JohnP

What can go wrong - the most common errors of inshore fly fishing

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9 mins ago, Drew C. said:

I have and will often leave fish to look for better opportunities elsewhere. This most commonly relates to size but sometimes crowds too. Getting a few fish in relative solitude is far more pleasurable than catching a **** ton in a crowd.

I also disagree with this. If it's a school of micro bass feeding Im fine with catching a few then moving to find larger fish or just waiting for larger fish to come. I have no need to beat up on dozens of 18" bass.

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36 mins ago, Bwt570 said:

I also disagree with this. If it's a school of micro bass feeding Im fine with catching a few then moving to find larger fish or just waiting for larger fish to come. I have no need to beat up on dozens of 18" bass.


so often If I leave fish then come back later to see all hell breaking loose. 

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1 hour ago, CWitek said:

This is one commonly-accepted rule that I disagree with.

 

While it CAN be true, back when I used to do a lot of tournament fishing, we won more than a few by avoiding the crowd and the obvious fish, and going off on our own to find something that was a little better quality than everyone else was catching.  

 

Wjile those were tuna and not bass, blues or albacore, the same principle can apply.  If all you've got in front of you are rats, it can pay to look for a pattern that might yield fewer, but bigger, fish.  Or to stay where you are but change up what you're doing in order to avoid the small fish and attract something bigger.  Again, that probably applies to non-fly situations, but still.

 

Yes, the fish you have might turn into something better, but they also might not.  If you have reason to believe that you might do better elsewhere, a move could produce dividends.c


yes but the way I see it is if they really want big fish we will need to fish a certain way. Prob leave dock at night and throw sinking lines. Inshore very very few fishermen are interested in this.  They want action 

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I'm not a guide, but have fished with various folks and much of what's been mentioned here really hits home. As I've read through the comments, I could think back to many days that I had missed opportunities for the various reasons mentioned. 

 

A Keys guide that I was supplying with flies years ago, and fished with once, told me he's had clients who never made a cast, because they stood on the front of his boat false casting, while the fish moved away too quickly. They couldn't get line out fast enough, because they were not prepared to make a long cast with only a few false cast. After fishing with that guide, which turned out was just a boat ride, I spent a good amount of time working on my casting, with heavier gear and long casts with only a few false cast. I had really needed to fish that way, but it was a good skill to have. I've seen folks that I've fished with miss with Bluefish, Stripers & Spanish Macs because they couldn't cast quickly.

 

I call that the "trout mentality". I mentioned this in another post recently and it was said that some should adopt a trout mentality with their saltwater fishing, such as dead drifting instead of stripping a fly. I can agree with that for presentation method, as there can always be a time & place for adaptation, but most folks who are trout anglers and delve into saltwater, or even bass fishing, fail to separate all of what they do when targeting trout on a stream, from what they need to do on bigger waters when targeting larger fish that don't spend much time in one spot. That can also apply to the gear they use & fly sizes.

 

Much of what has been said here I had to learn on my own by making many mistakes. We all will make mistakes sometimes, but for folks that I've been around, some never realize it & never learn from it and not just with fly fishing.

 

One of the last LM bass of a really decent size that I've hooked, I lost because I got the line tangled in my Gheenoe. I don't get upset over losing fish, it's part of the game, but it haunts me that I knew better. For many years I've carried netting, like is used for hunting blinds to cover various parts of the inside of my Gheenoe & boat, to help prevent tangles, but that day I didn't spend the time utilizing it. I was fishing alone, had 3 rods rigged up and ready, sinking & floating lines & flies. I was familiar with the river, and had been paddling so a quiet approach, and had been watching the shore line activity. I did everything "correct" except, be fully prepared. 

