Anglers who sign up for BugClub.com fly subscription receive regular deliveries of flies throughout the year along with access to expert advice and a gift of fly fishing gear valued in excess of $69. Despite all the benefits of joining Bug Club, successful fly fishing is a combination of knowledge, skill, and technique.
Technique is the hardest part of all. Why? Because it is something that very few anglers possess naturally. It is something that has to be learned through trial and error and perfected through practice. Working on technique is well worth it, though. It can make the difference between a good day on the river and a bad one.
Picking Your Casting Spots
A winning fly fishing technique begins with picking your casting spots. There are couple of things to keep in mind here. First is your position relative to the fish. Trout and other fly fishing targets tend to have a total vision of no more than about 320 degrees. That means they also have blind spots of up to 40 degrees. You should pick your casting spots based on this.
A good rule of thumb is to position yourself about 20 degrees off and about 30 yards upstream from the fish you are after. This puts you right in that blind spot.
Next, look for the foam. The foam on a lively stream is where fish normally find abundant food sources, so that’s where you should be casting. When streams are not lively, stick closer to the banks. Look for good casting spots near rocks and ledges.
Use Floatant Sparingly
Applying a little bit of paraffin to act as a floatant is a common practice among fly fishers. However, too much floatant is a bad thing. Remember that you want your flies to mimic the action of real insects. Using too much floatant will turn your fly into just another piece of debris on the water.
The best way to apply floatant is to put just a slight dab on the underside of the body. You do not need much. Whatever you do, don’t put floatant on any part of the fly that is not supposed to be in contact with the water. Otherwise your fly will be too heavy and lack action.
Regularly Dress Your Flies
Fly dressing seems to be a lost art among today’s anglers. That’s unfortunate, because flies can begin losing their shape and action after just a few minutes of casting. Experts recommend dressing your flies after each miss and catch. The point of fly dressing is to make sure wings are in the right place and the hackle remains undamaged. The best anglers also take a few minutes to dry their flies. This improves the action once they start casting again.
Limit the Drift
Another mistake fly fishers often make is letting the drift go too long. There are multiple problems associated with this, including getting your line unnecessarily tangled. A good rule of thumb is to limit drift to between six and eight feet, taking a few steps forward with each cast. You can still cover the same amount of water by slowly advancing, without having to lengthen out the drift.
Practice Your Short Casting
Long casts do not tend to be quite as productive because they are not as accurate. It’s also harder to see fish at greater distances. Therefore, a winning technique involves practicing your short casts until you master them. Then use those short casts on the stream. Most successful catches are within 20 or 30 feet anyway, so don’t spend a lot of time trying to figure out how to cast at 50 or 60 feet.
Set the Hook Quickly and Firmly
All the other tips mentioned here will be virtually useless if you don’t know how to set the hook. Setting a hook is a matter of employing a quick, powerful jerking motion that makes for a quick and firm set. This may be the hardest technique of all to learn. As you are learning, just remember this: hooks are not set slowly and gradually. You will either set the hook quickly and firmly or not at all.
For expert advice and regular deliveries of flies throughout the year, consider a membership with BugClub.com. Between deliveries, practice your technique until you master it. Good technique is that which separates fly fishers who catch from those who spend time talking about the ones that got away.