Patience on the Hook Set
A really cool thing happened yesterday that reminded me of this concept. I fished a stream near my house that has mostly small fish. As I fished up to my favorite run I caught several smallish and very quick browns, bows, and cutthroats on a size 12 Olive PMX that was a good match for the many hoppers that were on the banks. The hook set on these guys is usually easy, they hit fast so you set fast.
As I got into my favorite run on this section of stream I was surprised to see very few fish come up for my fly, a few small fish at the tail out and then nothing. As I got to the prime of the run I tossed the fly up against a fallen tree on the far bank and it happened. A huge brown came up, turned, and followed my PMX downstream with his nose almost touching it. It happened so slowly that I could barely stand it. I waited like a coiled spring as he followed the fly moving back downstream and then just as I couldn't wait any longer he slurped it. Here's where I have to admit I was kinda proud of myself. I waited even a little longer until he very deliberately turned upstream with the fly in mouth and only then did I finally set the hook.
I was surprised that it all worked out. I very easily could have jumped the gun and set as the big brown followed the fly with his nose right on it or I could have set before he turned back upstream and I would have pulled it right from his mouth. A good thing to remember is to say "big brown trout" or whatever else you like before you set, especially when throwing big dry flies. Somehow I remembered this and didn't screw it up. I was rewarded with a 20 inch brown in a stream where 8 to 10 inchers are the norm. Try this the next time you fish big dries to big fish. You'll hook up more often.