Video – Fly Fishing Tip – Active vs Passive Patterns

The video you are going to watch is short piece filmed Saturday, December 17th while fishing at Bennet Spring in Missouri. The fishing on this day was very good and the fish were on this day…in a very active pattern. Trout are fickle creatures and their eating patterns have been the subject of many discussions and a load of books; what I have figured out is that the best fishermen need to be ready to adapt to their situation. So below is a little discussion that I think might help you the next time you are out and things get a little slow. When you watch the video you will see some of what we are discussing.

Active vs. Passive Patterns:
If you have fished any at all you will agree that there are those times when you can almost throw an earring and the fish will hit it. Those are the good times and for sure you want to take advantage of it while it is happening. Such was the case this past Saturday the 17th of December. I landed 47 trout in just under 5 hours of fishing…and did so on several flies; Wooly buggers (black, brown and green) Bitch Creek Nymphs as well as a few cracklebacks all worked. The fish were chasing and were in a very active and aggressive pattern. The next day, Sunday December 18th, it all changed. I noticed right away that there wasn’t near the action on wooly’s as there had been the day before. I am a wooly enthusiast and love the tug that you get from a wooly…but I also know that there is a time to start searching and that is exactly what I did. I went through my fly patch looking for a better combination and frankly finally settled in by mid-morning on a much more passive pattern. By passive I mean the fish were not chasing and thus you needed to present it slower and place it in front of them longer. I tie a Bitch Creek that has green legs and a brown body…seems to always work in these tough times and I also changed to casting across stream at 90 degrees and simply stripping at a speed that would barely move the fly. I won’t say it was fantastic but I was catching fish and on this Sunday I caught 17 trout in about the same time frame as the day before. If you think about how steelheaders swing flies then you will have a better idea of how to slow down the presentation and make it more passive. I would discuss putting a mend in the line but if you know sinking line, you know this isn’t possible after a second or two. I will add that the following morning the fish were still tight lipped and I changed to a floating line and used a same colored Bitch Creek and did if fact put a mend on the fly that got better results…most of the fish taken were caught in the top 6 inches of water.

So….the next time you are out and things get slow….don’t continue to do the same thing all day…change your search pattern. Pay attention to where the fish are in the stream; bellies on the bottom or are they surfacing for a take? Is the sun out or over cast and for sure the barometer will make a difference? All these things add up and you have to be ready to slow it down and entice the fish into a take rather than an active pattern that will ask them to chase, follow and be aggressive. I hope this helps…it should, have a great Holiday Season and many bent rods to you.

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