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Hang in there! Steelies are no easy feat in the first place and funks definitely happen. I once got into the teens, but broke it with a 17 pound buck that I won't ever forget. It was a special summer fish, and fought many times over what the others did but I landed it.

I had loops come off (last store bought I ever used), tippets get sawed thru by headshaking bucks, hot hens leaping off and throwing an extra leap for good measure after it threw the hook, fish torpedoing down rapids so far I was hoping to get my fly line back, and simple spits right at the gravel - you name it. I only started counting because it was just that ridiculous.

Great that you're getting the grabs though, putting the fly where it needs to be, etc. You are definitely due.

One thing that has helped my retention of hooked fish over the years is to put a big bend in the rod and keep it there especially when the fish is off a ways or in cross-currents. This may entail side pressure, etc. I fish barbless and when the pressure eases there is always a little bungee action left in the rod if it started from a big arc. of course there are tenuous moments when the fish is blasting around the pool, but otherwise I ease back into a 'big bend' and try to move the fish.

Not saying you aren't doing everything right, sounds like you are.

.02
 
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