Tom talks about fishing in the wood and the use of his switch lines in tight quarters.
I don’t trout fish as much as I use to, but when I do, I live by these simple ideals:
Choose—Thoughts on Trout Flies
Store bought or custom tied, these days, either way, rarely does a good fisherman carry a vest load of crappy flies to the river: Fly shops, magazines, blogs, guides, your friends and sometimes your wife, make sure of that. But the fly you choose to fish is a statement, a manifestation of the angler’s persona, an attempt to communicate or connect with the prey through an inanimate object presented in an artful way. Some manifestations seem too elaborate, so precise, so carefully constructed as to imitate rather than approximate fish food. A lot can be learned about the angler who presents this offering. As much as can be learned about the man who chooses to toss a clump of roughly clipped dog hair into the stream to approximate a delicate creamy colored mayfly. To understand each of these anglers and for that matter, the rest of us stuck somewhere in between, one must see the angler and the fly together, during and after the cast.
I don’t believe trout today are smarter than they were ten years ago. They may seem so because we carry so many flies in our boxes and we feel compelled to use them. It’s also possible that there are more anglers on the river. The old adage that ten percent of the anglers catch ninety percent of the fish still holds meaning, no matter the extent of your selection. If you can’t fish, you ain’t gonna get bit and you might as well be fishing a size 8 peacock green wooly worm, complete with red hackle fiber tail, everyday, cause even a total newbie can catch trout on that fly once in a while. Truth told, I use about six flies throughout a trout season. If I look hard at my records, not counting the long salmon fly hatch and the predictable recklessness with which bank resting redsides come to a number 2 or 4 bullet head stone—forcing me to fish that fly for almost a full month in the summer—I only use a size 12 prince nymph, a size 14 hares ear, a size16 PMD thorax dun, a size 14 elk hair caddis in brown, a size 16 elk hair caddis in olive, (I could probably get away with one in brown, size 16) and a number 18 Blue winged olive. That about covers it.
Chironomids, wooly buggers, stonefly nymphs, scuds, etc. round out my box, but when it comes to my reality, I like to fish for trout at times when the temperature is pleasant and the fish are predictable. That’s not to say I don’t enjoy the challenges of early spring fishing when the water is chilly and the bugs lethargic. It’s just that after you’ve done it long enough, each season is another pattern of events repeating themselves, once again, which becomes another year, which becomes more memory, which becomes the bigger experience, which is life. The fly we choose is the ultimate expression because there are only so many seasons left for this fishing bum and I don’t want to die thinking, “Damn, if I’d only tied that Callibaetis emerger slightly oversized on the hook and a half shade lighter back in 92 when the cold weather rolled in and slowed the hatch to a snail’s pace giving the trout a millennium to inspect each bug wriggling in the surface. Yep, we would’ve murdered them.”
July 18, 2013
Casting Issue: Your fly nearly takes your hat off on the forward stroke.
This is common when these things happen:
1) You place the anchor too far away from your casting position while thinking, “If I just move it farther away, I’m safer”.
The tendency then, is to put too much power into the forward stroke causing the fly and leader to whip into a position related to the direction of the D loop. This pulls the fly right towards the caster. If you continue with too much power too soon, the anchor blows up. It has to follow the path of the fly line, which might be blocked by your face. This dangerous scenario can be worsened if you are tossing the D loop back behind your shoulder. The only place the fly can go, to follow the path of the fly line if you blow the anchor or put too much power into the forward stroke, is through your body. To reduce the chances of perforating your face, hands, eyes, neck, etc. the most counterintuitive thing must happen; place the anchor CLOSER to your casting position. Keep the rod canted off the casting shoulder throughout the casting stroke by keeping the bottom hand in front of your torso and the top hand in front of the casting side shoulder. Begin the forward stroke smoothly, make the rod tip travel in a straight path and stop abruptly at the end of the casting stroke. The fly will then travel out and away from your body as it leaves the water if the traveling rod tip is even with or slightly outside the anchor position.
2) Your D Loop is poorly formed and you try to make up for it by pounding the forward cast. All of the above happens. To correct the D Loop flaw one needs to be conscious of your tempo in the sweep portion of the cast as you approach setting the D loop. Whether you use sustained anchor (Skagit Style) or a more traditional cast with long bellies, the rod tip must be maintaining momentum, or increasing it. Decelerating during the sweep and into the D Loop causes it to crash or not form at all. You can make sure your momentum is maintained by watching the path of the rod tip during the sweep; it must be level with the water/horizon, or slightly increasing in elevation. One of the biggest flaws is to have the rod tip dip towards the water anytime during the sweep, before the turnover and forward cast. This kills all the energy in the cast and you have to make up for it by pounding the forward stroke. You can remedy this flaw by dumping your rod tip into the water after setting the anchor (Snap T and Double Spey casts). This guarantees you are coming to a full stop and the only place to go from there is horizontal or up. The sweep to the casting position is the most important part of the entire effort. Done correctly, the rod nearly casts itself after the D loop is in position.
Just my thoughts. They work for me. Hire a good teacher if you really suck. I nearly lost an eyeball learning to cast a two handed rod.
If you haven’t seen SM4, please check out Tom Larimer’s introduction of the man who has led many down the path of life with a two handed rod.
This goes against the grain of this site, but I do love to cast a single hander long distances and make long slow retrieves for anything that swims.
Thanks to Simon Gawesworth, I’ve been jacking those casts with this line:
The WF/10/SI overloads a 9 foot 10 weight perfectly. The bullet taper turns over long leaders and big flies, in the wind no less, like no line I’ve cast. I wish I had a WF/6/SI for my lake fishing.
If you need a super slow sinking, very fishy fly line which “hovers” in the water column, keeping the fly in the zone for the whole retrieve, this one rocks!