fly rod

When you first feel the hit of a swung fly from a steelhead, you’d better have your fly rod ready. No, seriously, you need to be ready for that first hammer! You should be ready for that fish to pull out 100 yards of line. One solid tip to help you prepare for this……. Make sure your rod tip is pointed down towards the water as the line swings across.

You can either point the rod tip at the line as it swings or lead the fly a little to help present the fly more broadside to the fish. I note these two options to remind you to mix things up as you fish for steelhead.

Fly Rod Tip Angle

Whether you point the rod tip at the line as you swing or lead the fly, keeping the tip point low will be critical. This gives you a more direct connection with the fish and minimizes the chance the fish breaks you off from a higher rod tip.

Keeping it low also allows you to set the hook more effectively as you bow to the fish on the first initial take.

These tips along with keeping a shock loop should prepare you for the potential big first slam of a steelhead. Nymph fishing rod tip angle is usually the opposite because of the constant struggle with line control. Here’s a comparison between the two methods.  When swinging flies, there will not be any slack or fly line to control in your hands, other than a small shock loop under your finger.

Keep your rod tip low and follow or lead your fly as it swings across. Note that it’s not important to have your rod tip in the water, and a few inches above the water is probably better to help with that first strike.  Here’s a little clarification on rod tip height for those that need a little more content.


Low and moderately slow is what swinging flies is all about. You want your fly to swing at the pace of the current as though it were dead drifting. Like a leaf floating in the water. Keep your fly rod tip pointed down toward the line and you’ll be off to a good start. Click the button below to find the other top articles.