 

For the comment about sinking lines, a lot of folks seem to believe that sink tips are enough. Again, this is a mentality, that to me doesn't provide the best advantage. I bought one sink tip many years ago, and it was the least used line I ever purchased. I missed many fishing opportunities because of only having floating lines on my reels. That was part of my learning experience. I didn't need sinking lines for most places that I fished. It was when I got out on bigger, deeper water, where there could be strong tidal currents that I found that floating lines were not getting it done. So, I added 3 full sinking lines, an intermediate, and medium sink & a fast sink. I never used them much, but had them when I needed them and for some places, I had them rigged & ready even though most fishing might be with surface flies or shallow subsurface. I've had tides change and couldn't keep a fly where it needed to be using a floating line, even in relatively small creeks. 

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My first experience fly fishing on salt was out of Port O'Connor, TX with a legendary local guide who absolutely kicked my ass. I could not have been less prepared and boy did he let me know! Bad habits from freshwater fly fishing and just lack of general awareness-- and maybe a little hung over-- led to a very humbling experience that ending up being VERY motivating. 

 

I can still hear him ribbing me as I tipped him out how many hookups I missed. 

 

Everyone works differently but his ribbing was incredibly motivating. He EXPECTED me to be on those Redfish and let me know exactly how I was screwing up. I hear him every time I go out, forever indebted to that man. 

 

PS-- What's the protocol for dropping guide's name?  If anyone is looking for a Redfish experience in Texas I know just the guy! 

 

 

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6 mins ago, JohnP said:


yes but the way I see it is if they really want big fish we will need to fish a certain way. Prob leave dock at night and throw sinking lines. Inshore very very few fishermen are interested in this.  They want action 

That's fair.  But if action is all someone wants, they probably wouldn't want to leave fish in the first place.

 

 

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6 mins ago, CWitek said:

That's fair.  But if action is all someone wants, they probably wouldn't want to leave fish in the first place.

 

 


grass is always greener thing. 
as long as they are happy we got fish in the boat and we are ready for the next inning 

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19 hours ago, Jim H said:

I'm not a guide, but have fished with various folks and much of what's been mentioned here really hits home. As I've read through the comments, I could think back to many days that I had missed opportunities for the various reasons mentioned. 

 

A Keys guide that I was supplying with flies years ago, and fished with once, told me he's had clients who never made a cast, because they stood on the front of his boat false casting, while the fish moved away too quickly. They couldn't get line out fast enough, because they were not prepared to make a long cast with only a few false cast. After fishing with that guide, which turned out was just a boat ride, I spent a good amount of time working on my casting, with heavier gear and long casts with only a few false cast. I had really needed to fish that way, but it was a good skill to have. I've seen folks that I've fished with miss with Bluefish, Stripers & Spanish Macs because they couldn't cast quickly.

 

I call that the "trout mentality". I mentioned this in another post recently and it was said that some should adopt a trout mentality with their saltwater fishing, such as dead drifting instead of stripping a fly. I can agree with that for presentation method, as there can always be a time & place for adaptation, but most folks who are trout anglers and delve into saltwater, or even bass fishing, fail to separate all of what they do when targeting trout on a stream, from what they need to do on bigger waters when targeting larger fish that don't spend much time in one spot. That can also apply to the gear they use & fly sizes.

 

Much of what has been said here I had to learn on my own by making many mistakes. We all will make mistakes sometimes, but for folks that I've been around, some never realize it & never learn from it and not just with fly fishing.

 

One of the last LM bass of a really decent size that I've hooked, I lost because I got the line tangled in my Gheenoe. I don't get upset over losing fish, it's part of the game, but it haunts me that I knew better. For many years I've carried netting, like is used for hunting blinds to cover various parts of the inside of my Gheenoe & boat, to help prevent tangles, but that day I didn't spend the time utilizing it. I was fishing alone, had 3 rods rigged up and ready, sinking & floating lines & flies. I was familiar with the river, and had been paddling so a quiet approach, and had been watching the shore line activity. I did everything "correct" except, be fully prepared. 

