Change is good — Now give the trout another chance to eat a fly

by | Jul 7, 2017 | 2 comments

I have a bad habit that I’m trying to break.

Let’s say I’m standing in the river, and I decide to make an adjustment. Maybe I change flies, add weight, switch to streamers or to a suspension rig. But after standing still for the modification, I often take a few steps upstream or sideways before making my next cast.


I suppose it’s part of my restless nature, a desire to move on and discover what’s around the next bend. But with self-discipline, I can do better.

I change rigs because I haven’t caught a trout where I probably should. So why not throw a cast right back into the same spot that inspired the change in the first place? Put it in exactly the same place. Work the water again. Cast back to the pocket, current seam or whatever feature I was fishing. Run the same drift, and see if the adjustment works.

If I move even a few steps before re-fishing the area, I add another set of variables: different water, different angles and different fish.

Small corrections like this give me a chance to learn. And isn’t that what this game is about?

At the hands of writers for centuries, luck and fishing have been linked together like a horse and carriage. But anglers need not be drawn along the path of luck, hoping for serendipity and a tight line. We can read the signs, understand the river and learn from the fish. Then we make some changes and see things happen. We feel the rod bend because we learned … and we fooled a trout.

What do you think?

Enjoy the day.
Domenick Swentosky

Photo by Pat Burke

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Domenick Swentosky

Central Pennsylvania

Hi. I’m a father of two young boys, a husband, author, fly fishing guide and a musician. I fish for wild brown trout in the cool limestone waters of Central Pennsylvania year round. This is my home, and I love it. Friends. Family. And the river.

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  1. The problem, and the joy, of fishing is that you never know. It’s impossible to perform a proper experiment since you can’t do fish the same way twice only changing one variable. For example, let’s say you’re fishing a run using a sighter and weighted nymphs. Nothing is happening, so you change one of the nymphs and you get a trout. Is it the fly? Maybe. It could also be that the trout that you caught just decided to eat, or moved into the run you’re fishing, etc., so you might have caught it had you not changed flies.

    So, you never know except in statistical ways. If you’re fishing every morning using a tight line rig, and then, after a week, you fish the exact same water at the same time (and conditions are pretty much the same) using a bobber and you do much better, it is reasonable to assume that the bobber my be the reason. But, again, you don’t know. Maybe different bugs are active in the stream, and maybe they’re better imitated by the action a bobber gives flies. Maybe . . . maybe . . . maybe. It’s frustrating and mysterious at the same time. In other words, it’s trout fishing.

  2. So true..with trout most of us probably throw one or two casts in a spot then move on…Lesson learned for me this week on an Ontario river where the streamer bite was on after rainfall..trout flashed my 4″ baby brown trout streamer twice without committing – tied on a small black bugger and dead drifted it through same water and after a couple of drifts got the eat… nice 16 inch brown..


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