And this is the big one.
If you are new to fly fishing, you have probably
missed this one.
If you are an old timer and have not found it, you
aren't any better a fly fisher than the guy who
just started last week.
This secret applies to casting, hooking a fish, playing
a fish, and landing a fish - just the most important
stuff in our sport.
Have any ideas?
Here is a clue, it is one specific thing. The one thing
which makes or breaks your fishing success. No, it isn't
It is line control. LINE CONTROL.
Start with casting. There are three parts to casting.
Stop, look and listen. Stop the rod, look at your loops,
and listen to the sound your rod/line makes. You must
be able to control the size of your loops. From a nice
tight loop to a big open loop when you want it - not by
chance. In doing slack-line casts, curve casts and other
speciality casts, the game is the same, line control. Sound?
What should you hear as you make a cast? Only the sound
of the line singing by. No swosh sound, (which is caused
by over-powering the cast, and usually only occurs on the
How to you hook a fish? It doesn't matter if you are fishing
a dry fly, streamer, nymph or woolly bugger, you must know
where your fly is, be able to feel a connection between you
and the fly, and keep unwanted slack out of the line so you
can strike the fish. By either lifting the tip of your rod
or line-striking the fish you put the hook through the jaw
of the fish. This is called? Line control. Without line
control you can't consistently hook fish. So you've had some
fish hook themselves? You got lucky. You need to be able
to do it yourself.
Landing a fish? Sometimes I can't help but laugh at some
of the people I see on television. And darm, they broke off
the fish, the fish "got off" or worse, they broke their rod.
How could that happen?
Need a hint? The angler lost control of the LINE. Without
control of the line you can't have control of the fish.
Rule number one - once you have set the hook on any fish,
regardless of size, get your slack line on the reel. Not
laying on the ground, floating who knows where on the water,
grinding into the sand or weeds, or making a wonderful
opportunity to tangle in your feet or net or anywhere else.
Get the slack line on the reel, and play the fish off the
reel. Every time. It should be automatic.
There are times when some slack line is necessary - such as
making mends in the drift of your fly. Mends are a means
of extending or changing the drift on a dry fly, and a method
of getting your fly deeper in the water column. Mends are
made by lifting the rod tip and flipping a small amount of
line out, (usually upstream) or using a half roll-cast to
move the line without drowning your dry fly. It takes
practice of something called: Line Control.
I had an opportunity to watch Jamie Howards' wonderful DVD on
bonefishing, In Search of a Rising Tide (which I
absolutely love) and noticed time after time these
ultra-professionals, the top Bahamian guides each and every
time in perfect control of their line. Having done a fair
amount of bone fishing, it was wonderful to see these gentlemen
at play. Everything was done perfectly. Of course. I even
noticed these guides were fishing in their stocking feet. No shoes.
I know they do that so no line could tangle on shoe laces or
tabs, or toes or anything else. I've fished in the Bahamas my
stocking feet, but because the heat on the deck got to me with
shoes on. Maybe I got lucky on that one.
Casting from the desk of a flats boat can be difficult,
especially if you have fly line on the deck and a fish
hits in one second and wraps the loose line around your
foot. You and fish can be gone in an instant. Gives a
whole new meaning for swimming with the fishes.
The cause of the unplanned swim and loss of a nice fish?
Lack of Line Control.
Maybe you aren't serious yet about your fishing. Perhaps you
think what you do is just fine. If so, stop reading now.
However, if you want to do it right, be in control of your
fishing, casting, hooking, playing and landing fish, you
must be in control of your fly line. Everything will be
better - and inevitably you will have a more rewarding
fishing experience. (You will land more fish too.)
There are many fly fishers out there who have been fishing
for twenty years or more. But what they have is one year's
experience twenty times. They have not taken their fishing
seriously nor improved their abilities. But trust me, they
I'm older than dirt, been fly fishing for nearly 60 years - and
I don't know everything. I'm still learning. Every new piece
of water is a challenge. Every new fish is a different experience.
New equipment changes the game. Lots of variables.
One thing remains constant, I don't have to think about it
because it is "in there," automatic, second nature. Line
Line control is a specific technique you can work on. You
will make mistakes, we all do, but if you make it a priority,
you can do it - and your fishing will magically improve
because you know the secret. ~ The LadyFisher
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