Wednesday, November 9, 2011

The Fundamental Error

Newcomers to the Lower Laguna are almost universally unaware of how willing redfish are to take a fly. Having fished in venues where fish have been more selective, they are ready to blame the fly for what they perceive as the fish's disinterest. In actuality, redfish and trophy trout are almost always willing to take a fly. Indeed, even big trout--which are known to feed for about two hours out of every 24-hour cycle, can be enticed with regularity. So why don't people realize it?

I could be here all night answering that one. But suffice to say that it's a combination of factors that keeps the angler in the dark. For one, redfish and trout don't see flies that aren't at the level where their attention is focused. A friend of mine, who once had the IGFA 4-lb tippet world record trout said that sink rate is the most important factor when fly fishing for big trout. Sink rate? Who would have thought it? But what Tom Kilgore is saying is that a gamefish is usually focused on a particular level of the water column. Reds usually feed head down, and thus overlook just about anything that passes overhead. Trout are also prone to stick their heads in the grass. Still, the idea that the fish should see my fly is a hard misconception to cure. After fishing six hours with my buddy Skipper Ray, his clients asked if they should change their flies. Skipper replied in his customary dry style, "Fellas, the fish haven't even seen your flies yet."

So the first thing to overcome is the fundamental error of interpreting the fish's lack of response as disinterest. A big trout or a redfish will almost always react to the sight of your fly. So if the fish doesn't react, it hasn't seen your fly! This is a good starting point in a rather complex analysis that I will be making in the next few postings about fly selection. So as you go to sleep tonight, affirm that the next time you sight cast to fish, and it doesn't respond, you won't blame the fly or the fish. Instead, affirm that you will simply cast again, and hope he sees it.

Next time: The Context Should Determine Your Choice of Fly

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