A fishing guide tells a cautionary tale
If there is one thing a fly fishing guide that makes his/her living in the brine despises is the client hook-set or… better known as the pre-mature ejerkulations. We assume that all anglers know that you strip until the line comes tight and then, only then, do you rotate your body, utilizing the butt of the rod to drive the hook home. It doesn’t have to be fast, only firm and diliberate. Well what if the fish are following the fly and eat the fly coming at you and if you don’t strike quick, well they just spit the the fly?
A couple of Novembers ago I was sharing my skiff with one of the most talented anglers that I know- Andy Packmore from Fishing Tackle Unlimited. It was cold and the tides were all wrong so, instead of an all out feed, the redfish were sluggishly tracking a well-delivered fly as much as twenty feet before surging to eat it. The only way to hook these fish was to see them eat and, well quickly raise the rod prior to them spitting the fly.
Being the skilled angler that he is, Andy quickly caught on and nailed a couple of fish before it happened. He had made as perfect a cast as possible and the fish started following the fly and then made the surge. Andy was quick to raise his rod and as it loaded up, the hook failed to find purchase and came out of the fish’s mouth, loading the rod and creating a nearly perfect backcast. Realizing that he had the opportuntity to re-deliver the fly to a fish that had already commited to a meal. The problem is that this all happened at 12 o’clock meaning the back-cast came back towards the poling platform where I just happened to be standing and the leader wrapped around my neck and the wet fly hit me in my cheek. It was stuck there, albeit very momentarly. As Andy started his forward cast it was just like in the movies. You know, all in slow motion. Nooooooooooo.