Monday, 25 March 2013

Diminishing Returns

Well it's 25th March, first day of the new trout season in Yorkshire, but with snow on the ground, temperatures hovering around zero and a very strong north easterly blowing I'll not be wetting a line today and probably not all week! So I've got time to add another blog post about common faults I witness while out on the river...

Fishing Old Water – I'm cheating slightly here, because this is very similar to fishing too slow that I described previously in Get A Move On, but I decided it was specific enough to be given a separate airing. It is one of the causes of fishing too slow, but by this I mean repeatedly allowing your flies to fish water you’ve already fished. Let’s take a typical situation of searching a pool by fishing upstream dry fly, fan casting to cover as much of the pool as you can. The best chance you stand of catching a fish is the first time the fish sees your fly (assuming good presentation). Every subsequent cast over the same water diminishes your chances of pulling out a fish. In other words, if a fish was going to take your fly it would take it first cast, not second, third, fourth...etc. By all means, if you see a fish rise cover it repeatedly, even changing flies until you catch it, spook it, or you just get fed up and move on. But this isn’t searching the water, it’s covering a rise. Likewise, if you weren't happy with your presentation on a particular cast, cast again until you are happy with your presentation.

I always say to my clients, whether searching with nymph or dry, don’t let your fly fish in the same water twice. Build up a mental picture of where you have covered and keep covering new water. All too often the fly is cast upstream to ‘new’ water but then allowed to drift back through water covered many times previously, sometimes even past the angler. This is wasting time; increase your chances by keeping moving, covering new water with every cast. Hard work but worth it!
Searching thoroughly but quickly on an urban stream
Yours truly searching with an upstream nymph on an
urban stream. Each and every cast needs to fish
through a new section of the pool, covering it thoroughly,
but quickly, and not repeatedly going through "old water".
On a pool such as this I start on the nearest flow and
gradually work across the stream, wading and fishing
further out into the pool until it has all been covered.