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Knot failure when steelheading - Page 2
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  1. #11
    One more response to this: Putting on my engineer hat, as I'm not an expert fly fisherman, but I'm a good engineer! The other side of this equation is acceleration. You say you like to play the fish hard. Tippet and line is rated in Force (lb-f) not weight (lb-m). F=m*A. In this case your fish is the m, and fixed. But the acceleration is entirely in your hands. Do you think maybe you can ease up on the drag and let the reel and the rod "dampen" the Force/action a little better?

    I wonder if your reel and rod are properly matched to your style of fishing you do? What rod were you fishing? Were you able to get the fish on the reel quickly? Were they breaking on the initial run or on the reel in? I think if you determine the line and knots weren't at fault then I think you have a dampening issue. Particularly because you said most breaks were at the hook eye. Material failures in the line would indicate nicks or age, but considering no knot is 100% of the line strength its tied from, this leads me to believe its the knot that is your issue. If your 100% convinced the knot is proper and living up to design strength then you need to fix the other side of the equation.

  2. #12
    Most of my breakage happens during the fight, sometimes after I've been fighting the fish for a long period of time. Gary Borger states in one of his books that the harder you (I) pull, the harder the fish will pull back. I'm in total agreement with this as most steelhead will run downstream and pressure is applied in an effort to slow them down and keep them in the pool. Even a tired fish that has lost energy has the potential of breaking off if it gets out into the faster current and uses the current force against the bulk of its body. I plead guilty to taking advantage of every opportunity I get to pressure a fish into the shallows for landing as quickly as possible.

    I built my steelhead rods on regular trout fly rod blanks, so they are definately not too heavy. I have a 9" 5-wt; 9' 6-wt and 10' 5-wt. My reels are the dragless CFO-IV which I have been steelheading with for many years. Any drag is applied by palming the spool or squeezing the line between my thumb and forefinger. Getting a steelhead on the reel immediately after hooking it is never a problem.

    Years back some friends did a bit of observation and actually watched steelhead move out of the way to avoid leaders and flies. This has always stuck in my mind and I believe that lighter leaders are absolutely necessary when fishing for pressured fish. But I'm wondering just how light is really practical? I mostly used 3-X (7 to 9.2 pounds) this year which leads me to believe that 2-X might be a better choice since the fish average 8-to 12-pounds. However, I'm worried that might reduce the number of hookups. Spin fishermen and centerpinners can get away with lighter leaders due to the elongation of their line acting as a shock absorber. Unfortunately, a fly fisher doesn't have that advantage with his non-stretching fly line and short leader.

    My ultimate goal is to use the lightest leader practical for the highest number of hook-ups and highest number of fsh landed.


 

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