Fly Fishing with a Stylish Figure 8

One of the big challenges in fly fishing for beginners is gathering the line during the retrive. Remember, the line must be kept under control the whole time. This allows setting the hook on the strike and to have it in an good position for the next cast.

This is less of a problem when fishing from the shore or a boat, because the line can be stripped with a finger on the rod hand and dropped at your feet. However, when wading in moving water, you need to hold the line in such a way as to prevent the current taking the line downstream. One technique is store the line in loose coils on the fingers of the stripping hand. Another is a "hand twist", which gathers the line and keeps it in the palm of the hand. All too often, though, you can get tangles if you try to shoot the line on the next cast.
The "Figure 8" retrieve is easy and efficient, particularly when a relatively slow retrieve is desirable. If you follow these four easy steps, you can’t go wrong.

1. Reach forward and drape line over the forefinger and then under the remaining three fingers.2. Tilt your hand down and route the line back between your second and third fingers. 3. Wiggle the fingers to work the stored line back toward palm. The line is now in the form of a figure eight. 4. To shoot line simply straighten your fingers and the line will spiral off without tangling. Repeat these four steps while wiggling the fingers to work the line back toward the palm to accommodate more line.

As soon as a fish hits, trap the line beneath a finger on the rod hand, then shake the spirals off the retrieving hand. Next, wind in to get the fish on the reel. Use the drag to control the running fish. More great techniques for fly fishing in future blogs.

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