I am putting this short narrative along with this film so that you can get a better idea of a couple different methods for catching these early season smallies. As you watch the first fish I catch I do so using a shiner or creek chub that I was allowing to sink and then retrieving through the middle of the pool. What you are going to find is that the fish will be aggressive and want to eat as long as the fly is presented close by; they aren’t up in the shallower water chasing, that will come as the water temps rise later in the spring…and that is when the real fun begins. Use a sinking or sink tip line and allow the fly to get down in the water column and then short, spastic strips for retrieves…and anything you feel that is abnormal…strip set the hook.
The second two fish you watch on the video are caught using a heavy chartreuse bunny strip fly that I was bumping or bouncing from rock to rock. You will need to cast perpendicular to yourself and then get the fly to bounce and bump along…I like to call this “trundling” down the stream. To do this correctly you need to use a high stick method and then I like to retrieve my line in my line hand…by going hand over hand and keeping constant tension between you and the fly. Once again, when you feel something that is abnormal, strip set the fly. You may get snagged a lot at the beginning with this method but the more you give it a go…the better you will be in deciphering what a fish feels like.
As I said above…the fish will be aggressive if you put the fly in their zone. They are hungry and the pre-spawn is on….the big females are preparing and will chase (for a short distance) to take a fly that is presented to them. Getting the fly down is of major importance…then getting it bumping along is the part that they can’t stand; so, get out and give both of these methods a try…I think you will find that you can be very successful!