Nice friggin' work!!! Good on you for reading the conditions and taking the risk of using a floating line.
I fish long belly floating lines and big iron traditional flies in the winter time quite a bit...it's always very satisfying to know that you really don't need to fish with 15ft of T-whatever and a fly tied with half an ostrich to catch steelhead. I debate this with my fishing buddies all of the time.
it takes balls and a shit load of confidence to spend your winter days fishing that way...I am still trying to get over the hump and dedicate some quality time doing it. RIght now, i will fish that way for a few hours and then throw a tip back on because I am still not fully confident all the time. hooking up a few times helps though. I know some guys that are fishing only drylines this winter and hooking up pretty consistently. I do fish the greased line type swing whether I have a tip on or not though, and that has improved my fly swimming skills immensely.
I'd look into a long rod, 14-15' and long(ish) lines. The 15' 8/9 MKS or Deer Creek equivalent would be great for bigger rivers. My primary winter dryline rod is a 15' 10wt, casts big flies on long lines. That said, I got my last winter dryline fish on my 12'6'' 6wt. I do have a 50' line on that rod though (5/6 windcutter). BIll McMillan uses windcutters on his spey rods too.
I'm with you, but have only hooked bulls... am not complaining, though I sometimes think I am the Dolly lama...
Something to be said for standing out in a winter river throwing darts with a dry line and hooking fish!! I've talked about this for awhile but never really followed through... don't know what changed..just felt it was time!!
Seeing this Andrew just keeps me believing....Thanks!!!
The water that I was fishing could be described as a slightly smaller version of what many would consider the classic fly run. The section that I was fishing is located a little ways above the start of the tail out. When the fish grabbed my fly, it had just completed the dead drift portion of the presentation and was starting to rise through the transition water (the seam). So in other words, it was just starting to swim towards the shore. I hope this answers your question?