Sunday, November 11, 2012

Dry Fly Tips for Selective Trout: Part 3


Remember, your goal is to get it right the first time! 
-Try not to false cast over fish.
-Stack the line you need at your feet, do not pull it off the reel as you false cast!
-Cast away from fish with a sidearm motion to dry your fly. Don’t false cast a wet leader and line over feeding fish. This will send a cascade of small water droplets onto the fish. This is especially a problem with braided butt sections.
-Don’t pop your fly off the water when initiating the backcast. Wait until the fly line and the butt section are almost off the water before initiating your backcast.
-If your presentation isn’t right, let the fly drift to below the feeding fish before lifting the fly line off the water to cast again. 
What you want to see... a "happy" feeding fish.
Timing is everything when trying to feed a selective trout, Be patient and look for a “happy” fish; one that is active and looking to feed. Wait for the moment that it eats a natural and is looking for another, and then take your shot. Often times they will let quite a bit of food drift before eating, falling in and out of what we call feeding rhythms. Avoid casting when they are down, and instead study the feeding rhythms and wait for the fish to start actively feeding once again.
The first shot at a wise, selective fish is easily the most important cast of all. If the fly drags unnaturally, or you “line” the fish by throwing a shadow,  the fish will probably "make" you. Once the fish spooks, you’ll notice an immediate change of behavior, and many times the fish will simply disappear. When this happens, stop casting. Take a break... maybe change your fly pattern, and give the fish some time to forget what made him nervous.

If a fish rises to your fly and doesn't eat it or maybe noses it (I've seen trout suspend a fish on their snout!) STOP CASTING!  They are suspicious of your fly. Stop and let the fish get back into a comfortable feeding rhythm again. Wait till the fish is "happy" again. Then make another perfect cast.

Notice the fish is feeding at the same spot where the leaves are floating by. This is the conveyor belt!
How important is a drag-free float?
It is important to understand that a trout has a feeding lie for very specific reasons having to do with the energy required to feed. This fish will repeatedly rise along a very narrow slot and will take the naturals at a very specific point along this path. Water hydrodynamics dictates this path and the point of minimal caloric loss to feed. Bigger fish will always take the best spots. Here they can use the water’s pressure to plane up to take the surface fly and then down to the resting lie with a minimum of energy expended. Your fly must achieve a natural drift only along this small slot, but it must match this path exactly. It must not deviate slightly right or left where it is not calorically economical for the fish to rise. A trout knows this small stretch of water intimately. A large smart trout will not take an artificial fly that is floating unnaturally or is even slightly out of its range...period.

Rising exactly where the leaves are. This is the point of minimal caloric expenditure for the trout.
Along with "your first cast is your best chance", a drag free drift is probably the best advice for anyone fishing to selective trout, because a good initial presentation can often make up for bad fly choice. Presentation is the most important step of all! What you’re trying to do is present a drag-free drift, meaning your fly drifts exactly like a natural. Your fly must look like it is unattached to a leader. There are many ways to achieve a drag-free presentation:

-Down and across reach cast. In this cast, the fish sees the fly first and no leader.
-Straight downstream bounce or rebound cast (S-curves are created in the leader and tippet).
-Straight upstream cast.
-Throwing an early mend in the drift. 
This casts should be learned. These casts are potential arrows in your quiver.

Remember Presentation is Crucial!

NEXT: A Few Final Thoughts in Part 4

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