Earlier this week I sat down with one of our local guides, Todd Rettmann, to find out what might be one of his top winter steelhead tips or key to success, what does he say so much that he feels like he sounds like a broken record.
When I finally got Todd to stop talking about the winter steelhead that one of his clients had landed here is what he had to say;
Today’s tip has to do with a simple but very important premise and that is CHECK YOUR FLY. throughout the year, guiding close to 300 days a year, I see a lot of things, but for winter time steelhead fishing checking your fly is paramount to success for two reasons:
First if you make a bad cast a lot of the time we see the trailing hook foul and get wrapped around the body of the fly or the leader.
The second reason is that a lot of times in the winter we are using sink tips and heavy flies, that get caught or hung up on the bottom. A lot of times this will dull your hook just enough to cause you miss a fish. Or if you're hung up bad enough you will bend the hook open. So my solution to these problems are to always carry a file and a spare package of hooks.
There is an old saying that goes something like.. Dull hooks make for stories of the one that “got away” and sharp hooks make for excellent fish pictures!
Todays hook files are very effective and there is no reason to “over sharpen” or repeatedly file the hook over and over. In most cases 3 to 5 swipes and you are back in business. Always test the hook on your finger nail and make sure it sticks. If the hook slides on your finger nail, it may be time to replace the hook.
Always check your hook, if your hook is dull or you fly is fouled there is no on to blame but yourself. Be proactive in doing everything you can to get the upper hand on those elusive steelhead. Remember they are a fish of a thousand casts so make sure when its that cast that everything is right!
Todd is a year round guide in Oregon, if it swims in our local waters he guides for it. In the Winter time you can find Todd out on the coast chasing winter steelhead with Rob Crandall and Water Time Outfitters.
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