Here are three tips I GUARANTEE will enable you to hook, hold, and land more steelhead on wet flies when the strike comes.
1. Keep your rod tip low to the water, just inches off the surface, to have tight line resistance to the steelhead, and minimal slack between the rod tip and the water. Point the rod at (down) the line as it drifts across the current.
2. Do not touch the fly line in any way, such as looping it against the cork or pinching tight in your fingers. Hands and fingers off! The reel will set the hook with you doing nothing. Smoothly, not powerfully, lift the tip once the fish is on the line.
3. You must have a fly reel with a dependable high-quality drag which will perform flawlessly EVEN WHEN WET. Use a reel with a disc drag or a braking equivalent. An inexpensive spring & pawl drag does not offer adequate resistance to tire a fish, and there is a huge risk of a line overrun. Set the drag tight enough that it will bury the hook point on the strike and there will be no line overrun, but lightly enough so the steelhead can run hard without breaking the leader. I do not use or like large arbor reels — the line can pile up on one side while reeling, and cause the reel to jam. Breakoff! I use and recommend a MID ARBOR reel for the balance between quickly retrieving line and risk of the line piling up on one side of the spool while reeling quickly.
Here’s what I want from a fly reel: solid construction, a superb drag that will perform flawlessly even when wet, adequate backing & fly line capacity WITHOUT jamming on the frame if I don’t retrieve line evenly, and excellent service if I ever have trouble with the reel. I have used Orvis Access Mid-Arbor Reels with zero problems, and have landed many hard-fighting salmon and steelhead with these fine reels, which are very reasonably priced. Click anywhere on the text to go to AMAZON now to buy the Orvis Access Mid Arbor fly reel. Three of the 4 reel finishes have free shipping. The gold finish model has shipping charges.