One of the universal truths in fly fishing, regardless of what species you are pursuing, is the longer your fly is in the water, the greater chance you have to catch fish. After all, a fly in the air catches no fish.
With that said, we haven’t mastered the art of ‘shadow casting’ yet.. And we’ve seen the videos of trout taking damsel flies above the surface of the water.. But overall we think it’s safe to say that the majority of fish are caught in (or on) the water, not in the air.
Duh, right? Hear us out.
Whether you are sight fishing for bonefish or tarpon, swinging flies for steelhead, stripping streamers for salmon, dead drifting dries or nymphs for trout, or employing virtually any other fly fishing technique for any other species, maximizing the time your fly is fishing will lead to more fish to hand. In other words..
- When Swinging Flies. Many anglers change flies and/or sink tips far more often than necessary when swinging for anadramous species. Doing so takes time away from your fly being in the water.. where the fish tend to eat it. We’re not saying never change your fly or sink tip, but only do so if the situation demands it. A large change in water depth, a sudden change in light conditions, or your buddy is hammering fish behind you.. By all means change it up. But rather than changing tips or flies based on the idea of ‘I haven’t caught anything yet,’ you’re probably better off sticking with what you have on and keeping your fly in the water.
- When Stripping Streamers. The beauty of stripping streamers for trout or salmon is that presentation is of little concern. Pitch your fly tight to the bank or other likely holding lies, make a few enticing strips, then pick it up and put in the next likely spot. Excessive false casts do nothing but keep your fly out of the water. The faster you are able to get the fly in the water, the better!
- When Dead Drifting Nymphs and Dry Flies. Good line management is key to catching fish on dead drift presentations. Once again excessive false casting is a fault that many of us share. Doing whatever it takes to get as long an unhindered drift as possible is far more advantageous than a perfect presentation. That is if catching fish is your prerogative. Although in Alaska we’d argue that a perfect drag-free drift is overrated.. But that’s a different animal.
- When Sight Fishing. Time is the governing factor when sight fishing for bonefish and tarpon. Therefore, being able to make an accurate cast with as few back casts as possible is extremely important. Contrary to popular belief, bonefish will eat a fly that is a bit off the mark, but we’ve yet to see one take a fly while false casting.
Maximize the amount of time your fly is actually fishing throughout the day, and you’ll catch more fish.. We guarantee it!
More Universal Fly Fishing Tips