On the Reel


Soap Lake Posse
WFF Moderator
I never fight bass on the reel. Fly reels bring in what 8 inches of line per spin verses some of the baitcaster bringing in 36 inches? You can't keep up with a big bass headed to the cattails on the reel. One big strip will pick up almost 48 inches of line for me.


WFF Supporter
I will very occasionally bring a salty critter onto the reel without waiting for it to run on, usually big black drum that are hard to move with just a strip, but also lazy and won't just take the line.
Don’t you just like the take, strip set, then the ............... nothing.....as the blackie just sits there and stares at you like ..WTF.....and then right under the boat or board. Swear they set you up to look dumb which in my case ain’t that hard most of the time.


Hesitant Member
I’ve taken lots of noobs out in a lot in places with a high body count like alaska, and absolutely amazing how many fish are lost while someone fumbles trying to put the fish on a reel instead of stripping. I mean, it’s a salmon, if you just wait a minute it’s probably gonna send that fly line sailing through your guides and find the reel anyways. Total pet peeve of mine, really grinds my gears honestly. If you’re a reel slapper then have at it, that’s a viable technique and should also be deployed if an option or able. But managing your slack that’s around your feet, which is something you will have to deal with literally every fly cast in every fly fishing situation you will encounter (sans stripping basket) in your life, is something you’re gonna have to become confident doing and not IMO something to be shy about. You should always be conscious of how and where you lay about line because there will be a day when it really matters and stepping on your line or throwing it all Willy Nilly around the boat is gonna cost you a HOG. Might as well get used to it while you dick around shakin pickles off the hook. Human fingers are a gift from millennia of evolution why waste the opportunity to let them do what they were meant to do???? Incredible dexterity, automatic reaction to brain inputs, limitless application of drag, and best of all, they fit perfectly in gloves.

Can’t say the same for a cold, lifeless reel.


Active Member
Let him hook a 12lb steelhead.

True, especially an early summer-run. OTOH, tuna will teach more about line management in a matter of seconds, than years of trout fishing ever will. Busted knuckles, cut fingers, and burned palms are highly effective training tools.

"the universe is big and old and, as a result, rare events happen all the time. Go out some night into the woods or desert where you can see stars and hold up your hand to the sky, making a tiny circle between your thumb and forefinger about the size of a dime. Hold it up to a dark patch of the sky where there are no visible stars. In that dark patch, with a large enough telescope of the type we now have in service today, you could discern perhaps 100,000 galaxies, each containing billions of stars. Since supernovae explode once per hundred years per, with 100,000 galaxies in view, you should expect to see, on average, about three stars explode on a given night."

Gotta say, a fly-line management thread is about the last place I would've expected a reference to the Hubble Deep Field experiment - but point made. Apparently we watch and read a lot of the same nerdy shit.


Active Member
I fall into the make the fish earn the line before playing it off the reel. A life time of fishing has taught me that most critical period in determining the success of converting a "take" to a fish in hand is the first couple seconds after the take with the largest culprit being slack line. Do I occasional a fish due to a snarl resulting from that loose line? Yes but on the whole limiting that slack line early in the fight has increased my conversion rate. An yes I have even caught a12# steelhead with that approach.

In full disclosure much of my fishing involves striping line (streamers, retrieving sub-surface flies etc.) and I general set my hook with a strip strike so often have slack line in hand at the contact point with a fish.



Active Member
Often times if you are bobber fishing average size lake trout (not lake trout but trout in lakes) and the fishing is pretty consistent, I don't want to play fish on the reels because 1) there is no need, 2) you are making short casts and 3) putting the fish on the reel just means you have to strip the line off the reel to make another cast. Way too time consuming. I simply strip the line in and let the coils fall to the bottom of the boat. Play your fish, release it quickly, make another cast...repeat until your arm gets tired or your wife calls you. For me it's all about efficiency. Once in awhile a larger fish earns putting it on the reel and it takes you out of rhythm by having to strip out line to make another cast and you cuss it for being too big.:D

The above scenario is when the fishing is like this (play the gif file below).


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    the frying dutchman.gif
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