Having fly-fished for the better part of 3 years now, I still consider myself a “novice,” and likely will for quite some time. One of the beautiful things about this sport is that there is always something new to learn each time you go out on the water.
So, as promised, I’m back to share a few things I learned from my previously-reported river outing, as well as a few things I’ve figured out since then. These may seem obvious to most of you veteran anglers, but I’m hoping some folks new to the sport may learn a thing or two.
1) Big flies will catch more fish than you think they will.
Most fisherman have uttered the saying big [fly/lure/bait], big fish. However, I think it’s important to take that with a grain of salt. One of the more recent studies I read regarding my “home trout stream” mentioned the fact that most trout 14″ or larger had a large percentage of their diet made up of fellow pescados.
As seen in my post last week, I was fishing a big honkin’ streamer when I hooked into my trout:
Again, to be completely honest, I was hoping to tease up a pig of a smallie, and was quite surprised when a 16″ rainbow gobbled this thing up. But, just a few minutes earlier, a friend had hooked a solid 20+” ‘bow that hit a 2/0 baitfish pattern that she was also throwing for bass. Just some food for thought! Big streamers are not fun to throw on a five weight though, which brings me to my next point…
2) Proper gear is important when fishing big flies.
This one seems pretty self-explanatory, but I’m the one who was tossing articulated #4 streamers on a 5 wt. Trout Taper line! Not the best way to break-in a brand-new outfit, but a good way to break it in half should a mishap occur!
Since I’m a recently-converted big streamer junkie, I’ve been slowly putting together an outfit for this type of fishing. Last Monday I found out that the standard-taper weight-forward floating fly line isn’t going to cut it – I needed to get specialized.
I already have a solid fast 6 wt. outfit that will work well – I think a 6 wt. is the lightest I would go for river fishing down here. However, the floating line has to go for sure! Our river’s aren’t terribly deep for the most part, so after some research I found a slow-sinking clear-tip sink tip line from Rio that fits the bill perfect. It’s on order.
Along with a proper outfit, you’ll need to ensure you have proper leaders/tippet. The lightest I usually fish streamers is 3x, and keep that leader short! Fluorocarbon is probably going to be your best bet. It’s more expensive than monofiliment, but it’s also nearly invisible underwater, as well as being extremely abrasion-resistant. Perfect for resisting all the boulders, rocks, and cypress knees you’ll be stripping your flies next to.
3) Be prepared to lose a lot of flies.
Losing flies sucks. It costs you time and/or money to replace them. However, losing them next to structure, in brushpiles, or in stuff that you flat-out had no idea was there is part of the game. It also means you’re fishing in the right spots. Unless your snagging branches in the tree behind you. That means you’re doing it wrong. Squirrels don’t typically eat big streamers.
I grew up bass fishing in southwest Louisiana (yes, you’re currently reading a fly-fishing post written by a coon ass. How does that make you feel?) One of the first fishing tips my dad passed on to me was a lure should be present as close to the bank/structure as possible. The best thing about these types of presentations are triggering reaction strikes from fish. They may not be hungry enough to swim five feet over to study your offering, but you can darn well be sure if you swim it by their nose, nine times out of ten it’ll get munched.
So, that’s it! Three basic tips from a self-proclaimed budding streamer junkie. Hopefully someone out there learned something from my experiences. Check back for a few more trip reports throughout the coming months, especially once trout season gets cranking down here.
Until then, tight lines!
Matt is a self-proclaimed fly fishing junkie and fish bum. He mainly focuses on local warmwater haunts in the Texas Hill Country, but also makes a couple forays a year up to some cool air in the Rockies, and hopes to spend some time getting familiar with the salty air on the Texas coast soon. He can be found on Twitter here.