Following flood events can be a frustrating time to hook fish. As rivers clear, trout seem to take, and eject flies in quick time, and this can kill your spirit after you finally find clean water.
Maybe there is an abundance of debris, sticks, gravel etc. tumbling down the current and so fish have honed their ejection game accordingly? Who knows, but if you wait for your indicator to pull you’ll often be far too late.
If you can see the fish, use their movements as your cue to strike. Let your indicator become a safety back up.
I believe we miss a lot of fish by relying on our indicators. By the time it moves, particularly in slower water your fly may have been in the fish’s mouth for a number of seconds. Chances are they’ve spat it, and you’re none the wiser.
Fish whisperer, Simon Chu sets the hook a lot, and usually wins. He once said to me that if his fly is there, and the fish is there, there’s no reason for them not to eat it. Back yourself. You often won’t even see them move.
It’s always impressive watching ‘The Chu’ seemingly set on nothing, yet come up with flexed graphite.
Anyway, here are a few cues to help you detect the take, set that hook and rely less on your indicator and more on instinct.
- The fish lifts, then stops... set that hook!
- The fish swings in the direction of your fly, then stops... set that hook!
- You see a white flash. That’s the inside of the trout’s mouth as it opens... when it disappears... set that hook!
- You see the fish roll on its side... set that hook!
- Your guide starts yelling and waving his or her hands around wildly.... set that hook... fast!
Of course you should track where your nymphs land and visualise their drift. If the fish feeds and your flies are nowhere near him, don’t set... it’s that easy. Here’s where I use my small indicator most - to assist in letting me know where my flies are. However as Chuey says, if your fly is there, and the fish is there, set that hook!
You will catch more fish if you simply don’t hesitate.