Today we start a series of weekly posts straight from The Little Red Book of Fly Fishing – a new collection of 250 nuggets of fly fishing wisdom from Kirk Deeter and the late, great Charlie Meyers. We’re lucky enough to have gotten permission to post some excerpts from the book – read on!
If you find this kind of this useful, you can pick up your copy of The Little Red Book of Fly Fishing right here.
When in Doubt (Set the Hook)
Always curious about the mysteries of trout fly fishing, Jack Dennis took an underwater camera into a local stream to discover what really happens when anglers made presentations to fish beneath the surface.
Among his more revealing discoveries: Anglers failed to detect 40 percent of the strikes they received using conventional nymphing techniques, particularly with indicators.
The reason? Invariably, the problem was too much slack in the line. Dennis found that fish feeding actively on a plentitude of insects floating past their noses seldom moved much; rather, they simply held their position and opened and closed their mouths. In such situations, anglers generally failed to realize when a trout had taken the artificial fly.
In feeding situations with fewer insects, when trout drifted up or darted sideways to take the artificial, the line often moved sufficiently for the angler to detect the strike.
One solution to a light bite is to get as close as possible to the fish, eliminating as much loose line as possible. But the ultimate cure for missed strikes is keen concentration, setting the hook at the slightest pause in the drift. Make the hook set quick and short, keeping the fly down in the target area if you don’t connect.