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Fishing Tip: The Secret to Netting Big Trout

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October 19, 2012

Fishing Tip: The Secret to Netting Big Trout

By Kirk Deeter

My friends Tom Whitley and John Hagen guide on the super-sweet ranch waters where the rainbows and browns often top 20 inches in length, and 50-fish days are common. It's a guide's paradise, except for the fact that when people tie into trout like that, they tend to break off easily—especially when the current is heavy. A guide could go broke buying and tying flies just to keep up with demand. So these guys figured out a way to teach anyone how to land a big trout, and here it is:

1. When you hook a big one, yes indeed, you want to let the fish run, maintaining a good steady arc in the rod.  Too much arc and you'll break off, too little and the trout will spit the fly. Keep the arc.

2. Steer the fish out of heavy current by tipping the rod to the side and toward the shoreline.  This works best when you are even with the fish's position in the river (not far upstream of the fish).

3. Here's the best part. When you get the fish in slack water, stick your rod tip in the water and crank on the reel. You'll be amazed just how easily trout will follow along when you do your reeling with the rod tip in the water.

4.  When you reel the end of the line through your rod tip (only the leader and tippet are left out), lift the rod, straight up, forcing the fish's head to break the surface.  When the head is up, maintain that pressure, because the fish has no leverage, and you can slide it right toward the waiting net.

Before you doubt it, try it. Tip in the water when you reel. You'll cut your fight times in half, and land twice as many fish.

Comments (19)

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from clinchknot wrote 1 year 26 weeks ago

Sounds like some great tips. I have my own way of netting though that is contrary to many experts opinion on how to net. Often it is described as the netter getting ahold of the bad, and get the net in the water, and have the angler LEAD the fish over the top of the net. IMO a fish that dives can pull the hook out of its mouth by catching the net. I keep the net out of the water, bag in hand, and when the angler has the fish up, and near me, I scoop.

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from buckhunter wrote 1 year 26 weeks ago

Uh? What? Do I read #3 right? This I'll have to try. Steelhead season is almost upon us.

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from clinchknot wrote 1 year 26 weeks ago

I think #3 relates to keeping the fish as deep as possible. Lift a fish up, and bring it up, and it generally will thrash around. Lower your rod tip, and allow it to decend, and it quits thrashing. But when you talk about "netting" a fish, my question needs answered.

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from rhiggins wrote 1 year 26 weeks ago

For number three, are you talking pointing the rod tip right at the fish? Or, is this more of a putting your rod sideways and having the tip in the water?

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from clinchknot wrote 1 year 26 weeks ago

Sideways and tip in the water hopefully. At the fish is a good way to break it off.

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from VAHunter540 wrote 1 year 26 weeks ago

walk softly and carry a big net.

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from rhiggins wrote 1 year 25 weeks ago

I assumed sideways, but I've heard of people pointing right at the fish as well. Don't get the bend in the rod to work against you, but I'd imagine that's no good with lighter tippet.

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from clinchknot wrote 1 year 25 weeks ago

The bend is your friend if you are using a line that could break on a fish. It cushions the line from breaking. I'm not sold on that technique...low tip fine, but under the water you lose sight of where your line is headed, and not as sensitive to the movement of a fish. One of the big mistakes that occur all the time is the angler that starts to bend the rod, and lift the fish into a boat, net, or bank it, and the fish explodes to race off, dive, and the angler keeps the deep bend in the rod, rather than quickly lowering it, and removing the drag the rod is creating. Witnessed it many, many times as a guide. But a big key here is where do you place the net, and the title of the topic says "how to net"..Many of these topics created leave a decent angler scratching their head.

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from jaukulele wrote 1 year 25 weeks ago

I can't wait to try that out. I like the breakdown into the different stages of the fight. Good article.

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from buckhunter wrote 1 year 25 weeks ago

Clinch, If you are looking for detailed information, blog's are not the place to find it. Blogs are generally short, to the point and are limited to 1-3 keys points. Do not expect a book of information in only a few paragraphs.

