Watch That Hook Set!

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Photo by Louis Cahill

Photo by Louis Cahill

By Justin Pickett

You’ve just sent your flies along their path to greatness.

Your dry/dropper lays out sweetly onto the surface of the water, right where you wanted it. As you watch your fly doddle along the bumps and bubbles, it happens… The broad nose of a hungry trout emerges from the underworld and nonchalantly gulps down your dry. Everything goes just as planned as you wait for the trout’s nose to dip before setting the hook, and just as that snout tips… you set your hook right into a bush or a tree, possibly costing you a proper hookup on this trout. Maybe you smacked your buddy in the face. Or worse, what if your rod got hung in an overhead limb while the fish was hooked up and subsequently broke your rod tip? I’m speaking from experience on every single one of these examples!

Preventing any of these scenarios is as easy as just taking a look around before making your cast.

Take note of your casting obstacles, many of them are likely to become obstacles during your hookset as well. The obvious killers are the overhead limbs and bushes, but don’t overlook obstacles that are upstream or downstream either.

Nothing fancy here, but just taking a few seconds to take a good look around and placing yourself into a favorable position can save you a ton of headaches. Getting an eat is half the battle on most days, so losing a fish during your hookset is the last thing you want!

Justin Pickett
Gink & Gasoline
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2 thoughts on “Watch That Hook Set!

  1. Nothing worse than setting the hook and a tree limb startles you on the back swing and you lose the fish. Another part of the hook set that I always struggled with was the “when” it can be difficult to wait until the fish has the fly on a visual take. When you can’t see the strike then the fish usually has the fly before you set the hook. The problem is on the visual take especially on a dry fly when you set the hook just a bit early pulling the fly from the fish’s mouth. I liken it to a receiver looking at the end zone or the tackler just before the ball gets to him dropping a perfectly placed ball due to the excitement. Great post just wanted to add this as your post reminded me of one of the many facets of fly fishing that makes it so challenging yet so rewarding to master. “If you ever do”.

  2. Pingback: Tippets: Harrison’s Sporting Journals, Setting the Hook, Loon Live: Swing-Toberfest Tonight - Pesca y Bits

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