Fly fishing in September can be tricky due to the low and clear water conditions. This months podcast I discuss how to improve your success when fishing dry flies for trout all across the country by using slack line casts so you don’t have drag. Which casts am I using?
Lazy S Cast
If you are interested in learning more about fly casting, then check out our Fly Casting 101 Classes .
Saturday, September 9 from 10a.m. to noon
Saturday, September 23 from 10a.m. to noon
Bass Fly Fishing
I always get great smallmouth dry fly fishing in September during the Hexagenia Mayfly Hatch. This month I discuss the tactics and fly patterns I use to take advantage of this hatch.
In my Fly Casting and Rigging Tackle Classes and in my “On The Stream Fly Fishing Schools”, I find that most beginning anglers are more interested in learning to cast far than they are to cast well.
Long casts are great when you need them, but for most trout anglers accuracy and delicacy in fly placement are the main goals which spell success on the stream. When I show my students my “flip cast” and my “pendulum cast”, they are astounded with the accuracy in fly placement they can achieve. The ultimate reward which thrills them is the great number of wary trout they catch in this way.
Murray’s Fly Shop
121 South Main Street
PO Box 156
Edinburg, Virginia 22824
The more I fish, the more I find that I rely strongly on my line-hand strike to set the hook on the fishes strike. Here are a few examples: (1) On small streams with low-hanging tree limbs this keeps me from snapping the rod tip into the limbs which can break the rod. (2) When fishing small flies on 7X and 8X tippets my slip strike with my line-hand followed by quickly releasing the line when I feel the hook penetrate the trout’s jaw prevents breaking the trout off on the strike. (3) When making long casts on large rivers my line hand strike in conjunction with a firm rod strike helps telegraph the strike through the long line and hook the fish. (4) When fishing deeply sunken head in fresh and salt water my line hand strike in conjunction with a strong rod strike helps hook these deep fish.
Experienced anglers know it is best to never cast further than is necessary to keep from scaring the fish when in freshwater. Excessively long casts can result in a loss of accuracy, loss of drag control, inconsistency in strike detection and missed strikes. In low, clear flat sections of the streams we are often compelled to punch out long casts, however, judge this by the stream conditions.
When the mountain trout streams are carrying a high water level I always catch more fish by using short casts to precise feeding stations. Under these conditions long casts which place extra line and leader on the water can easily produce drag on the fly even when using your best effort to bridge the fast currents with your fly rod. These fast dragging drifts will almost always be refused by the trout.
Another good reason to use short casts in high streams is because the feeding stations are much more compressed than they are in a normal stream level. Dinner-plate accuracy in fly placement is often a must in high streams. The positive side of this is that the trout has less time to evaluate our flies so an accurate cast to a precise feeding station usually brings a strike.
Fly Fishing Tip: Are you casting your fly rod/ fly line too much??
Fly Fishing Tip: Are you casting your fly rod/ fly line too much?
“Don’t cast too much, you’re going to spook the fish!” These words often heard from fly fishing guides around the world. The basis for this statement can be readily seen in the picture above. What you see is “Line Flash”. We see it in the picture as a reflection of light, much the way a fish sees it. When a fish sees this through his window to the outside world he doesn’t recognize it as line flash but he does recognize it as something “abnormal”. Those “abnormal” happenings are what spook fish be it a Heron, Eagle, Angler, Snake, Line Flash or your casts smacking the surface of the water repeatedly. These all spook fish, especially the older, often bigger fish.
Unfortunately, we make many casts while practicing our casting on a lawn, pond or slow section of water. We here at Murray’s Fly Shop are guilty of promoting this style of casting because when we teach casting in our classes, we make lots of repetitive casts.
This practicing often involves “false casts” or casts which don’t actually let the fly land on the water (or leader land on the grass) where the fish are. The more you take this practice to the fishing arena, the more opportunity you have to spook fish due to “Line Flash”.
So, the next time you are on the water do your best to:
1. Keep False Casting to a minimum.
2. Get rid of the feeling that you have to make the perfect cast to present your fly to the fish.
3. If you must False Cast, do it off to the side of where you think the fish is to prevent the line flash from occurring immediately over its head.
4. While practicing: Practice making one cast, let the cast land on the water (or grass), then make another cast.
5. Should you feel the need to make multiple false casts to lengthen your cast, try adding a single or double haul. If that doesn’t do it, you may need a different fly line (one with a different distribution of weight throughout the head).