Posts Tagged ‘reel


nature’s ever changing canvas…



Wet Rocks & Precision

During the downpours on an Oregon coastal stream, I had occasions to set my rod down and re-rig. When I would look down at the Hatch reel, I would note the contrast of a beautifully machined implement, the brilliance of the fly line and backing against the wet greens, browns, and grays. To my mind, it was rich looking in textures and colors.

The rod, a 10 wt. Winston Boron rod, once belonged to John Hagan…a dear friend and avid fly fisher, shop owner, who passed on not long ago. I was honored to receive the rod from his son, Jack Hagan and this past weekend the rod (and reel) performed flawlessly against big fish, even if I didn’t always match up to the moments. Power vs. power, a beautiful thing to feel and behold.

rod-reel-Hatch Reel-fly fishing-photography-Oregon-SwittersB


rod-reel-Hatch Reel-Hagan rod-fly fishing-SwittersB-Oregon


Water Art: Images of Reflection & Displacement

With all outdoor pursuits one sees possibilities of creative angles, light, emotions, contrasts, textures, history etc. I have three sons, all competent outdoorsmen. One, in particular, has a keen eye for the more artistic side. Sometimes he just seems to be photographing more than fishing, but hey its his experience.

lake water clouds ™ SwittersB

Pushing Forward ™ SwittersB

Water Wheel ™ SwittersB


Your Reel’s Drag System

For many of us, we fish for smaller fish as is often said the reel is nothing more than a storage place for the fly line. This implies the reel’s drag really won’t be used by those 6″-12″ trout.

So, assuming you infrequently catch fish that will pull line from your reel to test the drag…that is all the more reason to test a few things about your drag: how is the drag set now? too tight…too loose? You will usually know this as you strip line from the reel to make that ever longer cast. Which way do you turn the drag knob to loosen or tighten the drag? It is good to know this before you are stumbling about playing a large fish.

Also, develop the habit of reeling line up onto the reel in a somewhat uniform manner.  Loops and loose coils on the reel will potentially cause a problem when the large fish (yes this is that fish of the season for many of us) makes its run. The line is streaming off the reel, the drag is working and then you come to a loose loop, coil or tangle. The reel can hesitate, or shoot line out too quickly (when a loop of line shoots off the reel) or come to a complete halt. All these create jolting forces that make the line/rod tip move about with a movement that is not smooth and threatens to snap the tippet. Smooth and consistent is the goal.

So, periodically check that spool. Is the fly line a jumbled mess? Strip out the tangles, loose coils and loops and reel the line back on nice and neat. Also, have some familiarity with that drag knob…in advance of that big one.


Fly Fishing: Line Management Onto the Reel

Regardless of the type of reel (level wind, spinning or fly reel) it always important to watch how the line is going onto the reel whether fighting a fish or quickly reeling in to re-rig or cast. Reeling in a tangle onto the reel while playing a substantial fish is a possible disaster.

Here I was playing a substantial fish off the reel and I had reeled that mess down through the rod’s guides. When the fish ran, the tangle did come off the reel but failed to make it back up through all the guides. Fish gone. Fortunately no damage to the rod’s guide(s).

Normally, I would use my right hand fingers to tuck the fly line, above the tangle, behind my forefinger/middle finger and against the cork. From there I would attempt to use my off hand to untangle the mess by allowing some slack to the line around the tangle. If the fish is sizable, you may only get one shot at this. In the photo above, I never noticed the tangle as I fought the fish.


Fly Fishing: Casting With Your Off Hand

There are  obvious practical reasons to learn to cast with your off hand. A few years back, because of injuries and degeneration, I had to have my right wrist fully fused. A titanium bar was inserted from the back of my middle finger/upper knuckle, up my forearm and screwed in along with the wrist bone being replaced with hip bone and then fused. May I just say that it is a very painful surgery/recovery if you consider it. That said, years later, my right hand is slowly suffering loss of sensations and swelling/pain in the knuckles.

A full day of casting (maybe catching) eventually makes the right hand give out. I have learned to ease this gradual decline by casting with my left hand/arm. I have never progressed beyond a single haul, but I can get the line out via roll casts and normal casts. The right hand is able to do the normal line retrieval. Because my reel is still set up for left hand cranking, if I do hook a fish I still have to revert to bringing the fish in with the normal right hand holding the rod while the left hand cranks the reel or strips. But, that occasional casting with the left hand helps. It also helps when the lay of the land necessitates a different casting presentation.

Also, there are theories that doing endeavors with your off hand, arm, foot etc. actually may improve your performance afterwards with your dominant side. I recall my son’s venture into throwing the javelin. He had smaller practice javelins/darts and he was encouraged to also practice throwing with his off hand and practice his footwork to support that off hand approach-throw. It seemed to work…for whatever reasons. The same seems to work by casting with your off hand. 

Not only do you expand your tactical possibilities, but you may well improve your strong side casting abilities. Worth a try.

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August 2020

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