View Full Version : Missing Strikes
It seems this summer I've been missing too many takes on a dry fly when I'm still water fishing. Is it a timing thing? Do I need to wait that extra mili second for the fish to actually take the fly down before I try and set the hook? I generally try and keep my rod tip down close to the water, no line slack and just raise the tip up when I see a strike but I still miss a lot of fish. Very very frustrating. Just curious If anybody has had this same problem and solved it.
08-15-2005, 01:21 PM
One of my frustrations with stillwater fishing is you tend to have to fish far away. Everyone's experienced being in a boat and having fish rising "just beyond your cast". It's my opinion that syndrome effects how far out you fish and, once again, IMHO fishing "long distance" with dry flies causes a lot of missed fish. By the time you react to the rise and that reaction reaches the end of your tippit the fish has moved on to another opportunity and you've missed the fish. JMHO
Troll with drys!
08-15-2005, 01:44 PM
I usually set the hook to soon... I find waiting just a .5 sec more helps.
08-15-2005, 02:18 PM
the position between you and the fish can also have an influence, since you're on still you basically dont know from what direction the fish will be coming from to take your fly, if the fish rises with it's mouth pointed away from you, a quick set probably will not cause you to miss, however if the fish is headed in the other direction, not waiting till it has closed its mouth around the fly will cause you to miss the set.
obvisouly this is easier said than done since you have to see the fish take the fly and have the nerves to wait. i always would suggest erring on the side of waiting...
08-15-2005, 06:29 PM
I also do a lot of still water fishing. One of the problems that you may be encountering is what I call the " upside down fly ". What I observed over time and many missed takes, was that when completed our cast the fly would land "upside down", ie the hook point facing up. And sometimes especially with light tippet materila( 6x,7x,8x), it would get tangled in the hackle, tail, etc. and would be enough keep the the strke from hooking the fish. Since then, when I miss a fish once, twice... I always check the fly for tangles. And I know we tie our flies and we always think they land just perfectly!!! .... BUT I am sure some don't. It is also hard to observe if your fly has laned correctly especially in dim light, sun reflection, shadows,ect.
Just a rambling thought and observation. Hope it helps.
08-16-2005, 01:37 PM
I've been in circumstances also where fish were so reluctant and hesitant to strike that the second they took... they spit out. After months of blanket hatches of Sulphers they became very selective. Selective may not be the best term.... I wouldn't keep a piece of steak in my mouth too long if it was crunchy LOL. Fish are the same with their food. In any case, if those fish aren't taking very close to you, the slack in the line will lower your hookup percentage for certain.
08-16-2005, 04:52 PM
Not being patronizing, but are you sure of the hits? I ask because I was fishing the Connie last weekend and had a chance to really watch what was going on- moving water, admittedly, but here's what I saw:
I was casting to a single, actively feeding trout. This fish would swirl at whatever I cast to it- twice- but never more than that. Many of the swirls looked like good hits on the surface of the water, but I could clearly see the trout stop short of taking because the fish was in fairly still water. I finally caught it (what a relief!) and there was no question about the hit- it was solid, but didn't really look much different than the others.
My point in all this is that if the pattern isn't just to a fish's liking it may not take at the last instant, but it'll still look like a rise. This was pretty interesting to me to watch unfold; I learned quite a lot from the experience.
Is it possible that you're in a aimilar situation?
Just a thought...
No your not being patronizing at all your points are valid. However these were obvious hits I could see their heads poke out of the water and grab the fly. Skilly might be right. I was getting my leader tangled a few times in the hackle. It very well could have been sitting on the surface hook up. I never check my fly in between casts. I only look at them when I change them. I need to get in the habit of checking my fly more often. It's hard to do when you have rises going off all around.
You might be right as well. As I think about it their heads were facing me when they hit. They very well could have been swimming towards me. I was sitting over a weed bed so they very well could have been heading for cover under my feet in my tube. Next time I'll kick up to them from the opposite side and see if I have better luck.
Thanks for the info... upside down hook and the direction of the stike are two things I would have never thought of.
08-17-2005, 08:53 AM
I consider myself an excellent angler but I've ran into situations like yours in the past. It can be very frustrating. If you're a seasoned angler sometimes for whatever reason, you'll have days when you can't get a hookset. In my case it's usually because in order to get a drag free drift I mend like an animal....this mending creates slack. I like to narrow it down to three factors...
Fish: Direction of Take, Aggressiveness, Selectiveness, Type of Take
Water: Current, Clarity, Speed
Angler: Facing Direction, Slack and Line Tension, Rod Tip Placement, Distance to Fly, Fly, Timing
If your anything like me the next time your out you'll hook up all the time.
08-17-2005, 11:13 AM
PW - I've had a fair amount of success by instead of lifting the rod up on the strike, sweeping it to the side. You might give that a try...
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