steelhead tactics question

Discussion in 'Steelhead' started by DanTennant_22, Jul 7, 2006.

  1. Alright, this is something that I have been wondering for a while...When I steelhead fish, I use a floating line with a sink tip and a couple of heavy streamer/marabou type flies. I attach one of those 'pinch on' strike indicators near the connection between my fly line and sink tip. I cast out at an angle upstream to give my flies time to reach the bottom, trying to mend my line, giving my flies a natural type drift as they pass by me. I than let them 'swing' on the bottom 1/3 of the drift and pause for a few seconds as the flies rise to the surface at the end of the drift. some strikes I feel, and some I set the hook because my indicator did something 'funny'. this is a long winded question wondering if I am swinging or nymphing (don't typically use nymphs) while steelhead fishing. thanks for any input. Dan
  2. Who cares if you are catching fish. To me it seems to be both nymphing and swinging but not a traditional swing or traditional nymphing. All nymphing it seems has a swing at the end of the drift. I have often used the same style without the indicator/bobber with a sinking tip and cast upstream with stack mends to sink the tip and fly and then very gentle uptream mends 1/2 the line and follow with rod tip all the way to the dangle. If I am dangling (is that a word?) in the last bit of fishable water before it shallows up to much, get slammed by any followers that have to make a decision whether to take or not take. If the dangle is too shallow end up with a refusal usually. Craig
  3. You are fishing and having fun, right? Don't worry about how some might label it. If it works for you and you have confidence in your approach, then forget about what someone else might call it.
  4. "If the dangle is too shallow end up with a refusal usually."

    I can't say i've ever had that issue... ;)
  5. It only happens with the 42" inseams or greater
  6. I'm not sure why you're using a strike indicator when swinging, if i'm undersatnding you right- you are swinging right? especially with a sink tip- drop the indicator. Here is my advice on the best way to set up the swing with a sink tip.... Cast upstream, way above your body, than throw a big upstream mend. This gives ample time for the fly to sink into the zone you desire. by the time the line and fly are directly across from you, you should have everything organized. Consider this the prep part of you swing. As the line and fly approach to the point where they are directly out and acroos from you, then you start your swing manipulation. Start with the rod lifted above, or at your head level- parallel with your line. The next phase is to follow your swing in this manner while slowly dropping the rod and tip as the fly swings across the run- at the same time not forcing the fly through the water column or resisiting its natural swing by pulling it back. This is referred to as developing the "touch" this can take a great while to know you are achieving this correct presented swing. Let your fly swing until it is all the way below you "the dangle" let it sit for a second to see if the fish followed. In colder water, let it sit for 20-30 seconds- a lethargic fish can take awhile to follow it. If no take occurs, strip, count to three, strip, count to three, etc... and repeat process. I can't tell you how many people I see cheat them selves out of fish buy not letting the dangel happen. Let the fly swing all the way through.I hope that helps.
  7. I fish 52 degree water at its warmest and I agree with Skwala 200% on the dangle, where most people cheat themselves on any followers. I have a friend that will not take that next step out into the river at less than knee deep in one hole we fish so his dangle ends up in 6" of water and the followers have turned back.

    I am not sure that Skwala's cast is not the same cast Andy and Mike make with nymphs, and a big upstream mend on an upstream cast puts the fly facing upstream, and most of the time I want my fly facing across stream giving a profile while I am swinging. Craig
  8. I have had many discussions with one of my buddies about 'the dangle.' I always pause 5-10 seconds while the fly rides on the surface, and than strip it in to set myself up for the next cast. I have never had this technique provide me with a strike, but I do it anyway. he says that I am wasting time with it, and by the end of the day he has completed 100 or so more casts and thus increased his chances. what do you think? I can see that waiting 1/2 minute at the end of the drift in colder water, as Skwala suggested, might cut into time that your fly is in 'the Zone'. Thanks for the replys..... actual tactic wise I think that I am doing the same motions a Skwala suggested, but have a different perspective of what I am doing, I don't know if that makes sense or not. thanks guys
  9. Docstash.... I agree the set up above the body in preperation for the swing is much like the nymphing tactic. However, I only do this with sink tips as a way to manipulate the line in order to get the fly into the water column I desire. Everything from across the body and down is pure swing. I find that using this method greatly increases my line control for the swing, rather than waisting a large portion of the arc in getting in touch with the line. Now, when using a floater or intermediate, I always cast directly across or slightly down. It should be mentioned that these are bold generalization since any of this advice is subject to change or contradiction based on the water charactar, current, water temp, and where the fish are holding. As far as the dangle goes..... I have hooked many fish on the dangle and strip especially in water below 40 degrees. I have heard of guys on OP who count to sixty for winter fish and are successful in this manner.
  10. The time I wait at the dangle varies mainly by (1) how patient I happen to be feeling at the moment, (2) if someone is behind me. If I'm patient, I'll wait up to five seconds. I tend to like to wait because I've had good luck with steelies following the fly. Note that I've had much poorer luck hooking them though. Every technique I've tried has and hasn't worked: wait for the fish to swim off with the fly, set quickly after feeling the smolt-like pecks, stripping blindly for the next cast and finding a fish at the end. For me, the dangle is the most unpredictable and frustrating / challenging part of the swing. Always more things to learn...
  11. Skwala and I use the same tactics it appears. Including different casts with different setups depending on water being fished. Some water I fish will not have a dangle because of depth, but most will and that is where a lot of strikes come from on the "river" I fish all summer and fall. My fly is hardly ever on the surface with a sinking tip on the dangle, maybe just a few inches below, but it is below. Craig
  12. cnaka throw a half line mend back into the center of the river and wait for the fly to make the move back into deeper water and then turn around and come back into your bank. Hook ups may not be any better but it changes the timing just enough a lot of times. Or this works for me with both skaters and sunk flies.
  13. This is pretty disapointing that a thread with real potential for real substance and room for great collaboration of ideas on a very important subject, gets little feedback/participation. Whats up? You guys can post all day long on a thread pertaining to indicators and dead drifting, but nothing on something that calls for real input:confused: I know its the nature of flyfishing forums..... i'm just saying.:hmmm:
  14. Using a strike indicator at the intersection of the sinking and floating line is probably making it a little easier to detect a hit. I've never done that one, but it does make sense.

