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Playing Trout: From Hook To Hand

Most people who have never experienced fly fishing imagine that the challenges of fishing involve the casting and getting the fish to take the fly. In reality, that's only part of the challenge. While casting requires skill and precision, it's merely the first step. And even though positioning the fly so that it lures trout effectively is a technique that even experienced anglers botch on occasion, the game has just begun.

Success in fly fishing depends primarily upon the angler's ability to play the trout. That is, once the trout takes the fly, getting it from the water into your hands involves as much (if not more) skill as casting. Landing trout means being able to master playing the trout. Below, you'll learn how to plan your playing in advance, be assertive and leverage your equipment to maximize your success.

Planning In Advance

Most beginning anglers fail to plan their strategy. As a result, they often leave the water empty-handed. Instead, you should plan to have a trout take each time you cast your line. Be ready to play the trout so you can act instinctively. Second, think about the area in which you're fly fishing. Identify the places your trout will likely head once it's on your hook. That way, you can compensate without wasting precious time. Third, notice the direction of the current. When the trout takes your fly, you should guide it into the current. By doing so, the trout will be fighting against you and the current, causing it to tire quickly.

Assertive Playing

Oddly, many novice anglers are afraid to use much force when playing trout. They fear that too much force might cause a break in the line, allowing the trout to escape. But, think for a moment. When your fly is stuck in a tree, how much force would you need to break the line or the fly? It's unlikely that you'll ever use enough force playing a trout to cause a break. Be assertive. Remember, you're playing the trout. It's not the other way around.

Rod, Reel And Line Considerations

You should be using your equipment to maximize your playing ability. First, your rod acts like a spring. It's a shock absorber. When you've hooked a trout, it will fight back and try to escape. The force it uses in its attempt can be absorbed by your rod. But, to do so, your rod need to be held at a right angle to your line.

Your reel should come in handy when a trout is fighting forcefully. Veteran anglers prefer manual reels instead of versions with a pre-set drag. They find that manual reels offer more flexibility when playing trout and can tire their prey more quickly. Playing trout is also easier when you're using a nylon monofilament line. The material stretches. That allows the line to absorb much of the force of a trout fighting to escape.

Learning To Play

Playing trout effectively is a major part of fly fishing success. There are certain techniques that you should master. Not only should you plan your playing strategy before casting your line, but be assertive with your catch. You're not likely to break the fly line. Also, keep in mind that your rod, reel and line can do much of the work for you. They'll absorb to power of the trout, allowing you to focus your energy on playing and landing it. With some experience, you'll soon find that playing trout is one of the most exciting parts of fly fishing.