· Fly Fishing Shaman
More times than not, this is what I see so many fly fishermen do, whereas they have the rod tip over to the side and about 3 to 4 feet up off the water and a big belly of slack in the line. That red already came by, bumped it, smelt it, tasted the fly and already spit it back out before you knew what was going on. You never even felt it! Why? Because you had all that slack in the line and were not directly connected to the fly. And once you moved it again, you spooked them off because at this point, they already knew something is not right with it.Two times yesterday I saw redfish, managed to get the fly in front of them, watched them race over to the fly (although, I can't be 100% sure on this, since I could not actually see my fly), then they get to the spot and stop. It certainly looked like they ate the fly, but I didn't feel anything so I don't set the hook until I can't stand it anymore....at which point I strip and the fish bolt out of there. I think next time I see this, I'm going to set immediately when they stop like that. What do you guys do in that situation?
Capt LeMay beat me to the punch!
Ok, so lets review this thing to know how to be more in-touch with your fly, even if you were a blind person!When the fish is right up on the fly (whether he's eaten it or not....... At the same time I want to see the tip of the rod actually in the water pointing directly at your fly. That way if the fish even kisses that fly you're gonna feel it and come tight on them (with absolutely no slack between the fly and your stripping hand).
1. - Square up and face the direction where your fly landed (and not the direction of the fish).
2. - Rod tip points directly to the fly (and NOT at the fish)!
3. - Fly rod tip is ALWAYS at, or touching the water!
4. - With your stripping hand, strip the fly close to the rod handle, keeping as much slack out of the line as possible, between your index finger that is on the handle, holding the rod and the fly line and your first stripping rod guide.
5. - As you strip, you continue to keep your rod pointing towards the fly and not the fish and tip remains touching the water. Don't lift the rod until either A. - you've already strip striked the fish.... or B. - you are lifting the rod tip up because you are re-casting the line (and at that time, I recommend water hauling the line to reload the rod to quickly get the fly back out there).
6. - IF you feel a bump in the fly line or rod tip (because, you are now in direct contact with your fly), give a little strip strike to see if there is anything there and then if you feel it stick, then strip strike it again, but harder WITHOUT lifting your rod. This hook setting technique with a fly (unlike what you would do with a spinning rod) is the best way to set the fly properly with a fly rod. If you trout set the fly by lifting your rod, then most of the time, you'll miss the hook set. ONLY when you feel a solid hook set on your strip strike do you lift the rod. IF, there was nothing there on your first initial strip strike (almost like a fast strip of the fly), then with rod tip STILL down, you can continue working the fly without having to re-cast it. And that initial single fast fly strip motion might just get the red's attention and you'll still be in the game.
7. - If this happens a few times, like Capt LeMay mentioned, change up your stripping fly speed or action. If it keeps persisting and the red continues to refuse it, then give it a rest, let things settle back down, change out your fly to something different and then try it again.