Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Montana Fly Fishing: Sight Fishing Tips...

Trout even in shallow water can be difficult to see. Especially at rest on a sunny day glare and light reflecting off the bottom rocks can render even large trout nearly invisible. A good reason to wear the best polorized glasses you can afford.

Trout live by the mantra "greatest good with least effort." Or more to the point to survive trout must  find a way to take in more calories than burned to consume them. This explains why trout are almost never found suspended off the bottom in heavy current even though the heaviest currents often carry the most food. But you do often find trout lying in a current break, such as the soft edge where slow and fast water meet. Darting briefly into the heavy stuff to ambush a nymph then back to the soft stuff requires less effort.

Trout feeding on nymphs usually don't move very far. Subtle tip-ups and slight side to side movements are the norm. But sometimes the only movement necessary is to simply open mouth and swallow the victim. In such cases the only clue is the instant the white inside the mouth shows. The easier scenario is a light hatch (drift) requiring the trout to move less subtly side to side and up and down.

Over the years I've spent countless hours sight fishing to trout gorging on nymphs. More, I've been lucky to have spent untold hours watching some of the best nymph fisher's on the planet do their thing. And as a guide I've coached (tried to) less gifted fishermen to git 'er done.

A couple things stand out:
1) The perfect, spot-on cast is rarely the best. Reason being the nymph drifts right down the pipe, mouth opens and closes briefly, fisherman misses the subtle movement, trout spits out fraud...Game over.
2) The best presentation is the purposely misdirected shot places the nymph a foot or so to the near side forcing Mr. Trout to move to the meal or go hungry...Such moves are much easier to spot and thus set the hook in time.  The more naturals in the drift naturally the more shots may be necessary. And here's where casting ability really pays off. If you can repeatedly make the close but not too close to spook the quarry...well, trust me, it does work.

PS. In my opinion the above nymph is "too fat, too heavily dressed." Real mayfly nymphs are like fashion models...scary skinny.

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