For some, swinging flies is just a phase. It’s something new and different to try. For others, it’s become a passion and addiction which consumes our life. Normal people look at us and and say we’re crazy!
Steelhead Anglers who swing flies, are well, pretty crazy. Only “crazies” will wade in a freezing river while making Spey cast after Spey cast with one hope: to find a player and entice it to chase and attack our fly.
Swinging flies for Steelhead isn’t for the faint of heart. Swinging flies takes patience and persistence. You also need to have confidence and what I would call, “Mental Toughness.” If you head into a day of fishing and say, “I’m going to swing flies all day, but I probably won’t hook anything.” Well, you are probably right. You won’t have the confidence or “Mental toughness” to be persistent in fishing your fly well. Over the years, I have guided clients on the swung fly for Steelhead. I see many Anglers who believe swinging flies is a “just cast out there and hang on.” There is more to swinging a fly. It’s an art form in which the canvas is always changing. Steelhead fishing on the Pere Marquette doesn’t come easy, so swinging a fly only makes the job more difficult. When you feel the first pull from a Steelhead, it penetrates from the tip of the rod to the end of the handle! Your fish rips through the water like heat seeking missile! It’s a reward hard to put in writing. It’s hard to explain in words the whole scenario of hooking a Steelhead on the swing, it all happens so fast. I can explain it this way: It’s the closest you will ever come to reaching down in that pool, and grabbing that fish with your bare hands!
Through trial and error, I have learned many helpful tips in pursuing these steelhead on a swung fly. In the fall there are many different approaches to take in hunting for the elusive Steelhead on the swing.