On return from the 2016 Commonwealth Fly Fishing Championships held in Mont Tremblant Canada, competing with the New Zealand Fly Fishing Team, my attention to looking at why we lose fish has made me stop and think.
We hear it all to often 'the fish spat the hook' or 'the line just went slack'! It all starts before we make the cast.
The Diable River was the river venue for two of the five sessions in the championships. An ultra slippery, super fast chute filled with pocket water. We short line nymph fished for a majority of the time, the ultimate method in this fast, structured river. I seemed to lose a uncalled for number of fish! With so many micro currents, and heavy water, our body position had to be in perfect range from our flies. Too long and you couldn't set the hook fast enough and too far upstream and the flies would not set in the top of the mouth correctly, resulting in dropped fish. To achieve good positive hook sets, prior to even casting I would move into perfect range to where I was placing my flies. This in turn put fish on the score card. There is ALWAYS a reason why we drop fish so when you do, stop and think before you re-cast! Here are some tips to get you started:
- Visualise hooking the fish that you have lined up. Is he really going to come sliding into your net or will he head strait for the log right next to him? So get as close as possible. You'll have instant control as soon as he takes the fly. What about those five current lanes that your laying you're line over. Are you really going to get a nice drift and a positive hook set with all that line to pick up on the strike? Surely you can get closer. What about the fish you just spotted at the last minute as you're walking up the river right smack bang 90 degrees across stream Are you really going to get a good hook set being side on? Get behind him, get a good hook set and know that you have control of that donkey before he even takes your fly!
- Did you check the hook after the last fish or when you caught rock bottom? Sharp as a samurai sword or nothing!
- Take care of the controllable's and there will much more on your side to netting the fish.
- Now go make some early season plans, have fun!