By Brown Hobson
At the end of every fishing trip, on my drive home, I think of ways I could have gotten my clients to catch more fish that day. Should I have recognized a feeding pattern faster? Could I have taught them a new angling technique? At the end of the season I go through the same ritual only magnified. I found many things last year that I can improve upon. One of the areas of my improvement I thought would benefit a large portion of the angling community. I noticed lots of days of good fishing (lots of eats) didn’t produce the number of fish in the net I wanted. My clients were casting and mending well, but losing trout between the eat and the net due to slack line.
I always teach beginners to immediately put the line under their rod hand trigger finger the instant the fly hits the water. It is often awkward at first, but becomes instinctive after a short time. That is the most important tip I show them all day. It often translates the first eat into a landed trout, and frequently can double the number of fish they land. I see clients too often set the hook with the rod in one hand and the line in the other only to be stranded after the hook set with their hands five feet apart, and no way to retrieve the trout without creating a slack line. I do see creative anglers use their teeth to hold line while they strip, but that only works occasionally. The most effective way I’ve found to land fish after the set is to never remove the line from your rod hand trigger finger. Once you set the hook you use your free hand to strip line from just below your trigger finger (see photo) and you can rapidly make subsequent strips while never taking your eye off the fish. Constantly watching the fish and not your line allows you to react much quicker to any runs or direction changes. Work this trigger finger tip into your angling routine and I guarantee you will land more fish and more of the larger smarter fish that have developed fighting skills to outwit anglers.
Brown Hobson is the owner and one of the guides at Brown Trout Fly Fishing LLC. Brown Trout Fly Fishing LLC is based in Asheville, NC and is ORVIS Endorsed. To ask questions about this article or to book a day of fishing with Brown call or E-mail.