Fly Line Weaving

Fly Line Weaving

Fly line weaving with your fingers may be more effective then one would think, especially against large species.

Fighting a big game fish with a fly rod requires endurance and skills, which are learned and acquired through years of experience. Good anglers can land big fish quickly and with much less effort than novices, because they know how and when to pull on a fish. Angles are critical. If the fish is swimming to the right, pull left. If the fish is swimming away, pull down along the spine of the fish. Always try to keep the head of the fish up. Once they start "dogging" or holding steady in deep water, it is difficult to tire or move them.

I tend to use a fairly light drag, especially at the beginning of the fight. I may tighten it slightly as the battle progresses, but most of the additional pressure I apply is through my hands. Palming does not slow powerful fish effectively. It is a superb technique for bonefish, steelhead or redfish, but it does not work well for a tarpon or sailfish. A much more successful tactic is to weave the fly line around your fingers and pull back without letting any line slip. If the fish surges, point the rod toward the fish and let go of the line. You will be amazed by the amount of pressure you can apply and how well you can feel and anticipate the movement of the fish. The following video demonstrates this technique.

Also, remember that fly line is elastic. Pulling with 25 yards of backing and a full fly line between you and the fish is ineffective. Wait until you are 50 feet or so into your fly line and then start to get serious about landing the fish. Always try to get the fish to the boat as quickly as possible to ensure that the fish is released unharmed and never pull a big fish over the gunwales and into the cockpit of the boat.

Recommended for You


2019 Most Endangered Rivers

Fly Fisherman - April 16, 2019

American Rivers today released its annual list of America's Most Endangered Rivers,...

Fly Tying

Tying the Strong Arm Merkin

David W. Skok - July 09, 2019

Here are step-by-step instructions for tying the Strong Arm Merkin fly.


How to Catch Smallmouth Bass on Topwater Flies

Dave Karczynski and Tim Landwehr

Modern methods for catching smallmouths on topwater flies.

See More Recommendations

Popular Videos

A Fly Box Gamut!

At the 2008 Fly Tackle Retailers Show, Zack Dalton talks about the selection of C&F fly boxes that are designed to store anything from saltwater tarpon streamers to tiny #20 dry flies.

Anti-Invasive Species Boots

Editor Ross Purnell joins K.C. Walsh of Simms to talk about a new rubber compound material that was specially designed to outperform and replace the use of felt boots in effort to combat the spread of invasive species.

Bugs of the Underworld

Midges don't float passively to the surface, they actively swim, and Ralph Cutter has the video to prove it. This is the companion video to Ralph Cutter's article Bugs of the Underworld in the Feb. 2009 issue of Fly Fisherman.

See more Popular Videos

Trending Stories


Fly Fishing Community Stunned by Twin Slayings on Belize Saltwater Flat

Fly Fisherman Online Staff - June 27, 2019

The fly fishing communities in the U.S. and Belize are mourning after twin slayings that...


Alpine Lakes for Remote Monsters

Landon Mayer - April 18, 2018

You don't always catch large trout in these alpine lakes and streams, but even the small ones...

Fly Tying

Best Panfish Flies

Skip Morris - October 17, 2016

Best Panfish Flies

See More Stories

More Learn

Fly Tying

Tying the Strong Arm Merkin

David W. Skok - July 09, 2019

Here are step-by-step instructions for tying the Strong Arm Merkin fly.


The Progressive Method of Fly Casting

Pete Kutzer - December 13, 2018

As taught in Orvis schools the past 50 years.

Fly Tying

Tying the Clown Shoe Caddis

Charlie Craven - July 25, 2018

The Clown Shoe Caddis is tailor-made to suspend heavy dropper nymphs, even in turbulent...

See More Learn

GET THE MAGAZINE Subscribe & Save

Temporary Price Reduction.


Give a Gift   |   Subscriber Services


GET THE NEWSLETTER Join the List and Never Miss a Thing.