M. Pepin of Montauk, Long Island, asks about landing fish:

As a newcomer to fly-fishing, I was wondering how you decide when to reel in a fish and when to pull the fish in by hand? Also, I fish on the north side of Montauk, where the oncoming winds are difficult. I use 8- and 10-weight rods. Any suggestions?

Q As a newcomer to fly-fishing, I was wondering how you decide when to reel in a fish and when to pull the fish in by hand? Also, I fish on the north side of Montauk, where the oncoming winds are difficult. I use 8- and 10-weight rods. Any suggestions?

The quickest way to lose a large fish is to try winding in slack line while the fish is escaping. If the fish is very large or fast, allow it to pull out all slack. If the fish stops its run, either move away from the fish, or use the boat to clear slack line. Once all slack line is gone, you fight the fish on the reel. Time and again, I have seen people so distracted winding in slack that they lose fish. Of course, if the fish is small, simply bring it in using the line hand.

The 10-weight is certainly the line of choice in the wind. But if you are fishing from shore, you might want to consider a 14-foot two-handed rod that will add many yards of distance to your casts.