Originally Posted by bekiu002
Right now I just use them how they come, but I am probably going to pinch them down when I start fishing for trout. But in all honesty it really doesn't matter what I do because I never catch anything.
What kind of fishing do you do? Trout, bass, bluegills, other. A lot of people on this forum can help you with the fish catching part. Ask some questions, you'll likely get some helpful answers.
Someone told me years ago: "think like a fish". Easy to say, not necessarily easy to do. But when you get to a stream, take a good look at it before you start to fish. Remember a few of simple things.
First, fish need to conserve their energy; they don't want to work too hard just to stay in the stream. So, you're apt to find them hanging out behind rocks, on the edges of seams (where water travelling at two different speeds comes together; in the slower moving water), deep in pools, etc. All places where they don't have to work too hard just to stay in their position. These places are generally called "lies"; places where fish lay or position themselves. The best places for fish to hang are called "preferred lies"; because the fish prefer to be there; life it good for them there.
Second, fish are almost constantly hungry. They like to hang in their lies and have the food brought to them; sort of like living next to a conveyer belt loaded with food; you just reach out and eat what looks good.
Third, fish are not Einstein-level thinkers. They tend to form habits and stick with them. One habit is their feeding pattern; particularly what they're interested in eating. For example, if there have been alot of nymphs of a certain species floating past them on their conveyer belt, then they get used to it and sort of semi-program themselves to eat the next thing that looks like (and will taste as good as) the last thing.
This last point takes you directly to what most people call "matching". You can match the hatch if there are hatching flies in the air, or you can match the nymphs and pupa that are floating underwater; prior to hatching into flies. "Match the hatch" simply sounds cooler to most people than matching the nymph, but in reality, it's all pretty much the same concept whether you're fishing on the surface with dry flies or fishing under the surface or in the film; at the interface between the water and the air, with nymphs, pupas, emergers, cripples, etc.
The last point is why it generally pays big dividends to take your time when you first get to the stream. Look around. Are their any flies in the air? If so, what do they look like? Can you see fish rising to eat them? If they are, do you have something in your fly box that looks like what you see in the air? If so, then tie it onto the lightest tippet that you think can handle the size fish that you're going for, and get it over to what you think might be a preferred lie.
If there's nothing in the air, then grab a small rock from the stream. Turn it over and have a look at what's attached to the bottom. This is where you'll find most of the nymphs. Again, if you have something in your fly box that looks like the nymphs that you saw on the bottom of the rock, then tie it on and put a small strike indicator on your leader; about 1 1/2 times the depth of the water that you'll be fishing away from the fly.
That's a rough 3-pointer. Good luck. Let us know if you start catching more fish.