Stepping down during the swing??

Been seeing more and more vids recently of people casting, mending, then stepping during the time the fly is in the meatiest parts of the run. What are your thoughts on this, please? If you do it consistently, does it simply mean your fly will travel more diagonally and have little to no effect on your "chances"? Thanks for any thoughts DS
 

Dillon

Active Member
i Step down after he swing is completed and before I make the next cast. Some like to step down immediately after the cast to set up the swing, especially when fishing a sunk fly as they feel it helps the fly gain depth. I’ve never heard of stepping down during the swing as you describe. i hold still during the swing as I don’t want the fly pulled off course. The steelhead may see the fly on several swings before it commits to the fly, so such movement might spook it. But hey, who knows, whatever works...
Could you post one of these videos?
 

MGTom

Living at the place of many waters
WFF Supporter
Fishing wets I'll step early to save a mend and get the fly down if that's what I want. Usually too busy working the rod during the swing to step without falling. Sometimes a step and a wiggle on the hang is the ticket. Change it up.
 
MGTom you just answered the question I was gonna ask Dillon. I've always hesitated to take my steps at the end of the swing because I didn't want to "back my fly down" into the face of a fish that might be hanging directly below me. Sounds like that's not a bad thing at all. I've never had a grab at the hangdown, but also don't do much for giving it time or mini strips, either, like alot of great anglers do.
 
Dillon recently I watched Skagit Master with Ed Ward and Ed was doing it, then today I watched April Volkey do it while salmon fishing in Norway.
 

O' Clarkii Stomias

Active Member
I find that when I'm in the "zone", I'm constantly moving down. Just kinda moving with the flow of the river. Holding a bit of running line after the cast, and feeding it into the drift before the swing for me is better at sinking the head and fly.
 

Salmo_g

WFF Supporter
Usually I'll cast, mend, then move downstream a few steps, largely to sink the fly a bit deeper and because I'm going to step sometime in the fishing process. I figure I might as well make it useful and productive instead of standing there at the end of the swing and taking downstream steps and possibly hanging my fly on the rocks.
 

Mike.Cline

Bozeman, Montana
I come from the perspective of streamer fishing with sink tips and unweighted flies for trout in medium to large SW Montana rivers, so the answer is “It Depends”. When trout are holding in deep buckets or pools mid-stream, there’s generally no need to move much as you can change the depth and path of the fly through the speed of your strip and/or length of cast. The same applies to the situation when the trout have moved into big, wide riffles (generally to feed on emerging insects). However, if trout are holding along deep outside bends and banks with strong currents (watch that bubble line), you get about 3-6’ of swing in the zone before the fly gets too far from the bank. In those situations, the cast is made tight to the bank, allowed to swing for a few seconds and then picked up and cast again. Generally during the pickup, I am stepping down the stream a few feet. This process attempts to cover every foot of bank because you don’t know exactly where the fish are holding along that bank.

When to step down or not is a bit like “finding the pattern in bass fishing” and using the most appropriate technique at the time.
 

_WW_

Geriatric Skagit Swinger
WFF Supporter
I used to move almost constantly. Kind of shuffling down while fishing and only stopping to make the cast with secure footing. These days I use a wading staff so any movement I make is after the cast and during the swing. Since it takes two hands to recover the line and recast I drop the staff and perform the task before picking up the staff and moving along.

I would rather fish the run twice than go through in 12" increments as some guys who always seem to be in front of me like to do
 

Cruik

WFF Supporter
I take my steps at the point in the swing when the fly is getting the most friction and more likely to ride up in the water column. I definitely don't think a steelhead cares about any disruption of the perfect swing arc. I'm not sure that it's more effective, but I think it lets me fish a lighter tip.
 

Rob Allen

Active Member
Been seeing more and more vids recently of people casting, mending, then stepping during the time the fly is in the meatiest parts of the run. What are your thoughts on this, please? If you do it consistently, does it simply mean your fly will travel more diagonally and have little to no effect on your "chances"? Thanks for any thoughts DS


I do it because... I dunno why I do it.. maybe I just can't stand still that long.. I don't think it affects fishing at all. The only thing that does is the number of fish in the river and the mood of those fish...
 

CreekScrambler

Active Member
I’ve been instructed that the step is a way to correct for water that’s a bit faster or deeper than ideal for your current setup. I fish without stepping during the swing unless the swing starts telling me otherwise by fishing a little too fast/shallow.

It also seems that the step is most useful for short belly lines and shooting heads, where the running line doesn’t have enough mass to repeatedly mend the line after it lands. Mid or long-belly lines would be much easier to slow down due to their mending advantage. The Combs book outlines the differences in swinging technique based on line type and would be useful for this discussion.
 
Last edited:

Support WFF | Remove the Ads

Support WFF by upgrading your account. Site supporters benefits include no ads and access to some additional features, few now, more in the works. Info

Latest posts

Top