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Discussion Starter #1
I've was just dreaming about where/when my next fish will come and it caused me to reminisce about my past experiences and how I've altered my approach and technique because of hints/tips I've recieved from others or my personal observations. Thought I'd pass this on...

When I come to the bank, I always start short on advice from Dec's video from several years ago and can even recall one fish coming on the very first cast... very exciting and I remember that fish like it was yesterday. If no one has been to the bank before me and it's early in the morning, I have spotted steelhead right next to the bank, so now I always cast a short line if the water is promising. Because of what I've seen and learned, I've also entered the river above the spot on the bank I want to fish, waded quietly to mid-river, and cast to the bank with success. Thrilling when a game plan comes together but it doesn't happen very often. A few I've anticipated but the vast majority are a surpirse somewhere in the 1000 casts one makes in a full day.

I can recall more than a few times when the hit came on the dangle and even a couple on the first strip or two off the dangle. I've never had one hit immediatly upon the fly landing and I'm remembering the vast majority have come somewhere in the smooth middle of the swing.

But they are all heart-stopping!
 

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The Dude abides
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I get most of my hits as the fly transitions from controlled dead drift to full swing.
I never get dangle grabs! not one yet... odd
 

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Unlike Matt, I have gotten dangle grabs but by war most happen once the swing starts through the last 10 degrees or so before dangle. The first third and the last third seem to be the most productive.
 

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Agreed

Although I have my dangle stikes usually as per below and also when both hands are busy selecting the next fly or lighting up



Unlike Matt, I have gotten dangle grabs but by war most happen once the swing starts through the last 10 degrees or so before dangle. The first third and the last third seem to be the most productive.
 

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Similarly - the majority for me have come well into the swing, with hits at the dangle coming in a close second. But, I have either missed more hits or lost more fish hooked at the dangle than any other. I do remember digging in the fly box when a fish pounced after the line had dangled directly below for sometime. I landed the fish but it wasn't pretty until I had secured box away and got hold of the rod. I've had only few fish come right up as soon as the fly hits water though and on one occasion went to throw a mend inadvertently driving the hook home just when the fish came up for it - right to the corner of the mouth. Hatchery fish no less.
 

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a number of year ago on the Bulkley I had a fish slam the fly the instant it touched the water - it could not have sunk more than a few inches and it slammed it.

Definitely have lost my share of fish on the dangle but where the grab happens depends on the water - if you are just fishing pretty constant flow with no discernible holding spots the grab can really happen anywhere but often I am more focused on site specific holding lies and while I will swing through the entire cast, if there are obvious rocky lies this is often where the grabs will come
 

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Towards the end

I would say most my takes are between 15-35 degrees from the hang down. Well into the swing. Never had much success on the dangle even though I always try to let it hang for a while. The transition into the last 1/3 my ears start to perk up. I was talking to a guide on the deschutes and told him that I heard most steelhead on the deschutes get caught pretty close to the bank... He said that's because most people can't cast very far. haha Don't know if there's any truth to that but I always think about it.
 

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The first third and the last third seem to be the most productive.
I'm with Tip on this, but Zilly on the dangle- never one.

I fished near a guy one day that caught three in no time all casting nearly straight downstream, and let it hang minutes at a time. He crushed them.

It looked a lot like bait fishing to me. I would be bored.
 

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Most of my hits were at the end of the dangle when the leader starts to straighten out.

When the river is high and dirty, all my hits are always at the end of the swing when I'm holding the fly down for a minute or two.
 

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The part of the swing that brings the most hits is wherever the fly is swinging over the lies. Could be the dangle. Could be the moment it lands on the water when casting 90 degrees. And everywhere in between. Sure some follow and some don't. The water currents and structure really dictate the when and where, not the swing itself.
 

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FISHIN' FREELANCER
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I pay a lot more attention to the dangle once the water drops below 36* F. First few strips are in the teaser mode.. been blasted on those a couple times.
 

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I have learned to start short, and let the fly swing close to the bank. I have had a few steelhead shoot past me, between me and the bank(maybe 3-5' from bank). Nothing wakes you up faster, than a 10lbs steelie swimming past you in water only 2' deep. I remember a time on the Sandy river, I was only a few feet from shore and had a steelhead swim straight at me then made a 90 degree turn and shot to the middle of the river.:Eyecrazy: Caught me off guard, and I about jumped out of my waders, and damn near fell down in the river.:chuckle:

The take, depends where you are fishing, and where the fish are lying.
 

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Rarely in the beginning of the swing when I'm letting the fly sink. Once I get full tension and the fly is starts swinging I get the odd pull. Most pulls in the last 1/2 of the swing. Plenty of pulls on the dangle and lots of strikes, especially this past fall/winter, on the strip. I had a couple of 2 fish days this fall where I had no pulls all day...got them on the strip.

I think a lot has to do with what William is saying. We tend to cast out based on the flow of the river and it just so happens my last 1/2 of the swing is consistently over the fish hanging lies.
 

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im with zilliox as most of my fish (not like I catch them anymore though) come right as the swing gets cooking and VERY rarely on the dangle. When that rare grab does come for me on the dangle I usually get stupid and pull it straight out of their mouths (like last weekend)
 

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Discussion Starter #17
I'm with Tip on this, but Zilly on the dangle- never one.

I fished near a guy one day that caught three in no time all casting nearly straight downstream, and let it hang minutes at a time. He crushed them.

It looked a lot like bait fishing to me. I would be bored.
Three in no time doesn't sound boring to me. Only one time can I recall having more than three grabs in a day of fishing. Actually not a day of fishing, had four grabs in three hours one morning from the same section of river, landed zero. Guessing some/all of those grabs may have come from the same fish? But I get what you're saying, not sure I'd have the patience either. But if I knew this method was working that day...
 

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re: the Dangle

My belief is that the take on the dangle is more prevalent in colder water conditions. When I have had a dangle take in warmer water (i.e. summer runs) it usually comes just as the swings ends as opposed to after the fly has been hanging there for a bit. Conversely, winter dangle takes often do seem to come after a prolonged hang down.

I mostly convinced though that I would get more dangle takes if I fished the dangle more. I often find myself too impatient to wait and instead step and am into the next cast far too early. I don't think I'm the only one either.
 

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Very interesting subject...

... with a lot of variables to consider. One to consider is wading depth. In the first half of my steelheading journey, hangdown fish made up a considerable portion of my catch, enough so that I would deploy specific fishing tactics at the hangdown, such as twitching the fly, in order to target hangdown fish. That "era" consisted of my days of steelheading with a singlehander, followed by the transitioning into the use of a doublehander. A common angling factor of those days, regardless of rod type being used, was the fact that my wading depth was almost always deeper than knee-deep, a habit formed through my singlehanded steelheading because of the need, most of the time, to establish enough room for a backcast to be clear from the bankside foliage. As I became more proficient and consistent with my "Speycasting", my wading position in the river gradually decreased to less than knee-deep in most cases and so too coincidentally, did my encounters with hangdown fish. The hangdown fish have became so rare for me anymore that I rarely dedicate any time or tactics trying to target them.

I also concur on the cold water aspect. As water temps drop, migrating fish tend to travel in closer to shore where there is less current and also, many staged fish, especially inland summer fish, will take up holding lies in some shallower-and-closer-to-shore-than-usual areas where the current may be nearly non-existent. There are some dead-slow and/or very shallow next-to-shore areas on some of the inland summer-run streams, that hold gobs of fish when the water temps dip below 36 degrees.
 
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