If you want to fish the Dean with Scott and the rest of our crew this summer, you still have a couple of chances – get in touch to learn more.
Anyhow, what’s the Claw? Read and learn.
No, no, this isn’t something about that 80’s hairstyle your sister favored – you know, that piece of hair over above the forehead that curled over her eyebrows and was so hair-sprayed into place it would break windows if she walked into them? Come to think of it, I think Conan O’Brien still sports a ‘dude claw’…seriously…no, I’m not kidding.
I’m referring to the other ‘Claw’, the one all guides fear, the one that induces sweaty palms and rash scolding’s while the riverside battle ensues.
The ‘Claw’ is that formation the hand makes when it’s about to do what everybody else watching fears – the grab of the wildly spinning reel, in some vain and poorly thought-out attempt to actually try to stop the departing fish’s last dash for freedom, for the Claw is particularly favored in the last moments of an exhausting battle the angler really…just…wishes…would…end….now…please?
Application of the Claw usually results in leaders and line pulling banjo-string tight, followed by either a sound resembling small arms fire (leader snapping), or worse, a sound resembling a graphite rod snapping. Trust me, its didn’t ‘resemble’ – it happened, and often the angler ends up on his arse from the recoil…then the small arms fire happens. (Should have used lighter tippet, but that’s another blog story.)
Sometimes there’s hesitation on the part of the angler. That scene from Animal House with Tom Hulce (‘Pinto’) comes to mind – a devil on one shoulder, an angel on the other, each with some advice. “Grab it! Come on, you know you wanna!”, vs. “Let it run, you will get it back”. You get the idea.
A hesitant angler often goes for the ‘half grab’, which instantly equals bent finger tips and a kind of sick, whacking sound as the reel handle cheese graters his or her digits.
The key to avoiding the Claw is to think kind, simple thoughts, like puppies and kittens, a first love, something, ANYTHING, to stop the death grip which will equal utter humiliation and defeat – if not immediately, certainly later when your trusty guide reminds all why your fish of the trip ‘shacked off right at the beach’ versus potentially ‘gently sliding up on the shore’…well maybe he won’t…you hope.
Enough said…think ‘kittens’!