More Trout, Don't Flog the Water!
By Steve Yeomans
at fisheries throughout England
How many times
have you spent the day at a small stillwater fishery enjoying good
sport during the morning, only to struggle during the second half of
the day? More often than not this is due to trout shying away from an
increasing bombardment of flies and more importantly fly lines, but
this need not be so.
So what is
this fantastic trick to catch more fish you say?
The first thing to do is stand back from the fishing and analyse your
approach. Not just the way you walk up to the lakeside but everything
you do throughout the session. Your lakeside manner is a good place to
start, as many anglers stand at the edge of the lake, consistently
hauling out a long line across the pool. How many fish patrolling the
margins are spooked like this? Obviously this is not an exact science,
but from my own experience when the adrenalin drives you to "get
fishing" I know that I have spooked fish before putting the
breaks on and taking a step back.
is quite literally what you should do. Take a couple of paces back
from the waterside so that when retrieving line the rod tip just
protrudes over the bankside. By doing this and lowering your profile,
you spook less trout and allow casts to fish right into the bank,
providing maximum opportunity for a take.
The next point
is the real key to the day. Don't flog the water!
Resist the temptation to tie on that favourite team of flies or fly
and start casting. Instead spend several minutes just scanning the
water looking for fish and insect activity. If nothing is observed
take a cautious walk around the lake(s) looking for signs of fish and
fly life. When you find the trout the hardest job is done. You then
fish confidently in the knowledge that you are covering trout.
If nothing is
moving anywhere then a safe assumption is to go with an intermediate
line and tie on a nymph pattern appropriate for the water and time of
year. The best advice I can give you here is to check the fishery
logbook to see what flies consistently catch. Fish the water lightly,
casting first across the marginal area to either side of you. Use the
count down method to search from top to bottom and vary the retrieve.
Having done this, search the water in front of you, casting in a fan
formation and working from top to bottom. If you get a take remember
the count at which it occurred and continue to work your fly at that
depth. Ensuring your fly fishes at the depth trout are feeding is
often more important than the pattern fished.
takes occur move to the next available spot and start again. By
working around the lake in this way, a lot of water is covered and you
should find the trout. Now to totally surprise you, if you do catch a
couple of fish and there is plenty of space to move to on the bank,
now is the time to move. The fish are not feeding heavily and you
standing their hammering them will only spook the remainder. You can
always return later!
observations do find fish feeding at or close to the surface, use a
floating line. Obviously I can't say what fly to fish in this space,
it could be any hatch at any stage of the process, with the trout
gorging on any stage from ascending nymphs to full blown duns or even
a spinner fall. The key thing to remember is again take your time (not
easy I know when it seems every trout is at the surface) and calculate
what fly you need to attach to the end of your line.
the trout are moving, is there a pattern to the rises? Do not cast out
over fish in the margins just because the last fish to rise was twenty
yards out. If fish are moving close in and seem to be cruising and
rising along a certain route, use this information to cast ahead of
them and ambush them in turn, taking the closest to the bank first
then working outward.
method and you will not go far wrong, develop it, as you like, it is
not a strict science. Finally having caught the trout closest to you
on that tiny black buzzer fished in the surface film after it rejected
several patterns, don't go straight for the next fish. Instead watch
the water, have a cup of tea, anything, but do not start fishing
immediately unless this is a really big hatch and the trout are rising
between each fish caught will be the difference between catching 2 and
catching a lot more. If only the odd fish is rising, then move having
caught two and look for the next. Stay mobile, fishing the water
lightly, keep out of sight and your catch rate will go up!
Yeomans 2006 ©