 

For the comment about sinking lines, a lot of folks seem to believe that sink tips are enough. Again, this is a mentality, that to me doesn't provide the best advantage. I bought one sink tip many years ago, and it was the least used line I ever purchased. I missed many fishing opportunities because of only having floating lines on my reels. That was part of my learning experience. I didn't need sinking lines for most places that I fished. It was when I got out on bigger, deeper water, where there could be strong tidal currents that I found that floating lines were not getting it done. So, I added 3 full sinking lines, an intermediate, and medium sink & a fast sink. I never used them much, but had them when I needed them and for some places, I had them rigged & ready even though most fishing might be with surface flies or shallow subsurface. I've had tides change and couldn't keep a fly where it needed to be using a floating line, even in relatively small creeks. 


Hi the sinking line scenario I refer to represents a case where fish were on the surface, boats move in, maybe get a few, the fish sound and then some folks move on somehow thinking the fish are just ‘gone,’ while others continue to cast but only on the surface.

 

in most cases the fish only went 10to 20 feet down, and being able to get a sinking line deep quickly will prove the fish are still very much there. Sometimes I’ll just hand the guy a spinning rod with a small Ava jig. Other times I’ll just show them the recorder 

 

in pretty much every case the fish will still strike an artificial if it can get there

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I was fishing in Belize and met an old timer that fished there twice a year. He loved tarpon fishing. After a day off fishing, I see him at the bar, he said hey I saw you out there eating lunch, when you stop fishing the guide stops guiding, don’t stop to eat your lunch. 
 

I did have a great experience with a guide in Florida. Before we started fishing, he stopped the boat and made me cast, so he could see how far I could cast well. Then we went over the how to on setting a hook into a tarpon, he would hold the line and have me set the hook. It took a few times to really get it right. He showed me how he wanted me to retrieve the fly. When we got to where the fish were we both had a good idea of what to expect 

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Fish up here don't give me the jitters, but tarpon do. Where I go for tarpon I know some places where at sunrise I know there are juvies around eager to eat, so I start every trip on them. Landing a little 30" tarpon restores my breathing, takes off some of the negative urgency and gets my mind right for the rest of the day. Also removing my shoes so if the line blows under my feet I know it.

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3 hours ago, stormy monday said:

Fish up here don't give me the jitters, but tarpon do. Where I go for tarpon I know some places where at sunrise I know there are juvies around eager to eat, so I start every trip on them. Landing a little 30" tarpon restores my breathing, takes off some of the negative urgency and gets my mind right for the rest of the day. Also removing my shoes so if the line blows under my feet I know it.

Yes getting the jitters out is important. The sight of false albacore breaking 40 feet from the boat has a way of getting the caster so worked up he can only cast 30 feet. 
 

on a slower day might get only 15 really good shots at fishing feeding aggressively very close. 

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Stripping the fly the second it hits the water. Now this might be proper in blitzing schools of fish but when blind casting I see many fly fisherman stripping the second the cast lands instead of counting off 10-20 seconds before retrieving. Let the fly get in the zone. Especially with floating or intermediate lines. In shallow too, just count off less seconds.....

 

Not having direct contact with the fly. Rods 2-3' off the water. Line has a bend into the water while retrieving. Get that tip at or in the water and reduce slack to the fly. 

 

JMO

Edited by brushfly

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Even though it has been a really long time since I saw bluefish blitzing in the NH/Me waters I always make sure I have a fast sinker on a spare spool. While the blues smashing everything in sight on top is fun, there are often large stripers underneath those blues picking off scraps, of that's what we experienced at a certain stretch of Maine for several years. Always worth a try off a beach...

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This has happened to me a few times. Less common but very important.

 

Not having a firm grip on your fly line at all times while presenting your fly. Mostly 2 handed retrieving, either painfully slow or fast. I've had brutal takes right when I'm transferring the line from one hand to another and had the line torn from my fingers. In the second I scramble to get it back to strip set the opportunity is gone.

 

Happened while quick retrieving and while working a crab fly super slow. With the crab, the line was viscously torn from my fingertips by what was no doubt a really respectable fish. Not having a firm grasp with one hand before letting go with the other meant an opportunity wasted. I was really kicking myself for that one, as the fishing was very very slow and I had the only 2 takes out of hours of fishing between me and my buddy.

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