Wrapping, snapping, rubbing, busting. Fighting fish around structure is difficult. You have to do all the other things correct, PLUS apply the tactics that will keep your fish from breaking off. The logs and branches, boulders and rocks add a whole new dimension to landing fish, and a big trout that’s been around the block knows these obstacles and will use them to frustrate your endeavors to net them. My new home waters have forced some serious reflection on how to minimize the heartache of a lost fish (especially those nice ones) when that line finds something besides water to slice against. I’ve landed on four techniques that help me when fighting trout around structure. Fight fish fast. Fight fish close. Move your body. Move your rod. We’ll cover each…
Most fly fishers will tell you that presentation is more important in catching fish than fly selection. I tend to agree with this concept, but Cade makes a good point that brings the concepts of presentation and fly selection closer together than we may sometimes consider. Fly selection is more than just the kind of bug you are presenting the fish. Flies can change how we present the fly as well.
We drove along the Provo River looking for a good spot to stop and fish. From the passenger seat I caught glimpses of the water over the guard rail between the curves in the highway.
Tactics and Techniques
When I first started fishing to the middle of the water column, it was typically to trout eating just below the surface. The hopper dropper (or dry dropper) was my primary tactic. But the more I fished, the more I saw opportunities to fish the middle of the water column that were not best suited for the dry dropper technique.
“I’d say just time on the water. You have to put in the time, if you want to get better.” “I think it was when I started spending a lot more time on the water that I really began to improve.” “Time on the water is the most important thing. You have to put in the time” Time on the water. We’ve all heard it at this point. So many anglers attribute this single factor as the most important step towards improvement on their fly fishing journey. I’ve come to believe that making significant strides in our fly fishing abilities is not that far out of reach if we do what we can to make the most of our time on the water.
The river has changed in the winter, but somehow it's familiar. Amplified somehow in every experience. We walk out to the river, but it's quieter. The sound of snow crunching beneath our boots reminds us of that silence. We read water, but the seams and pockets are more nuanced and subtle.
Getting your flies down is a requirement if you want to catch trout while nymphing. It’s just the way it is. I cringe when I think of all the hours I’ve spent with flies in the water and very little chance of catching trout because I didn't understand this concept. This article is an attempt to spare you some of those wasted hours, and perhaps introduce some new techniques.
If you change one thing at a time on the river you are able to assess and analyze how that one variable affects the results and be more certain about what is working. I say more certain because there’s no guarantees in fishing, but I think we can at least get closer to a reasonable idea if we approach it methodically.