Cruising Permit – How to Present a Fly
If the fish is cruising, he’s not actively looking for food. The drop of the fly might not be as enticing to him as something moving through the water column. So with cruising fish you’ll often lead the fish more and cross him more, kind of like a tarpon presentation, allowing you to create an intersection point when you strip the fly. You need to plan the angle of the shot, the distance of the shot, and the speed of your strip [editor’s note: no one said this was easy] so that your fly winds up at the right water depth and in front of the fish.
You need to strip it at a desirable speed that’s equivalent to the speed of the movement of the fish. If the fish is moving fast you need to strip fast. If he’s cruising slowly, strip slow. It’s critical to read the fish’s movements and strip accordingly.
If you don’t do that, you’re probably not going to hook the fish! If a slow moving permit sees a fast moving fly, he’s probably going to spook. When a fast moving fish sees a slow moving fly, he might not spook, but the fly isn’t going to look very enticing to him either.
You ability as an angler to immediately adjust the speed of your strip to the change in the movements of the fish is vital. If you don’t have the basic ability to see the fish at all times, this is impossible. If you can see him well, you’ll notice when he sees the fly. If he starts to speed up behind it, you need to recognize that immediately and start to increase the speed of your strip. This tends to entice the fish to jump on the fly, but most importantly it will not allow the fish to look at the fly.
Now that we’ve covered presentation to feeding and cruising fish, we’ll be back next week on when and how to set the hook.