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How hard can you lean into a fish on your gear?
05-02-2013, 04:32 PM (This post was last modified: 05-03-2013 06:42 AM by OldTimer.)
Post: #1
How hard can you lean into a fish on your gear?
I’d say that the majority of weekend anglers DON’T really know how much pressure they can safely apply to a fish once they've hooked it.

Typically drags are set fairly lightly to avoid the shock breaking a line on a HARD “cross their eyes” hook set.

True – one must consider the target species and how soft its mouth and tissues are - like crappie and whitefish- ….. But other species if well hooked (and not in the edge of the lip) can be much more aggressively handled.

Yes – I know you don’t want to lose the fish – but its real handy knowing what you can do – before you experiment in real fight time.

Most anglers will have a “general” outfit ……. Say with 8# test on a 6.5 or 7 foot rod.

Try this with that outfit – get a large used plastic jug (gallon) from vinegar or laundry stuff…………. Fill it about half way with water…….. tie yer line on the handle……. Then actually pick it off the floor by tightening your drag to the point where you can do so…….. Now look at the substantial arc in your pole……….. That’s not even 5 pounds………. Ya still got lots of room to the 8 pound line strength.

(a litre of water weighs a kilogram, or 2.2 pounds)

Just imagine what is possible with 15 or 17 pound test outfits….or 30…or 50..etc……… try a test at that level…..

I’m not saying that initial light drag settings are not the way to go…… I do it…........to offset poor knots, line nicks, poor hook sets, etc……. Just this: learn the limits of your gear and you’ll be much more prepared when you do hook into a monster and need to max out that days outfit.

The above… and a bit of ultra-light fishing (using a 4# or less system) for big carp will prepare you for most everything.

Cheers,

OldTimer

<>< I once gave up fishing. It was the most terrifying weekend of my life. ><>

See you on the river.
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05-02-2013, 11:41 PM (This post was last modified: 05-03-2013 02:19 PM by MuskieBait.)
Post: #2
RE: How hard can you lean into a fish on your gear?
Definitely.

A lot of time, I notice two groups of anglers...

1) Those who use heavy drag, heavy line and simply heave into their fish.

2) Those who are not familiar with their gear and play a fish too gentle even though their gear can be put to more stress.

That's a sign that most anglers are not familiar with the limits of their gear.

A way I like to test my gear is simply put on a light leader and try to test out the drag, the rod's action and the line strength.

For example, I put on 6lb fluorocarbon as a leader when I use 8lb mainline on my float rod. When you hooked a salmon, you can adjust the drag to a little more, or a little less, to see when you can safely slow or stop a fish. Then, using the same drag setting, you can test the rod for its bend. You'll notice that when you load the rod up, the drag may not pay out as easily. The potential energy in the rod's bend puts more pressure on the fish and when the rod is loaded up, line puts pressure on the rod guides as well, making your drag a little less responsive.

Just make sure that your leader is always lighter than the mainline and well within or below your rod's rating. You want the leader to snap first before your mainline or your rod...in case you put too much pressure on the fish and the drag on the reel can't react quickly enough.

You can use the "Rules of thirds" usually. Your max drag on the reel should be no more than 1/3 of your line breaking strength (mainline or leader). With freshwater fishing, you hardly ever even need 5lb of drag. If you're line is 8lb test, you don't want to set your drag to be more than 3lbs. The drag setting is always lower since you have to account for the rod's power when the blank loads up.

Malama o ke kai

Caution - Objects in picture are smaller than they appear. I am genetically predisposed to make fish look bigger.

Life List: 577 species and counting (2016: 91 new species)
http://muskiebaitadventures.blogspot.ca/...-list.html
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05-03-2013, 12:35 PM
Post: #3
RE: How hard can you lean into a fish on your gear?
Very useful article. As a beginner, I've lost fish due to drag being too tight. Still being a beginner, I'm running a fair bit too loose.

I have noticed from my own experimenting, that a drag setting that allows for a slow slip under constant pressure can still be tight enough to break the line under a sudden jolt.

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05-03-2013, 01:55 PM
Post: #4
RE: How hard can you lean into a fish on your gear?
Tensile strength of any metal or rigid polymer is always greater than their impact or drop weight strengths.

I've noticed over time that many anglers don't pay enough attention to the condition of their lines along the last 3 feet or so. Nicks, scrapes, partial slicing, and shaving will reduce tensile stregth, and even more greatly reduce impact strength. I eyeball my terminal end often, and regularly run it through my fingers to inspect it......... plus I carefully inspect it after every fish. When in doubt - cut off a foot or two and retie.

The best way to inspect the last few feet your line is to run it through your lips - they will feel any defects.

Always cut out wind knots or any overhand (granny) knots that might occur in your line – these knots can reduce strength by 50%.

I learned the hard way several times that you never use the knots and such from a previous trip that were left rigged up ……….. cut the end off & re-do it. Same thing with dropper rigs.

OT

<>< I once gave up fishing. It was the most terrifying weekend of my life. ><>

See you on the river.
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05-03-2013, 11:13 PM (This post was last modified: 05-03-2013 11:15 PM by zippyFX.)
Post: #5
RE: How hard can you lean into a fish on your gear?
Nice topic!

