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18. Recognizing strikes and playing fish. (18 of 21)

How do I know when a fish takes my nymph? Do I reel in all my line once I hook a fish?

Video Transcript:

You can never be quite sure when a fish takes your fly when using an indicator. As a friend of mine often says, hook sets are free. Also the faster the water, the harder the take because the fish are grabbing something that's moving faster, and in this kind of water, the indicator will sometimes even plunge underwater just like a real bobber. In slower water, the take might be more subtle and could be just a minor hesitation.
In fact, in slower water, you may miss some strikes with a plastic indicator so you may want to switch to a more sensitive yarn indicator because these will register those subtle takes much better than the plastic ones. When fishing with a dry dropper, strikes will not be as apparent as when fishing with an indicator because the fly just gets pulled under.
With a plastic bobber, there's more resistance to move, so it jumps. With a dry fly, it just gets pulled under easily. So when using this kind of rig, anytime your dry even begins to sink, you need to set the hook. So a lot of people wonder, when do you play the fish on the reel? Well, usually, I say the fish is going to tell you.
The fish is going to take off, pull this line from your hands, and go, and you're not going to be able to stop it. So that's when you play a fish from the reel. But this fish, he's not really going to take off that much. I can let a little line slip through my hand if he goes, but I'm not really going to worry about getting the line out of the reel. But then, if you're going to land a fish in midwater like this, the fish can sometimes get tangled in your line.
So sometimes, just to get the line out of the way, you're sure you got the fish under control, you can reel the line in. And then you don't have to worry about the fish slapping around in the line at your feet. But again, this isn't really a big enough fish that I need to play it from the reel. I can strip this fish in just fine.
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