I really started to question why I was losing these fish, in the same fashion. After a few days of thinking I believe I wasn't really setting the hook after the fish took my loop from me. I just started playing them. In British Columbia all the Steelhead I landed took the fly mid swin, many times hooking themselves. All these coastal winter steelhead were taking at the very end of the swing or on the hang down. I told myself the next steelhead that took I was going to make sure to set the hook.
I fished one more run without a grab as I listened to my brother's hockey game on my headphones. If they happened to lose he would be flying up to join me for a week of steelheading. But they won, which was awesome too.
Gotta have some small flies too