Your right, the tackle most people have can support larger fish than they would typically expect. In fact most tackle can handle fish heavier than that recommended.

A good read I recently stumbled across was the effects of specific knots on line strengths:

http://www.fieldandstream.com/photos/gal...hing-knots
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05-04-2013, 10:26 PM
Post: #6
RE: How hard can you lean into a fish on your gear?
very useful, especially for me, the beginner of float fishing. just hooked one sucker ever. Smile
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05-05-2013, 03:07 AM (This post was last modified: 05-05-2013 03:09 AM by MuskieBait.)
Post: #7
RE: How hard can you lean into a fish on your gear?
Today I really got to test the strength of my Shimano Convergence 12'6" float rod. Fishing in a small pool that was blocked by logs both at the head and tail of a pool, and a log on the far side the pool plus cedar branches on my side of the pool, I couldn't let the fish run or else they would run into any of the logs or the cedar branch.

I had to use 4lb fluorocarbon since the fish were extremely line shy.

You can just imagine the fun.

But no matter, the slow action of the rod was perfect for holding 2-8lb steelhead in the pool without allowing the fish to run too much. I did lost 4 of them to snapping off at the log jam, but I also landed 11 of them...and the ones that were landed required me to hold my ground and keep the fish within the pool...that is, I cannot let them run under any of the logs.

During the fight, my drag was set "fairly tight"...that is, if I choose to give the fish line, it will give...but then I thumbed the spool gently to hold the fish in the pool, use the "noodle" property of the rod to absorb most of the surging runs, spins, jumps and headshakes, and use my arm if necessary to cushion those steelhead antics.

You also have to react immediately to any of those antics. A steelhead can change direction on a dime...and as such, you have to keep your arm and rod lively and adjusting to line angle and rod tip direction to the fish.

At some point of the day, my rod was in a full semi-circle. It's quite a sight to see actually...to bad I didn't have any pictures of it...too busy fishing and the GoPro is cursed anyways.

Again, I encourage you all to test your equipment to the max (within reason). Just make sure you use line light enough to snap before your rod does. Wink

Malama o ke kai

Caution - Objects in picture are smaller than they appear. I am genetically predisposed to make fish look bigger.

Life List: 577 species and counting (2016: 91 new species)
http://muskiebaitadventures.blogspot.ca/...-list.html
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07-12-2013, 12:34 PM
Post: #8
RE: How hard can you lean into a fish on your gear?
Recently I hooked into the biggest fish I've likely ever had on the line. It hit fairly hard, then took probably a good third of the line off the spool. I fought it and kept having to tighten the drag, and despite tightening it more than I ever have before, for every one turn in my favour I kept losing line to the critter. I began becoming concerned about the reel itself, as to just turn it one rotation was a real struggle. My line 'test' is 8 lbs. and I'm sure the fish was way heavier than that! Eventually I snapped the line by heaving on it too eagerly. I expect that had I been more patient I may have eventually landed the critter!
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07-12-2013, 09:40 PM (This post was last modified: 07-12-2013 09:41 PM by MuskieBait.)
Post: #9
RE: How hard can you lean into a fish on your gear?
When you are battling larger fish (or stronger fish), sometimes you cannot simply turn the handle to reel in line, especially when you are using a lighter drag setting to let the fish run if necessary.

There is always a fine line between just enough drag and too much drag. I tend to err on the side of a lighter drag, such that fish can run if they need to do so.

On a lighter drag, you may need to do a few things to retrieve line with a heavier or stronger fish.

1) Use your hand to gently palm the spool to add that extra pressure to prevent fish from taking line.

2) Lift the rod up to bring the fish closer, then reel quickly to keep a tight line as you drop the rod tip. This is the pump-and-wind method. Your rod will provide that extra pressure to bring the fish closer, and by dropping the rod tip you can then reel in the line under less pressure (so it doesn't work against your drag).

3) Try to follow the fish as much as possible to minimize the amount of line being pulled out and to use the rod's reserve power as much as possible to fight the fish.

Remember...

Force = Mass x Acceleration

A fish does not have to be 8lbs or heavier to snap 8lb line. A fresh 4lb steelhead on its initial run under a tight drag can snap 8lb fluorocarbon without issue.

On the other hand, you can land so big fish with 8lb line if you play a fish properly. Fish fighting skill will come with experience. Wink

Malama o ke kai

Caution - Objects in picture are smaller than they appear. I am genetically predisposed to make fish look bigger.

Life List: 577 species and counting (2016: 91 new species)
http://muskiebaitadventures.blogspot.ca/...-list.html
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07-17-2013, 08:12 AM
Post: #10
RE: How hard can you lean into a fish on your gear?
As MB says "palming" the spool can help but the key word is "gently".

Also - when possible try to keep the rod tip as elevated as possible - so that the fish is fighting both vertical and horizontal forces.

Another technique that helps tire the fish (once it is closer) is to slightly "bow to the fish" when it initiates a sudden surge. This slight relaxation acts as a shock absorber and adds yet another tiring effect to those of rod spring, line stretch, and drag slippage.

Cheers,

OldTimer

<>< I once gave up fishing. It was the most terrifying weekend of my life. ><>

See you on the river.
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