hookless fly-fishing

here’s a little something different from Lee Spencer, way different.

i can relate to Lee’s story as i used to live right next to a wee stream in the french Pyrenees that apart from making lovely gurgling noises, had a very healthy population of gorgeous native brown trout. they weren’t of course, but these where ‘my’ trout if you see what i mean. i’d go look at them every day to see how they where doing, dream off into that dream place that being streamside takes one and of course learned a lot about how they lived, behaved and interacted socially, some of them even had names.

by wee i mean that at this level the stream was often no more than one metre wide. being completely wild and untouched by man and with lush vegetation abound, the stream itself was more often than not a green tunnel with a flow. once the obstacles of actually getting an imitation into their feeding spots where figured out, this being a Bow and Arrow cast nine.nine times out of ten because that was the only possible solution, getting these beauties to take a fly was relatively simple, they didn’t know anything about fishing pressure and in their world things that look like food generally are food but hooking up quickly became a problem, something the Bow and Arrow cast only tactic might have alluded to; there was no room to move the rod up, across or down to fight and land the fish. at this point i was already getting into the ‘it’s more about the strike than the fight and land‘ frame of mind so, the idea of cutting off the whole hook bend of a completed fly came to mind and was perfect for this particular situation.
i got my strike thrill, the little fishies i loved so much never really knew what was going on and remained where they’re supposed to be and i could do all this without breaking any more rod tips…

of course, i’m not expecting a lot of other anglers to go fishing without hooks but it’s a little something to think about. like mentioned earlier, it’s different, enjoy !

“Back in 1998 Lee Spencer did two things that changed his relationship with the big steelhead of the North Umpqua River.
He agreed to become the first full-time FishWatch guardian of the Big Bend Pool on Steamboat Creek, where as many as 400 large steelhead spend the summer in startlingly plain sight after swimming up the North Umpqua to spawn.
And he started cutting the points off the hooks on his flies… “

actually, just the points:

“Everybody thought I was crazy, To me the whole peak of everything is the strike or the boil. Everything after that is downhill. Especially if you have to wait a long time to land the fish.
When you get a fish on, you get a run and a jump and at the jump it will throw the hook. That was satisfying enough for me.”

-click the image for the complete article on Deseret News-

4 thoughts on “hookless fly-fishing

  1. I must admit I have a certain intellectual empathy with the whole idea of hookless flies. When I was younger I used to relish trying to catch those fish that came under the ‘you can’t catch them, mate!’ it wasn’t so much the catching but getting them to bite bit that I enjoyed.

  2. Some decades ago during the advent of c&r as a responsible way to protect our fishing resource, Partridge produced hooks that were called ‘TAG Hooks’, standing for ‘touch and go’, which had an eye formed where the hook point should be.
    I bought and used some, and they worked! In spite of the satisfaction of having a fish take my fly, and challenging myself to see how long I could stay connected to the fish, the satisfaction wore off.
    Nowadays, I content myself with fewer fish. Limiting my catching causes me to take more time to select my quarry and enjoy the experience. I still really enjoy looking at the fish up close. Less catching means less negative effect on the fish.
    I’ve also adopted releasing the fish without touching it except incidental to remove the hook.
    On a very rare occasion I’ll have someone take a photo with the fish still in the water.
    My days fishing are still very satisfying, which includes feeling I’ve tried to have the least negative effect on the fish while having had the best experience I could want.
    What the sport of fishing was isn’t what it needs to be, in fact it needs to be different! Find your own ways to keep it challenging and satisfying while doing less damage. It really must be our responsible future.

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