Author Topic: Finding Solutions for "Short Takes"...  (Read 3099 times)

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Todd Oishi

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Finding Solutions for "Short Takes"...
« on: May 25, 2012, 10:56:03 AM »
  A lack of hookups due to "short takes" can indeed be a very frustrating experience - if you are unaware of what is happening, and especially when there's a total lack of commitment on the part of the trout.

  At times when trout are following, but aren't willing to take your fly, varying the rate of your retrieve or changing your pattern selection might help to change your luck. But in many cases short takes can be converted into successfully hookups by simply changing the manner in which you are retrieving your fly, or by keeping your rod tip low and right on ( or beneath ) the surface of the water, in order to achieve a more direct contact with the fly and fish.

  When trout are striking at your fly, it's an obvious sign that they're attracted to the pattern and presentation, so in most cases sticking with the pattern, but varying the manner in which the fly is retrieved can be the best solution to the short takes.

  The standard stripping method ( regardless of the length of the strip ) at times lacks the direct contact and sensitivity that's necessary for an efficient hookup. This is largely due to the temporary loss of control and contact with the fly during the portion of the retrieve where the stripping hand doesn't make contact with the fly line while it travels upward for the next strip. The loss of contact and control with the fly line greatly reduces the angler's ability to quickly and effectively react to a strike ( I can't count the number of times I've had fish hit during that portion/pause in the retrieve ).
 
  Using a retrieve that maintains a steady pace ( regardless of the speed ), such as a figure-of-eight (hand-twist), strip and thrust or roly-poly, greatly improves a fly fisher's ability to maintain a direct and sensitive contact with their flies as a result of having very little slack in their line ( improves strike detection and the overall reaction time ). The key to the success of all 3 retrieves mentioned above, lies in the fact that they keep the fly in constant motion and the line tight at all times...

  Striking prematurely - especially by raising your fly rod - increases the likelihood of unsuccessful hookups, and severely reduces the chances of a second strike or attempt by the trout, as a trout that has been following and bumping or nipping at the fly will rarely pursue a fly that has been yanked well out of its striking range ( raising your rod will shoot the fly ahead 6 to 9 feet in a split second ).

  One of the best tactics to use if you are experiencing short takes is to completely ignore the taps and bumps, and continue the retrieve ( this takes a lot of practice and patience to resist the urge to strike ) until you feel the weight of the trout. Once you feel the weight of the fish, then, and only then, you should set the hook with a quick strip-strike, rather than lifting the fly rod - which as previously mentioned - will pull your fly away from the trout and raise their level of caution or turn them off completely!

This is just one of my solutions, and advice that I hope is useful to those of you that are struggling with solving the mysteries of the short take. How about you? How do you deal with those dreaded short takes?  :o

For me, the quality of a trout is not measured in inches or pounds, but rather by the journey and circumstances that allowed our paths to cross...

Byron Shepherd

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Re: Finding Solutions for "Short Takes"...
« Reply #1 on: May 29, 2012, 09:37:31 PM »
Hey Todd, nice topic.  My input is chew off some of the tail of the fly.  Stripping:-  strip strip strip and pause, then strip again slowly.  Lots of times that last slow strip will entice a stronger take.  I never lift the rod in these cases but rather let the expensive stick you have in your hand do it's job.  Try this and let me know.
Remeber the lake you cabinned on in the Kneauk.  Same kind of takes you are talking about.

Cheers, B

Rex Takasugi

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Re: Finding Solutions for "Short Takes"...
« Reply #2 on: August 13, 2012, 09:25:42 PM »
Good advice, Todd!  I seem to mainly have this problem when fishing leech patterns, so what I've done is I now use long shank hooks (like 4x or 6x long) when tying leech patterns.  If the fish just tries to grab the tail end of the leech, then it is now more likely that the fish will get hooked.  A disadvantage is that the fish has more leverage on you when fighting so you may be more likely to lose the fish during the fight.  Also, if the hook is made of light wire, then it may bend when extracting the hook from a fish's mouth.

Rex

Chris Puchniak

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Re: Finding Solutions for "Short Takes"...
« Reply #3 on: July 08, 2013, 05:35:18 PM »
I think line choice can also be critical.

Using too fast of a sinking line can force you to have to retrieve your fly too fast, and sometimes that can be a factor in getting short take. Lessen up a sink rate and slow down a tad.

Low stretch lines versus standard stretch line. Either one can cause a short take issue and changing between them can help solve the problem. Sometimes low stretch lines, which let you feel so much can impede a fish's ability to grab a fly - it goes to suck it in, but the line has no give to allow it.  A higher stretch line can offer more give, and allow the fly to be taken.  High stretch lines can leave you missing takes too though. The key is often knowing when each line has the advantage!  Often it comes down to how the fish are taking and their level of aggression.
« Last Edit: July 09, 2013, 10:54:38 AM by Chris Puchniak »
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Alex Berger

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Re: Finding Solutions for "Short Takes"...
« Reply #4 on: July 09, 2013, 02:18:16 AM »
Hi Todd,
enjoyed read your post. I believe there are other approaches that could also help. 

