Sunday Classic / Catching Big Trout Sometimes Takes Multiple Attempts

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This mature male rainbow took the beetle the second time around. Photo Louis Cahill

Several times guiding this past year, my clients missed a big fish opportunity during our fishing trip.

Sometimes it would be because of a poor hook set, other times, it was completely out of their control by last second refusals or turn offs from the big fish. We’d always make several more casts and try using different flies, but most of the time the big fish would have already caught on and would ignore our offerings despite perfect presentations. Without giving up on the cause I would tell my clients, “no worries, let’s come back later in the day and give that big fish another go”. Not always but quite often, we’d come back and catch that big fish the second time around. When we were fortunate enough for it happened it was the most thrilling guiding for me, and my clients couldn’t have been more pleased and proud of themselves.

If you find yourself wading a river or stream and spot a big fish but don’t catch it, don’t accept defeat, let the fish cool off and come back an hour or two later for a second shot. If you do everything right, most of the time you stand a very good chance at catching the trophy. This simple fly fishing tip, is overlooked by a lot of anglers and it’s paid off for me time and time again throughout my years guiding. Don’t be disappointed if you strike out the second time around, because you’ve got one thing going for you that you didn’t have before, and that’s the fact that you now know where the big fish likes to hang out. Sooner or later, if you keep coming back and trying, you’ll catch that big fish. And when it happens you’ll feel a sense of reward so surreal, that will you’ll remember that fly fishing catch the rest of your life.

Anyone landed a big fish this way? Let me know, I’d like to hear about it.

Keep it Reel,

Kent Klewein
Gink & Gasoline
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7 thoughts on “Sunday Classic / Catching Big Trout Sometimes Takes Multiple Attempts

  1. Several time i used this trick! On my home trout water, a small creek in Appennino Hills just north of Genoa in Italy, the season opens in April.
    By the end of June fishing conventionally, you may pick some big trout, usually with nymph and with the water
    unclear after a storm.
    But is common that after winter some lunker has changed his address, because some hole was filled
    or some old tree had fallen in the stream: so you may
    see a 20 incher in a new spot … in that very moment
    the beast disappear.
    Coming July and August with the water low and gin clear
    – and less people fishing – the pieces come together and
    i may fool one or two of them each season using all my stealth tricks and with a precise and delicate presentation.
    The most rewarding catches of the year, only joined by the flats catches…different in size but paired in satisfaction!!! Aldo

  2. This has happened more than once and more strangley to me. Last weekend I was fishing one of our trophy streams here in GA (you guys probably know where) and another man and I ended up catching the sender fish twice, within 30 minutes of each other. We could tell because of the scars on its back.

    I have also caught the same big brown on the Chattahoochee not once but 3 times. I know where he lives and often times I’ll sneak up and watch him swimcand feed without casting to him.

    Thanks for running this great website, it makes my day every morning when I wake up and read the newest post.


  3. I use it on big and unusually finicky bluegill. Some of my best bluegills have been caught after one or two breaks. Also, if you leave and catch more fish, you build confidence in your fishing skills and patterns. A confident angler has a better chance of catching a big fish than a nervous one does.

  4. Yes, this has worked for me on the far more urban trout rivers in West Yorkshire, England. You’ve done the hard part you’ve found the fish. The best time to go back I find is on the tail end of a flood or on a day when the big fish are clearly switched on, so if you pick up good fish somewhere else on the river its time to head back and have another go because all the big trout in the river are probably up for it.
    Two other things I,d just suggest are keep your mouth shut or somebody else will catch it and just have a look around. My best Trout of last season would have been caught at the second attempt, and ten months earlier, instead of the third if only I,d removed the twelve foot coil of half inch steel reinforcing wire that had found its way into the pool.

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  6. On one of my favorite haunts in my home state of NH there is a wide, deep, big bouldered pool where big brookiesblove to gobble nymphs all day long. This past spring i was waist deep in the tailout, casting midges upstream into the deepest cut when I got a nice strong pull, the fish immediately ripped past me down stream popping my 6x. Bewildered and a tad bummedbi continued to fish for another two hours with no luck. During the start of my d loop I felt a sharp tap, thinking it was a snag i walked backward but noticed it was most definitely a fish, most likely the brusier that blasted past me the hour before, apparently. She had settled about 4 feet behind me right inblinebwith my Rollin cast……

  7. I think the conclusion here is that trout suffer from short term memory. Thank god for that . LOL I too have used this technique. I usually do this by mistake because I like to travel upstream or downstream looking for fish, and then make mental notes of where I saw certain fish, and hit them on the way back. I am more of a traveler when fishing the steams, don’t spend too much time at one run or hole.

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