For some of us (not me though) two handed fly fishing is just a way of getting through the cold, dark, and otherwise fishless days of the off season while we count down the hours until October 1st.
Once we see the sun poking over a slightly different spot on the horizon and a few cherry blossom trees start to pop, we know it’s early spring, and that's the time of the swing season where anglers often get a little complacent with opening feeling like it’s just around the corner.
You may have caught a few fish this winter and have buttoned off a little, and that’s cool, and totally understandable. But as the rainbows hit the redds further upstream and the runs begin to peter out, you’ll again need to step up your game if you want to remain consistently successful over this shoulder season period.
HERE ARE THREE LATE WINTER / EARLY SPRING SPEY TIPS TO KEEP YOUR HEAD IN THE GAME:
TIP #1 - KEEP MOVING THROUGH THE RUN
This is one of the keys of late winter fishing, especially in lower flows when the fish aren’t as likely to be moving. Many fish just aren’t going to bite, so keep on moving and find those that will.
TIP #2 - MANAGE YOUR SWING
Be mindful of the depth where you’re at, the speed of the swing and how your fly behaves as it passes through hotspots. Was it drifting nicely through that deep fast, (empty) water only to lose control and tension as it swung through that gucchi, thigh deep, walking paced edgewater?
With fewer fish running the rivers you should consider each presentation and fish to the best water rather than expect a fish to just eat your fly anywhere throughout your swing.
First identify where you think the fish are in the water below. Now decide where you need to land your fly, and how you should mend to get your fly moving at the correct speed, and at the right depth as it passes through that perfect lie?
Check out this spey article that has some great tips on how to fish your drift.
TIP #3 - FISH OUT YOUR SWING TO THE VERY END EACH AND EVERY TIME
Remember, when your line stops at the end of your swing, your sink tip, leader and fly are still moving in, still fishing, and entering the prime time for a grab as they slow. This is something I see a lot with clients if I step back a little and just let them fish.
The anticipation of the next cast takes the focus away from the all-important final quarter of their swing.
Finish out your swing and if the water allows, let it hang for a moment or two before fishing it back up the edge.
SO, JUST GET OUT THERE WITH THE TWO HANDERS
There’s still a lot of good fishing to be had in the late weeks of the winter season and as we move into spring, so why not do a reset and reorganise those winter fly boxes and take to the river refreshed and with the same attention to detail as we did back in June.
If you're after more tips and how to's on two handed fly fishing then this is a great place to start.