We are now in the heart of the summer Steelhead season and time and days are flying past and starting to run together. Sometime while I am guiding away or rowing the boat I try to think of topics to write about. Loop or No Loop seemed like a good one just based on how many times I have been asked this year. The real question is what should I really do when a Steelhead takes my fly. That question seems easy, but there are a lot of variables to it.
The scene from the movie “Forgetting Sara Marshal” comes to mind, where the lead actor takes a surfing lesson. The instructors best advice was, do less… do nothing… after a couple failed attempt the lead just lays on the board. The instructor stares for an awkward length of time and changes tone… well you have to do something…. This seems how we guides sometimes simplify details like setting the hook and even casting at times.
The truth of the matter is every take is different and with these different take we require a different reaction. I can tell you the best takes require nothing, that’s true and I wish that all grabs were hard and the fish hooked themselves and ripped 50 feet of line off the reel before anybody could even twitch. But here lies the problem not all encounters are like that. I used to fish a shock loop of line and when anything happened i would let it go and the fish would either pull the line out or the wait for the line to catch up to see what may come takes place. This method can be effective and if it works for you don’t try to change. Personally I like to fish off the reel as i have a bad run in with the loop method as it can wrap around the reel or reel handle if the angler is not watching close every cast. I have heard the same thing about the line wrapping on the cast but we almost always clear the line after the cast not always before the grab, if you catch my drift.
I find that it take a certain amount of pressure to set a hook well into these fish. Here is my theory if the fish grabs hard, then you do very little. If the fish grabs soft you have to cover the spread, but not until you feel the weight of the fish. Even soft takes the fish might pull and turn the reel and you lift to nothing…but maybe you give the fish a bit more love (to the bank your standing on) this just might help you put a few more to the bank!!
Get out there and fish the weather has been nice and some of the other Columbia river tribs are starting to get some great reports!!