Enjoy the Day
Troutbitten is built on words. These ideas, these stories, tips and tactics are the roots of a tree that has grown branches.
Troutbitten reads more like a book than a blog. So settle in and find something to read.
Find the category links at the top of every article and the tags at the bottom, because those lead to the archive pages for the topic.
Also within these articles, all text in orange leads to supporting content. Finally, use the search page to find what interests you most.
Thank you for your support through the years.
All fly types — all rigs — need speed to reach their potential. Cast with acceleration and good crisp loops. Do it with dry flies, nymphs, indicator rigs and streamers. And don’t let anyone tell you differently . . .
Weight is weight. It’s the original sin of fly fishing, and there is nothing inherently better about any of these styles. Use all of them.
These changes of light and season happen both suddenly and gradually, depending on your own perspective and movement in time. Sit still for a while and watch the daylight fade into blackness, and it takes hours. But walk among the trees at dusk, across a soft bed of spruce needles, after a long day on the river, and time speeds up. The pace of the trees, the perspective of the forest takes hold within you, and a good long look into the future looks a lot like the past, with the days and nights rolling into each other, turning in concentric circles, day to night, season to season, through a window of time both small and wide all at once — and all of it happening both here and somewhere else concurrently, though you can’t be sure . . .
This morning should have been like any other. Kill the alarm and hate life for the first five minutes as my body begrudgingly catches up to the will of ambition. Coffee helps. So does the routine, because the inevitability of repetition and pattern seems certain. It cannot be challenged. So, no, you cannot go back to bed. Go fishing . . .
I was in that stage of learning where I’d read more than I could put to use, while Rich had already fished more than he could ever find the words to tell.
. . . Somewhat stunned by the beauty of it all, I fell silent and let time creep along, until the slow motion whitewater of the falls mixed with the endless emerald shades reflecting in the softwater glides. An impenetrable canopy above stood guard against the angle of the sun and disguised the true time of day. This timeless valley was either day or night — with the details of everything in between insignificant . . .
Fishing with a good dog brings a novel joy to average moments. It’s the wet nose on your cheek in the middle of a bankside sit, the shared ham sandwich under dripping evergreen boughs while waiting out a soggy thunderstorm. It’s the simple companionship — the kind that comes without questions or conditions. Our bond with a good dog is pure friendship. It is, quite simply . . . love.
“Your first job is to find some accuracy. You’ll see the fly every time, once you can hit your targets.” I nodded at the fly again. “There’s enough visibility built into that fly that you can find it quickly, as long as the fly lands where you’re looking . . .”
There are stages. There are tools. There are systems for being versatile on the water. And there’s a time for all of it.
Pursuing this kind of versatility also keeps us in the game for a lifetime. We are forever working on the next idea, refining new casts and another approach. Eventually, we develop such a facility with these skills that we begin to combine them, breaking free from the common and standard approach and landing on new ways to get a dead drift or move a streamer. Creation becomes the goal. Design becomes our drive. And experimentation leads to more answers that lead to more questions . . .
Turnover is the fundamental difference between spin casting and fly casting. And all good fly casts, with fly line or otherwise, allow the line/leader to turnover in the air and then hit the water. That’s the difference between casting and lobbing. Without good turnover, we are simply lobbing the line.
Remember this: lobbing is limiting. And a good casting approach, with great turnover, introduces a wide range of options . . .
It’s not red anymore. It’s burgundy, but it “might” be red again someday. I’ve been alive long enough to know that when something you love leaves, it’s best to start moving on. And yes, I’m a leader junkie . . .
There’s a talent for combining all the essential techniques. Stitching them together seamlessly and flowing from one to the next takes a certain aptitude, and some intention.
Refine one through nine. Then time and again, you’ll see what you want to see. You’ll put it together. And you’ll say with confidence, “Now that was a great drift.”
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 . . .