The great thing about blogs are the opinions they generate from others of similar interest. Often, the responses generated are more interesting than the blog itself.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from clinchknot wrote 1 year 25 weeks ago

Buck..What? The rule of thumb is...go on a blog, and don't expect to get GOOD information? That #3 that impressed you, and after I mulled it over in my mind, was deeter transposing a tournament bass fisherman's technique onto a flyfishing site, and implying it is a good flyfishing technique. Ever watch those tourney bass guys land a fish? Tip in the water, crank the bass to the boat with a steady retrieve keeping the fish low in the water, and not thrashing around on top, then on a short line, lift, getting the fishes MO going into the boat, and a recorded catch. Ave landing time, by the way,? 7 sec. on ave. as conducted in a survey. Generally 17 lb test, on ave. as well, right to the hook. A fly guy? You want to see the leader butt knot enter the rod tip for one. How can you do that with your rod tip in the water? I like good info, and you can get it on blogs. And a real good question is "how do you use a net/proper techniqe?...as the title suggests, but didn't deal with. And there sure can be more than one technique. YOu just constantly patronize deeter, and never question information. I think of the bigger dude that reads the stuff. Makes for good discussion anyway at getting at good info. You just decline to participate like most.

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from clinchknot wrote 1 year 25 weeks ago

Correction...I think of the "beginner dude" as benefiting from good information.

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from jaukulele wrote 1 year 25 weeks ago

Clinch, I think he's not saying that you get "bad" information from blogs. You get short snippets of the writer's take on information, in this case, a couple of very experienced fly fishermen. "Good" is kind of a tough label to use for the information found in any blogs. If you want vast amounts of "good" info, he's right, you should go to something like a book on the subject written by a well respected, and known expert. The title may suggest techniques on the actual netting of the fish. Perhaps, the author could have used the word "land" instead. Like other blogs, however, this one is intended to provide suggestions and editorial-style articles. These typically generate discussions among the readers and a sometimes real or sometimes imagined relationship between blogger and reader.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from clinchknot wrote 1 year 25 weeks ago

jauk..But you can start with a bit of info, and then get good feedback from posters regarding different points of view with the end game being an understanding of what is beneficial, and what isn't. Buck seems to dismiss that view, as only interested in humorous posts regardless of how off point they are. Even deeter won't respond with additional info, and a point of view. I'm all about substance, and can be humorous as well, but think of how young folks that want, and need good info that are getting into flyfishing are attracted to the site expecting to learn something.

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from jaukulele wrote 1 year 25 weeks ago

That makes sense clinch. I would advise those newcomers, as well as anyone searching for good info, to go to the "Flyfishing" section of the site and then to the "articles" section of the site. These are not blog posts; rather, they are actual articles pertaining to flyfishing. The "answers" section of the website is another good part to visit. While, often, good information may be found on the blog, I view it as more of a commentary on flyfishing. It's like getting into flyfishing and then visiting the donut shop by the river to listen to the old guys swap stories or even sometimes share tips and information. Sometimes I may even get a comment in. Otherwise, I'm just here to listen to the stories and take it all in. Learning to flyfish finds its home elsewhere (such as in the aforementioned sections of the website and books).

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from clinchknot wrote 1 year 25 weeks ago

jauk..I would advice these newcomers to go to a site that is interested in forwarding good flyfishing info. A site specifically on flyfishing. These sites on F & S are muddled with other types of fishing info as if they want to throw it all into one pot. Bucks, "lets have fun" theme, and forget about the academics involved at becoming a decent fly angler I don't subscribe to. I believe you can have fun learning how to flyfish, and do it properly so you don't get frustrated, and give it up early on. Seems like many in this country have turned to the "dumbing down of America" Anything I ever wanted to do be it baseball, an employee for someone, a fly angler etc., I wanted to get good at it.

