Articles in the Category Tactics

Why do we miss trout on a nymph?

Late hook sets are a problem, as is guessing about whether we should set the hook in the first place. But I believe, more times than not, when we miss a trout, the fish actually misses the fly. However, that doesn’t let us off the hook either. It’s probably still our fault. And here’s why . . .

Loss of contact, refusals and bad drifts. All of these things and more add into missing trout on nymphs. So how do we improve the hookup ratio?

Fishing Light

You’ve probably been wading upstream on a favorite trout stream and seen another angler’s lost tackle. Maybe the whole mess was in the streamside trees, with split shot and bobber attached, or a misguided F13 Rapala with rusted hooks. Maybe you’ve snagged a pile of monofilament stuck in waterlogged branches and lodged against a rock. And when you’ve seen all that mess, maybe you were stunned by how heavy the tackle was. Are you with me? . . .

Be a Mobile Angler

Wading is not just what happens between locations. And it’s not only about moving across the stream from one pocket to the next. Instead, wading happens continuously.

Many anglers wade to a spot in the river and set up, calf, knee or waist deep, seemingly relieved to have arrived safely. Then they proceed to fish far too much water without moving their feet again. When the fish don’t respond, these anglers finally pick up their feet. Maybe they grab a wading staff and begrudgingly take the steps necessary to reach new water and repeat the process.

This method of start and stop, of arriving and relocating, is a poor choice. Instead, the strategy of constant motion is what wins out . . .

Beyond Euro Nymphing

Euro nymphing is an elegant, tight line solution. But don’t limit yourself. Why not use the tight line tools (leaders and tactics) for more than just euro nymphing?

Use it for fishing a tight-line style of indicators. Use it for dry dropper or even straight dries. And use it for streamers, both big and small.

Refining these tactics is the natural progression of anglers who fish hard, are thoughtful about the tactics and don’t like limitations. I know many good fly fishers who have all come out the other side with the same set of tools. Because fishing a contact system like the Mono Rig eventually teaches you all that is possible . . .

Backcast | Take Five

Backcast | Take Five

Here's one from the Troutbitten archives, an on-the-water story with one of my favorite tips stuck in the middle. Take Five ... The lack of production today is killing me. I’ve looked forward to this trip for weeks: tying flies, scanning maps, reviewing old photos and...

One Thing at a Time

One Thing at a Time

. . .By focusing on just one thing at a time, I learned each element without the distractions of other tactics. And when I exhausted the variations of one method, I suppose it was something like boredom that suggested I move on to the next thing.

And now, my favorite days on the water are spent adapting, using all the tactics that I’m familiar with to fish whatever way best suits the next piece of water. Changing rigs is second nature to me. It’s not a chore, and I’m no longer confused by the different options.

I think I’m always looking for the next obsession too — the next stage of fly fishing to jump to (or back into) — just to keep things fresh . . .

Bead, Lead and Flat Nylon

Bead, Lead and Flat Nylon

I've seen a lot of ways to get the lead secured on the hook; many of them use super glue, which is an unnecessary step, and most use the same thin thread that you are tying the rest of the fly with. Both of these methods waste time, and although I enjoy tying, I enjoy...

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A Better Streamer Box

A Better Streamer Box

After many years of carrying a select group of my favorite streamers in a fairly small box, I now find myself in an experimental phase with the big bugs again.  I'm generally in the camp that believes presentation is far more important than pattern, but trying new...

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The Backing Barrel

The Backing Barrel

A decade ago I learned about euro-nymphing, and I was impressed with the rig. I gradually made the switch from a Joe Humphreys nymphing style, worked my way through the short line tactics, then lengthened the leader and learned to fish at distance.  I believe...

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