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Fish Beyond Your Fly Line

Posted on November 04 2016

Fly fishing silhouette by Kyle Shea
Focus beyond your fly line. Photo: Kyle Shea.

Lets face it, no matter how good your eyes are, there are plenty of times while fishing, whether with streamers or nymphs, when you can’t see your fly. Perhaps the water is too dirty, too deep, or you momentarily lost track of the fly.. It just happens. However, that should’t keep you from tracking your fly through the water, or at least maintaining an idea of where your fly is at all times

Fish Beyond Your Fly Line

One of the primary things many anglers do when they can’t see their fly is rely on the end of the fly line as a strike indicator or focus point. This is a great and strongly recommended method to detect when a fish eats your fly. However, a common issue we see all the time is that while focusing exclusively on the fly line, some anglers will fish through a piece of water where they think their fly is tracking, while their fly is actually working way behind or ahead of their intended target point.

Instead, watch your fly land and do your best to imagine where your fly is as you move it through a piece of water. Take into account the length of your leader and try to identify and track where that point would be from the end of your fly line throughout the retrieve. Therefore, by “knowing” where your fly is as you move it through the water, you will better be able to fish through holes, around rocks, or any other type of water Walter may be hiding in.

Have you ever wondered how your guide always seems to know when to yell, “Set!” even when you swear you didn’t see (or feel) anything out of the ordinary? Well, if you would like to know a little secret about the industry, it’s actually fairly common that we aren’t actually seeing the fly at all! However, by tracking the expected location of the fly as it moves through the water, it’s not uncommon to see flashes, boils, or the bright white of a fish’s mouth as it opens and closes.. All of which mean, “Set!”

In other words, to become a part of the ten percent of anglers who catch ninety percent of the fish, the moment between when the fish eats your fly and when you actually feel the pull are extremely important. Pay attention beyond the tip of your fly line, watch for that mouth to open, or for that subtle push of water, and you’ll only increase your ability to catch more fish.

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