  15. I've never needed a strike indicator to know a fish has taken on the swing:eek: .... that's the whole point. That makes zero sense.
  16. Adam,
    When you cast upstream, do you strip line in as it drifts in front of you? It seems like you would end up w/ significant slack until the line begins to drift/swing below you. Not sure if that makes sense.
  17. Tuna, it totally depends on the water, sometimes strip, sometimes stack, sometimes mend upstream, sometimes downstream. The focal point is that you use that time from the upstream cast to the beginning of the swing, to have everything set-up. By the way, I will respond to your PM tomarrow, I've been pretty busy. I might run in to you.
  18. I generally cast down and across when I'm swinging. Last winter I was fishing a cerise marabou tube and was casting pretty much across the river (it was a narrow stretch of river:D ). My fly would land just the other side of a current seam on the far side. Because it was so bright, I could track it through the water. I was amazed to see the huge bow in my line, despite the fact that I threw a couple of big mends. That bow literally rocketed the fly on the swing and my fly was about half way across the river before I could get the bow out and get the fly swimming properly. I determined the fly was moving way too quickly through a lot of holding water. The moral of the story is that I need to learn to fish the way you're describing. Given my mediocre line-handling skills, it could be a challenge:beathead: Thanks for the tips.
  19. A good way to learn what your fly is doing is to go to a hole you fish often and swing a gigantic- bright colored fly through it so you can see what happening. I think most people would be amazed as to what their fly is doing in contrast to where they think it is. I use a big pink trailer trash.
  20. Skwala,

    Calm down, man. It's the weekend. Productive people have better things to do than check their computers. My excuse is that it's too hot to take the bike ride I was thinking about earlier this morning, so this low-energy activity and a cold beer seems just right at the moment. Some may be out fishing and regale us with fishing reports later tonight.


    I'm don't know why it matters, but I think you're swinging, rather than nymphing, even tho you have some nymphing gear (the indicator) attached to your line. I've never heard of fixing an indicator to a sink tip line, but that doesn't mean it might not be a good idea.

    When I'm trying to swing slow and deep, I also cast quartering across and upstream for the express purpose of getting my unweighted fly near the bottom. Now there are faster sinking tips available, and when I'm using one of those, I may aim my initial cast more straight across or slightly downstream, depending on the water depth and current speed.

    When I'm fishing the swing, I cast to set up my fly to swing across suspected or known holding water. If I nymph, I cast to drift my fly straight downstream through a deep slot or pocket that looks like it would hold fish. So my initial cast is made very differently, depending on my intended fishing style.

    I don't know diddly about nymphing for steelhead, but when I try it I use a floating line, not a sink tip. I use either a weighted fly or a split shot on my leader if the fly is unweighted. I also cast quartering upstream, and usually across, when nymphing, but I also strip line in as it drifts back downstream toward me, then feed it out as it drifts on by - the hypothesis being that if I see the line tip move, or the indicator if I use one, I have less slack to deal with in tightening my line to whatever I'm hung up on. So far, these have all been things other than steelhead.

    When I'm fishing the swing with a floating line, I cast either straight across or quartering downstream, depending on the water situation at hand.

    Pretty much as you describe, I usually will throw a mend when my cast is in the air or as it lands in the quartering upstream and across condition. Then, depending on the nature of the currents, I'll make another mend, sometimes two, just as my line is setting up to begin its swing across the current. Often the strike comes just as the swing begins.

    As B Tuna mentions, it can be instructive to know what the fly is doing after being cast out upon the water. When my fly and leader, and or part of the line, cross a current seam on the cast, I draw the fly back into the edge of the current seam and then mend, so that it too, begins the downstream drift along with the line. In a perfect world, cast, and river, there would be no bow in my line. I normally fish in imperfect situations, and a small amount of bow doesn't seem harmful, but a big one just blows away the cast as useless.

    I don't fish the dangle for steelhead - - unless I've a compelling reason to believe that it may get a fish to strike. I've caught more steelhead than I can count, but I can count the number of steelhead I've caught on the dangle on my fingers, so I have long since discontinued that GENERALLY unproductive part of the cast. If you read the water well, you can usually make a good calculated guess as to whether it's remotely or highly probable that you might draw a strike on the dangle. When I calculate that it's remote, I don't bother, and leave all those remote probability fish to you habitual danglers.


    Salmo g.

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