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Right size fly for the job & Hook Damage to Fish

Right size fly for the job & Hook Damage to Fish

Postby TJ @ Tenkara USA » Fri Jun 15, 2012 10:01 am

Thought it would be nice to have a list of what size hooks are recommend for what size and type of fish one is going after.

To date I have used hooks anyplace between size 12 and size 16, but thinking I may start using something smaller soon.

My local creek has smaller rainbow trout, I would say between 6 and 9 inches so far, although I have not measured any of the ones I have caught. I guess I am trying to be quicker getting them back in the H2O versus measuring and all that. But holding them in hand a few times I believe my sizing is accurate.

I noticed on one trout that swallowed my home-made size 14 Sakasa Kebari the hook was so deep and went right into the eye area. I did not inspect to long but I think it slipped right under it so hoping it did not get blinded from it. Best I know the trout swam off once released and I guess that is the best anyone will know once they release them.

Was thinking, maybe I need to go down to a size 20 for smaller trout. I guess if they swallow it deep even a smaller fly could be an issue and is one of those risks we take playing our favorite hobby, that a trout or other fish will have some damage along the way. I want to minimize this best I can so may go smaller fly on my local creeks.

So, what size flies do you all use when fishing smaller trout like this?

Here are my thoughts.... I will use size 20 for smaller creeks where trout will be less than 10" and go size 12 to 16 range when going after larger fish in larger waters.

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Re: Right size fly for the job

Postby TheHugbot » Fri Jun 15, 2012 10:11 am

I fished a sz20 for tiny trout in denmark, no hookups but I did get several on a sz24/26ish hook with a small bit of worm and I had no deep hooked fish, although I was using a tiny float and struck as soon as it moved.

the fish where between 2" and 5".
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Re: Right size fly for the job

Postby pechelman » Fri Jun 15, 2012 10:48 am

i rarely think about the size of the fly in relationship to the size of the trout I catch in rivers. Its not until larger species of fish that I start to think about hook size, and thats only for the strength of the hook.

my main thinking is to size the fly to the conditions of the day and river
If its cloudy water, darker\overcast, or in a very fast moving section of water, I'll fish a bigger fly
Generally that means size 8-10

if its clearer, sunny, and in slower water, I'll fish a bit more conservative size closer to whatever size bugs I might see flying around or in the water. Generally speaking that means 12-14.

Some of the tiniest fish I've caught have been on some of the biggest flies I've presented and I cant say I've ever noticed a correlation to where the fish is hooked and the size of the hook. For me, its also easier to remove a larger hook than it is a smaller hook.

The great thing about these kebari is that theyre so easy and quick to tie. If its too far into the fish, just snip the tippet and tie on another one. I'd rather give the fish a better chance than worry about the ~25-40 cents worth of thread, hackle, and hook of each fly or the ~3-5mins to tie one up.
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Re: Right size fly for the job

Postby TJ @ Tenkara USA » Fri Jun 15, 2012 11:02 am

pechelman wrote: If its too far into the fish, just snip the tippet and tie on another one. I'd rather give the fish a better chance than worry about the ~25-40 cents worth of thread, hackle, and hook of each fly or the ~3-5mins to tie one up.


What are others thoughts about leaving a hook in a fish.

I have never done that before. Just seems like not the right thing to do but then again, maybe prying on a hook too long may cause more damage.

I wonder what the Trout Unlimited or any fishing handbook recommends in these cases, hook too deep or in an odd place?

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Re: Right size fly for the job & Hook Damage to Fish

Postby Anthony » Fri Jun 15, 2012 11:17 am

I've always heard that if the hook is embedded deeply and you can't get it out without injury - then leave it in and it will corrode and dissolve pretty quickly, doing less damage. Is this true? I don't know - perhaps a fly test in some local creek water is in order.

I'll add however - that for the most part - I very rarely hook a trout deeply with flies, usually the hemostats make removal of the fly quick and seemingly non-injurious (the trout may feel differently).

I'll add that for some fish - panfish - I go to a bigger fly to avoid damage. I noticed they were eating my small flies so I switched to a big bushy hopper, and they would still bite but they really couldn't swallow it, it would just hook them in the lips - maybe less hookups but less floating bluegills too.
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Re: Right size fly for the job & Hook Damage to Fish

Postby TJ @ Tenkara USA » Fri Jun 15, 2012 11:22 am

Anthony wrote:I've always heard that if the hook is embedded deeply and you can't get it out without injury - then leave it in and it will corrode and dissolve pretty quickly, doing less damage. Is this true? I don't know - perhaps a fly test in some local creek water is in order.

I'll add however - that for the most part - I very rarely hook a trout deeply with flies, usually the hemostats make removal of the fly quick and seemingly non-injurious (the trout may feel differently).

I'll add that for some fish - panfish - I go to a bigger fly to avoid damage. I noticed they were eating my small flies so I switched to a big bushy hopper, and they would still bite but they really couldn't swallow it, it would just hook them in the lips - maybe less hookups but less floating bluegills too.


So sounds like from your angle larger flies means less swallowing of flies by fish and smaller flies more likely they will really get it back there?

