Fishin' to the end, Oc.P
That could be me.I don't like forcing them on their side, even in shallow water. I've seen far too many fish end up on the short-bus side of life by braining themselves as they desperately flop around in the shallows.
My technique is semi-similar to those described above by goatboy and creature, with a few twists...
1- I fish #20 tippet in most situations (if it ain't 20, it's #16), for the express purpose of being able to grab the tippet and control fish in deeper water, and
2- I don't slack off the line for the final grab.
When I get the fish close, I make sure I have a few feel of the head and all the tip/tippet out of the guides and I am holding a bit of slack Then I push the rod away from me (still holding the handle) in what I describe as "the iron cross"...much like the gymnastics manuever on the rings, it can occasionally make a fella's arm shake a bit. With the non-fishpole-holding hand, reach out until you are semi-close to the line, then "steer" the rod hand in such a way as to pull the fish closer yet not go into the 180°+ territory that makes rod dealers cringe. When you get ahold of the tippet or tip, just tilt the rod back into your fish hand to create slack and Bob's yer uncle. When done correctly it's super easy, and as a bonus you can get friends to take yer pic when you go full-superhero landing your 3rd steelhead from the run.
steelie Mike D's pic of me rockin' the iron cross landing technique in a good 16" of water...a long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away. View attachment 264259