One common attribute many of the best fly anglers have is an ability to make adjustments on the go. Conditions on the water are always changing and there are an uncountable amount of variables that can make a difference in success when fishing. Some words to live by for myself are “winners adjust”. When on the water, you have to be prepared to make adjustments. When fishing salt or fresh, 2 things I always have on me are a black permanent marker and a pair of scissors.
A black permanent marker can be useful for a range of reason. One scenario I find myself regularly doing is blacking out the shiny silver or gold tungsten beads on my bead head nymphs. There are some conditions where I like that extra flash (ie higher, muddy water) but I have also found that extra flash can spook some pressured fish. I still however like the additional weight the bead head provides. My solution? Using a permanent marker to make the bead black. I have also used a permanent marker to add barred stripes onto streamers or the craft fur on bonefish flies. This can give a cool contrast to some patterns. You can even use the marker to add some reference points on your fly line. This can be useful if you want to have an indicator that shows where 25 or 50 feet of fly line is.
Another handy tool to have for on water adjustments is a pair of fly tying scissors. This can be good to thin out some store bought flies that can be a little too bulky in my opinion. Downsizing can make the fly easier to cast and can help get more eats. This is especially helpful for large mullet or baitfish patterns. When trout fishing, I have noticed simple changes like trimming off a tail on a dry fly can change the bug it is representing and trigger an eat. I love the parachute adams and carry it in a range of sizes. During some midge hatches, I don’t think there is a better pattern than a parachute adams with the tail clipped off. You just made your BWO imitation a midge cluster one.
Always be ready to make adjustments when on the water. You never know what adjustments will make a big difference and help you learn something new. Are there any other on water adjustments to your flies that you find yourself making?
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