Sustaining The Long Run
Chico fernandez is a well renowned fly fisherman who will always tell it to us straight.
"Keep the rod high!" was the usual advice years ago, and some anglers still live by it. You were supposed to raise both your hands well over your head with the fly rod way up high. The idea was that you would keep the fly line away from sea fans, coral, and other obstructions, but this generally is not true. Besides, to hold a fly rod so high while a fish makes a long run takes a lot of effort. And it's an unnecessary effort; it does nothing for you
Lifting the tip of the rod as high as you can will raise only a few extra feet of fly line off the water. The rest of the line remains on the surface. You accomplish nothing by lifting the rod over your head, except to make yourself very tired.
Better to keep the fighting butt near your belt and the rod at an angle of 45 degrees or so, and let him run. There's nothing else to do for the time being. Enjoy your fish-this astonishing run is the reason you traveled thousands of miles to stand on a small boat under a blazing sun.
The one exception is when you hook a bonefish on a flat with small mangrove shoots. You may be able to clear some of these shoots by raising the rod, but only if they are very close to you. Lifting the rod is not going to help you clear a mangrove shoot 30 yards away.
As a fish runs, the diameter of the line remaining on the spool shrinks. That reduced diameter amounts to a shorter lever arm against the resistance of the reel's brake, which means that drag pressure increases as a fish takes line. How much the drag increases depends on the design and proportions of the reel; a small, wide reel will increase drag pressure considerably as a fish takes line, whereas a large-arbor model maintains more consistent resistance. In any case, you shouldn't need to adjust the mechanical drag during the first run because you should have started with a relatively light drag. As the fish runs, you can easily apply extra drag with your hands if you feel that you need it. That's why your reel has an exposed rim on the spool.
If you do feel the drag increasing to the danger point as the fish runs, you started with too much. Back off on the adjustment a little to avoid breaking the tippet or pulling the hook out. Of course, many anglers don't realize that they had set their drags too tight until it's too late. Besides, adjusting the drag during a long, fast run is another chance for something to go wrong — what if you turn it the wrong way or loosen it so much that the spool overruns?
Remember to start with a light drag. You need enough to keep the spool from overrunning, but not a great deal more. If you need to put more pressure on the fish, feather the spool.