Post
    Hi BenzoV,

    What you might be missing is countering the fishes runs, ie when he runs you just let him with the rod up.

    I would suggest that first of all you tighten your drag a bit so he has some resistance when he swims (but not too much)

    Along with that i would suggest learning about applying side pressure to a fish. If he dashes off to the left, drop your rod down to the right, and this will add a significant amount of pressure to the fish and they will often arc round instead of being able to dash off. This keeps you very much in control instead of him being in control. We have managed to keep Sm yellows very close to us by quickly counteracting his runs with side pressure, continuously changing the angle of the rod depending on where he runs and therefore landing them a lot quicker than if they go on a big run.

    Some however are just unstoppable, and i have found that often chasing them is not the best thing to do. Very often the fish goes on a big run then realises he wants to be back in his hole and swims all the way back to where you are standing. It's happened far too many times to be coincidence - just make sure you're ready for when he turns otherwise you'll lose him.

    It is amazing how much pressure a rod can take and i have seen 5wts bent double with guys trying to land yellowfish without the rods breaking - they can take serious strain - just try apply more and more pressure each time you hook one. You will eventually apply too much pressure and start popping fish, but you won't know the limits until you exceed them, and that's the best way to learn in the long run.
    Thanks gkieser, points taken. I lost a lotta fish before and I think (assuming that Gerrit is incorrect about the foul hooking...he could well be right though) that I've been too hard on the fish, especially considering the short distance of line when you initially hook the fish, so this time (with the first fish) I gave line whenever he wanted it.

    btw, gkieser, are you George by name? Which high school did you attend? - UPDATE: Nevermind, I see you are Grant.
    Last edited by BenzoV; 04-01-12 at 10:07 AM.

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