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The Grab - Part I:

Floating Line & Small Wet Fly


Manual de Lanzado
Sección de Carlos
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Monday: Paul Arden
Tuesday: Harps
Wednesday: Bernd Ziesche
Thursday: Mr T.
Friday: Ray
Saturday: Viking Lars
Sunday: Bruce Richards

Ronan's report

Wednesday, September 15th, 2010

One of the greatest thrills in all of the fishing that I’ve done is the feel of the grab from a steelhead on a swung fly. Each and every time it’s something special. Something that I know I should never take for granted. Some say the grab is everything, that “the tug is the drug”, but I don’t agree with that. Fishing for steelhead with flies is too multi faceted an experience to make such a claim. It is, however, the most exciting moment in many cases, and often comes as a great and welcome surprise.

This is the first of a couple of FPs in a series. My little homage to the grab. Just me, trying to put down in words what it feels like to me when it’s all happening.

When I’m fishing – swinging! – a small wet fly on the floating line, my rod tip held low to the water, it seems like I feel everything there is to feel. The take seems to just jump from my fingertips, not the end of the line. Even on a hundred foot cast it can feel like the fish is just inches away. The connection is sudden and direct. There is no heavy water, slack line, or sagging belly to dull the contact. Because the connection is so direct, many anglers including myself choose to hold a large loop of slack line to buffer the take and allow the fish to turn down and away with the fly before feeling the sting of sharpened steel.

Steelhead seem to play more with small flies fished near the surface than they do with bigger flies fished deep. Maybe it's just being in such close contact with the fly that allows me to feel more of the players that bump but never take the fly. I'm not sure. Nor am I sure that I want to know.

When I’m really fishing well with the floating line, it seems like I feel every touch and change of tension. I can feel it when a drifting bit of weed hits the fly. I can feel it when a following steelhead breathes on the fly as it swings around. When you are feeling fishy, you feel it all, and it makes it easier to concentrate. When you concentrate, it is easier to feel fishy.

When a steelhead takes on the floating line and holds on, the loop I hold goes out - sometimes fast, sometimes painfully slow, sometimes smoothly, sometimes in fits and starts. I think of it as a sort of coded telegraph telling me what the fish is doing with my fly. It’s fascinating to think about. When my loop goes out smoothly and comes tight again the hookset typically meets with solid resistance and my confidence that I will hold the fish is high. Other times the take is odd when the fish is off in a different direction – even airborne – and the connection is tenuous or, at best, uncertain.

Regardless of the outcome, the thrill is there.

Take Care and Fish On,

Pic Of Day

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