Watching your streamer is fun. It’s educational, and it helps to dial in great action on the fly. But if you’re not careful, you’ll start moving the fly so you can see it instead of moving the fly to attract a trout . . .
A good streamer bite comes with a shot of adrenaline, especially when the strips are fast and aggressive. As we see a wild trout attack the fly, our natural reaction is one of excitement. We set the hook, and all too often we continue the fast and aggressive motions of our retrieve. The trout never has a chance to get back down through the water column, and we mistakenly fight the fish fast and near the surface. Unfortunately, that’s the worst place for a trout, if you want it to stay attached.
Rarely does a population of trout fall all over themselves to eat a streamer, no matter how well it’s presented. And I think it’s unfair to advance the notion that fish are out there waiting to pounce on your streamer if you just get the presentation right . . .
ANGLER TYPES IN PROFILE
No Results Found
The page you requested could not be found. Try refining your search, or use the navigation above to locate the post.
After the initial surge and downstream run, my big trout turned. He was forty feet below me and angled to the far bank. I was in no position to wade much further without going for a swim, but I needed the trout above my position — upstream — so I could finish the fight and land him quickly. At the critical moment when he slowed, my trout and I worked out an agreement . . .
Tom and I talked about streamers, mostly — about how fast the industry has moved into what I think of as the modern streamer code. And about how, in my mind, I juxtapose that with an old-school streamer style that (maybe) a lot of anglers have forgotten about . . .
. . When I hooked him, I felt a tremendous release of emotion. Satisfaction merged with adrenaline. My yearning for such a moment finally came to a close as the big wild brown trout slid onto the bank. I killed the trout with a sharp rap at the top of its skull, because that’s what I did back then. I knelt by the river to wet my creel, and when I placed the dead trout in the nylon bag, the full length of its tail stuck out from the top.
. . . Then I began to shake. The closing of anticipation washed over me. The fruition of learning and wondering for so many years left me in awe of the moment I’d waited for. I trembled as I sat back on my heels. With two knees in the mud of a favorite trout stream, I watched the water pass before me. I breathed. I thought about nothing and everything all at once. I felt calm inside even as I stared down at my wet, shaking hands.
. . .When a gust of wind pushed through the forest, I stirred. Finally my lengthy revery was passed, and I stood tall with my lungs full of a strong wind. Then I walked back to camp . . .
The moon and stars are either in the sky and lighting your way, or they are not. Heavy clouds may roll in and block out those natural lights, or you may have clear skies all night long. There’s nothing you can do to control any of it. But the modern night fisher can choose from an arsenal of artificial lights — headlamps, flashlights and glowing things — to find his way through the darkness . . .
Ironically, light is what defines night fishing. In the absence of natural daylight, it’s the moon and stars that provide the angler with sight. Of course, city lights, headlamps, flashlights, and glow-in-the-dark stuff are also factors in the night fishing experience. So in many natural and artificial forms, light draws the lines around night fishing.
Trout respond to changing light conditions in the daytime, and every good fisherman recognizes it. We look for shadows on sunny days. We fish at dusk, and we fish at dawn. All anglers are eager to search for trout on cloudy days. But when the daylight fades trout habits may shift dramatically — and that’s where this mystery begins . . .
The allure of night fishing arises from a mystery. We pursue unknowable things into the darkness and sort through the unpredictable behaviors of trout to catch them after the sun goes down. There are no experts in the night game, and that itself is what secures the puzzle — a simple lack of information. There is no treasure map after dark.
In large part, we fish because of what might happen. While night fishing, we begin to realize that anything can happen . . .
With over 900 articles on Troubitten, there’s much more to explore than what you see above.
Use the site menu to navigate through articles collected in series. Click the categories and tags to find the archives pages for each topic.
Everything in orange, sitewide, is a link to more supporting content.
And use the search page to find what you’re looking for.
Also Subscribe to Troutbitten and follow along. (Yes, it’s free.)