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Old 09-27-2013, 01:17 PM
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Default Do my flies suck?

Hi everyone,

I'm new to this site and this is also my first season fly fishing. Just as a precursor I've been spin fishing for years and I am somewhat accomplished and by that I mean I can regularly produce 3 - 4lbsmallmouth and 5+ lb largemounth. So my issue is, other than a few bluegill/pumpkin seed crappies and an occassional pre-pubescent largemouth I cant seem to catch any fish. I've been fishing in a few local streems/rivers which I know have trout. native browns up to at least 18" and brookies. I've been tying my own flies and using them (mostly woolly buggers) and nothing. It wasnt till the other day my friend gave me a wooly bugger he tied (which looked different from any I have seen) and my second cast something took it. (the tippet broke though cause I was more excited than a teenage boy on prom night).
Soo ultimately my question is, do my flies just suck or is it me? Thanks guys.
Sean.
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Old 09-27-2013, 01:33 PM
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Default Re: Do my flies suck?

It may be the depth you are fishing or your retrieve or the relationship of your fly to cover. Your cast may not be as spot on as you are with your other gear. I think it is probably not your flies. It is easy enough to find out. Go buy some and fish them for a while. But my worst flies still catch fish just about as well as the really nice ones I get in a good fly shop.

My advice is to keep fishing and get more aggressively into cover just like you would with your spinning gear.
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Old 09-27-2013, 01:34 PM
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Default Re: Do my flies suck?

Not sure how familiar you are with fly fishing but here is a little advice; Woolly buggers are good, however have you heard the term "Match the Hatch"? You might want to look at closely what the fish are eating on that day. An easy start is to walk into 2-3 feet of water and lift up a rock and look whats on the bottom. Look at whats floating on top and match the fly/nymph with it. A great idea is to get out to a local shop and see what flies they would recommend this time of year. Find a hatching chart for your area and match the hatch, start learning the bugs and you will catch more fish.

Last edited by 1move; 09-27-2013 at 02:48 PM.
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Old 09-27-2013, 01:55 PM
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Default Re: Do my flies suck?

I've been doing most of my fishing from shore but I did just order my first set of waders so I am eager to get out "IN" the water. I have gone to a few shops and mostly tell me keep using buggers. a couple places turned me onto these yellow thread spinners and a rusty spinner. My accuracy for casting basically non existent so far so It's been frustrating to say the least trying dry flies.
I've heard people say turn rocks over but I didn't realise they meant out in the river (although now that you mention it, it does make sense). I'll try that next time out.
Are there any good resources to learn hatches and what to tie to match them? I remember a few years ago I bought this book "what fish don't want you to know" it was based mostly on regular spinfishing for lake fish. Are there any books or resourses geared toward trout? Thanks again.
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Old 09-27-2013, 02:22 PM
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Default Re: Do my flies suck?

I've tied some fantasically ugly misshapen flies that still caught trout. In my opinion, anglers are much more sensitive than trout to aesthetics like symmetry and balance.
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Old 09-27-2013, 02:57 PM
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Default Re: Do my flies suck?

Hi Dooley,

I may have missed something as I scanned the posts rather quickly but............. Where are you fishing? What state, lake - river or creeks?

Although I have spent many years creating featherwing streamers and doing very well with them I would never point a beginner in that direction for fly tying. There are however some patterns that will always produce fish; namely Muddler Minnow's and various Sculpin variations.

These are flies that you'll want to fish in the current because you don't want a smart old brown to have time to study the tie carefully. As for your Woolly buggers, if you are casting into slow moving or still water that can be a factor. Fish that have been hooked or caught before tend to take a second look prior to smacking a fly. This is where fishing currents and chutes between boulders - logs - and undercut banks can be a virtue. In the aforementioned situations fish are positioned so that they can inspect food and prey items passing by in the current and then make a quick shot out from the holding water to snatch up the passing fare.

Being able to wade will put you in much better positions so that your success rate may go up markedly. Do take care when wading not to march strait through good fish holding water while on your way to the spot you just know must be best. Study the water, learn where the fish are at even if you have spooked them. Remember where they were when you wandered into them and be sure that these type places almost always will have some fish lurking about.

