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Somewhat OT but related to rod design: Efficiently Landing Fish
Posted by: Mo Yang (---.res.spectrum.com)
Date: January 19, 2021 11:03PM

This may not be strictly about rod building but is related. Tom, if this does not fulfill the purpose of this forum, please delete.

My question ties in to blank selection for the future.

Context:
I fish by a number of guys who use 2 lb test and chase trout. These guys routinely land trout in the 5-10 lbs class. However, sometimes they is also brush so when a trout wrap itself around brush, the line breaks off so it is important to be able to bring in the trout as efficiently as possible.

In the past, I've used rods that are fast action and on the upper end of ultralight, meaning these rods can take 6 lbs line appropriately. Recently I've been playing around with more moderate action and lower powered rods. They are more 'fun' as the fish gives a nice bend. Some are rated at SUL (super ultralight) which tops out at 3 lbs max line test. I am still using the same drag setting on my reel so the NET pressure on the fish is the same.

However, I find that I am having lower success rate in landing the fish because they take off more successfully to the brush. Theoretically, it seems, that the rate of successfully landing the fish should be same given the same pressure at the drag. Yet somehow the faster and more powerful rod seem to bring them in quicker.

Can anyone help explain my experience? Or is it simply statistical chance that I just was 'unlucky' recently and if I fish more, I'll find the percentage of success even out eventually?

What a stiffer and faster action rod allows is more control of the line angle relative to the fish as it does not bend as much and provide a wider arc of angles I can exert on the fish. To put another way, is there an angle of line relative to the fish's orientation and swim direction that is most effective in reducing the effectiveness of the fish's effort to swim away from the fisherman. Would it be to have the line exert pressure as vertically as possible? Would it be to have the line pull directly opposite the fish's swimming direction (meaning the line is pulling towards its tail)? Or 45 degrees? or 90 degrees ? Something else?

Love to have you experts' thoughts....:) Thanks!!

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Re: Somewhat OT but related to rod design: Efficiently Landing Fish
Posted by: Ray Raff (---.customer.broadstripe.net)
Date: January 20, 2021 01:50AM

Fish only move in the direction of their head. They don't swim sideways. if you control where their head is pointing you control the fish.

Imagine for a minute you hook a fish right at the boat and she immediately starts running straight out to a log at 12 oclock against 3lb of drag. You move the rod tip to the left which pulls the fish's head to the left. The fish now has 2 choices, spend energy fighting to keep the head pointed at the log or turn.

If that fish turns to 9 oclock, she isn't fighting 100% of the drag anymore and it is easier for them to swim. She might think that is better than spending the energy going to the log. If your tackle is too light, you can't turn the head and are just along for the ride.

Rod length is important because it is much easier to turn a fish's head from 12 -> 9 oclock if you are putting pressure from a 9 position over say a 7. The rod length gives you the option to quickly change the angle on a fish.

Action is important because it changes the effective length of your rod. If a 9 foot slow action rod doubles over it is now 4.5` whereas an extra fast might be 8' before it exerts the same pressure on your drag. The trade off is that the slow action absorbs shock and allows you to use lighter lines and load it better during casts.

The last thing I'll say is never underestimate your position relative to a fish. Casting at the same fish 25 yards upstream vs. 25 yards downstream could end up in wildly different success rates depending on the structure around you. Of course, you have to hook the dang fish first...

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Re: Somewhat OT but related to rod design: Efficiently Landing Fish
Posted by: ben belote (---.zoominternet.net)
Date: January 20, 2021 02:24AM

Ray, good stuff..

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Re: Somewhat OT but related to rod design: Efficiently Landing Fish
Posted by: Michael Sutheimer (---.wi.res.rr.com)
Date: January 20, 2021 05:55AM

I fish a spring pond that has some rather large trout. It is strictly catch and release. A lot of brush. Fish have a lot of experience in fighting and they also are very wary of your presentation. My initial rod choice was a ml 7 foot extra fast with 6 pound braid to 4 pound flouro leader. I use powerbait for bait. But it is a one quick light hit from the fish. My thinking was the rod would afford a fast hookset, which it did. The length provided a decent amount of length to steer the fish. However the extrafast action allowed to fish to easily shake the hook or breakoff. There was not enough shock absorption in the rod and 6 pound braid as the mainline also provided no stretch. Thought of going to mono for the main line. But spooky fish called for the extra casting distance of the braid.

So the solution was build a new rod. Yep I was terribly upset about that. I went with a now discontinued Rainshadow XST1141f blank fast action 9 foot 6. Stepping down to fast action gave me just enough extra flex to keep the fish hooked and eliminated nearly all breakoffs. Was still fast enough to make a quick hookset.The extra length also made a huge difference in steering the fish as I increased he angle of the line from the rod to the fishes mouth.

The closer to 90 degrees you can keep your line in relation to the fishes mouth the more control you will have. As for drag pressure that to me is secondary. I want the fish to be fighting the rod first. I want the rod to be loaded as completely as possible before I am depending on the drag. The closer the line is to vertical in relation to the rod tip the more completely it is loaded.

With my current setup I rarely have to fight a fish on the drag. Rod does all the work. I apply pressure to direct the fish where I want it to go. Fish doesn't want to go there just keep the tip high and hold pressure. Let the fish fight in place. With enough practice you can essentially put the fish on a treadmill til they tire enough to follow your rod directions.I never really measure my drag. My rule of thumb is just tight enough that it don't slip on the hookset.

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Re: Somewhat OT but related to rod design: Efficiently Landing Fish
Posted by: David Baylor (---.res6.spectrum.com)
Date: January 20, 2021 04:50PM

Ray hit it right on the head .... the fish's head. Turn the head, turn the fish. I don't fish for trout anymore, but the tactic of turning the fish's head applies to bass fishing as well. For me it's more when the fish is at the boat, or when trying to keep a fish from jumping. When a fish is at the boat and is in the process of starting to jump, I keep the rod tip low to the water and try to pull the fish's head sideways. Sometimes, even though you can't manipulate the rod as easily, I'll stuff the tip of the rod deep into the water, trying to pull the fish over on its' side.

The same applies if I've hooked a fish further from the boat. When I hook a fish out from the boat I am watching the line where it enters the water. If I see the line start coming up, I reel as fast as I can while sweeping the rod down and to the side. I'll stuff the rod tip down in the water so I completely submerge the line. Submerging the line puts extra pressure on the fish because it now has to lift the line out of the water. Anything you can do to make the fish feel something different than a direct pull is going to help.

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Re: Somewhat OT but related to rod design: Efficiently Landing Fish
Posted by: Phil Ewanicki (---)
Date: January 20, 2021 06:12PM

I'm not sure about pond trout, but if I wanted to hook up on a big stream/river trout I would wait for the dark of the moon, switch to a #10 tippet, go to where the "big one" lives, wait until it got as dark as it could get, and roll cast a black streamer to him.

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Re: Somewhat OT but related to rod design: Efficiently Landing Fish
Posted by: Spencer Phipps (---.hsd1.or.comcast.net)
Date: January 20, 2021 09:37PM

The saltwater records held on light line were not accomplished on light little whips, maybe some of the @#$%& members still have the articles, it was back in the mid 80's if I remember right when a lot of building for this was done.

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Re: Somewhat OT but related to rod design: Efficiently Landing Fish
Posted by: Mo Yang (---.res.spectrum.com)
Date: January 20, 2021 11:23PM

Thanks all for the very helpful posts, especially Ray and Michael. Much appreciated. I guess I'll start going back to longer blanks...:) Do have a few 8 footers to try out. Thanks - keep the comments coming.

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