I started this writing to respond to another post but decided it will make a good thread on its own. The article was posted by Jean Paul my friend from France and the original query was published by his brother in law. The thread was titled 'Bite Problem'
Many fly fishers often wonder why the fish just can't be caught. I will offer a few points and I'm sure others will add to the discussion.
I believe that the single most important criteria surrounding whether a fish takes a fly or not is that the fish not have any hint that you are involved. Your shadow, waves you make when wading, noise you make when wading (kicking rocks, stirring up silt, etc) are all things that help trout stay safely off the end of your line. Many times even your casting bears part of the blame for a fish that just won't take a fly. Never, never false cast over a fish you intend to catch. Make your false casts off to either side of the fish far enough that it will not see the line overhead. Place casts above or below the fish to determine range and or whether the fly is landing and riding the current correctly. Only when you know that you have it right should you make a presentation cast. Even then keep any false cast away from the fish and when you are ready make the final forward cast with the correct adjustment to present the fly.
Next we could address drag on the fly. You must learn to mend line while the line is still in the air(*) and train yourself to make any final adjustment mends within fractions of a second of the fly hitting the water. If I had a dollar for every fly caster I have seen place a cast on the water and then after the fly has floated 4 or 5 feet mend the line upstream I would be wealthy on that alone. It seems that for many anglers the mending of the line is an afterthought when it should be the number one thing on your mind. I have learned that the adjustments must be made as quickly as possible. With every mend comes an upstream twitch of the fly. Some are barely perceivable while others are indeed quite a disturbance. Once the fly is on the water you should consider that it is in view of a fish and although the fish you are targeting may lie downstream from your fly, spooking any others in the immediate area will no doubt spook your target fish too. Another thing to consider is that if the water is relatively calm but having a current the waves created bu your mend will reach the fish's window of sight before the fly.
Of course there are and will always be exceptions to this rules. I do not put these observations forth as articles for debate but do so to aid anyone who will read them and take heed from my lessons learned. If you want to be successful as a fly fisherman there is no substitute for caution when approaching a fish. Likewise there are few substitutes for a good presentation. It matters not how expensive or inexpensive your gear is nor does it matter how many years you have been fly fishing. What matters is whether you have the patience to learn the casting techniques and the stealthy ways that will lead to your success.
I have written before about the importance of using a cryptic coloration scheme when you dress for fishing. I've also spoke of the importance of using trees, boulders, or an extreme low profile to mask your presence at waters edge. If you are new to fly fishing or you are simply having trouble with consistency at catching fish I hope you will remember what I have taken the time to write in this thread. You don't have to do this for 30 years to be good at catching fish, you just have to be smarter than a fish.
* (To learn how to mend a line while in the air, see slack line cast and shepherds hook cast.) Both of these techniques will help to produce a drag free drift. There are however places where achieving such a drift is physically impossible and these we must pass by. I always figured that such spots were part of natures balance. If all places were fish-able then I would catch all the fish, that doesn't seem right does it?
Ard I enjoy your"humour"(I'll tell my real brother in law about it)and admire your great knowledge of fishing .I try to help as I can and although I manage not too bad in your tongue it would be easier in french...I should have mentioned trees and bushes(not GHW and GW)...for I told a friend to use them more often...last week...
Great choice for a re-post. A lot of us new guys, who have been her well under a year, missed some very educational posts simply because they were on the board before we joined. I enjoy going back a few years and reading older posts. Makes ya wonder where some of those members went.
It would be interesting to have some of the better old posts brought back out into the light again !
Seige took the words right out of my mouth. Thanks for all these posts. I just recently joined and am learning a ton by doing searches and reading older posts. This by far is one of the best forums I've been on. The biggest surprise and one of the things I'm enjoying is the great attitude of almost everyone I've read. There doesn't seem to be as much ball-busting or other negativity I've seen on other forums. Every interaction I've had so far has been helpful. It's great to be a part of it.