To the uninitiated, swinging flies effectively for anadromous fish might not appear overly complex – Cast across the river with a slightly downstream angle, make a mend, and let your fly swing on through until you feel the take. Sounds simple enough, right?
While we’re really lucky to fish runs at Alaska West that tend to produce fish with very little manipulation of the fly (more often than not, doing the above will catch fish), experienced spey anglers know that there are subtle adjustments that can be made during the swing to help your fly swim more effectively.
During the swing, one such adjustment is to hold your running line in such a way that even the slightest change in tension can be transmitted to the tips of your fingers. Doing so allows more insight into how well your fly is swimming, helps to detect even the most subtle takes, as well as feel any interaction of your fly with the bottom and/or other structure.
There are a number of ways to hold your running line during the swing to offer more feedback from your fly. However, a popular method with many of our guides is as follows. Rather than pinching the running directly against the rod grip, allow the line to drape under your index finger, but over the top of your middle finger (shown in the photo above). As your fly swings, any change in tension will be instantly transmitted to your finger tips, giving you a far better idea of what’s going on under the surface.
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