Thoughts on Fishing
This is my view as I sit here alongside the road on a warm late summer afternoon in Patagonia. Miles and miles of open space. The only thing I hear is the light wind and an occasional bird. It's lovely. I fished the first half of the day, caught a bunch of rainbows from 8 to 16 inches and a couple of larger Browns. Barry, our guide Nico, and I had lunch, and now I am taking little time off to write this blog. As much as I love this wild place, I find myself looking forward to getting home to spring and the opening of our trout season.
I have had the opportunity in our line of work to fish with a lot great fishermen. All of these men are very good at what they do -- and over the years I have gotten some sound advice from them. This week I would like to share some of their thoughts.
1. Fish where the fish are. This came from the late Jack Gartside. What he is saying is don't waste your time in unproductive water. Learn to read the water and know where the fish should be holding and concentrate your fishing time in those areas.
2. The line will go where the rod tip leads it. Lefty Kreh has told me this over and over. You may have read it in his books too. Lefty is saying that, if you have sufficient line speed, the fly will go wherever the rod tip is pointed at the end of the speed-up-and-stop (at the end) of the cast. So, point your rod tip where you want the fly to land.
3. If your leader won't turn over at the end of the cast, don't shoot line on the last false cast. I don't remember who told me this, but I think of it often when I am trying to turn over a cast with a big fly, especially into the wind. Get your line speed and distance with your first two or three false casts and present the cast to the water on the final false cast without shooting line. You'll be surprised at how well this works.
4. If your beetle (or any big foam bug) lands upside down, just strip it. Again, I don't remember who taught me this, but I was re-casting whenever my big beetle landed upside down. With one strip, it rights itself, and often gets the attention of the fish.
5. Very few fish are caught on poor casts. Again, Jack Gartside. I heard him say this in a casting demonstration. He is saying to make every cast count. Put it where it should be and fish it with confidence.
6. Get your extra power from the haul, not from the rod tip. Brian O'Keefe was helping me get ready for a Best-of-the-West competition many years ago and I kept tailing the loop on my final cast. I was "hitting" the rod tip much too hard, shocking it, and getting very frustrated. I share this advice with my double-haul students. It works every time.
7. If you can't see your dry fly, re-cast or change it. How many times do we stare into the water trying to find our fly? In the meantime, it is floating along unattended and if a fish does take it, we may never see it. Don't take the chance, change flies or positions to alter the glare, or whatever is necessary to keep your eye on the fly.
8. Adjust your strike indicator when the depth changes. This comes from Barry. He is always doing this. It's very easy to tell yourself that the indicator is okay where it is, but the fish don't see it that way. If the water gets deeper, we must slide the indicator further back on the leader to allow the fly to go deeper. Otherwise the fly will be above the fish as it drifts through the water and they won't take it. If the water gets shallow, the indicator needs to be adjusted again, further down on the leader, or the fly will snag on the bottom, or if a fish takes the fly we may be too late with the strike and will miss the fish.
9. Keep your fly lines clean. Something I've learned over the years. If your fly line is not clean, it won't shoot well, float well, or last long. If you notice your floating line is sinking or feels "sticky" on the rod, doesn't shoot well, clean it. Use a good cleaner from a reputable line or tackle company. If you're fishing a RIO line, use RIO's line cleaner. Clean it at home or in the grass before you go fishing. You'll be surprised at the difference a clean line will make.
10. Keep your fly in the water. Simple, yes? Not always. When the fishing is slow, it's easy to think about how tired you are and soon you decide that you'll just reel in and enjoy the boat ride down the river, or take a little nap by the side of the stream. Sure, there are times when the fishing is more productive than others, but you won't catch any fish with your fly in the hook keeper! Never Ever.
Want to see more tips from time to time? Let us know and we'll keep them coming. Thanks for reading our blog. Cathy