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EntomanAugust 31st, 2011, 1:26 pm
Northern CA & ID

Posts: 2604
Jesse,

Most the takes I've had on it have been really aggressive without being pushed away.


I don't doubt you. Those things look like they're ready to hop away, and if the fish really want them, the're gonna get them. As just one example, I remember a few years ago fishing a river famous for its hex hatch where this was proven true. I was fishing caddis which actually provides more consistent fishing and had to leave before dark anyway, so didn't have my hex gear with me. About an hour before sunset, a big band of cloud came in from the West obscuring the sun. This triggered an amazing sight I've never seen before or since. I could see a big flock of starlings or sparrows approaching from a band of trees about a mile down river. As it got closer, it became obvious that they weren't birds, they were mayflies. Soon they were all over the water and the fish started to feed ravenously. Feverishly scrounging through my boat bag, I found a box of experimental flies that had a few hex's with long extended elk hair bodies. The fish went nuts for 'em and I don't remember missing a fish.

Here comes the "however" though. Caddis with stiff elk hair wings or hoppers & big drakes with extended bodies sticking out too far past the hook bend are usually very problematic for softer takes. I have to agree with Sayfu that you want to keep stiff extended bodies/wings no longer than hook gap width. Might I suggest that you use a a 2x long dry fly hook and shorten the extended body? The fly will maintain the same size and silhouette and won't change it's attractiveness to fish one bit. It will make the design much more effective for hooking those fish that will react to this fly with soft takes or sips. You will run into this reaction eventually. Just a recommendation, FWIW.:)

Regards,

Kurt
"It's not that I find fishing so important, it's just that I find all other endeavors of Man equally unimportant... And not nearly as much fun!" Robert Traver, Anatomy of a Fisherman
OldredbarnAugust 31st, 2011, 2:35 pm
Novi, MI

Posts: 2600
Kurt,

I know it is not exactly the same thing you are discussing here but I've had problems with "short strikes" at times...My marabou tails were maybe a bit too long on my buggers and the trout chomped down on the tail missing the hook bend all together. I would have these monster Browns rolling in the river in front of me for a second only to have them let go...I tried to pass it off as a new form of catch-and-release but I must admit that it was ultimately not fulfilling! ;)

I think it is interesting the design of flies. We don't always know what's going on there at the end of our line and how often some part of the fly may have impeded the hook up. I think maybe when the fish opens its mouth and the fly is drawn in there are two chances there for problems with extended bodies etc...One when the fly goes in and two when he rejects it...If this happens before the angler sets the hook we may never know if the design of the fly caused a problem or not.

Some tyers avoid micro-fibbets for this reason... The feeling is that they are too stiff. They look great but you don't want their stiffness maybe pushing the fly away a bit from the fish. When I was taught to tie split-tails my teacher tended to use more "spade-hackle" fibers than other guys I've seen. He said that they were there for design reasons to help float the fly and that guys who didn't use enough, he felt, probably had issues floating their comparaduns and never knew why.

It is great being creative at the bench and the sky is the limit to our fancies, but physics needs to be kept in mind as well...Function & form trump an awesome looking fly that on the stream doesn't work properly.

I remember one time running in to an oldtimer at an access site in the woods. He had fished down to this spot and was done for the day and welcomed me and told me to come on in and fish. He had known all the old guys including Rusty's father Cal etc and seemed to want me to nose a bit in his fly boxes. He said something about them not being the type of flies "you youngsters use today"(I was in my 30's) but they seemed to work well for him.

I took a very long and good look in there and looked at him and said, "these will work". He had a smile on his face and a glint in his eyes that said to me, "Yes. Young man. They work just fine!". They were lovingly tied and were tried and trues...He told me to make sure I told Rusty hello for him when I saw him.

Spence

A somewhat funny aside re design...I was fishing the Clam river near Cadillac MI...Near Vogel Center to be more exact. I could not get the damn chubs to let my fly alone and was frustrated. I decided to tie on a larger fly and it was funny because they still didn't leave it alone, but they couldn't take the fly in no matter how hard they tried...The little shits! My perfect drag-free-float was nice except I could see the little ones bumping it as it went along on its way...I thought, more than once, wouldn't it be wonderful if some monster Brown decided to take my fly and these little shiners all at the same time...;)
"Even when my best efforts fail it's a satisfying challenge, and that, after all, is the essence of fly fishing." -Chauncy Lively

"Envy not the man who lives beside the river, but the man the river flows through." Joseph T Heywood
EntomanAugust 31st, 2011, 11:11 pm
Northern CA & ID

Posts: 2604
Hi Spence -

My marabou tails were maybe a bit too long on my buggers and the trout chomped down on the tail missing the hook bend all together


Ah, the short strike controversy... I know I'll probably hear a lot of disagreement, but I don't think there is such a thing. First, trout that really want the fly will "inhale" it, meaning they will flare their gill covers as they close on the fly with open jaws. These are the easy hook-ups and hook design isn't that big a factor. Other times they simply close their jaws on the fly with gill covers closed and quickly release it. These are the plucks, nips, and short strikes. But these descriptions are of their feel, not necessarily from seeing the fish behavior. They will sometimes do this savagely, leaving the impression that it must be the hook design's fault that the fish was missed. In reality, they are just trying to stun their prey for some reason and will often swing right back around and take if the fly is handled properly. One last thing they'll do is kiss the fly, but this behavior is rarely felt.

