Fifty Fly Fishing Tips: #21 — Fear No Snag

by | Dec 17, 2017 | 3 comments

If you always play it safe, are you really playing the game?

As anglers, we walk up and down the river delivering one cast after another, all the while calculating the risks of each delivery. Or we float downriver in a drift boat, launching our flies near streamside brush, measuring our luck and skill against the chances of hooking soft branches and busting off another well-tied fly.

Playing it safe saves flies. It even saves time. But it catches fewer trout. And whether drifting nymphs across a rock garden, punching hairwing dries into hazardous hidey-holes or slinging streamers into bankside slots, it pays to take risks because the rewards follow.

Bottom

When fishing nymphs, I understand that if I want to fool some trout, my flies must be close to the bottom. And instead of dismissing slow action as the fish just being unresponsive, I like to take some time to reassess. Am I really getting the flies down to the trout? Am I risking enough, or am I just trying to avoiding hanging up on the rocks?

READ: Troutbitten | Forget the Bottom — Glide Nymphs Through the Strike Zone

I’ve learned that changing flies is rarely the best solution. More often, it’s about getting my nymphs into the right places, down into the slots and pockets and closer to the bottom. When I nymph the right way, I get snagged on the bottom sometimes, but I just accept it as part of the game. Invariably, my best nymphing days are the same outings in which I sacrifice some flies to the river.

The same rules apply to streamers too. If the fish are hugging the bottom, if they won’t move up for the fly, then I have to go down and get them.

And if I’m more worried about the inconvenient bottom-snag than about getting my flies deep and right in the trout’s face, then I’m doing it wrong.

Dando, fighting the cold

Top

Fishing the surface requires the same boldness, the same intrepid attitude, if you really want to play the game. Without a willingness to put a few flies in the trees, you’ll pass up a lot of fish.

Approach the tricky lies and corner pockets with resolve. Tuck the flies in there with some precision, feed a little slack at the end of the cast, and hold on tight. If you hit a tree limb instead of the target, so what. Break the fly off if you must, or go get it back and try the next spot.

Fish with some audacity out there, and your confidence will grow.

READ: Troubitten | Hang Up or Hook Up

If you haven’t lost a few flies at the end of the day, then you’re doing it wrong. Taking chances is the only way. Fear no snag.

Fish hard, friends.

** NOTE ***  After reading this article, my friend, Chris, pointed out the importance of retrieving our broken-off flies and tippet whenever possible. And that’s a great point. I think we should fish boldly, but we should be just as bold about retrieving the flies and tippet wherever we can. Leave no trace.

This is the Fear No Snag Emblem Sticker. You can find it in the Troutbitten Shop HERE.

The Troutbitten Tree design is also featured on tees and hoodies. Find all the Troutbitten Tree stuff HERE.

 

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

 

Share This Article . . .

Since 2014 and 700+ articles deep
Troutbitten is a free resource for all anglers.
Your support is greatly appreciated.

– Explore These Post Tags –

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.

More from this Category

Podcasts Begin — Episode 1: This Is Troutbitten

Podcasts Begin — Episode 1: This Is Troutbitten

In this inaugural Troutbitten podcast, my friends Bill, Austin, Trevor and Josh join me to discuss how fly fishing for wild trout creates a life on the water.

We consider what it means to fish hard, how hope is the strongest trait of a successful angler, why everything works sometimes, and how fly fishers, all too often, are a little much.

We also talk about the tenets of Troutbitten, or the shared interests and characteristics about fly fishing that bring us together and keep us excited about trout fishing for a lifetime . . .

Night Fishing for Trout –The Wiggle and Hang

Night Fishing for Trout –The Wiggle and Hang

Lifting the rod slightly, I shake the rod tip left and right. Easy, rhythmically, I wiggle the tip and feel the line wave as I see it dance and glow in the dark. The fly shimmies and sends a pattern of waves through the surface and beyond, calling to any trout within who-knows-how-far.

#7. Guiding the Flies: Nine Essential Skills for Tight Line and Euro Nymphing

#7. Guiding the Flies: Nine Essential Skills for Tight Line and Euro Nymphing

We overweight to lead the flies, and we underweight to track them. But to guide the flies, we must find the middle ground, with enough weight to control the flies against the effects of the current but not so much that the flies cannot be permitted to drift at the will of that same current.

This may sound like a bit of hocus pocus. But in truth, it’s an intuitive process that becomes natural with trial and error . . .

Night Fishing for Trout — The Bank Flash

Night Fishing for Trout — The Bank Flash

I returned to a tactic that I’d employed on many dark nights where I couldn’t effectively reference the bank. I reached up to my headlamp and flicked on the light for an instant — a half second and no more — before returning back to the black. Then, just like the quick shots of lightning earlier, the lamp showed me the way. The image of the riverbank burned into my brain. Something inside of me calculated the adjustments and converted the images into accuracy with my tools of fly rod, line, leader and fly. It was a little bit of magic . . .

What do you think?

Be part of the Troutbitten community of ideas.
Be helpful. And be nice.

3 Comments

  1. A man could make a small fortune re-claiming flies,indies and shots and he can also get very,very wet.

    Reply
  2. This spring I rescued a duckling along Quittaphilla that had tried to eat a hares ear left on bank brush close to the water level. I had never seen that before. She swam to safety but was traumatized nonetheless. Good advice

    Reply
  3. Unfortunately I’ve retrieved very few,if any tippet and flys,but miles of mono and lures. Do spinning fisherman get snagged,let out 50yds of line then cut off at reel? Used to spin all the time,knot should always break first!! Great article,it’s so true,have seen results when changing flys,but always greater results finding fish!!

    Reply

Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recent Articles

Recent Posts

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.

Pin It on Pinterest