07/27/09

Insects and other foods the trout may be eating:
1.   Blue-winged Olives - mostly Little BWO - Isolated hatches
2.   Cinnamon Caddis - Mostly Abrams Creek
3    Little Sister Caddisflies - Mostly Abrams Creek
4.   Midges - hatching in isolated locations
5.   Little Yellow Stoneflies - hatching (Little Summer Stones)
6.   Slate Drakes - hatching
7.   Little Green Stonefly - hatching
8.   Cream Cahills - hatching in Isolated locations
9.   Beetles
10. Grasshoppers
11. Ants
12. Inch Worms
13. Crane Flies
14. Helligramite
15. Streamers - matching sculpin, baitfish and small crawfish

The Learning Process - Part 36 - Casting
Thinking back about the Learning Process with regards to fly casting, for a short
time it reminded me of about the first national BASS tournaments I fished. In the
tournaments a different fishing partner is drawn each day and then the two anglers
must decide on who's boat is going to be used. It usually ends up with a coin flip
then each guy gets equal time in the front of the boat running the trolling motor.
The first thing I noticed happening to me what is called "front ending the boat".
Some of the guys actually positioned the boat to where they could cast to ideal lies
for bass first or before I could when I wasn't running the boat. Naturally when this
starts happening, whether they make it obvious or not, you try to outcast them. Both
guys end up casting a long way worried that the other one will make the first cast to
that perfect stump or log, for example. Some end up buying the best reels and rods
available just for that purpose, or for outcasting their competition fishing with them
in the same boat. Of course the result of this is neither guy has much advantage
because long cast can't be very accurate and results in fewer hook sets.

Just about five years ago, my close friend Tom Mann told me a story about fishing
with Bill Dance when they drew each other for partners. Tom always used open
faced spinning reels, one of the few pros that did that. Dance used casting reels at
that point in time. The result was Tom was casting to targets several feet in front of
Dance in every case, even when Dance "front ended him". Dance got a little
aggravated about it but according to Tom, at the next tournament Dance had a
boat full of spinning tackle.

Well, thank goodness we don't compete fly fishing for trout, but it does remind me of
the guys that are more concerned about how far they can cast the fly than they are
about catching trout. To make a long bass fishing story short, the next year I fished
the bass circuit, Dave Gleby (probably spelled wrong), a California Pro won a
tournament in Florida with a huge catch using a process he called "Flippin".
Another California guy named Gary Klien, who still fishes the tournaments, learned
the technique from him and all of a sudden guys were waking up to the fact that
"Flippin" lures a few feet from the boat could be far more productive than casting.
For the next few years, and even today, many of the tournaments are won with flips
not over twelve feet long. I learned the technique from Gary. When I did, my
catches almost doubled during the next few tournaments. Flippin allows you to put
the lure within an inch of where you want it and it also allows you to make three
presentations to one normal casting presentation. It reminds me of short fly cast.

In case you are missing the point, it doesn't take a long cast to catch fish. It doesn't
take long cast to catch trout. Short cast will catch trout under many conditions. Of
course the length of the cast necessary to catch trout varies with a number of
things. In the Smokies, short, accurate cast are almost always far more effective
than longer cast. My average cast is probably twelve to twenty feet. I cannot think of
any situation in the park where one would need to cast over forty feet. If theres a
location over fifty feet from you that you would want to place your fly, it would
usually be far better to change positions. You can talk about casting tight loops but
to put it bluntly, you don't need to make a tight loop when you are casting twenty
feet. You don't need a fast action or tip flex fly rod either.

Think about this. In order to make a long cast, you must straighten out the fly line,
leader and tippet. When the cast hits the water, everything is in a straight line. That
is about the worst position you could be in fishing for trout anywhere, except maybe
still water. In current it usually means you will have instant drag on the fly. To get a
drag free drift you have to have some slack in part of the system - line, leader or
tippet, one of the other, if not all three. When you make a long cast, you straighten
everything out.

Just this spring, fishing New York's Delaware River during the Hendrickson hatch,
three guys approached the same area of the river Angie and I were fishing, placed
us in the middle of them, and started casting half way across the river which was
over a hundred feet wide. It appeared that one was trying to out do the other. All of
them were fishing dry flies. Every cast they made was over fifty feet and some
probably approaching ninety feet.
It beat anything I have ever witnessed in fly
casting.
When they first arrived Angie caught a nice brown trout about twenty feet
from her. I managed another one shortly after that. The guys watched both of us
land the two trout. From then on, they beat the water to a froth. I would have been
shocked if either one caught a trout. It ended our fishing there and we had to move.

(continued tomorrow)

Just an added note. I wanted to announce that this is the 500th article written on
this website not including the regular sections of the site. Considering we do the
same thing on our Fly Fishing Yellowstone Park site, it surprised me when my guys
told me we had reached number 500 on this one site. As the old saying goes - time
flies. Although I write most of the articles using an old fashion dictation machine
system, using the portable hand held recorder most of the time, it still requires
some time. I spend more time deciding what to write about than I do actually writing
it. That usually takes only a few minutes once I decide what to write about.
Sometimes I write several days of them at a time. I am often driving down the road,
eating or doing other things when I write or I should say, record them. I have tried
about all the voice activated systems that converts voice into type on computers but
so far, I have been greatly disappointed in them. I didn't think much about the time
spent until we started creating the Learning and Stream sections of our Perfect Fly
website. Even though I only do part of the work (I have others that usually publishes
it to the web) it takes some time. We do appreciate your reading them.

Copyright 2009 James Marsh