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from jaukulele wrote 1 year 25 weeks ago

cool.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from clinchknot wrote 1 year 25 weeks ago

jauk...doesn't need to find itself elsewhere when someone asks for good info. They ask for it on the gun sites. I think what you are saying is this F & S site has a reputation of not providing good info so the folks that show up don't expect to get good info. That appears to be the case. I see it as another example of the "dumbing down" that is going on in America. It's like, forget the substance go out and have fun. Pretty pathetic from my standpoint.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from jaukulele wrote 1 year 24 weeks ago

I think you're missing me, clinch. But that's ok. The big thing on this thread was that, at least my coworker and I both realized that this post was going to be about landing more big fish, not a dip and take improvement method. Your misunderstanding of the title of the blog post may have been a little blown out of proportion and incorrectly assumed to be widespread in your mind. Sadly, however, the post has become something it shouldn't be, a mostly unrelated discussion between two individuals. Let's keep on the issues, clinch.

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Post a Comment

from jaukulele wrote 1 year 25 weeks ago

That makes sense clinch. I would advise those newcomers, as well as anyone searching for good info, to go to the "Flyfishing" section of the site and then to the "articles" section of the site. These are not blog posts; rather, they are actual articles pertaining to flyfishing. The "answers" section of the website is another good part to visit. While, often, good information may be found on the blog, I view it as more of a commentary on flyfishing. It's like getting into flyfishing and then visiting the donut shop by the river to listen to the old guys swap stories or even sometimes share tips and information. Sometimes I may even get a comment in. Otherwise, I'm just here to listen to the stories and take it all in. Learning to flyfish finds its home elsewhere (such as in the aforementioned sections of the website and books).

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from jaukulele wrote 1 year 25 weeks ago

cool.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from clinchknot wrote 1 year 26 weeks ago

Sounds like some great tips. I have my own way of netting though that is contrary to many experts opinion on how to net. Often it is described as the netter getting ahold of the bad, and get the net in the water, and have the angler LEAD the fish over the top of the net. IMO a fish that dives can pull the hook out of its mouth by catching the net. I keep the net out of the water, bag in hand, and when the angler has the fish up, and near me, I scoop.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from buckhunter wrote 1 year 26 weeks ago

Uh? What? Do I read #3 right? This I'll have to try. Steelhead season is almost upon us.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from clinchknot wrote 1 year 26 weeks ago

I think #3 relates to keeping the fish as deep as possible. Lift a fish up, and bring it up, and it generally will thrash around. Lower your rod tip, and allow it to decend, and it quits thrashing. But when you talk about "netting" a fish, my question needs answered.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from rhiggins wrote 1 year 26 weeks ago

For number three, are you talking pointing the rod tip right at the fish? Or, is this more of a putting your rod sideways and having the tip in the water?

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from clinchknot wrote 1 year 26 weeks ago

Sideways and tip in the water hopefully. At the fish is a good way to break it off.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from VAHunter540 wrote 1 year 26 weeks ago

walk softly and carry a big net.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from rhiggins wrote 1 year 25 weeks ago

I assumed sideways, but I've heard of people pointing right at the fish as well. Don't get the bend in the rod to work against you, but I'd imagine that's no good with lighter tippet.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from clinchknot wrote 1 year 25 weeks ago

The bend is your friend if you are using a line that could break on a fish. It cushions the line from breaking. I'm not sold on that technique...low tip fine, but under the water you lose sight of where your line is headed, and not as sensitive to the movement of a fish. One of the big mistakes that occur all the time is the angler that starts to bend the rod, and lift the fish into a boat, net, or bank it, and the fish explodes to race off, dive, and the angler keeps the deep bend in the rod, rather than quickly lowering it, and removing the drag the rod is creating. Witnessed it many, many times as a guide. But a big key here is where do you place the net, and the title of the topic says "how to net"..Many of these topics created leave a decent angler scratching their head.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from jaukulele wrote 1 year 25 weeks ago

I can't wait to try that out. I like the breakdown into the different stages of the fight. Good article.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from buckhunter wrote 1 year 25 weeks ago

Clinch, If you are looking for detailed information, blog's are not the place to find it. Blogs are generally short, to the point and are limited to 1-3 keys points. Do not expect a book of information in only a few paragraphs.

