Don’t Let Go of the Fly Line in Your Rod Hand During the Hook Set

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Always maintain a grip of the fly line in your rod hand when setting the hook. Photo Louis Cahill

Have you ever set the hook on a fish, and the next thing you know, you’ve got your arms spread apart in the shape of a giant slice of pizza, leaving you unable to reach the fly line with your rod hand?

Do not be ashamed if this happens to you every now and then on the water. You’re not alone, I promise. Many fly anglers do this regularly, and the reason they get themselves in this situation is because they’re letting go of the fly line in their rod hand when they set the hook. You can completely eliminate this problem on the water if you make sure you keep a solid grip on the fly line with your rod hand during and after every hook set. Doing so, it will allow you to maintain tension and control of the fish while you’re stripping in fly line or getting that excess fly line on the reel.

I know some of you that have found yourself in this situation have probably used your mouth to hold onto the fly line until you can get your hands back into the correct position. God, I know I have plenty of times. Sometimes this works, other times it doesn’t. One thing I can assure everyone on is that proper fish fighting technique with a fly rod doesn’t call for our mouth to be involved. Next time you find yourself in this predicament on the water, forget about using your mouth, and immediately bring your hand that’s holding the fly line back to your rod hand so you can resume fighting the fish effectively. As mentioned before, you shouldn’t have to worry about doing this if you always make a point to not let go of the fly line in your rod hand during and after the hook set.

Keep it Reel,

Kent Klewein
Gink & Gasoline
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3 thoughts on “Don’t Let Go of the Fly Line in Your Rod Hand During the Hook Set

  1. Good tip! And sorry to sound like a gear weenie but is that a BIIx with a green MSL in the pic??? I have the exact same setup and I love it haha…

  2. Pingback: Tippets: Improve Your Hook Set, Biscayne Bay Bloom, “Surf Candy” History, Pep Talk | MidCurrent

  3. We do a lot of down and across dryfly fishing here, especially on our home water the Missouri River, and we generally teach our anglers to not try and hold the line in their rod hand when they set the hook. It’s hard to get full extension on the hook set and conversely pick up all the slack line. Instead, we teach how to quickly reach up and grab that line with the right index after the fish is hooked, and then strip down to gain control and play the fish. Got to hook them first!

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