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Thursday, September 15, 2011

How to Fly Fish for Trout

Feb 18th, 2010 by auron
The first thing to remember when fly fishing for trout is to be what Peter Mackenzie-Philps calls a ‘thinking angler’. The environment you are in should be what determines your actions and you should avoid getting stuck in a rut.

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If the fish are not biting, then you should change something until they do, be it the place, the flies you are using, your rate of retrieval or your technique.  You should also employ fan casting so that all the areas that your rod can reach are explored.  The line should not be cast so it is overlaying the trout as it may scare them, only the leader should be kept in their vicinity.
It is important to remember that to the fish, the fly is the pray so should move as pray would.  It should appear to move cautiously away, so the fly should be cast to the side of the fish and pulled back slowly.  It is also wise to bear in mind that fish are used to seeing potential food drift with the flow of the current and the direction of the wind, and seldom in the opposite direction.
Trout have binocular, frontal vision and will normally face upstream to allow water to flow easily through their gills.  As a result, an angler positioned downstream is invisible to them; from there you should cast in front and a little to the side of them, but keep the fly within easy striking distance of the trout.

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The fly line and leader should be kept in a straight line to keep the connection between the angler and the fly as direct as is possible.  The ‘take’ is indicated in various ways and can be very subtle so the angler needs to remain focused at all times.  The fly can be ‘taken’ with a surface ‘sip’ that is barely visible but more often it is a far more aggressive affair and comes with a loud surface splash.  There may be a surface swirl near the fly and the fly line between the top ring and the surface of the water may suddenly tighten, acting as a ‘quiver tip’; during the retrieve you will feel a pull, also known as a tap, knock or pluck.
The strike should be decisive and immediate to prevent allowing the fish a chance to spit the fly out.  There are various methods to perform the strike; the usual one used by anglers is the ‘vertical strike’.  The rod is firmly raised in the same type of way as a ‘level-crossing barrier’ works.  The reaction has to be deliberate but not to hard as the hook may be pulled out of the fish’ mouth.

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When vegetation is causing an obstacle, the ‘side-strike’ may be employed where the rod is moved horizontally.  The ‘line-strike’ is another technique often employed, the hand that retrieves the line is moved back firmly around 46 centimeters but sometimes, especially with speedily retrieved lures, a strike is not needed as the fish will hook itself.
Once the fish is hooked, it is at its most powerful and inappropriate reel-drag settings or a loose line are just two things that can lead to the fish getting away.  The whole line must remain tense when  playing the fish; to do this hold the rod in a vertical position allowing its natural spring to soak up variations of pull exerted by the trout.  Add side strain and increase the effort on the rod if the fish tries to head for cover such as underwater tree routs or posts in the water, which can cause the line to become tangled.  Next, a net should be placed in the water and the trout drawn over it and then the net should be raised, as opposed to scooping the fish into the net.
After catching the fish, if it is to be released the time spent out of the water should be kept to a minimum and where possible, the hook should be removed while the fish is still in the water.  Contact should also be kept to a minimum to reduce the risk of compromising its protective, slimy outer surface.

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Alternatively the fish can be ‘dispatched’ or killed.  This should be done as quickly and humanly as possible, the best way is to strike it hard on the spine between the eyes, which will break the neck and kill it outright.  The trout should finally be placed in a wetted bass bag or a thermal bag containing ice packs to slow the deterioration rate of your catch and insure it remains fresh for as long as possible.

Read more: http://www.bukisa.com/articles/248005_how-to-fly-fish-for-trout#ixzz1Y1sSyYy9

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