In this episode we Wadeoutthere with Domenick Swentosky from central Pennsylvania. Domenick is a fly fishing guide and the creator of Troutbitten, a website with over six hundred articles dedicated to sharing the joys of being on a trout stream and teaching tactics for putting more fish in the net. We discuss Domenick’s approach to:
- Fly Presentation
- Hook Sets
- Fighting Fish
** NOTE** Podcast episode and upcoming guests appear at the end of this short article.
Subscribers have access to submit questions for future guests.
“Hey! Keep it tactical Shady.” And a smile. I miss it dearly.
Talking tactics is one of life’s great joys. I learned this from years in a fighter squadron but looking back I understand why talking tactics was so special. I realize that while the endeavors and communities are different, the men and women who move through them seek similar goals. Progress. Knowledge. The betterment of the whole. And, yes, a touch of competitive spirit that pulls us forward and requires our best.
Engaging these “tacticians” in the fly fishing community and sharing those experiences has become one of the great joys of my journey with Wadeoutthere. Talking tactics with dedicated fly fishing men and women who passionately share their knowledge and listen for those ideas they know will move them forward. People like Domenick from Troutbitten.
Talking tactics was a constant in the fighter squadron. It was a world that constantly required every pilot to be problem solving, engaging with new technologies, and practicing our tactics on every mission we flew. Each pilot knew that pushing each other and questioning what we did was the only way to improve and get better. Progressing personally and as a community was required. Each conversation. Every heated debate. All the late night debriefs with markers and a white board, recreating the flight and looking for answers, elevated the community.
What we learn and pass along in fly fishing is sewn of a similar thread. True, the stakes are not nearly as high, but the patterns are the same. We each have our own ideas about what works well to catch fish. We all have our fishing stories to back them up.
Every angler that is searching to progress looks to those stories and lessons with a hunger. We want to know. To experiment. To unlock new ways to see the river. In Domenick’s words, we all “desperately want to know how to put more fish in the net” -Troutbitten
Speaking with Domenick about fly fishing is a conversation with a true tactician. He knows his whys. He is confident in his tactics. He is more than capable, but still humble enough to learn and still excited enough to teach. And like many great instructors I have met in my life, his failures are some of the strongest lessons because they tie you to his beginning and bring hope that you too can progress. To become better.
Finally, he is still in touch with the parts of the river that keep bringing us back that are not the fish. This is the teacher we all want. Credibility on the river, and a voice that can push us forward.
This thing never ends. Your best mission was your last. Your best day fishing is still to come. Keep it tactical Wadeoutthere.
- Keeping your flies in the same seam is important for fly presentation.
- Hook set in the direction of your back cast for the next cast.
- Nymphing in the “strike zone” is getting your fly into the cushion of slower water along the bottom where fish hold. You do not necessarily have to be “on the bottom” to target these fish.
- One way to tell when your fly is in the strike zone when the sighter or indicator slows down during your drift.
- Having a baseline technique for how you do things helps you be deliberate with deviations and know why its time to make a change.
- The worst place to fight a good fish is below you downstream. Move your body to keep that fish upstream of you!
- Lower third of the water column is the best place to fight a fish. As fish move up into the faster current at the top of the water column they are more apt to thrash and make big runs.
Domenick’s articles at Troutbitten are an incredible resource. If you want to read more about the tactics that Domenick believes in, or schedule a guided trip, visit Troutbitten at:
Or check out Troutbitten’s YouTube channel for instructional (and highly tactical) videos:
If you want more information on some of the topics we discussed try reading these blog posts from Wadeoutthere:
Upcoming Podcast Guests.
- Brett Svoboda – The Bow River.
- Jess Westbrook – The May Fly Project and the Little Red River.
Subscribers – Ask a Question on the Podcast.
If you have a question for an upcoming guest, I would love to hear from you. I will ask questions from Wadeoutthere subscribers towards the end of the conversation during “Wadeoutthere Wants to Know.”
Finally, if you enjoy the Wadeoutthere Fly Fishing Podcast, and want to help it grow, please leave a rating and review.
I hope you enjoy listening as much as I enjoyed talking with Domenick. Wadeoutthere.