Some flies are designed to let the hook ride point down. Others want it riding point up. Regardless of the preference, there are a couple of ways to make sure the fly rides true on the swing. This is important with your fly, we don’t want spinning or a hook riding sideways. We only get a few shots at winter fish on a swung fly, so every detail counts.
- Tie dumbbell eyes on the side of the hook you want pointing down. When the fly hits the water, the heavy eyes go down first and determine the position of everything else.
- Tie directly onto a large hook (Alec Jackson steelhead hooks) They might be considered the old-school way to keep a fly upright, but Harry Lemire caught steelhead long before people were blogging about it. There’s a fine line between the right amount of wing to do the job and so much material that the fly doesn’t sink. Experiment with different amounts to find that balance, and you can always buy a pattern and inspect it to get a feel for proportion.
- Throw a wing on it. Yup, put some material opposite of weight and desired hook direction and give her a keel! (see the video of Mr. Berry’s fly swimming true).
One thing I have often seen while guiding spey fisherman is that they just wont move. I’m not talking two-stepping here but simply working a run in a methodical and timely manner. Under most conditions I prefer to move three to four feet between casts which has several benefits.
1) By steadily working your way through a run you will cover more water throughout your day than the person who only moves a couple feet every few casts. Remember, we are looking for players, the fish who are aggressive enough to eat your fly on the first pass.
2) Constantly fishing new water it is simply more interesting and I tend to stay more focused as I move though a run.
3) We are not trout fishing – you will not find a steelhead river with 2-6 thousand fish per river mile, so covering water is the key to finding fish.
I do slow down for several reasons.
1) If I know fish are in a certain area and I feel that they are not willing to move far to a fly, I will slow down my pace and work the fly with different presentations.
2) If I feel a grab but don’t hook up I will cast back to the fish, trying a couple of presentations. If this does not work I will mentally note where the fish was holding and make another pass with a new, smaller fly.
By maximizing the amount of water you cover in a day you will swim your flies through more holding lies. When searching for winter steelhead covering water can make the difference, it only takes one fish to turn your day around.
trout/steelhead nymphs and stinger/tube fly hooks
- The Super Point is extremely sharp
- Light wire doesn’t sink fly to the bottom when fishing soft inside seams
- Did we mention that SP = SUPER SHARP
- To date, it has one of the best hook-up rates out of any hook
- When winter takes are light and your B-10s doesn’t stick, these will
- It’s one durable little hook
- It’s barbless, and sometimes you want a barb
- It doesn’t sharpen well
- It’s light wire and doesn’t sink well (yes, this is a pro and a con)
Something to think about…
When fishing the salmonfly hatch next spring your size 4 or 6 dry fly can do some serious damage on the smaller fish you catch. THINK about tying your big bugs on tubes and fishing size 10 and 8 2499 SPBLs out the back. Your hook-up rate will be great and your damage to the fish will be minimized.