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Short strikes

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Lou Bruno
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Joined: Fri Oct 21, 2016 12:16 pm

Short strikes

#1

Post by Lou Bruno » Tue Nov 10, 2020 12:37 pm

Experiencing "short strikes" when salt water fly fishing, especially with flies that suspend...not so much with weighted flies, likes Clousers. Could it be bad fly design or possibly my retrieve. Anyone else have this problem?
Lou

Mangrove Cuckoo
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Re: Short strikes

#2

Post by Mangrove Cuckoo » Tue Nov 10, 2020 12:58 pm

Lou,

Do you keep your rod tip in the water when you are retrieving the fly?

Rod directed straight at the fly?

Only manipulate the fly with your line hand?

If so, you likely have some less than aggressive fish. Sometimes they are more curious than hungry. That happens with tarpon occasionally... really frustrating!
"Technique is the proof of your seriousness"

Wallace Stevens

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Paul Arden
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Re: Short strikes

#3

Post by Paul Arden » Wed Nov 11, 2020 12:46 pm

There are so many variables here, Lou. In all fishing there are times when fish appear to come “short”. A faster retrieve can help, as can dropping the fly size. Sometimes fish are not even eating the fly but biting it.

I don’t think there is one answer here but instead lots of things to try. And then the next day you go out they all seem to stick for no reason at all!

Something I find with some of the fish species that I currently target, is that they will take several times and often it’s the second or third eat that will set. So for those I don’t strike but instead let them eat. But there is another species here - Jungle Perch - that usually only hit once and need to be struck. Usually I don’t strike with a Popper (unless it’s static or after a delay) but with these fish I need to lift the rod (flat, shotgun style) as well as strip strike to set on them.

Anyway if it’s happening that they are coming “short” then I’ll try changing retrieve, fly, strike until hopefully I find a solution.

Cheers, Paul
It's an exploration; bring a flyrod.

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Lou Bruno
Posts: 334
Joined: Fri Oct 21, 2016 12:16 pm

Re: Short strikes

#4

Post by Lou Bruno » Wed Nov 11, 2020 4:01 pm

Paul
My most recent change is to keep rod tip low, rod in line with line, and to pull (jerk) my rod backwards. Keeping the rod movement in line with the fly line...not sideways.
Saltwater fly fishing is still something that I am learning, including fly design.
Thanks for your input, appreciate it.
Lou

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Paul Arden
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Re: Short strikes

#5

Post by Paul Arden » Thu Nov 12, 2020 7:33 am

All strikes are different. I had a hell of a job hooking sailfish a few months ago. But I’m told that then can be like that sometimes - in fact they are always challenging. There you have to let them eat, run off with the fly and set the hook in the way you are doing, from the elbow. My instinctive and even consciously delayed strip strike simply pulled the fly out or away from the fish. It was frustrating!

What species are you fishing for?

It’s interesting how I often hear that the first problem new SW anglers experience is automatically “trout setting”. I never experienced this but I did a lot of trout fishing where you wouldn’t do this - surface muddlers, streamers etc.

What I do have a problem here is with SW anglers strip setting on Snakehead!

Cheers, Paul
It's an exploration; bring a flyrod.

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Lou Bruno
Posts: 334
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Re: Short strikes

#6

Post by Lou Bruno » Thu Nov 12, 2020 10:53 am

Paul
Species...depends where I'm fishing. Along mangroves, Snook, and Red Drum. On the flats, Red Drum, sea trout and Tarpon. Every now and then I get a surprise... mackerel, grouper, etc.
I like your definition of my hook set..."from the elbow"
Admittedly, it took me time to NOT trout set. I had the good fortune to fish with long time saltwater guys. They weren't shy in telling me I'm not fishing for trout.
So, I had to change many things...casting, presentation, equipment, fly design, boat, navigation, tides, weather patterns, moon phases, fly line, leaders, knots...whole new world, SW fishing.