I've observed these behaviors many times. The last that comes to mind was on a river in southern Oregon. The piece of water I'm about to describe loads up with fish in the Summer and is one of my favorite "streamer holes" until sunlight hits the water. I had a gentleman out fishing set up off a point jutting into a spring fed lagoon and from my perch high on the opposite bank I could watch the reaction and saw all the above described takes. The ones most frustrating were the savage strikers that would swing around and hit the the fly again and again if it was kept moving. When I finally convinced the guy to stop jerking the fly out of the water after one of those hits and let it just lie there, the fish would invariably swing around and suck it in for a solid hook-up.

This also works trolling streamers. I've no idea how many hookups I've made on Maine square tails and salmon by "giving them the rod" after a missed strike. Hook trailers and wings that don't go beyond the bend very far will sometimes snag as the fly is let go and end in a hook-up. This is why they are the most often used "solution", but the odds aren't as dramatically improved as one would hope.

Nippers and short strikers are just plain hard to hook. This principal also holds for dries. Hard extensions that go much beyond the bend will severely reduce your chances unless the trout are in the mood to engulf.

Regards,

Kurt

"It's not that I find fishing so important, it's just that I find all other endeavors of Man equally unimportant... And not nearly as much fun!" Robert Traver, Anatomy of a Fisherman
GutcutterSeptember 3rd, 2011, 6:10 am
Pennsylvania

Posts: 470
.My marabou tails were maybe a bit too long on my buggers and the trout chomped down on the tail missing the hook bend all together. I would have these monster Browns rolling in the river in front of me for a second only to have them let go...


Spence - Since you are a self proclaimed dry fly snob, I was wondering, how do you get the buggers to float?
:)



Some tyers avoid micro-fibbets for this reason... The feeling is that they are too stiff. They look great but you don't want their stiffness maybe pushing the fly away a bit from the fish.

Sorry, buddy. Total BS.

Function & form trump an awesome looking fly that on the stream doesn't work properly.

Absolutely!

All men who fish may in turn be divided into two parts: those who fish for trout and those who don't. Trout fishermen are a race apart: they are a dedicated crew- indolent, improvident, and quietly mad.

-Robert Traver, Trout Madness
GutcutterSeptember 3rd, 2011, 6:25 am
Pennsylvania

Posts: 470

Ah, the short strike controversy... I know I'll probably hear a lot of disagreement, but I don't think there is such a thing.


No disagreement here. I agree completely


Hard extensions that go much beyond the bend will severely reduce your chances unless the trout are in the mood to engulf.


BS.
When they eat, they eat. It is the fisherman's fault if they're not hooked. I think that most of us set the hook too soon with extended body (or any large fly for that matter) flies and we use the excuse of the "short strike" to make us feel better. At least I use that excuse!.
:)

Or do you believe that they taste their food before swallowing?
All men who fish may in turn be divided into two parts: those who fish for trout and those who don't. Trout fishermen are a race apart: they are a dedicated crew- indolent, improvident, and quietly mad.

-Robert Traver, Trout Madness
OldredbarnSeptember 3rd, 2011, 12:39 pm
Novi, MI

Posts: 2600
Spence - Since you are a self proclaimed dry fly snob, I was wondering, how do you get the buggers to float?
:)


You know the old "evolution of a fisherman" deal...It was from another life, Tony...In the course of a lifetime a man has many, many, chances to sin and fall short of perfection my friend...I have chased fish for most of my life and short of dy-no-mite...Well...Since 1963 I've lived in the Great Lake State.

There is a Fisherman's Chapel that George Mason had constructed on the property he had donated to the state known as the Mason Tract...I used to do my confessionals there until I realized that the strange odor I was smelling there was urine from drunken canoeists...It has been some time since my last confession.

