Just this week I read a short but interesting piece on MidCurrent Fly Fishing News (if you don’t subscribe to it….it is a weekly blurb online and well worth the time). The topic was the three things I wish I had known when I started fly fishing. This got me thinking and therefore, below, are my three things I wish I had known way back when… when I ventured into the wonderful world of streamer fishing.
#1- KISS (Keep It Simple Stupid)- If I could go back I would focus less on fancy tying, special leaders and make it as simple as possible. In fact now I leave my truck with nothing more than my trusty GoPro, a lanyard that carries all my essentials (including a handful of flies for the day) and my mind that is still intact and stores a million memories and ideas of where fish will be hiding and what they might be wanting to eat. I have often thought of carrying a backpack (and occasionally will on a very long day) filled with a water, snack, etc…but truth be told-I don’t slow down to take a drink or eat anything unless I am fishing for more than 6 hours straight.
#2- Keep the fly in the water- I have never been a fan of false casting and only do so on days when I am making long casts to specific points that hold fish…but as I get older I find that my fly is in the water 99% of the time…even when I am moving. Here is the bottom line; we can’t catch fish unless our fly is wet…no fish is going to come out of the water to take a fly that is repeatedly being false casted. While streamer fishing there is no real advantage to many false cast unless you are specifically trying to set yourself up for a single shot, perhaps back under an over-hanging limb where you have caught big smallies before or beside a boulder on a fast moving river where a big brown lurks. Even truer is the number of times I have caught fish while moving from spot to spot as my line and fly were simply dangling and jiggling in the current. Ask anyone who has streamer fished for any amount of time and they too can share just such a story!
#3- Focus on the best water and keep moving. If you were to come along and fish with me you would find that I am always, always on the move. You can probably figure that out if you have watched any or some of my videos…I cast, strip, move, cast, strip, move, etc…and frankly I have become so adept at this frenetic style of streamer fishing that to stand still…is actually a bit painful…I simply don’t like it. I have a memory for fish, holes, currents, etc…that is ongoing and lasting…meaning that while fishing a certain stream in April-I know where the fish are going to be holding and how to get the fly in front of them. The same stream in July may be the same stream…but the fish are usually in completely different spots and this great info was found and catalogued while fishing on the move.