What do you throw when the trout are biting lures for the spin fishers and they aren't hitting my buggers? What about the stripping method? I'm in a tube with my buddy who's killing the on the metal. I'm new at all this and want to learn to get them on the fly and will not go back to the Dark Side
Well.....Are your buggers going deep enough? I tie my own, and weight them according to the depths needed. It takes quite a bit of weight to get a bugger down 3-4 feet if you're fishing streams with moving water. Lakes are easier: let them sink, and then strip back at varying rates until you find one that works. My buggers all have two strips of gold flashabou on each side of the tail, and they also have bead chain eyes. The bead chain eye buggers are killers! I have buggers without eyes or beads for use with bamboo rods, and they don't produce nearly as well as those with eyes.
So...Your friend has flash on his spinner. Do your buggers have flash? Your friend's spinners can go deep without any problem. How deep are your buggers going, and how deep are the trout holding. Size makes a difference as well, and I usually go smaller when a pattern isn't working.
You can't see the bead chain eyes in this photo, but this is the bugger I use 99% of the time (Size #10):
There are other flies you can try as well. Nymphs like a gold ribbed hare's ear work well, and even a Green Weenie will produce nice results. I sometimes tie a Green Weenie off the back of a bugger when fishing for trout, and it's 50/50 as to which fly the trout will take.
This is probably a thread best for Mojo and Joni since they love stillwater fishing. I will try to give you some direction.
Stillwater fishing to me is a depth game. Once you figure out the depth then you are set. I am a big fan of multiple rods rigged with different lines (floating, slow sink, fast sink). That way you can be prepared for multiple presentations.
In regards to what the fish are chasing, there are more food sources than buggers. Learn some basic stillwater entomology. If you know the food sources, you can make a stillwater fly box. Read this article on Callibaetis and this article on blood midges.
As for stripping flies, try different variations. It is all trial and error. Some fish like fast stripped flies. Some like slow. Some will respond to a pause.
Hang in there. To be realistic, it is hard to beat metal although it can be done. Eventually you will figure out the best routine to get yourself some fish.
I've only been flyfishing for 3 years, so you might want to take this with a grain of salt. However, probably 90% of my fishing has been from a tube on a lake.
In general, depth is the key. Then size, then shape, and finally color. From the scenario you gave, it's probable that you weren't fishing deep enough. You can either add weight (split shot, tungsten beadheads, sink tip/sink line), or countdown your offerings deeper, and strip slower with longer pauses. The problem with that is that you can come up empty anyway if the fish want a faster moving fly.
You can also make your own 'sink tip' with T-heads, a tungsten impregnated length of line you can cut to length and add loops to, then attach to your regular floating line. It won't cast as well as a true sink tip, but you can still cast 50-60 ft and costs a fraction of a full sink/tip line. However you decide to go, a weighted presentation will allow you to work your fly faster, while staying at the right depth.
Another method popular here is the indicator presentation, or as we call it in AZ, the Ferry Rig. Apparently they invented this rig at Lee's Ferry, or it's where the rig became famous. Whatever. This involves using a 9 ft. leader, with about 2 ft. of tippet (note: if it's pretty windy you may want to add a second 2 ft. tippet section to allow for vertical drag). Add a split shot (I tend to use a BB) just above or below the leader/tippet knot. Add a thingamabobber at the top of the leader. Add a press on foam indicator about 12 inches below the TMBobber (sometimes the strikes are so subtle hat the big indicator never moves). As soon as you see the smaller indicator move, set the hook and try to set off to one side. If this thing comes back at you, you're in for a fun, possibly painful, tedious time.
The idea here is to "fish the odds." Trout seem to spend a large percentage of the time in and around 10 ft. in many lakes, patrolling their little domain. You fish this rig at the 10 ft. depth, and drift along with the wind/current.
Now here's the negatives to that rig. It tangles easily, either when casting or when a fish starting rolling around on it. It's a pain to cast. Lifting this thing out of the water from a tube is . . . fun. Plan on either very short casts or basically no cast. And it can be boring. After all, this is essentially bobber fishing. Throw it out and watch it. For. A. Long. Time. Finally netting your catch can be a pain, as your total length of leader to fly can be over 14 ft. So take a long rod. If you haven't guessed, I hate this rig.
All that said, this thing works. And sometimes it outfishes any other rig/fly/system I've ever seen or fished. Whatever. The point is, it catches fish when pretty much everything else strikes out, regardless of drawbacks. The only thing that has to happen with this thing, is the weight has to touch bottom.
Flies to fish with the FR: almost anything, but my favorites are prince nymphs (any nymph will do, but I've had the most success with #14 PNs), simiseal leeches, small bunny leeches, SJ worms, zebra midges, and my personal fav, the Rickard's nymph.
Don't like any of those ideas? Tie on a hopper and fish any shade you can find. Fish it like a popper; short, sharp strips. You won't outfish your partner every time, but the fish you catch will be more exciting, I guarantee it.
"Three-fourths of the Earth's surface is water, and one-fourth is land. It is quite clear that the good Lord intended us to spend triple the amount of time fishing as taking care of the lawn." ~Chuck Clark
Dennis pretty much summed it up. Something else- observe. Watch people around you, look in the air around you. What's flying around the water, look at the water andwhat's coming up (hatchwise), what's in the shallows, where's the dropoffs, underwater currents, inlets. What's the surface temp, how deep is the water your fishing, what fish are you targeting?
Watch other fly fishers techniques. Stripping speed, countdowns, if in tubes or 'toons, are they trolling (shudder), casting and stripping, deep nymphing, wind drifting.