Bringin’, Using proper angles and pressures.   Leave a comment

 

Hidy Ho Good Neighbors,

One of the perks from guiding is the chance to watch a lot of folks catch and land fish.  Explaining to someone that has never fought nor landed a fish properly using a fly rod is like explaining a video game over their shoulder in the heat of the battle.  Moves one makes intuitively or by “feel” are born out of experience of landing many fish.  As guides, we can flatten that learning curve in a half day provided the fish are eating regularly, and by teaching a few basic principles.

First off, it’s called “angling” for a reason.  Landing fish is as much about angles and physics as any part of fly fishing.  Your fly rod is a lever (class 3 I think), and also acts as a shock absorb-er.  The fly reel not only stores line, but can become a smooth fish slowing drag device.  For now, let’s just concentrate on the fly rod angles.

After hook-up, get the fish on the reel as quickly as possible.  For those folks that like to “strip” fish in, no worries, I teach folks to get on the reel because it gives them one less thing to think about as they begin to learn proper landing techniques.  Once on the reel, get your rod hand thumb as high as your hat brim.  At this point, your rod elbow should be pointing toward the fish.  Now the fun begins.  I always tell folks that “now you’re in a relationship with the fish”.  It’s like a dance, move-counter move.  Get caught standing still, and you’re date will be gone…..

If the fish “zigs”, you “zag”, keeping constant lateral pressure with the angles of the fly rod.  It’s ok, when safe, to move up and down the bank to keep those working angles.  As you reel and the fish gets closer, the angle of pressure on the fish should begin to be “over” the fish.  In other words, lateral pressure begins to become upward/lateral pressure.  This is a critical part of the land job, because as you transition back and forth between lateral and upward pressure, it’s easy to lose proper angles AND put way too much pressure on the fish.

This is what I really want to point out to folks.  Imagine that you’re walking your dog.  You are not pulling your dog as you control it, you are simply limiting, with positive pressure, where it can go.  Think of it this way, if your dog’s leash were to snap during a walk, your leash arm shouldn’t go swinging violently the other direction.  This is what I see all the time.  A fish will come unbuttoned, and the anglers rod arm goes flying the opposite direction.   Improper angles and pressure? Yup.

In the far left picture, I am keeping lateral and up pressure during the transition. If that fish came loose the fly rod would react more “up” than away, and toward the bank behind me.  The goal is to make that reaction as minimal as possible.  That would mean you are using the fly rod angles and pressures perfectly.  Look at the picture on the right.  This was on a guide trip, and this client had rarely had a fly rod in hand.  He was ready to land his own fish by the end of the day.  If the fish were to come unbuttoned at the instant the picture was snapped, his reel and hand, if the correct angles and pressure were installed, would move to the red square position.  If improper angles and pressures were installed, the the reel would move to the end of the blue line violently.  It’s observable on the anglers part, and easily correctable.

Once you get into proper fish-fighting position, the fly rod becomes Harry Potter’s wand.  Move it side to side, low to high, near to far.  Whatever it takes to keep constant proper pressures.  I’ve a “Landing Fish”  video on Youtube somewhere, and a link in my archives (somewhere).

As always, feel free to shoot me questions, share this blog link, or contact me if you want to fish.

Fear No Water,

Duane

Guide, Minturn Anglers

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