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Old 06-02-2008, 12:12 PM
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Question Trout Denial

Hi-

While fishing yesterday I watched several fish (rainbow trout) follow, take a swipe at, but ultimately turn down the wet-fly I offered. The fish would come up from the bottom, follow the fly closely but at the last instant, turn down the offering. Why does this happen in your best estimation? Did the trout perhaps see me (I was close enough to the fish to watch this happen)? Could there have been something wrong with my fly (that said, I had landed 3 or 4 fish previous to this happening in the same stream with the same fly)?

Any insight or musing would be appreciated...

Thanks,
Seth
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Old 06-02-2008, 02:32 PM
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Default Re: Trout Denial

Be thankful that they were trout, Seth, the cost per refusal was a lot higher for us on our tarpon trip in Key West!

Dont you just hate that!---usually i get refusals if im "off a size" on the flies.

Mike
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Old 06-02-2008, 02:38 PM
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Default Re: Trout Denial

Quote:
Originally Posted by shorthaul View Post
Be thankful that they were trout, Seth, the cost per refusal was a lot higher for us on our tarpon trip in Key West!

Dont you just hate that!---usually i get refusals if im "off a size" on the flies.

Mike
Yea, my trip was fairly inexpensive...

Could be the size though not 5 minutes before I was getting fish like crazy; at least one per pool/pocket...

It can be slightly maddening at time but I suppose that's what keeps us coming back in part.

~Seth
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Old 06-02-2008, 07:41 PM
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Default Re: Trout Denial

I think they knew you were there. They saw you as the large predator that you are, knowing that you might eat them as they went for their own meal. Also, b/c they were hit a few times before, they were wary. It could be the retrieve, but since they hit earlier, I just think they saw you. By the way, been there, done that, hate it every time. Did you try changing the fly? In my experiences, which are limited, sometimes this helps, as long as you are out of sight, but if trout see you...forget it.
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Old 06-02-2008, 08:12 PM
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Default Re: Trout Denial

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jose View Post
I think they knew you were there. They saw you as the large predator that you are, knowing that you might eat them as they went for their own meal. Also, b/c they were hit a few times before, they were wary. It could be the retrieve, but since they hit earlier, I just think they saw you. By the way, been there, done that, hate it every time. Did you try changing the fly? In my experiences, which are limited, sometimes this helps, as long as you are out of sight, but if trout see you...forget it.
I did change the fly- I think I changed the fly no less than 6 times. I think by the 5th time the fish were on to me though ;-)

~Seth
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Old 06-02-2008, 09:03 PM
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Default Re: Trout Denial

It can mean a lot of things. If they see you, they see you, and there's not much you can do about that but move on or wait around for a while and hope they forget about you. If you want to be persistent, try switching flies to something larger/smaller, different color, etc. If you're not intimately familiar with the stream you're fishing, random chance can be your friend. If it seems like they're not hitting wet flies, even if they seem to be interested in them, try a dry fly. In the rare instances I get the cold shoulder on a woolly bugger, I'll switch to some tried and true dry fly like an elk hair caddis and usually get a hit.

Sometimes, it's the retrieve. Some fish will turn down a wet fly if it's stripped in weakly, but the same fish will strike hard if the fly is stripped back very quickly. Minnows swim fast as hell when they're trying to escape a predator like a large trout, so a minnow that didn't try very hard to escape might make the trout suspicious.
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Old 06-03-2008, 12:29 AM
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Default Re: Trout Denial

Sesro,
They were obviously interested in your offering, but something was not quite right with it when they got a closer look.

I agree with many of the suggestions mentioned above; smaller, larger, slower, faster, color change, spooking from seeing you, etc. Maybe next time you could try adding a splitt shot or two, swinging it into the pool from farther above, also try a slow, long strip back. just a thought.....

Sometimes a good hard look, and refusal from a fish or two gives me a thrill, it certainly will get the ol'heart a poundin!!!
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Old 06-03-2008, 12:49 AM
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Default Re: Trout Denial

I was using my foam spider last year when these rock bass would come up take a good look and follow it and turn away. after a few losses I figured it out. I was twitching the fly whenthey came up but i stopped twitching when they got under it , it gave um time to get a close look and they turned away. guess it didn't fool um. but then I keep it moving and bam they hit it. this is not actually the same predicament as u are in but just saying that lil move made all the difference.
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Old 06-03-2008, 01:12 AM
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Default Re: Trout Denial

Just came back from 3 days of fishing wet flies in north central PA. After 3 - 14 hour days you generally start to pick up on a few things. Ha!

We generally started with a dead drift and swing. If that didn't get any action, we switched to a slight jigging action on the drift and swing (just wiggle the rod tip during the drift) and finally short strips. We also switched from floating lines to sink tip lines. Drifting those wets closer to the bottom was often the key. Even to go as far as flipping them upstream and 'high sticking' them through the run then letting them 'emerge' at the end (Leisering (spelling?) lift style). But, as you know 'fish will be fish'. Sometimes they'd turn on and off for no apparent reason although water temp had some bearing on our situation. In the mornings when the water was 50 or so, they didn't eat much but once the sun topped the mountains and the water went up towards 60, it made a huge difference.
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Old 06-03-2008, 06:10 PM
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Default Re: Trout Denial

Its almost like they were going up and sniffing it, huh?

Your description of what they were doing makes me think that's EXACTLY what they were doing. Lots of different smells can make their way on to a fly that turn fish off: head cement, tar on smoky fingers, snuff spit from moistening the knot, whatever preservative was used on a natural dubbing or feather, etc......

The best fix I know of is to rub the fly on a mossy rock or grab a clump of some sort of underwater vegetation, put the fly in the middle of it, and squeeze some of that more natural smell into it.

Just one more thing I picked up from Joe Humphreys.
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