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Quick Tips Stories Tips/Tactics

Quick Tips — When to Fish Just One Nymph

on
October 7, 2018
John and I always keep count. He’s the only fishing friend who can pull me into such a race, and I’m not sure why.

Like all fishermen do at some point, I used to keep count of my catch. I even roughly calculated my catch rate at the end of the day, like this:

“Let’s see, I fished for five hours, but I took a twenty minute break around lunch. Walk in time was fifteen minutes, so subtract that too. I caught twenty-six trout, but I COULD have caught those couple of trout that came unbuttoned if I was more careful, so let’s add those in and say thirty. Multiply, divide and there’s my catch rate.”

But I don’t do that anymore. I don’t like to compete against anything but the river and the trout. And I don’t mind losing on occasion. Loss is a wonderful teacher.

John baits me back into counting every time we fish together. And there’s no fuzzy catch-rate-math involved either — just straight up fish counting . . .

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Quick Tips — Hook set at the end of every drift

on
October 3, 2018
I watched the line, waiting for some indication of a strike and intently expecting a fish to eat the nymph. Then at the end of the drift I looked away, scanning for my next target upstream. When I lifted the line for the backcast, I was surprised to find a trout on the line. He bounced off quickly because I never got good hook set.

That’s happened to you a hundred times too, right?

Nymphing is an art of the unseen, and no matter the material attachments we add to the line for visual aid of a strike, trout take our flies without us knowing about it — probably way more often than we can imagine.

That’s why it’s best to end every underwater drift with a hook set. Do this with nymphs and with streamers, at the end of every dead drift presentation, and you’ll find unexpected trout attached to your line. The short set also prepares the line and leader for your next backcast. Here's how . . .

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Quick Tips — Unbutton Snags from the Backside

on
September 25, 2018
Snags happen.

I’ve fished with guys that see every hang up as a failure — every lost fly as a mistake. But inevitably, that mindset breeds an overcautious angler, too careful and just hoping for some good luck.

Hang ups are not a failure. For a good angler, they are a calculated risk — an occasional consequence after assessing probability against skill, situation and loss. We all hang the fly sometimes. So what.

Now let’s talk about how to pop loose the underwater snag . . .

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Quick Tips — The Fly Rod Quick-Dip

on
September 23, 2018
Some things in fly fishing are obvious right away. The concepts of casting and drifting a fly are intuitive for most anglers after just a bit of instruction and a few trips of experience. Advanced techniques are later pored over in conversations, books, articles and videos. We want to learn. But helpful friends and fly fishing authors probably make too many assumptions. (Myself included.) And a lot of what we take for granted or think is obvious has become second nature only after fishing for a long, long time.

So in this new Quick Tips series on Troutbitten, I’ll focus on the small things that make a big difference — the type of things that some new anglers figure out for themselves but many veteran anglers may very well have missed.

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Quick Tips — Hang up or Hook up

on
September 5, 2018
Up top or underneath, we must cover water to catch river trout. My days astream are a constant push and pull between reasons to stay and reasons to move on. Hanging around in a tailout for an extra fifteen minutes may be wise if I see swirls and flashing trout at the lip. But moving on and working more water is my default approach. The challenge, then, is knowing when to give up the ship and knowing when to stay on. And for that, I have a strategy — hang up or hookup . . .
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