Top anglers simply fluff about less

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Photo by Louis Cahill

Photo by Louis Cahill

By Chris Dore

They get into position, and get their fly out there in front of fish quick and without hassle. This is one of the reasons why they simply catch more fish.

The scenario…

Now Johnny Punter, upon being shown a feeding fish will saunter into position, after painstakingly dropping his pack and adjusting his waders, wiping his glasses clean and then proceeds to wrap his fly around his rod tip several times, while still flailing away false casting, while peeling 10 inches of line from the reel every false cast…. in case you’re wondering, he did not catch that fish…

What can YOU do?

Create a pre-cast routine… it’s that simple.

Advanced Archery Bowhunting guru, Simon Bullivant once advised me to create a ‘shot sequence’ when preparing to fire at a target. “Practise it often, cover the essentials and make it instinctive, then you’ll hit more targets.”

My shot sequence now consists of nocking the arrow, checking it’s tight, tweaking the peep site, securing the release and drawing back smooth, ensuring the knuckle of my thumb lightly touches the lobe of my ear. Inhale…exhale…pause and squeeze.

I bark a lot of directions on the river as any of my guiding clients will tell you. However one of the most important ‘orders’ is the series of actions from the approach to the trout to the cast. Here’s a sampler:

– Take a prominent marker so you know where the fish is from your casting position — usually a different position from where we initially see him… “two rod lengths out and half a rod length below that lowest willow branch,” or “half a rod out from that boulder.” (My 30′ will differ from your 30′ often greatly, so if we talk in rod lengths then you can create a visual…)

– Get down there ASAP and begin your approach. If the fish is out there, I don’t want you up here.

– As you’re moving into position, free your fly, get it on the water and ensure there’s enough flyline outside of the rod tip so as not have the leader ride back up through the guides.

– Strip the line from your reel BEFORE you begin your cast… (a pet hate is seeing people strip line from their reel every false cast… apart from adding 15 false casts they often pull their rod hand/tip off track and look very gumby along the way… the more time the line is in the air, the higher chance of fluffing things up).

–  Check and reposition any hanging line between the reel and the first guide: if it’s wrapped around your feet, or caught on a rock then you won’t get far.

– Pick a target where you want your fly to land, focus on it, and trust yourself to pick up the line, and place it on your target

– Finally catch that line beneath your trigger finger ASAP, and strip any slack line as it develops…

 The rest is up to the fish.  

Chris Dore
Gink & Gasoline
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5 thoughts on “Top anglers simply fluff about less

  1. I’d also like to suggest your readers learn the arcane and mystic art of line coiling, i.e., holding stripped line from your reel in loose coils, in your non-casting hand.
    This keeps it handy, it won’t end up down-current, or snagged around every twig, rock, or boot toe in the vicinity

  2. An old trick I learnt 40+ years ago was to get some 12lb mono and tie a nail knot on the line 30ft from the tip. When you have that knot in your striping hand you know the fly is 40ft away. These days I tie the knot with green dental floss and cover it with a thin coat of UV resin. it makes a better noise coming through the runners and is easier to feel in my old hands. Cheers BM

  3. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve watched people in my boat miss fish, because they were fishing water that doesn’t hold fish, then miss the entry to the hole or pocket that does contain fish. Very typical when moving down the river in a drift boat. It’s especially noticeable when nymphing. They think they are putting their rig in the middle of the hole, no matter how many times I coach them up on sink rate. “Congratulations, you fished the tail-out of the hole”. Now I try to ask them to just pick it up, and be ready for the next hole. Teaching people to read the water, is about 90% of getting them to catch fish. Read the water, and make a timely cast.

  4. Again, a lot like shooting a shotgun.

    I’ve practiced my move-mount-shoot tens of thousands of times on clays and just routine practice in the basement so that no matter what I’m doing at the moment the bird flushes, I follow the same simple steps…and I do them fast, without thinking about them.

    It works.

  5. About he best advice I ever got was to simply WAIT A MINUTE before making that first cast. I make a slow count to 60 before I do anything.

    When I first started I would get so worked up about just being out there and seeing that perfectly fishy spot I’d usually “fluff” about and ruin the vibe. I still have to make myself relax sometime but I’m better about it than I was.

    Fish ON!

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