Sustut Pool at Rest
During my last fishing trip with my father we fished the Sustut River in B.C. It was an amazing experience full fish fights, scotch, cigars, and some amazing visuals on steelhead trying to hit a fly.
This was the first time in my life that I was able to physically see a steelhead at rest react to a swinging fly. After we set Jay up in the run to swing to these fish he kept working closer and closer. Once the fly swings within about 5' of the fish she decides to come up for a look. I was watching her "mouth" the fly for about 5 seconds wondering why Jay wasn't setting the hook. During this first swing the fish tried to eat the fly at least three times. He claims he never felt anything. Next swing, same spot, she comes up again a little more pissed off. Mouths the fly once hard then leaves. Jay sets the hook and misses. Third swing, the hen inhales the fly gently then turns to head back down. Bam, fish on. Jay sets the hook after he feels the pressure.
After watching this scene and trying to picture how steelhead hit, I find myself never "setting the hook" I always wait for the fish to take the fly then wait for the heavy pressure for the battle to begin. Drag from the belly in the line seems to do most of the work. Most of the time this is the case, for me at least, however, there are the occasions where you never get a chance and line is peeling off your reel instantly..those are the best. What I love about each take is the difference in attitude. Shirt tugs to Submarines I love them all.