Seems like most fishing trips are an adventure towards a new discovery...having fun...live for the tug.
Appreciate your input.
Lou

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Paul Arden
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Re: Short strikes

#7

Post by Paul Arden » Thu Nov 12, 2020 11:49 am

Hi Lou,

I’m really looking forward to fully immersing myself in tropical SW in a few years time. I mostly strip set with SW, but the Sails were different because the set was during the run and quite unusual for me. That’s going to take me quite a lot of practise to dial in.

Maybe dropping the hook size or even a change of hooks might make a difference. I am a big believer in ringing the changes. Speeding up the retrieve has worked for me many times for different species (not all).

Anyway you probably know more about it than I do :)

Ah one more thing; if you are seeing the take you might be setting too early. Same as with nymphing.

I’m looking forward to hearing what your solution/s is/are!

Incidentally I know exactly what you mean about changing the fishery type. I’m about half way through my third change now. Initially it’s difficult to be a beginner again, but also it’s fantastic! I imagine it’s the same as going from from skiing to snowboarding to ice-skating :D Or piano to electric guitar to drums!

For me that’s one of the greatest things about fly fishing. And life too actually.

Cheers, Paul
It's an exploration; bring a flyrod.

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Mangrove Cuckoo
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Re: Short strikes

#8

Post by Mangrove Cuckoo » Thu Nov 12, 2020 5:16 pm

Lou

Setting the hook is highly over rated!

For many of the fish you mentioned, attempting to "set" the hook can be counter productive.

For kicks, the next time you get a red to eat your fly, instead of trying to set the hook, just keep stripping. In fact, your goal is to not only come tight to the fish, but to attempt to actually pull the fish toward you... with a straight line of course.

I guarantee you that a redfish has never been pulled by its nose by the small critter it has just consumed and it will react in terror. It will shake its head violently from side to side, and if you are holding tight to the line, the fish will actually hammer the hook home for you. What you need to do is be ready to release the line because its second reaction will be to flee.

Redfish are one of the toughest fish to hook for beginners, since their eat is so visual. They stalk, then light up, then flare their gills, and many times folks can't help but try to set before the fish actually closes its mouth. Just keep stripping!

I think the first dozen redfish I got to eat my fly got off when I tried to hook them by lifting the rod. At that point I just sat down and wondered what the heck was going on. Never lift the rod! If you watch any recent TV shows where folks are tarpon fishing you will likely hear the guide yelling, "Rod down, rod down!" when their angler gets a bite.

Tarpon (like sailfish) benefit from a delay also. You want to control yourself and not react at the flash or the tug. Tarpon often take the fly on a turn. If you wait for the fish to turn, when you really feel the weight of fish, the leader (and hook) can be pulled into the hinge at the side of the fishes mouth... an area much softer than the crushers in the middle. Wait to really feel the fish! And, again, instead of worrying about "hammering" the hook, be ready to release the line from your line hand as tarpon often panic straight up into the air, which will likely snap your leader. You can hit the fish a few times after it settles down.

Snook often take the fly straight on. Then they clamp their strong grippy lips on the tippet. If you start hammering the hook set at that first "thump" you are just trying to pull the tippet out of their lips, which you can't, and the fly is floating around inside the cavern of their large mouth. That jumpy feeling in their lips often gets them to open their mouth, and out comes your fly. If you retain your composure for a beat, the snook often detects the fly is not food and attempts to expel it... out their gills. The result, often, is that the hook point does not actually penetrate anything. Instead the hook bend gets trapped around a raker, which is almost impossible for the fish to expel, and actually much better healthwise for the fish... no blood is lost. This is for larger snook, the little ones you can just set up as usual.

Where are you? Central west Florida?

Gary M.
"Technique is the proof of your seriousness"

Wallace Stevens

Lou Bruno
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Joined: Fri Oct 21, 2016 12:16 pm

Re: Short strikes

#9

Post by Lou Bruno » Sun Nov 15, 2020 10:45 am

Gary
Thanks for the input, excellent input. I'm south Florida...cape coral, north fort myers area. I fish Pine Island area mostly.
Lou

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