It was John Geirach who said, “ I’ve even had some quite good flyfishers tell me there are no trout “worth catching” in some of the creeks I like. In some cases that’s nothing more than big-fish chauvinism whereby one’s manhood is somehow gauged by how big a fish it takes to get him excited, but in others it’s evidence that they just don’t know how to fish small waters. You can’t splash around in a small stream like you would on a half mile-wide river and expect to catch anything but the smallest, most innocent trout.”
With that in mind …………
Presentation is more important than fly choice. Blaming a bad day (that’s catching fish) on not having the right fly is just an excuse in my opinion; it’s more likely to be that you messed up the presentation. I’m probably opening up a can of worms here – I have broad shoulders. This is not the law according to PB rather an opinion developed through experience. There are a few prerequisites to the act of presenting the fly. The first is to sneak around (https://callofthestream.wordpress.com/2015/06/11/sneaking-around/) the second is about the importance of not splashing around or if you will, wading with care. In these streams you are going to get wet like it or not, and If you are anything like me there will be a few unplanned swims with an inordinate amount of drag – this is why quick drying pants and shirts are not some fashion trend – waders on our streams are a pain in the fundamental orifice – you will spend more time worrying about them getting ripped than on the fishing – I have never used them and I’m still here.
One thing is for sure, you will stand out in these streams like Gulliver did amongst the Lilliputians – these are intimate places, casts will be short and you will be on top of the trout most of the time, well almost. A slow cautious approach won’t be a wasted effort rather it will help some. It may look a little weird to anyone who knows little about flyfishing, but get with the programme and used to a kind of shuffling, bent back, knees bent, creeping approach. Fish in these streams will bolt for cover in a heartbeat at a hint of anything strange looming over them. They have seen too many of their friends succumb to beak or tooth from momentary hesitation to find what it is out there. They know that they are not at the top of the food chain – their survival instincts will kick in and they will disappear as if they weren’t there in the first place. This is about stalking and hunting – in a word, stealth – no rocket science here.
This brings me to wading and not to splash around. I like to wade and get in there with the fish. It has a feeling of immediacy, deep involvement. I like the feel of the cold water seeping through my boots, the tug of the current against the legs, being part of the trout’s environment. It keeps me focused and my concentration levels keen. But, wadding can also mess things up, horribly. Here’s the thing, you need to slide in unnoticed, quietly and without causing waves, do it slowly and carefully. The cardinal rule, don’t step and cast at the same time. Apart from messing up the presentation there is a better than good chance you will end up bobbing downstream. Take small steps, a kind of sliding shuffle – it takes the slow determination you see in a snail. It is all a little harder at the beginning of the season when you are rusty after the winter and until the stones have been flushed clean with the first spring rains – it will eventually become second nature and you can concentrate on making a perfect presentation ……. just saying.
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