The power of the take of a steelhead is, well…… Powerful.  It can really blow you away if you aren’t ready.  Hell, it can really blow you away if you are ready.  I’ve talked about a few techniques already that will help you hook and land more fish –  see the Open Clinch Knot and Bow to the fish.

The shock loop is another effective technique to help you hook and land more fish.  The shock look gives you a little cushion when a fish hammers your fly.

Here’s how it works – After you make your cast, then mend, pull out about 10″ of extra line (about one small strip worth) and pinch it in your index finger of the hand holding the rod.

The loop will be ready when that fish hits and takes up the slack.  Instead of being directly on your reel and drag, there is an easing into the take.

After your fish is hooked solidly, don’t be afraid to let him run.  You should have plenty of backing on your reel to keep up with him.


Take a look at this example of a shock loop.  Next time you are swinging flies, try out the shock look and increase your hook up ratio, but remember to keep it short so it doesn’t wrap around your reel handle.



  1. Thanks for a great reminder on this one, Dave. It has certainly saved me from busting off quite a few fish on that initial explosive take and run. Just be sure not to make it too long, which is easy to do when really trying to make that long cast and you don’t quite get al the line out. The extra line can wrap around the rod end or reel handle. Found that out the hard way…

    • Good example. Hopefully your comment will help save a few people from loosing that next big steelhead or salmon. What is your go to fly when swinging for summer steelhead? If you had to just pick one?