If competition river fishing teaches you one thing it is to keep moving, and moving fast. I know that not many people reading this will be competition fishers, or indeed ever want to fish a competition, but a lot can be learned from those who do. For many of us (and that now includes me) a day’s fishing should be relaxing, and to quote that often used phrase: there’s more to fishing than catching fish! There certainly is, but the name of the game is fishing, so that still means catching fish in my book, and within reason, as many as possible.
So it’s a balancing act, a successful day’s fishing will need to be relaxing, but still involve enough ‘work’ to catch what you deem a fair number of fish on any given day. So we need firstly to understand river fish, be it trout or grayling. They will take up a lie that gives them maximum food for least amount of effort, whilst offering protection from predators. While feeding, and left undisturbed, they aren’t going to move far at all. They will move side to side and up and down in the water column to intercept food, but that’s it. If we are to maximise our chances we must move to the fish – they aren’t coming to us! It’s no good then turning up to your favourite pool on the river, setting up camp there for the day, and not moving, which is something I regularly see anglers do. Coarse fishers do this because they bait their swim, bringing fish to them with regular, measured, food offerings. As fly fishers, if we are to maximise our chances, we must move to the fish, reading the river, looking for activity or fish holding water. You should rarely be still when searching a river. Keep on the move, constantly shuffling your feet up or down the river - the more river you fish, the more fish you cover, the greater your chance of catching more fish. You don’t have to run and rush about like a fell runner, you can move as fast or slow as you feel like, just so long as you are constantly covering new water. Keep moving and don't get concrete boots!