Posted on August 07 2021
Dennis had the only question this week and it comes in three parts.
Part one - Do fish refuse a fly because of taste? It's possible, but extremely unlikely. Bonefish guides often squeeze a shrimp on their sports fly to increase chances of a take. Bonefishermen are careful to wash their hands after applying sun tan lotion. I've seen bonefish turn from over 100 yards away and swim up tide to a chum tube with live shrimp in it. So some fish use their nose to help in finding food. Technically this would be smell, not taste. I believe trout feed on floating flies primarily by sight. That said, I have seen trout come up to my fly and bump it with their nose (actually hooked one in the nose this year), so maybe. But actually by taste? No, if the fly was in their mouth you would have already hooked it.
What causes a fish to reject a fly at the last second? Fishing as much as I do and for as long as I have I've probably had more flies rejected than most anybody. Think about it. Insects have six legs and sit on their legs with their body above the water and their tail in the air. Does anybody reading this have flies that do that? The trout know the danger present in eating flies and look them over carefully from as close as an inch away. The big question is why don't they see the naked hook or the line and just say no? If you can pick your fly out from the real ones at forty feet, think what the trout can do at four inches. Because I sometimes tie the tails too long and maybe, just maybe am a little off on my timing of the cast, the tail of the fly sometimes gets bent under the bend of the hook. Every fish I've ever cast at is happy to tell me about it. Too big, too small, the wrong color, wing too high, fly floating faster than the bubbles, fly floating slower than the bubbles, etc., etc.
Why am I getting so many refusals? Stop your whining, it's because you are getting better. Last year you got ignores. The fish knew it was you without moving a fin. Now they are coming up to take a closer look. it's a compliment they are giving you. Pay attention to what flies they ignore (give them away) and make small modifications to the ones they refuse, maybe just maybe you'll discover the magic fly.
To everyone fishing in the Sulfur Zone, if you aren't getting refusals you need to upgrade your flies and/or presentation. I saw a fly in a shop I liked and tried it out on feeding fish that were refusing my flies on almost every cast. Fished it for a good ten minutes without one refusal (or take), If you see me on the river ask me what was wrong with the fly.