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I get asked a lot of different questions throughout the course of my guiding. Sometimes people get the answer they want, sometimes they don’t. Sometimes I avoid the question because the answer may confuse the person asking. Take for example: questions about their casting. There are two ways to look at it. If your casting is not getting the job done, then I have two options. One, spend time working with your cast before we go out, which could take a couple of hours out of your fishing time. Or two, I can make subtle adjustments to your technique, your casting so we can achieve a best possible application for the day. I am not looking for perfect loops, just something practical that I can work with to get fish on the line.
Here are a few of the common questions I get asked:
QUESTION: “Why are we still sitting here? I’ve made a hundred drifts through here with out a grab. I think we should move!”
ANSWER: I don’t keep track of the number of drifts you make just the ones that are fish worthy. The ones where I think you had a chance of getting the fish to eat your fly, so If you made 100 drifts and I only see 3 that look good then there is some work that needs to happen.
QUESTION: “When are we going to fish dry’s?”
ANSWER: When the fish start eating them!
QUESTION: “I just saw a fish eat a dry shouldn’t we switch over now?”
ANSWER: That is always a loaded question. Dries are what everyone comes out to do. It is without a doubt the number one requested style of fly fishing I get asked about. It is also very much misunderstood. Here is a little insight. First do you know how to tell the difference between the rise forms? Is the fish eating a dry or is it eating just under the surface? By not knowing the difference between the two you stand a chance of spooking the fish before it has a chance to start feeding on the top. Are the fish worth our time? A lot of the times the fish that are feeding on the surface are juveniles. So, again it goes back to being able to read the rise form. The ability to tell the difference between a 6” fish and an 18” fish is important. Plus, do you have the patience to let the scenario play out? Waiting out the bigger fish, giving them a chance to really get into the feeding before you make a cast? Not just shot gunning the water hoping that a fish will grab your fly. Quality fishing is what it is about.
QUESTION: “How deep should I set my indicator?”
ANSWER: This is a really good question. Those of you who have fished with me have heard me say “indicator fishing is an easy form of fishing to learn. But extremely hard to master. Indicator-less fishing is hard to learn but easy to master”. Someone at one time came up with the theory, you should set your distance between your fly and indicator at one and a half times the depth of the water. Yikes! Well it is a starting point. But there is a lot to this question. Water speed has a lot to do with it. Fish look up and they will move a good distance to get a fly. In slower water you don’t really need to hit them on the head with your fly assuming you have good water clarity. I have watched fish come up off the bottom of Fall River from 8 feet of water to grab a fly that is only set at 18 inches. One afternoon on Pit River fish were coming out from under the rocks on the bottom and grabbing the fly while it was still sinking to the preset depth of the indicator. I like to move the indicator around a lot.
I might move it several times in the same run or pocket. Even after I have hooked fish at the depth I am set at, I will move it to give the fish a different look. The amount of weight you are using, and size of fly also make a difference.
QUESTION: “Can we throw streamers against the bank like we did when I was in Montana?”
ANSWER: We’re not in Montana.
QUESTION: “Can I bring all six of my gear bags on the boat?”
ANSWER: No! No matter how big the boat is by the end of the day it gets smaller. When you bring a lot of gear it always ends up in my lap. When doing a boat trip, it is best to keep gear to the bare essentials.
QUESTION: “Do I really need my waders on the Pit River, I like to wet wade?”
ANSWER: There are a lot of rivers, streams, creeks you can wet wade. The Pit River is not one of them. Just getting to the river through all the berry bushes, poison oak, snakes and what not can be the hardest part. Then once you get to the river the boulders will take a toll on you. It is best you wear them.
QUESTION: “Can I drive your boat?”
QUESTION: “Can I just keep one fish?”
ANSWER: No, I don’t like to eat my business partners.
If you have any of your own questions please feel free to use the comment box below, and I will answer your questions to the best of my abilities.
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