So you've made the cast - now what?
It doesn't matter if it's upstream with a dry
fly - long casts on saltwater, or a fly down
deep for lunkers in the lake. Eventually you
have to retrieve your line.
We have a nice feature in Fly Fishing 101
by the late Leon Chander on the
Figure 8 Retrieve, which is just one of the methods
you can use to get your line back - the trick to
all retrieves is to keep control of your line.
We've often seen folks on the stream - or on our
saltwater beaches here just pulling in some line
and letting it fall where ever it is . . .on the
ground, or in the water where current, weeds,
flotsam of all sorts gets tangled in the line.
What happens if you hook a fish? And the fish
decides to make a run? Opps. Tangles don't go
through guides very well - probably not at all!
(Not to mention chunks of kelp.)
The result of not having control of your line
is lost fish.
If you are in a float tube or pontoon craft you
can strip your line onto the apron trying to make
large loops or coils so the line can be feed back
into the rod when needed - if you are on a
stream - moving water, a cast upstream or
quartering upstream you must gather your line back
as the fly floats downstream toward you. Some do
this using their non-rod hand, twisting the hand
back and forth making loops in your hand as you
do so, if not the line just drifts past you
A piece of advice you hear on FAOL often, is when
you do hook a fish, "put the fish on the reel!"
What is meant by that is reel in all the line you
have out so there is no line to catch on anything
or worse, slack in your line which can allow the
fish to get off, or break the tippet when the the
fish hits the reel.
I suspect we all develop our own methods of 'gathering'
line - once we realize how important having complete
control of the line is. You probably won't realize
that until you have a disaster and lose a nice fish.
A recent question on the Bulletin Board had to do
with stripping line in - and how to protect your
finger (the one the line goes over) from being cut.
Band-aid was suggested, and there actually is a
product, a neoprene tube which looks like a cut-off
finger from a glove open on each end. It will work,
but you shouldn't need it in the first place.
How you strip in line is the catch. Most people
strip in line by holding the rod in their dominate
hand, and off to the left (figuring on a right-handed
person) is your line hand. Instead, shift your ROD
HAND a foot or more to your LEFT. Now your LINE HAND
is directly behind and in line with your ROD HAND.
The line comes in the stripping guide and across
the finger in a straight line instead of at a 90
This not only keeps from cutting the finger, it
also gives you more working room to make a short
or long strip, long strip and pause, or if you
get a hit on your fly, strip-strike the fish.
It really is easy - and solves several problems
at one time.
One other thing - there are some situations where
your line can become cruddy fast - saltwater,
mud, sand - and besides not casting very well,
the opportunity to cut or damage your fingers
by dragging the line across them increases
Do some experimenting, try different methods
of retrieving line - keeping in mind you must
have complete control of the line in every
situation. Your catching will improve if
you do. ~ The LadyFisher
If you would like to comment on this or any other article please feel free to
post your views on the FAOL Bulletin Board!