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Reviving a trout was once taught as part of the routine. But we don’t hear that so much anymore. Because the idea of playing a trout to the point of exhaustion, so much that you have to help it regain balance and breath, is mostly a thing of the past. And that’s a good thing . . .
Here are ten different uses for the Uni-Knot. This universal knot is a problem solver, and it opens up opportunities . . .
Night fishing always comes down to what we can see and what we can’t. Light affects the fishing, but it also affects the fish.
And while trout seem to prefer darker nights, they might also feed better with a few stars in the sky for a nightlight . . .
Two more turns to anchor the tail. Keep it tight. Build a solid foundation, or the whole thing falls apart after a few fish — and that costs time. The shortening days steal enough of that already.
Anglers cling to the stories and accounts others. We believe in the experts. We want masters of this craft to exist and to tell us the answers.
Sure, you might have a group of wild trout dialed in for the better part of a season. Maybe it’s a midge hatch every summer morning, or a streamer bite on fall evenings, for one hour on either side of dusk.
But it will end. That’s what’s so special about chasing trout. Like the wings of a mayfly spinner, predictability is a fading ghost . . .
The churning waves, the cuts, troughs and sandbars of beach water mimic the flows of a good river that is full of structure. And tearing apart the differences to find the similarities between the two water systems is a challenge that’s renewed with each trip to the salt . . .
If there’s one thing in nymph fishing that gets far too much credit, it’s the induced take, in all forms. From Frank Sawyer’s slight movement up and out of a pure dead drift, to the Leisenring lift, nymphing anglers everywhere are enamored with ways to twitch, jig, swing and lift the nymph.
An excellent dead drift is your baseline presentation. The induced take is a variation. And do not forget that a good induced take begins with a great dead drift. That is what is so often missed . . .
How many times have I assumed that no trout would eat, when all I needed was a different target? How many trout did I pass earlier this morning because I was complacent about my drifts? “Good enough” was my mindset. “Close enough” were my terms, but the trout were on a different page . . .
Slipping contact is the intermixing of influence and autonomy. Take the fly somewhere — help it glide along. Then surrender it to the current, and let the river make the decisions. Slip in and out, and find the balance between influence and independence to the fly . . .
What we at Troutbitten have affectionately called the Dorsey has undergone a few changes over the years. I use less yarn, two colors for better visibility and smaller bands. I pre-bunch the yarn at my tying desk with minimal wraps of 8/0 Uni-Thread, and sometimes . . . just once in a while . . . I add a small piece of split shot to the line above the indy.
Troutbitten leaders are back in the Shop. There are some unique features to Troutbitten leaders that make a big difference. These are hand tied leaders in four varieties: Harvey Dry Leader, Standard Mono Rig, Thin Mono Rig, and Micro-Thin Mono Rig. Standard Sighters are also available, and they include a Backing Barrel. The Full Mono Rig Kit contains each of the three Mono Rig leaders, three foam spools and a twenty-inch Rio Bi-Color extension.
All Troutbitten leaders come on a three-inch spool, making long leader changes a breeze . . .
Some flies do one thing really well. Other flies are your workhorse on the water, lending solutions to river problems by being adaptable. These are the flies we reach for over and over. These are the flies we tie first and keep well stocked. This is the Craft Fur . . .
Rolling the bottom, gliding mid-current along a knee-deep riffle and slow-sliding off the bank — these maneuvers are just as enticing and catch just as many trout as do flashy retrieves. But we tend to forget them. Or rather, we might not have the discipline to stay with an understated look for very long, because the modest stuff isn’t as exciting as the razzle-dazzle.
This handful of subtle moves requires an angler with restraint and commitment. Otherwise, the rod tip and line hand are back to big motions and brash, bold movements in no time . . .
Make that fly swim. Give life to the streamer. Convince the trout that they’re looking at a living, swimming creature.
That’s what this podcast conversation is about. How do we move the fly with the line hand and the rod tip, with strips, jigs, twitches and more? We talk about head position, depth, speed and holding vs crossing currents and seams. We touch on natural looks vs attractive ones. Should we make it easy for them or make them chase?
Here’s what I see: Too much guessing. Too much assuming that it’s not a trout rather than assuming that it is. So don’t guess. Set the hook. And set it hard.
If you’re trying to get long drifts, change that. If you’re trying to guess what’s a rock and what’s a trout, change that. If you’re trying to lift the nymph off a rock, and then you realize it was fish — bump buh-bump and gone — change that. I suggest a fundamental shift in your approach . . .
ANGLER TYPES IN PROFILE
I could barely make out the shape of a man fishing through the fog. A dense cloud hung over the water that morning, wrapping everything in a white shroud, and I felt water enter my lungs with every breath. Eventually, the rising sun punched holes through the white sheet, further decreasing visibility with mirrored reflections. Then within the next half hour, solar warmth provided enough heat to turn the big cloud into vapor. And as the fog dissipated over the river, Mike’s thin form came into view.
He moved like a machine in rhythm. He zigged and zagged across the pocket water, casting and catching, netting and releasing one trout after another. The machine paused to catch its breath only when Mike spent thirty seconds tying a knot. From my perspective downstream, it was perfection . . .
Rivers are built from just a few parts. While the sand and soil of a streambed is fluid, the framework — the shape of a river — is directed by roots and rocks. Time and the tenacity of flowing water changes the shape of the hardest rocks, eventually carving granite into a new form, eroding and molding a riverbank toward a new course. And while nothing is eternal in a river or its floodplain, there’s enough permanent structure in a stream — the immovable objects — that good trout take notice. So does the big fish hunter . . .
It takes about five minutes to feel the flex of a rod and learn the breaking strength of our chosen tippet. And a simple experiment is all that’s needed. Once you’ve tested both the tippet and the rod’s strength, a new confidence follows. Then, when the fish of your dreams shows up, you are ready.
When you know the maximum pressure available from your fly rod and tippet , you can put more pressure on a trout and bring him in quickly . . .
Somewhere in your favorite stretch of a river there’s a depression at the bottom. It’s wide enough and long enough to hold a trout, nose to tail. It’s as deep as the trout is tall — or a bit deeper. The river flowing over this depression in the riverbed is fast enough to bring a continuing buffet of food. And the water comes with the right shade, ripple or depth to offer good protection. This is a special bucket. Let’s break it down . . .
I finally have an honest understanding about what draws me into night fishing. Yes, it’s the fear. And of the serious night anglers I’ve known, it’s the same for all of us. Fear is the crackling spark plug . . .
. . . But Smith had also drawn out of me one thing that I’d never fully put into words before explaining it to him. Namely, that contact is felt as much as it’s seen. While tight line nymphing, I’d told Smith, an advanced angler can feel contact with the nymph on the rod tip. Essentially, you could very well fish with your eyes closed. And because Smith was skeptical, I’d suggested some after-dark tight line nymphing as a way to prove to my friend that he could feel that contact just as well as anyone . . .
You have no business night fishing an area that you can’t visualize.
Close your eyes. Now imagine the spot you plan to night fish. Think about the first cast. Where are the rocks, tree limbs and logs? How much of the gravel bar is exposed at this water level? How swift does the current break around the undercut bank? If you guessed at any of these things, if you were uncertain at any pass, then you will struggle at night.
Questions and uncertainties are amplified after dark. So I go into my night fishing hours with a plan — much more than any day trip. The program might change if the light, water or feeding conditions suggest a new strategy. But having an outline holds me together on a dark river . . .
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