I tried to imitate it.
What did you use for the tag?
I really like yours better than mine…what is the dubbing?
It looks like zenmai for the dubbing and kenbane feather, but I could be wrong.
ゼンマイ ＝ zenmai
蓑毛 ＝ Hackle ＝ 剣羽根 ＝ ken-bane
Gressak, did you ever fish with that Touch and Go fly?
Several days ago I was contacted by a woman who wanted to know what I had in the way of hookless microfishing gear. That led to a fairly extensive email conversation. She has fished with hookless flies for some time now. She ties a regular fly and then cuts the hook off where the bend starts. She thoroughly enjoys fishing, but she doesn’t want to hurt the fish. She knows that post-release mortality of fly-caught fish may be low but is not zero.
She says the fish take the fly and you will feel the tug and a few head shakes. She’s right. The last time I was in Japan we stopped at a small shop where we had to get the fishing permits for the rivers we were going to fish. There was a small pond in front of the shop that was heavily stocked with what appeared to be rainbow trout. My host, who knew the proprietor well, cut the hook off a fly and started to fish. After a while, he handed me the rod. The fish held the fly for a surprisingly long time - much longer than you would have expected, and much longer than most of the strikes you miss! We did get a fight - although it was a pretty short fight.
Other than that one time I have never fished with a hookless fly, but I think I am going to try it, out of curiosity more than anything else.
Chris, thanks for writing about that interesting observation.
Perhaps the absence of pain from getting poked in the lip by a sharp point or just the absence of the extra metal of the hook fools the fish into thinking it is a real meal making them more willing to hold onto the fly longer.
Removing the hook bend would be welcome in my view when fishing places with a lot of blue gill. Their small mouths can suck in a surprisingly large hook. Which I have used hoping they couldn’t suck the fly deep into their throat.
While they can be fun to catch, and I don’t mind catching a few of them, while fishing hoping to catch different species, especially when I am otherwise being skunked and shutout and playing a no hitter game. But I’ve often found if I don’t set the hook quickly as soon as they hit the fly they often swallow the fly so deep the fly is difficult to remove or I have to cut the tippet to avoid stressing the fish to long trying to get it out.
On days when they are particularly aggressive they frequently swallow the fly deeply on the first hit. I dislike leaving the hook in the poor fish. I’ve read the hook soon dissolves and is expelled, but I don’ t know if that is true and it may depend on the type of metal used to make the hook. Going hook-less is something to think more about giving a try next year. It rained so frequently here this past summer there were several things I never go to try that I had planned on trying out. The small spoons were one of them.
Anyway, Merry Christmas to all.
Yes, I did and it permanently has been in my flybox.
Unfortunately the couple times I have fished it I have not engaged with a fish and since then I have sort of forgotten about it although it sits there in fly slot #1.
The problem for me… it is there as an amusment, but when I fish, my objective is to land. Part of my reward is to see and marvel at their markings and colors. It would have to be a pretty extraordinary outing for me to use that fly. As it is, I have had plenty of days of missed fish and fish that hit a fly with a hook but never get landed. Days of feedback but low land ratios. I get the same jazz about those missed fish as I would with that tagged fly.
Hookless micro fishing …hmmm. Not sure about that one.
If I were a serious hookless fly fisherman. I most certainly look into the idea behind alligator gar flies. See David’s post in response to my note…and this link.
Most fish have teeth that are angled to prevent prey from escaping. Not just on the jaw…but on the roof of their mouths and sometimes on their tongue and around their throat,
If I were serious about hookless flies. I would tie some as David describes. I would also try velcro…the loop part. Consider the teeth the hook…they are roughly the same size.
Other ideas…like the gar tactics…give the fish time to swallow the fly.
I find some of this interesting and some of it a bit extreme. If she doesn’t want to hurt the fish, better off just leaving them be. I truly believe mortality rates are higher than most people think, but may have more to do with handling and tiring a fish. With micro fishing, I do not think it to be possible…and if you mouth hook a fish, I fail to see what trauma could occur. Its not like ones tackle is not stout enough to land a fish under an ounce…hahaahaha. Besides most of those critters are gonna be food or could be considered bait. If you are a skilled fisherman, you are mouth hooking all fish. I do agree with David, that sometimes bluegill can inhale and swallow before you can set the hook, but with a barbless hook and forceps that fly usually will pop right out.
Well, I tried it today. I tied a number of Killer Buggers with mohair instead of regular yarn, picked out so there were lots of fiber loops, thinking it would be more likely to catch in teeth. I got one hit on it - it didn’t catch on teeth and the fish didn’t hold on any longer than in a regular missed hit. Just a quick bump and gone.
I also tried something I knew would’t catch teeth, but though might get held longer. I just tied the tippet to about 2" of squirmie wormie. It got hit three or four times. The longest a fish held onto it was about two seconds - a bit shorter than the stocked fish held onto flies in Japan. After three or four hits, I just had to fish it with a hook. Caught a fish on the next cast. Had to admit, just getting a fish to hit the fly isn’t enough for me.
Nice Chris. I fished too today…had one rainbow and one dropped unknown. The river was so swollen from recent rain…probably 3 times the normal water flow…rapids…stained water.
Kudos for you to get out as well…did you find similar conditions?
I think the Betts (famous in the Fly Fishing circles) started the “Touch and Go” Hooks. They called them “TAG” but I cannot find them anymore. They used to be advertised in the late 90"s and early 2000’s. From what I remember the tip was rounded and smooth to make a fast release of the fish. I don’t think it caught on very well at the time in the US. The Betts were ahead of their time in how to release fish without stressing and handling them. I never bought any of their hooks but I thought it was a wonderful idea.
80% with barbless. I can drop the rod tip and the fish is free. Its rare that i have to remove a hook from a landed fish. Usually the fish and fly separate in the net.
I fished a stream that drains a fairly small watershed, so it returns to a “normal” level fairly quickly. It was a bit higher than usual, but clear and definitely fishable. The fish are definitely in their winter pattern, though. The trout are lethargic and seem to be only in the deeper holes. The fallfish are nowhere to be found - or at least not hitting any of my offerings. Two fish in the net, which is a reasonably good winter day for me.
I need to start keeping better notes on cause and affect as well as branch out to find more water. The water i was on was nearly unfishable. I only had a couple hours to fish so it worked out…but my jaw dropped and i chuckled when i stepped ot of the car…hearing the white water.