How to reel in a fish on a fly rod


So now you’ve reached the point where you have hooked into a fish on your fly rod, what to do next and how to reel in a fish on a fly rod?

Dont worry, its really not that difficult and il walk you through the steps to make it easier for you to land the fish.

Should i reel with my right of left hand?

When it comes to reeling in a fish on a fly rod and wondering which hand you should use it’s really very simple.

I always go with the opposite of my writing hand. I like to hold the fly rod with my strong hand as that allows me to play the fish better and have a better grip on the rod.

(Check out our Best Fly Fishing Reels article here)

I am then free to reel with my other hand in my case my left hand and this is what has worked for me.

Naturally, over time and with practice, this process of handling the fly rod whilst at the same time reeling in the fish has become easier and more natural.

How to set the hook fly fishing?

This depends on whether you are freshwater fly fishing for freshwater fishing or saltwater fly fishing for saltwater species.

In freshwater fly fishing, you will use what is known as a trout strike. This involves you lifting the tip of the fly rod very fast. This allows the hook to set in the trout’s mouth and results in a hookup.

With Saltwater fly fishing, the fish are usually more aggressive and the type of flies you will be using are representing baitfish that move so we use whats known as a strip set, see in the video below what is a strip set.

How to land the fish?

Now you’ve allowed the fish to tire out having played it for a short while in the water, its time now to land it.

Firstly have your landing net open and ready.
(check our best fly fishing net article here)

Next raise the top of you fly rod towards the sky and at the same time draw back in the line slowly so as to draw the fish into you slowly.

Its important not to go too fast here as you easily lose the fish by being to agressive (happened to me many times :).

Once the fish is close to you and near the water’s edge, take the landing net and half submerge it so the mouth of the net is half-submerged under the water.

This will allow you now to further draw in the fish by drawing more line and using the rod to bring the fish slowly in towards the landing net and eventually into the landing net, congratulations, you just landed your fish!

How do you keep fish when fly fishing?

This really depends on whether you want to later release the fish alive or take one home to eat.

If im releasing later back to the lake or river etc ill keep them in a holding net. This is not my usual preference though.

I tend to either release immediately or hit it on the top of the head with my priest and put it in the cool box to take home to cook later.

Most fly fishers either release immediately hence the term “catch & release” or will kill one or two and take them home for eating purposes.

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