The great thing about blogs are the opinions they generate from others of similar interest. Often, the responses generated are more interesting than the blog itself.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from clinchknot wrote 1 year 25 weeks ago

Buck..What? The rule of thumb is...go on a blog, and don't expect to get GOOD information? That #3 that impressed you, and after I mulled it over in my mind, was deeter transposing a tournament bass fisherman's technique onto a flyfishing site, and implying it is a good flyfishing technique. Ever watch those tourney bass guys land a fish? Tip in the water, crank the bass to the boat with a steady retrieve keeping the fish low in the water, and not thrashing around on top, then on a short line, lift, getting the fishes MO going into the boat, and a recorded catch. Ave landing time, by the way,? 7 sec. on ave. as conducted in a survey. Generally 17 lb test, on ave. as well, right to the hook. A fly guy? You want to see the leader butt knot enter the rod tip for one. How can you do that with your rod tip in the water? I like good info, and you can get it on blogs. And a real good question is "how do you use a net/proper techniqe?...as the title suggests, but didn't deal with. And there sure can be more than one technique. YOu just constantly patronize deeter, and never question information. I think of the bigger dude that reads the stuff. Makes for good discussion anyway at getting at good info. You just decline to participate like most.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from clinchknot wrote 1 year 25 weeks ago

Correction...I think of the "beginner dude" as benefiting from good information.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from jaukulele wrote 1 year 25 weeks ago

Clinch, I think he's not saying that you get "bad" information from blogs. You get short snippets of the writer's take on information, in this case, a couple of very experienced fly fishermen. "Good" is kind of a tough label to use for the information found in any blogs. If you want vast amounts of "good" info, he's right, you should go to something like a book on the subject written by a well respected, and known expert. The title may suggest techniques on the actual netting of the fish. Perhaps, the author could have used the word "land" instead. Like other blogs, however, this one is intended to provide suggestions and editorial-style articles. These typically generate discussions among the readers and a sometimes real or sometimes imagined relationship between blogger and reader.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from clinchknot wrote 1 year 25 weeks ago

jauk..But you can start with a bit of info, and then get good feedback from posters regarding different points of view with the end game being an understanding of what is beneficial, and what isn't. Buck seems to dismiss that view, as only interested in humorous posts regardless of how off point they are. Even deeter won't respond with additional info, and a point of view. I'm all about substance, and can be humorous as well, but think of how young folks that want, and need good info that are getting into flyfishing are attracted to the site expecting to learn something.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from clinchknot wrote 1 year 25 weeks ago

jauk..I would advice these newcomers to go to a site that is interested in forwarding good flyfishing info. A site specifically on flyfishing. These sites on F & S are muddled with other types of fishing info as if they want to throw it all into one pot. Bucks, "lets have fun" theme, and forget about the academics involved at becoming a decent fly angler I don't subscribe to. I believe you can have fun learning how to flyfish, and do it properly so you don't get frustrated, and give it up early on. Seems like many in this country have turned to the "dumbing down of America" Anything I ever wanted to do be it baseball, an employee for someone, a fly angler etc., I wanted to get good at it.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from clinchknot wrote 1 year 25 weeks ago

jauk...doesn't need to find itself elsewhere when someone asks for good info. They ask for it on the gun sites. I think what you are saying is this F & S site has a reputation of not providing good info so the folks that show up don't expect to get good info. That appears to be the case. I see it as another example of the "dumbing down" that is going on in America. It's like, forget the substance go out and have fun. Pretty pathetic from my standpoint.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from jaukulele wrote 1 year 24 weeks ago

I think you're missing me, clinch. But that's ok. The big thing on this thread was that, at least my coworker and I both realized that this post was going to be about landing more big fish, not a dip and take improvement method. Your misunderstanding of the title of the blog post may have been a little blown out of proportion and incorrectly assumed to be widespread in your mind. Sadly, however, the post has become something it shouldn't be, a mostly unrelated discussion between two individuals. Let's keep on the issues, clinch.

0 Good Comment? | | Report

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