Sunday Classic / Check Your Rig For Tangles and Unwanted Debris

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A fly covered with salad can keep you from getting hook ups. Photo Louis Cahill

The other day, guiding two anglers, I learned a valuable lesson of how important it can be  to regularly check fly rigs throughout the day.

One of my clients had just landed a nice trout, so I told him to wade up and fish the next spot upstream, while I spent a few minutes instructing his buddy. About 15 minutes later, I returned to the client I had left, and asked if he’d gotten any action while I was gone. He responded, “No, but I made some really good presentations and drifts.” Surprised that the spot didn’t produce any trout (as it usually does), I requested him to bring in his rig for me to inspect his flies, and I immediately noticed the problem. There was a big glob of debris attached to his fly. It was evident that the nymph rig had snagged the bottom early on, grabbed some debris, and the trout had ignored the salad covered fly the remainder of his drifts.

It’s really easy for us to get lackadaisical on the water fly fishing, especially when we’re enjoying our time away from work and the beauty of the outdoors. Failing to take the time throughout the day to inspect and perform rig maintenance on the water, can have you in the penalty box without even knowing it. The two most common causes are rigs tangled (dry/dropper rig or tandem nymph rig) and flies that are carrying unwanted vegetation. Next time you’re on the water and you’re not getting bites when you think you should be, stop and check your rig for problems. It could very well, be the only reason why you’re not getting your rod bent. For all you guides, make a point to inform your novice clients of the importance of doing these maintenance checks before you leave their side. It’s a valuable lesson many beginners will overlook if you don’t point it out to them.

I know today’s tips is pretty simple, but I believe it’s worthy of noting since all of us have probably found ourselves in this situation a time or two. Much of the time, it’s the little things that go unnoticed, that keep us from catching fish on the water. Thanks for tuning into Gink & Gasoline and we wish all of you happy holidays.

Keep it Reel,

Come fish with us in the Bahamas!

Kent Klewein
Gink & Gasoline
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One thought on “Sunday Classic / Check Your Rig For Tangles and Unwanted Debris

  1. That’s a great piece of advice. So true!
    I had a similar experience while fishing a hatch on the Beaverkill. Except that I had 3 or 4 takes without hooking a fish. Since missing a fish on a dry fly take does happen on occasion, I didn’t think much of it at first, other than to be annoyed with myself! After the fourth miss, however, I decided to take a look at my set up. It turned out that the tippet connected at the eye had wrapped itself onto to the tail of the fly preventing any hook ups. I retied and starting catching fish. I learned it pays to bring the flies to hand even if things look OK at a distance…

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