Scott Baker-McGarva is our head guide at BC West, and he knows a thing or two about fishing for anadromous fish like steelhead and chinook salmon. Scott checks in today with a simple but very important tip…
Hey! Quit Standing on the Fish.
True, the spey revolution has changed the way anglers view the water, but for many it has clouded their vision as well.
One could argue that the Brits came up with the two-hander not just cover the other bank in tight situations, but to keep their knees and knickers dry! Standing more than knee deep rarely improved your distance and if anything, caused more problems with casting than distance gained from walking right out there.
Now, without suggesting they should have come up with a short belly a century ago, the point is that too few anglers stay out of the the water, or at least stay ankle deep to start, and many more seem to want to test that new waterproof zipper midships on their waders right out the boat.
If spey rods allowed you to cover great gobs of water while standing in your Wellingtons, they also wrecked the cardinal rule of ‘fish thy feet‘. Spey rods don’t cast five feet and a leader well at all, so out comes twenty feet and the leader, and we are promptly 15 feet past the first fish!
This is especially true at the head of the run, or working ‘moving fish’ water. Sometimes fishing your feet means standing 15 feet above a spill if rod load is an issue for you, although I simply overhead cast the first bit (gasp!), or stand well up the beach to start in on a beat.
Hookups on a Short Line
The next conundrum is what to do when a fish grabs such a short line.
It seems simple enough but also seems to hamstring so many, most often out of sheer shock, since you only just cast in front of you! It can be a tough situation when, to borrow a phrase, ‘your line goes banjo string tight in a blink of an eye’ and there isn’t mush stretch between you and the now departing quarry. It’s tough to slow the whole moment down so you can do the right thing.
Since this has happened to me more times than I can fathom, I simply now just put all of my focus on the start of the run where this usually happens, and let the ‘swing coma’ come on when I get some line out further down the pool. If you are ready for it, have the rod low, running line managed, drag set, (because those fish always leave in a hurry) and your bootlaces done up for the impending Carl Lewis sprint down the river bank, you should be alright.