1. If I am casting to a rising trout and fish is not taking, I  may change my casting angle. Some times it is sufficient a step to the right or left, changing the angle. I don't know why but trout responds often to a few degree difference, this may have to do with their sight  or the fact that they are lazy and if its not convenient for them the refuse.

2. increasing the length of my leader / and length or fineness of your tippet. Some times going to from 5 X tippet to 6 of 7x tippet has made a great difference particularity in a clear water.     Unless I am pocket fishing in fast currents,  I usually use a 15 to 20' leader in slow currents.

3. I make sure that my  leader lands first  and then your fly falls on the surface.   The fly should not land with the leader!  The tippet should land softly making a U in relatioship to the rest of the leader, and this is where the side casting and the final jerk of the wrist comes from.

4. distinguish between my hunting flies, and my tactical flies.

Last but not least, the concept of matching the hatch in these instances has its limits. We can not make paralysis by analysis and matching the hatch is not always the answer. when trout is in eating frenzy they take on anything small including a 18 CDC spent.

Thanks

Alex



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Todd Oishi

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Re: Finding Solutions for "Short Takes"...
« Reply #5 on: July 09, 2013, 06:27:04 AM »
Thanks for sharing those words of wisdom Alex!

It is truly amazing how just a slight adjustment in the length or diameter of your leader and tippet can, at times, make such a significant difference in your angling results.

For me, the quality of a trout is not measured in inches or pounds, but rather by the journey and circumstances that allowed our paths to cross...

Alex Berger

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Re: Finding Solutions for "Short Takes"...
« Reply #6 on: July 09, 2013, 09:19:30 AM »
I have not yet interviewed a trout ;D, but it amazes me how little we know, and how much we can learn!  Fly fishing is one endless learning upward curve and I love it!  :P
"Oh I live to be the ruler of life not a slave..
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John Wilkinson

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Re: Finding Solutions for "Short Takes"...
« Reply #7 on: July 09, 2013, 09:59:02 AM »
That it is..... that it is!!

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Chris Puchniak

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Re: Finding Solutions for "Short Takes"...
« Reply #8 on: July 09, 2013, 10:58:11 AM »
It would be an intreesting experiment to be able to film a lot of fish chasing and approaching flies to see what their response is on various days to various tactics - and to be able to slow down the attack on the fly enough to see what is happening.  I have watched some footage, but there is never enough of it.  Unfortunately the man-hours and resources required would be really high to get this data, and one would have to do it full time.   :o
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Ron Thompson

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Re: Finding Solutions for "Short Takes"...
« Reply #9 on: July 13, 2013, 09:20:19 AM »
Short strikes mean the fish is interested but something could be wrong I will go a size up/down with the fly or a change of color. I will change the fly out in case there is a scent to the fly. A change in retrieve faster/slower/longer can help, so try everything don't leave anything for granted.
ron
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Alex Berger

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Re: Finding Solutions for "Short Takes"...
« Reply #10 on: July 13, 2013, 10:02:24 AM »
Chris, one good way to experiment would be  to to get some CDC and  throw them one by one on calm current and watch them float naturally. you be surprised to see how how trout rise to them!
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Chris Puchniak

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Re: Finding Solutions for "Short Takes"...
« Reply #11 on: July 13, 2013, 10:10:27 AM »
That's a good idea Alex.  Wish that would work for subsurface action though. That is the tough area to study fish behavior, when they are 8' down and 75' out from you.
I will fish anywhere and find beauty in it.

Don't be a Pessimist. Don't be an Optimist.  Be a Realist and change when you need to.

Alex Berger

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Re: Finding Solutions for "Short Takes"...
« Reply #12 on: July 13, 2013, 11:02:19 AM »
Todd,  I try to  trout behavior with what floats on the surface only which is not easy.  I am afraid what happens  8' feet below the surface  is much more complex complex
"Oh I live to be the ruler of life not a slave..
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Randy Paskall

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Re: Finding Solutions for "Short Takes"...
« Reply #13 on: July 18, 2013, 06:02:51 PM »
Finding Solutions for "Short Takes"

I usually look for taller fish. ;D

I kill me. ::)

Rip it baby, make 'em make a mistake - they are already interested. It's harder to 'pick' at a pattern when it's moving mach5 (like my razor lol!!) and if you get more than one take during the retrieve stop it dead, then begin the rip once more. Often the real take comes after the 3rd or 4th yank in the rip after the pause.
I find often the 'rip' works better than roly-poly on short takers - something with a bead in front to get it see-sawing some and falling nose first on the pause then up and at 'em higher in the water column ( the pause will allow the pattern to nose dive somewhat) and it seems to be a good trigger.
Sorry, but you weren't catching that fish anyway.....

Todd Oishi

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Re: Finding Solutions for "Short Takes"...
« Reply #14 on: July 18, 2013, 06:12:10 PM »
Excellent post Randy! :)
For me, the quality of a trout is not measured in inches or pounds, but rather by the journey and circumstances that allowed our paths to cross...