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Newsletter #7 Barbless Hooks and King Salmon

Barbless Hooks and King Salmon

Tips and Tricks #1 (Barbless Hooks)

1. Try and get a good hook set -more important than with Barbed hooks. See my last newsletter: (Setting the hook)

2. Slack is your enemy. Avoid slack, seek line tension when playing your fish.

3. When the fish is close to you with long Spey rods - keep your rod tip low rather than high. Keep side pressure on the fish.

4. Avoid fish parking in one spot where the hook can wear/tear its way out. Use side pressure with your rod tip to turn the fish. You steer the fish.


I have two new videos out since the last newsletter:

1. Salmon on the Swing: (click here)

2. Chrome Action: (click here)

Tips and Tricks #2 (King Salmon on the fly) (See Salmon flies - click here)

Kings can be fussy with flies.

Often clear water = smaller flies 2 - 2.5 inch

Off color water = larger flies 3-5 inch

If the fish are holding in large numbers = bigger flies also. They get competitive and aggressive.


  • Off color: Black and Red, Red, Black/Blue, Black/Chartreuse
  • Clearer water: Chartreuse, close to ocean Pink, sometimes Blue.
  • Hook size: Everyone wants a huge hook - only problem is getting the fly to swim good with a large trailing Intruder hooks.

    When playing a big Salmon - think side pressure. If you can get side pressure on them you may win the battle. Downstream battles are the toughest; Salmon use their size, river current, and stamina against you. This way you can land a big Salmon on a lighter hook.

    Tips and Tricks #3 (Casting Big Flies and Heavy Tips)

    I wrote about this once in Grabflies Tips and Tricks #1 Spey Casting - How To Cast Large Flies (click here)

    Another thing to consider as lines keep evolving/changing. If your rod is less than 13 feet long - short Skagit heads. Short Skagit Heads have very aggressive weight forward tapers. They are great for throwing big flies and heavy tips. Your casting stroke is shorten. If you use a spey rod longer than 13 feet, I have found no advantage, but under 13 feet and under there is.

    See Rio Skagit Max Shooting Head (click here)

    Also see iShort heads (i = Intermediate sinking). With fishing wet flies it is really important to visualize what the fly and line are doing under water. With cold winter conditions you want to slow down the swing of your fly. An Intermediate line helps do this as well as a straight line on the swing. Hold your rod out to slow the swing and then slowly lead or follow it as it sweeps across the river. An iShort makes it easier to avoid bellies in your line - something to consider.


    The Fish Magnet Gear Guide For Steelhead and Salmon Spey Fishing By Dave Robinson
    (Dave has just started to create gear reviews articles - Dave spends a lot of time on the water and he really check outs the gear) Go to: and keep checking back as many articles will come out long before my next newsletter.

    Plan D Fly Boxes - great fly boxes for today's modern Intruder flies (click here)

    Waterworks Lamson Reels (Grabflies is now a dealer for WWL) Great Reels - (click here)

    Aqua Flies (click here) - Best commercial tie out there, and patterns that catch Steelhead and Salmon.

    Thanks for reading, Tight Lines, Jeff Layton -

    Steelhead Fishing Tips and Tricks

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