I think I saw Eric of Tenkara Guides note something like that before or something about the larger fly not getting them hooked where they should not.

Anyway, interesting to see what folks here think about this and makes for interesting conversation.

I know one thing, I have a hard enough time seeing a size 14 fly in the water so can't imagine I would see much of a size 20 <grin>. My eyes are just not that good.

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Re: Right size fly for the job & Hook Damage to Fish

Postby erik.ostrander » Fri Jun 15, 2012 12:22 pm

My thoughts are that a smaller fly would be easier to swallow. At least that's the way it is for me. It is much easier to swallow a grain of rice than it is a plum. However, I can put a pretty good bit into a plum!

As a general starting point I begin my kebari experience with a size 12 hook on a scud type hook. I'll go up or down depending on only two criteria:
1. If the water is fast I go up, slow water usually means smaller
2. Bugs. Just because you use kebari doesn't mean you shouldn't look around. If there are big bugs, use big kebari and vice versa.

With either of those criteria there are always exceptions. Maybe a big kebari in slow water pulsating with hackle is just too much temptation. Who knows?

Always, always, always carry a good pair of hemostats or clamps. I'm a big fan of Dr. Slicks Mitten Clamps with scissors. I can reach in there and get the hook out and let my wet friend back in the water to catch another day.

About a month or so ago we posted a blog post about the science of catch and release. You may find it an interesting read. Clicky the linky

Lastly, Pechelman, I'd like to know where you go to get supplies that it can cost you 25 cents to tie a fly! I'll shop where you shop!
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Re: Right size fly for the job & Hook Damage to Fish

Postby pechelman » Fri Jun 15, 2012 12:45 pm

re leaving the hook in the fish
everything I've read and always heard is like what Anthony said above
Like any foreign item in our body, the fish will naturally reject it in a few days and will be spit out just like they used to do to my dry flies on a regular basis :)


erik.ostrander wrote: Pechelman, I'd like to know where you go to get supplies that it can cost you 25 cents to tie a fly! I'll shop where you shop!


ha!

Well, I just assumed the biggest cost in making a fly is the hook, which is roughly 20-30cents a hook depending on what you buy and in what quantity. (possible even less if you're not picky on hooks)

Add on the usual extras;

Thread is about 1$ for 100yds or whatever it is at the fabric store.
Surely I use no more than a foot per fly, so roughly .3-5cents per fly in thread.
For "expensive thread", its ~3 times as expensive, so still only 1-1.5 cents assuming my 1' is close enough.

For a hackle, I'll buy the cheap partridge or india hen thats ~4$ for a pack of 100? feathers, so maybe 5cents a fly for a hackle.

Total cost is probably closer to 30cents, maybe 40-50cents for "elaborate" kebari that have a peacock collar or ribbing on the body. Either way, I'm not sweating 50 cents when it comes to giving that fish a better chance. It surely costs way more than that to drive to our closest river. All in all, thats a pretty affordable expendable item to recreate and help sustain that recreation, especially compared to some other activities I enjoy. (mtn biking, skiing, scuba, FILM photograph)


EDIT
erik, like you, I use those Dr Slicks with the cutters, but in a regular finger loop variety
Just looking at their other offerings, have you, or anyone else for that matter, tried those ones with the release loop? Sorta like the "ketchum release" tool.
Always wondered how well those actually work. Seems like the line would just come out too easily sometimes.

Maybe a good solution for those deeper flies TJ is talking about?
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Re: Right size fly for the job & Hook Damage to Fish

Postby TJ @ Tenkara USA » Fri Jun 15, 2012 4:37 pm

pechelman wrote:Maybe a good solution for those deeper flies TJ is talking about?


I sleep with Doctor Slick these days. Thought you knew. hehehe

It was just real deep and up right under the eye so as I was grabbing for it, even though real barbless hook and all, it was just in an odd way, so even forceps made it a hard pull.

My thread is mostly about what sizes are best to cause least damage to smaller fish BUT also nice the thread has added about odd ways hooks are set, what are best practices to do if you feel getting it out will be more damage.

The hook for mine was just really in there and I could see it was affecting the eye as I worked on it to get out. I had a good minute or two working with fish under water as it re-couped and I saw a little blood around the eye and all but it did swim off rather quick once it had a rest.

tj

I carry these everywhere now-a-days. hehehe
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Re: Right size fly for the job & Hook Damage to Fish

Postby rmcworthing » Fri Jun 15, 2012 9:15 pm

Gents,

Like Erik suggested, really do think you would like reading our post, "The Science of Catch and Release."

It summarizes our literary review of 60+ scientific journal articles on catch and release practices. Cuts through the misconceptions and tells you what really matters. The impact of various gear and techniques has been fleshed out quite well in the literature.

The post (and the review paper that is referenced) will answer all of the questions you've posed here, clarify some of the good points that you all have made, and explain the reason behind catch and release principles. Definitely feel like the project made me a better angler.

http://tenkaraguides.com/the-science-of-catch-and-release/

Hope you'll take a look,

Rob
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