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Mastering Fly Fishing

If your fishing small streams and creeks where the water is gin clear and the altitude is 3000 feet or above, the choice of equipment is the most critical choice you have to make. Some fly casters feel the must be able to cast the far bank 40 feet away in the face of gale like winds but truly those that choose the kind of equipment that facilitates that kind of a cast are severely handicapping themselves.

Over years of consistently plying the same waters under the same conditions year after year, the conclusion was inescapable: light gear meant more fish. In an experiment, I had Doug cast a five weight line into some pocket water deep enough for observation by snorkel and mask. No matter how lightly Doug allowed the line to land, the resident trout immediately reacted as the sudden vibration cause by the fly line traversed the super sensor that is the trout central line. The same casts were repeated with a two weight line and for the most part, casts into these holding waters did not perturb the trout therein.


In these 30 years of fishing, I have migrated all the way down to a zero weight line and my success rate is usually ten fold better than others using heavier equipment. As an added plus, fish can't seem to fight their way off the wimpy rod, hence the success rate is even higher. There is a downside. Larger fish take longer to play, so "catch and release" may often involve lengthy periods reviving a trophy trout. Limited backing also means the really big one will break you off so size your tippet accordingly. You would not want to hurt your fly rod.


To catch fish you need to hook them and nothing is better that a super sharp barbless hook. Neophytes think that barbless means more lost fish. Nothing could be farther from the truth. The barb makes the hook have more difficulty penetrating the fishes mouth, Barb equates to fewer catches. The barb makes the hook have more difficulty being removed from your ear as well.


Wear polaroid sun glasses to two reason:
The glass will protect your eyes from an inadvertent fly.
You cannot fish a dry fly you can't see.


Work the bank you immediately approach. Short line near means you will react quicker. Work your way out as you go. You may need to cast an area more than once but allow each area to rest in between probing elsewhere. Do not be impatient. Be mindful of your shadow and the position of the sun. Put away your shinny stuff that reflects light like a mirror that would reveal your approach. Be stealthy while wading. Talking load will not scare fish but kicking over a bunch of rocks will.


Once you missed the hook the big one, its not likely the bruiser will be fooled by the same the same fly twice in a row. If you can, come back an hour later. Else, you are forced to change patterns. Learn to quickly do this as it is a skill that will save you critical fishing time. Practically nothing can be more unsettling that to have fishing rising in a fury all around you while you fumble to tie on a fly. If you like me, failing eye site is part of getting old. I have a clip on magnifier that is 2.5X and a small high intensity light well help secure that size 20 in failing evening light. Inverting the fly eye on a turned down finger and running the fine leader along the finger into the loop help steady my hands while those jumping trout have me trembling. Since I tie all my own flies and never use head cement, I don't have to worry about clearing the hook eyes. I your using store bought, the time to dress the hook eyes is before you go fishing or perhaps right after you buy your flies.

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