Exploring Around the Next Bend

This section is meant to encourage those who are searching for better methods to fool their favorite prey. It may be on flies, presentation, obtaining impossible drifts, casting methods, or rigging lines and leaders for special uses. As we come across articles and stories of special interest we will present them here. If you have a 'special' method which works for you, please feel free to send it to the publisher@flyanglersonline.com

April 2nd, 2005

Observing
By James Castwell

"Ya can see a lot of things by observing." Love that one and it's true in more than one way. Let me try to explain. Part of what advanced fly fishing is, if there is such a thing, might be learning to see things and being aware of how they may all tie together. Seeing is just with the eyes, Observing brings all the senses to bare and sometimes for seemingly no apparent reason we do a certain thing. Wee may call it instinct, perhaps a hunch, maybe intuition. Whatever, the name does not much matter. What is important is this.

To make the best and most intelligent decisions, whether in life or fly fishing, we need as many facts as possible. Knowing what they are, where to look for them and how to recognize them when we find them all go together to produce a decision which will probably be better than flipping a coin.

For instance, when you are fishing a dry fly upstream on a nice meadow brook to a rising trout. Would it matter what time of day it was as to where you put your fly? It could. Would the color of a wet fly show better in one place over another? Or at some other time of day? Would color matter at all? Mostly, does it ever? Do you think of these things when you are fishing?

If the trout takes your fly, you're probably not too concerned. But if he just dashes up and refuses it at the last minute, then what? Or it drifts by him time and time again, and he won't raise a fin to even look at it, then what? Is it your presentation, your leader size, tippet size, or it is floating or sinking, or is it the fly and how it looks at that time of day. Ever been casting with poor results and then just before dark, the 'bite' came one? Come on, bite? Something changed. Did you notice what it was? Well, the amount of light changed for one thing. Anything else?

Whatever changed, could you control it, could you have produced the effect earlier in the day? Were you doing something wrong during the day? When your fly is between the sunlight and the fish does he only see a silhouette? Do an Adams and a Royal Coachman look the same then? What if you place your fly on the other side of the trout, could you have been missing him by inches? Perhaps. Were you thinking about these things when not all was going right? Will you in the future?

If you have the wrong fly but it's in silhouette, are you better off if the fish can't see the color? Under what circumstances do fish take a fly by it's shape and not the color, by it's size? How about the way it acts on the water, or whether it rides high or sinks a bit into the surface?

Should your leader sink of float? If it floats, will it make a shadow, and if so, so what? If It sinks, will it scare the fish or will they simply ignore it? Will it sparkle in the bright sunlight and spook them? You don't know for sure do you? Being aware of these can make a difference in how well you do. Some guys do these things almost subconsciously, but only after spending some time of working on them. There are others too, little things that seem to qualify as advanced fly fishing, things that should only be considered after you have learned the basics, then added and combined them into a lifetime of fly fishing.

Let me conclude with perhaps the most important time of absorption of all. I know this has happened to you. It has to have. Think about the various times you have approached a place on a stream to fish. A place you know and have fished more than once. You near the stream and notice a person already fishing, he is younger than you. If you had found a person sitting on the bank just resting, he would have been older than you. Why is that?

The younger the fisher the less patience he has and must enter the water at a dead run. The older gentleman will hold up on land and observe. He will take in all he can with as many senses he has left working. Perhaps eyesight or hearing may not be quite what they had once been, but when combined with all his senses and abilities he can be a formidable opponent. His world likely contains more than yours, at least for now. He has learned over the years to look, really look, and not just with his eyes. Observation combined with knowledge can produce wisdom. Every time. ~ JC

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