Steelheaders have the reputation as being a little off. I seem to fit this mold in my daily life so it is only natural that I am in the Steelhead Maniac category.
Most steelheaders battle weather and water conditions that would cause most people to seek the comfort of a nice warm couch with a blankie, or snuggie, and a remote control. Steelheading in Michigan can encompass any of the four seasons. Fighting the weather, the waters, and many times the crowds in a combat fishing environment can scare away almost any sane or wary angler.
The people that fish for steelhead are not the only nut jobs out there. The fish themselves are warped and twisted. They can strike with a violent savageness unknown in most other freshwater species. I have been lucky enough to have not lost a rod, but I have come VERY close on more than one occasion. The fish fight with reckless abandon when hooked and the anglers needs to be prepared. Frayed line or knotted leaders will result in ultimate failure as a trophy rockets away leaving your mouth hanging open in awe at the opportunity you just missed. Steelhead are powerful swimmers and can put any reel to the test. I prefer my drag to be set light to avoid break offs on the initial run. The problem with that is timber and anything else considered cover. I have seen bright chrome bullets shoot through log jams and run non stop downstream. At these times you know you have already lost, but some of my greatest battles have been chasing the impossible fish. I do not hesitate to dunk rod and reel under water and feed it through a log jam to keep up with the speeding freight train on the end of my line. If you do not like to get cold or get wet, please stay home. This fishing is not for you.
One you hook steel your life will change, your thoughts and dreams will float back to days on the river, the battles lost and won and the opportunities to fight chrome torpedoes again and again and again...
Here is a little video (metalhead) that will give you some insight as to what is it I speak of, but nothing compares to that tug on the line as the fish rockets skyward leaping, cart wheeling and somersaulting through the air multiple times. When the jumping stops you may think it's OK to breathe, but one again the fish goes skyward.