Muddlers & Sculpins, time to step up your game,

Ard
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Old 09-27-2013, 03:25 PM
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Default Re: Do my flies suck?

Hi Ard,

Im in N. Eastern Pa., been fishing mostly the Lackawaxen river right where it meets the Delaware and also small streem called Shohola creek in the Lords Valley area. Shohola creek (the spot ive been fishing) is kind of a pool at an elbow in the creek where the current is very slow. Your advise seems spot on. I havent fished the Lackawaxen lately as I've felt "out gunned" without waders but eagerly anticipate going back once my waders arive. I actually just bought some deer hair so I'll get on those muddler's and sculpins, thanks again.

Sean.
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Old 09-27-2013, 03:42 PM
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Default Re: Do my flies suck?

Presentation beats "matching the hatch" every time and in order to make a good presentation your fly has to appear natural in the water.
No amount of spin fishing is going to prepare you for that .
Try to visualize how your fly is behaving in the water.
Most bugs don't swim against the current and bait fish don't hang out in open water where they're vulnerable.
Trout respond to what they perceive to be food and if your fly doesn't act like what they expect to see, then they'll just ignore it.

I tie really ugly flies by the way.
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Old 09-27-2013, 03:51 PM
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Question Re: Do my flies suck?

You are fishing some prime water! Try some Muddlers and weighted streamers. Lot of nice fish in all those spots Shohola being one of my favorites!
Is the Gearge Washington Inn gone now ? Had many good lunches there years ago after a day on the water!
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Old 09-27-2013, 04:18 PM
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Default Re: Do my flies suck?

To add to what the others have said, it's not usually so much the fly, but the location, location, location where you cast it. Success with spinning tackle does not always relate to success with fly tackle simply because of differences in the weight of flies compared to lures. However, as Ard has said, the fish will be in the same places regardless of the tackle you choose. The issue is usually getting the fly to where the fish are. Also, as Ard has said, positioning yourself for casting is much more critical with fly tackle, because most folks just getting started with fly tackle can't cast a fly line & the fly similar distances or sometimes with the same accuracy as they can with other tackle.

IMO, all flies will catch some fish, regardless of how pretty or ugly they are or how well they're tied.

Work on improving your tying skills, and subsequently your flies, because that will improve their quality & they will last longer, which will eventually equate to more fish per fly. Tying is also a lot of fun too, so learning the various techniques will expand the enjoyment of tying your own. If you continue to tie proven patterns such as the Woolly Buggers, that should not even be an issue. But, like lures, nothing works all the time.

Also, work on improving your presentation skills, just as you have said you have done with other tackle. Just as with lures, where you cast it, and how you retrieve the lure makes a difference in success. Flies are no different, but do require adjustments from what you've been doing with lures. The adjustments will be such things as sink rates & of course sizes. Flies may not sink as fast as lures you've been using, so you need to allow them longer time to get to the depth required. If you've been using lures of a certain size with success, then flies of similar size might be in order, if the fly rod & line you have will cast that size fly. Fly rods, like spinning or bait casting tackle, are not one size fits all, so don't expect the same types of result. You still have to compare apples to apples.

To further add to what Ard has said, next time you go fishing, concentrate on the fishing & not as much on the catching. This may sound odd, but I found very early in my fly fishing experience, that once I improved my casting & presentations, catching more fish was an added bonus. Eventually, I went to bigger & heavier fly rods & flies, and the size of fish I caught increased. This is not to say that big fish won't eat small flies. But, generally bigger flies entice bigger fish more than smaller flies, particularly species such as bass. I'm primarily a bass & Striped bass angler, which is easier to up size for as far as tackle goes. Trout can be similar, but you do have to do it in a manner that fits the size of the trout in your area. If the waters hold nothing but 6" trout, then 10" streamers are not going to improve your catch rate of trout. It might however improve you chances with bigger bass, but only if you have the equipment to handle such a big fly.

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