07/29/09

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 38 - Casting
Just in case you missed it a couple of articles ago, I will mention again that in order
to make a long cast, you must straighten out the line and leader during the cast.
You want cast a crooked line very far. When the fly hits the water, everything
including fly line, leader and tippet, lands in a straight line. If you are fishing a
stream with any current, the fly usually starts to drag immediately. The water that
the fly line and leader lands in, instantly begins to pull everything downstream.
Unless the flow of the stream is exactly the same the full length of your fly line and
leader in the water, some part of the line or leader is going to be moving
downstream faster than the fly and other sections of the line. To correct that and
stop the drag on the fly, you have to mend the line. That means part of the fly line
has to be picked up off the water with your fly rod and laid back down as a coil or a
loop. Even if you throw some slack in your line, if you have made a very long cast,
you are probably still going to get drag on the fly because its almost impossible to
get slack in the line all the way to the leader. It isn't easy to mend fifty to seventy
feet of fly line.

It is often thought that drag only affect dry flies but it also affect nymphs and wet
flies. If the fly isn't moving at the same speed of the drift, your wet fly or nymph isn't
going to look natural to the trout. The trout watch object drifting downstream below
the surface their entire life. Don't think they want detect the unnatural drift.

I didn't have to learn this part of fly fishing in what I am calling our "Learning
Process".. I knew years before that, irrespective of what you are fishing for, or the
type of tackle you are using, long cast of any type are not usually productive. One
excuse I often hear from others is that someone wants to learn to cast a long
distance in order to use streamers. I don't know exactly what is about streamers that
makes anyone think they need to cast them farther than other flies, but many
anglers do. Long cast made with streamers usually ends up unproductive for a
number of reason other than drag on the fly. For one thing, you can't control the
drift of the streamer as well as you can with a shorter cast. You cannot detect
strikes as easily or set the hook as well either. You cannot control the depth as well.

When you are fishing for trout, in most situations you want you fly line, leader and
tippet to land on the water exactly the opposite of how a long cast ends up. Instead
of everything landing in a straightened out position, you want everything to end up
crooked. You want to have some slack in the line to avoid instant drag on the fly. In
other words, you need to learn to make accurate cast that allows the line to end of
crooked or with some curves in it.  You want to have to make as few as possible
mends. Mending your line creates unnecessary disturbances. If you happen to get
a take from a fish when you have started the mend, you may miss the fish. It is often
necessary and sometimes impossible to avoid having to make line mends but
ideally, you don't want to have to mend the line.

When you are fishing dry flies and making upstream cast as most all of us do in the
streams of the Smokies, you don't want the fly to come back downstream where the
fly line or leader is going to pass over a trout. Since you most often are blind
fishing, you don't want the fly line, or the leader, to pass over the area of water
where trout are most likely holding. You want only the fly and tippet to pass over the
fish. You may get by with the leader passing over the fish in some cases, but you
usually want if the fly line passes over one. If you are making false cast over the
area, or if you are having to mend your line much, you may ruin your opportunity to
catch a trout.

You probably quickly thought that you usually don't make cast directly upstream  
where the fly everything is going to come back directly downstream. Of course the
solution to that is to make some type of up and across current presentation. That is
correct except you have to be aware that when you do that, most often part of your
heavier leader and fly line may land in water that is flowing slower or faster that the
water the fly lands in. Either situation causes drag on the fly and requires mending.
In fact, in the small streams of the Smokies, if you fly line is in the water, it is most
likely drifting at a different rate of speed than the fly. There are very few areas of
water that have the same exact current flow. Anytime there are rocks and boulders
in the water, below or protruding above the surface, the current on the surface of
the water is going to be flowing at different speeds. When you make an up and
across presentation, you want the leader and tippet to have some slack in it when
the fly hits the water. So, how do you accomplish that intentionally. I say
"intentionally" because it is often fairly easy to do unintentionally. You just make a
poor cast. I am just kidding, of course, but you really do have to make a cast that
doesn't require the line to straighten all the way out, or at least fall to the water
completely straightened out.  (Continued tomorrow)




Copyright 2009 James Marsh