If you’re fishing downstream, the sweep set will result in many more hooks.
photo about the Orvis Fly Fishing Learning Center

If you are either fishing downstream or have a lot of leeway on the water – for example on slackline casts such as a pile cast or curve cast – setting the hook can be difficult. Since there is a lot of slack on the water, the only way to take up slack is to simply lift the tip of your rod. Depending on how much slack there is between you and your fly, you may not be putting any tension on the fly itself this way. No voltage during operation often means that no connection is made. That’s why you need this sweep set.

The sweep set uses the water tension on the line to apply pressure. You’re not trying to close the gap; Instead, you rely on the tension along the line to transfer energy to the fly. Think about how the current pushing on your line makes your fly swing at the end of a drift. The same principle also applies to the sweep set. By pulling on the line, you create an artificial current, so to speak.

To do a sweep set, swing your rod horizontally to the bank behind you while keeping the rod parallel to the water surface. At the same time, pull the leash with your non-rod hand. Always sweep to yours downstream Page. Otherwise, you’ll pull the leash across your body where it may snag on your vest/jacket or attached tools. Once the fish is on the hook you can raise your rod and start pulling out like a madman to take up the slack and establish a connection with the fish.

As most of us have been taught to lift the tip of the rod to set the hook, using the sweep set requires focus and discipline. I usually make a mental note at the end of each throw to remind myself what to do if I get a strike.