I have been known still, from time-to-time, to bump smallies on their snouts with an old Michigan Big Ugly...They don't seem to have that "short-strike" problem in the least. I have a killer Damsel Nymph as well that is top, top secret...So secret in fact I'm sorry I even mentioned it here...;)

Spence

Speaking of G Mason...I make a big deal out of the fact that he died the year that I was born (1954) and that maybe, just maybe, he was leaving the Tract to me...Joe Stalin died that year as well and I still don't know what to make of that...:)
"Even when my best efforts fail it's a satisfying challenge, and that, after all, is the essence of fly fishing." -Chauncy Lively

"Envy not the man who lives beside the river, but the man the river flows through." Joseph T Heywood
EntomanSeptember 3rd, 2011, 2:26 pm
Northern CA & ID

Posts: 2604
Tony,

Some tyers avoid micro-fibbets for this reason... The feeling is that they are too stiff. They look great but you don't want their stiffness maybe pushing the fly away a bit from the fish.

Sorry, buddy. Total BS.


I agree with your response to Spence's reporting of what many believe. I think the problem is real, but the solution is a little mistaken. Micro-fibbets are no stiffer then good quality spade hackle. If the fly is being pushed away this is typically from a last microsecond refusal or the cushion of water moves it away like a tiny surfer because the trout fails to open its gill covers and let water flow through. Like trying to scoop a floating dun with your hand as opposed to using a dip net? Why the fish do this on occasion is a bit of a mystery. The ingrates should always take our flies once committed.:)

BS.
When they eat, they eat. It is the fisherman's fault if they're not hooked. I think that most of us set the hook too soon with extended body (or any large fly for that matter) flies and we use the excuse of the "short strike" to make us feel better. At least I use that excuse!.
:)


Well, to quote the big goon in the Far Side comics after telling a far-fetched story to an incredulous listener, "Is that a hint of doubt I see in your as-of-yet unbruised eye?":)

My serious reply though is to redirect to the point I made earlier about the way fish take flies at times. We can debate the reasons why very stiff materials that go well beyond the hook bend make hook-ups more difficult at times, but the fact that it often happens is backed up by way too much experiential evidence to be ignored, anecdotal as well as empirical. The same thing can be said about the solution of shortening the materials inside a hook gap length. Especially with hoppers, big drakes, and the big stones. Though it is agreed that the fish should have time to turn down with the fly (especially with downstream presentations), this assumes the fly is still well back in his mouth. Missing is not always the anglers fault, and a change in timing is not always the answer.

Spence -

Speaking of G Mason...I make a big deal out of the fact that he died the year that I was born (1954) and that maybe, just maybe, he was leaving the Tract to me...Joe Stalin died that year as well and I still don't know what to make of that...:)


Maybe we're all a slap away (for dropping a cruet at the alter) from turning to the dark side. Or was that Hitler? Maybe both, I don't remember. As far as legacies, is there much difference between a urinal and a communist state? They both stink and what's put in them usually goes down the drain once finally flushed.

Regards,

Kurt
"It's not that I find fishing so important, it's just that I find all other endeavors of Man equally unimportant... And not nearly as much fun!" Robert Traver, Anatomy of a Fisherman
GutcutterSeptember 3rd, 2011, 2:59 pm
Pennsylvania

Posts: 470
If the fly is being pushed away this is typically from a last microsecond refusal or the cushion of water moves it away like a tiny surfer because the trout fails to open its gill covers and let water flow through. Like trying to scoop a floating dun with your hand as opposed to using a dip net? Why the fish do this on occasion is a bit of a mystery.

I completely agree. But is that a short strike?

Missing is not always the anglers fault, and a change in timing is not always the answer.


Sorry, Kurt, but I still believe that if the fish eats my fly, and I miss it on the set, then it is my fault. It feels nice to think that I fooled it, but I still screwed up. It won and I lost. Does it matter who wins and who loses?
Winning is only important in surgery and war -- unless of course the Pens are playing the Red Wings
All men who fish may in turn be divided into two parts: those who fish for trout and those who don't. Trout fishermen are a race apart: they are a dedicated crew- indolent, improvident, and quietly mad.

-Robert Traver, Trout Madness
EntomanSeptember 3rd, 2011, 3:28 pm
Northern CA & ID

Posts: 2604
Tony -

I completely agree. But is that a short strike?


I guess I didn't express myself clearly. Please note the following quote put in context with the rest of the paragraph.
These are the plucks, nips, and short strikes. But these descriptions are of their feel, not necessarily from seeing the fish behavior.


"Sorry, Kurt, but I still believe that if the fish eats my fly, and I miss it on the set, then it is my fault".

OK... If by "eat" you mean he "inhales" the fly with open gill covers, I'd agree with you. If by "eat" you mean he takes your fly, what about the other ways I mentioned trout take flies?

Winning is only important in ... war -- unless of course the Pens are playing the Red Wings


These two are the same thing, aren't they?:)

Regards,

Kurt
"It's not that I find fishing so important, it's just that I find all other endeavors of Man equally unimportant... And not nearly as much fun!" Robert Traver, Anatomy of a Fisherman
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