Fifty Tips Tips/Tactics

Fifty Fly Fishing Tips: #7 — Choose lots of fish, or choose big fish — You can’t have both

on
September 10, 2017
I’ve often said that my best strategy for catching a big bad brown trout is to fool a bunch of trout, and one of them will be big. But I don’t believe that so completely anymore.

Let me say, right up front, that I have some friends who seem to accomplish high numbers and big fish in the same day all too often. My buddy, Matt Grobe, kinda tears it up out in Montana. But Matt’s always been a lucky bastard, so let’s just leave it at that.

In all honesty, Matt agrees with the premise that you can’t have both. I just checked. He said yes. So we have his blessing here to continue.

In the last five years I’ve shared the water with Burke a good bit too, and I’ve learned some strategies about big fish fishing. There are some truths, some guiding principles for targeting larger trout, and the list starts like this: #1: Stop trying to catch a bunch of fish.

You won’t find Meatheads in every river. Some waters just don’t have big trout. To find the ones that do, keep your ear to the ground, and you’ll hear the rumors. Most are true to some extent. When a river gains an established big fish reputation from fishermen (liars), you know it’s well earned. Yeah, your buddy can tell you a tall tale about a fish or two in some offbeat water, but when a reputation builds over time from skeptics and cheaters (fishermen), you know there’s something to it.

So … the hard part is next. Luckily, a good challenge is what gets most of us out there in the first place. It can take years to nail down a tactic, a special fly or two and a water type that consistently brings those big river fish to hand — and it’s not always articulated streamers. Time on the water (years, really) will eventually lead you to the keys for the biggest fish in the river. It’s usually different for each watershed, and that’s why God made so many rivers — just to piss you off.

If chasing big fish isn’t your game, good for you. Somehow, you’ve escaped the disease. Maybe you avoided it altogether, or maybe you dragged yourself from the depths of addiction and wanton sickness like a street junkie finding redemption. Either way, again, good for you.

I dare say that catching a lot of fish is an easier goal than catching big fish. The opportunities are more available, the rewards are more frequent, and you have more control over the outcome. I recommend visiting any Class A, highly populated wild trout river, stringing up the Mono Rig and tight lining the shit out of some pocket water. That’s a good place to start.

Whatever your goals, I wish you all the best. I do think it helps to understand what you’re aiming for and only then go after it.

Fish hard, friends.

Photo by Austin Dando

Enjoy the day.
Domenick Swentosky
T R O U T B I T T E N
domenick@troutbitten.com

FIFTY TIPS

Read All of the Fifty Tips Series
TAGS

4
What do you think?

3 Comment threads
1 Thread replies
0 Followers
 
Most reacted comment
Hottest comment thread
4 Comment authors
  Follow the comments on this article.  
Notify of
Bruce

Next logical question; in what kind of places do big fish live?

Alex Argyros

Of course, “big” is relative. In a tiny brookie creek, a 12″ fish is a monster. On the Guadalupe, where I do most of my fishing, a 12″ trout is
an annoyance.

Rick A

Fishaholic ?
Cursed with the dreaded disease Bigger-fish-itis ?
Try finding a cure for Steelhead Fever!

Domenick Swentosky
BELLEFONTE, PA

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.

STICKERS
STICKERS
TCO Fly Shop
TAGS
backcast Gierach split shot Wild vs Stocked PFBC Streamers friendship night-sighter Davy Wotten Pennsylvania simplicity catch and release mousing time brown trout rookies Little Juniata River wildlife Sawyer trout bum swinging saltwater winter fishing mono rig rigs photography strategy Weather Fly Casting come on man mud Whiskey family Mystery Presentations Camping club fishing suspender fishing wading Fifty Tips Christmas Lights Harvey Pusher Dad carp DIY Orvis Spring Creek indicator fishing giveaway wet flies surf fishing Central PA How it Started Joe Humphreys wet wading fly box Jeff Buggers gear TU streamside summer the Mono Rig It's just fishing boys shark Boat tight line nymphing friends bite windows PSA wet fly fishing fly tying high water big fish flood Stockies fishing tips fighting fish Rich ice Trout Unlimited waders tiny flies One Great Tip conservation nymphing tippet travel drifting Night Fishing fly line dorsey yarn indicator Oakiewear tenkara safety tightline Discovery Big Trout montana front ended casting strip set tracks falling in beadhead Whiskey Drinker Headbanger Sculpin Memories Troutbitten Fly Box FishHard BES Grobe Press Wild Brown Trout drop shot nymphing leaders dead drift big brown trout PA Gold State College Baseball net favorite fluke Doh Streamer fishing float George Daniel knots Quote dry flies winter fly fishing Fish Hard philosophy LBI thunderstorm tight lining walking science matters spot burning wading boots Float Fishing History George Harvey Resources Bad Mother Dylan stinky bass Joey dog musician efficiency Backing Barrel reading water Grandfather Tippet Rings Galloup small streams brookies droppers mistakes brush fishing traction wild trout Euro-Nymphing Floating eggs Night Fishing Chapters camera fly rod home-stream explore tips Plans fishing with kids dry fly fishing indicator nymphing comp fishing river nymphing tips snags Fly Fishing Burke Namer marginal water silence solitude rules regulations angler types nymphs Ask an Expert posted land DHALO winter cookout mayfly fall flies Peace patience Wild Mushrooms DJS stocked trout Trust skunked bar boots Film Dry-Dropper public land hiking summertime fishing Aiden fly patterns backcountry spawning Night fly fsihing Industry Stuff Sighter last cast Fly rods etiquette