Wildwood Outfitters Blog and Fishing Report
In the summer of 2018 we wrote a piece titled "What Exactly IS Fly Fishing?" The goal was to introduce our great sport to the masses and explain it in a way that was easy to understand. It was a big hit and really achieved our goal of educating folks on the absolute basics of what can otherwise be a complicated activity. Now, we have decided to run a follow-up to that and go a little deeper down the rabbit hole to learn what fly fishing is all about!
In the first part of this series we covered the trout's diet at length: the things they eat, where they eat, and how we imitate the insects. Being armed with that knowledge is quite important, but knowing how to put that information into practice is what catches the fish. On an August trip, we might observe grasshoppers fluttering in the bushes next to the stream. Using the clues present, it would be a good bet to tie one of these terrestrial patterns on once we start fishing. Let's take it one step further though...
To truly fish something effectively, we need to expand beyond just casting the "correct" fly. Where we cast our flies is equally, if not more, important. A grasshopper lives on land, and probably shouldn't be in the water. If it does find itself in the water, imagine the panicked nature in which it would be swimming in an attempt to reach the safety of shore. Take note of that, and then replicate it in our own offerings to the trout. Our goal of imitation goes deeper than the color and size of that pattern because it also has to behave like the natural organism we want the fish to believe is in front of them ripe for the taking.
In the case of the grasshopper, that means casting towards the bank and generating some rod action to "skate" the fly across the water. This serves to imitate what an actual bug would do if it landed in the stream thanks to an errant breeze. For the trout we hope is lying in wait, our fly will look just like any other grasshopper that it has eaten dozens of times before!
What we do with our flies will change based on what type of fly we are fishing, of course. For a mayfly pattern, this means attempting to have our imitations drift as perfectly natural as possible with no drag. In stark contrast to the panicked grasshopper, a mayfly sits on the surface of the water drying its wings before eventually flying off. If we fish these patterns like we did the hopper, it probably wouldn't be too effective! Our main goal is always to mimic the naturals and fool the trout into thinking our fly is just another one of the many snacks they have eaten throughout their lives.
That's all we will get in to with this installment, and stay tuned for the next one where we will dive in to some more techniques and strategies!