Techy Thursday - Targeting 'Oncers'

The other day on the river we experienced a common occurrence on the Mataura, and something I’ve seen many anglers mentioning / lamenting in their posts of late... The hatch is on, however the fish aren’t really locked into the surface, occasionally rising and moving position thereafter, making it hard to nail them down for a dry fly presentation. While this behaviour is most common on the wider, flatter pools lacking defined feed lanes it can occur anyplace food isn't concentrated.

Here's a tip: though they may rise once or twice every few minutes, they are still feeding avidly below in between...

Persisting with dries will hit the occasional fish but if you want to be one of the few anglers totally killing it in such situations consider fishing subsurface... but how do you hit 'oncers?'


*A Pair of sparse soft hackles

*Long, light tippet to allow energy to dissipate and drop softly. A 10' or 14' Trouthunter leader topped with 5' of 4x nylon is my go to depending on conditions.

*Loon Snake River Mud to dull down and submerge your tippet.


Read the rise: where did the fish come from? Did he feed across to his left or right? Was it a 'tipover' head / tail rise as he turned straight back down to the bottom? Was it the relaxed kiss of a fish positioned at the film or a swirl as he chased it downstream? Work this out, nail down his general position and we are ready to attack...


*Cast at an angle upstream and across of the rise.

*Keep in touch through short, rapid strips as required.

*Employ one long draw as the flies approach the zone. Draw the flies using the rod tip, raising and pulling it back...strike with a sharp downward pull of the line hand.


What we are doing is overcasting above and beyond the trouts position and drawing a pair of soft hackled wets back across its zone. This covers a much broader area than an upstream dry presentation and is a more accurate way of covering a specific position than casting and judging the accuracy of a swing from above. We still have a few days left of the freshwater season throughout the South. Get amongst!