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hey all,

As I like to practice at least 90% catch and release, I am concerned when it comes to playing larger fish. I am using 5wt gear with a 5X leader/ tippet and when I hook into a fish larger than 12" (especially rainbows) I end up having to play them through many spectauclar runs up and down stream until I can subdue them enough to land them. I like to play the fish relatively quickly and not tire it out completely so that there is less of a risk of lactic acid buildup and a lower mortality rate.

I am not 100% used to this light fly tackle yet and sometimes feel that I have to tire a fish out excessively to land it which I don't feel that good about. I tend to keep the ones that don't seem to revive or that I don't feel will revive well. I don't like having to play fish to death and want to ensure that the ones I release will live healthy lives.

Does anyone out there have any ideas or opinions on this subject? Trout seem to be somewhat fragile in this respect and seem harder to revive than a bass or pike. anyway, I thought it might be an interesting topic.
 

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Match your rod to your quarry..its like hunting, you dont want to use too small a "weapon" on whatever game it is you are pursuing. I like to "over rod" myself most of the time--i rarely fish with anything smaller than a 4 weight, i think it limits you too much when you hit that bigger water or hook a bigger fish. also, if you can, use the largest tippet possible...this will speed up your ability to bring fish in without having to worry about break offs. i use my reel a lot when i play fish, the drag will do the work for you and help tire a fish faster than just letting it strip line from your fingers. try to work yourself TO the fish, instead of bringing the fish to you---this means you will have to move up or downriver after youve hooked the fish...preferably to a big hole or slower run where it is easier to get it in and shorten the distance between it. if a fish gets in the current it can make for a longer fight--so make sure your drag is properly set and the fish doesnt take too much line on its initial run. also use a net, this will speed up your ability to finally get the fish in, especially with the ones that tend to make lots of runs just as you are about to pick it up. i try not to net all of my fish, instead choosing to just use my hemostats to unhook it while in the water so i dont have to touch it---but sometimes the net comes into play if i want to photgraph the fish or if its being particuarly stubborn.

so basically...dont let the fish take too much line if you can help it, set your drag properly, and get out of the water and move towards the fish you are fighting---pretty basic info, but it works. i dont really care to fight fish for long periods of time, so i use these tactics and it has worked for me.
 

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farmer,

5X has a strength of about 5 lbs. If the trout is less than 15" I would just haul it in. You are using a 5wt rod which is plenty strong for most trout-nothing to change there. I would be careful about 2 things: set your drag so it wont let the trout take line off easily, and take the trout out of the current to the side of the stream with side pressure. The problems you may have are : the trout takes a lot of line off your reel, so now you are fighting the trout plus the drag that the water creates on the line. The second possibility is the trout is fighting you in the middle of the water, using the current against you. Here is a trick that may help a little. As soon as you set the hook pull on the rod upstream. The trout will immediately oppose that and head downstream. As soon as it does that, pull the rod downstream and to the side. This will make the trout come out os the current on your side of the river. Then he is yours. If you are unsure about it, push a couple of trout too hard to get a feel of how hard is too hard. Then back off a bit. You will get a feel pretty fast of the "right" amount of pressure you need to apply. The only other thing to consider is the type of rod you have, with a fast action fly rod, you wont be able to apply as much pressure on a trout as you may be able to with a softer rod.

Hope this helps,

d
 

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A good fish fighting technique is to always apply pressure in the opposite direction the fish is moving. Always try to turn the fish. It applies max pressure and probably also disorients them through the constant changes. It has worked well for me fighting against redfish and tarpon.
 

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This may sound crazy but my buddy swears that it works. If you are upstream from a stubborn fish try throwing out some extra line and let it drift witht the current. The weight on the line from the current tricks the fish into thinking you are downstream and he will typically run right towards you. This works best on streams and rivers with a swift current. I also prefer fishing faster moving water since it seems the trout have more oxygen and better survival rates. I'll run a bigger fish a couple of times through the current to tire him out before I even make an attempt at landing him and they always seems to swim away fine afterwards. It's the lakes and stagnants pools where it seems any fight is too much fight for the fragile trout.
 

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with that 5x leader you can horse in some good size fish also the sugetsion to use a heavier flourcarbon leader would help to put even more pressure on the fish to tire them quicker

im wondering how much pressure a 5wt rod can dish out not counting current and such i know with my 3wt i have a hard time breaking off a snag on 6x i have to point the rod straight at the snag and just pull the line with out bending the rod
 

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You can even use a larger tippet if the water is slightly murky too. I ran into a flyfisherman on the colorado that was using 3X and still getting the big trout. He probably landed more than he would have with lighter tippet. Pretty cool.
 
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