In fly fishing (actually fishing in general) there are two descriptions for ‘high sticking’.
First, and most common, is a method of nymph fishing, whereby the rod tip is held high to theoretically put the fisher in more direct contact with the offering (fly, bait) and reduce line drag (fly line, tippet, mono). This, generally, involves a short line and is different than Czech Nymphing, which is more akin to dredging.
But, there is another kind of high sticking that deals with fish fighting and unfortunately often rod breakage. I thought about this while reviewing a TFO Rod ad, which contained a short blurb about rod breakage due to high sticking. I have broken three rods, while fighting salmon. Once, while playing a Chinook in heavy currents, I felt the fish make that fateful turn broadside in the current and then turn. Not familiar with the power of big fish in heavy currents, I torqued down on the drag and leaned back on the rod, while holding the rod high on the butt section for torque…SNAP!!!! Lesson learned. As Clint Eastwood would have said..’a mans got to know his rod’s limitations’.
But, twice more, with smaller salmon, I fought the fish in close and to control them, I held the rod high (butt section vertical) and kept the line pinched to the cork. The fish thrashed and surged. With the rod held high, the tips snapped into multiple pieces.
I always admonished my kids to ‘keep the tip up’ to avoid a rod horizontal and all the stress on the line/tippet. All that is fine, until you have a bigger fish at your feet, alone and trying to control the fish.
Avoid lifting and trying to hoist/control a strong fish by putting excessive bend into the top third of the rod with the butt section of the rod nearly vertical. Often this is done while lifting the rod to steer the line into the non-rod hand to gain control of the fish. This is a difficult dance indeed. Easy with a trout, but much harder with a bigger fish. If the fish is not on its side yet, be careful when you lift the rod while reaching for the line!