How smart do you think fish really are?

I mean it’s not as if they’ve managed to crawl out the water……yet we seem to spend an inordinate amount of time trying to figure them out.

There’s a lot to consider when throwing a fly at a fish and some might say a little too many variables when it comes to the temperamental movements of Trout

So what is real food for thought and what is just giving the dumb fish too much credit?

If you take the time to read just a fraction of what has been published over the decades, you’ll soon realise that there are not too many startling secrets about catching Trout on fly yet to discover, but there’s always a lesson you’ll learn on every outing.

In the fisherman’s bible of excuses we’ll blame everything from wind direction to the alignment of planets, for why we didn’t score, however, some anglers just seem to a floating four leafed clover on the water, so what are they doing different?

Now, I’ve been extremely fortunate to have thrown a line with some talented fly fishers over the years and observed their consistent, and to be honest, annoying habit of netting a brace irrespective of conditions, which begs the question why?

1. They are by and large organised, from the gear they bring to the table down to the layout of their fly boxes. So before heading out on your next fishing expedition, put some preparation time in. You don’t have to have every toy to play, but you don’t want to arrive at the water without the right gear either. If in doubt, to give you the basics for Winter dam fishing in the mountains just contact who will give you the right advice to make sure your fishing session is not a fruitless one.

2. They always put the time in! I’m a self confessed social fly fisher, but when it’s time to dabble, I make my time on the water count. We all know that the more one practices the ‘luckier’ one gets, so make sure the time you spend is fishing and not unravelling birds nests. Polish up on your knots, rigs and even get your casting arm well oiled on the front lawn. Time on the water should be productive.

3. They have a plan before launching. As opposed to drift aimlessly around hoping to bump into a Trout, scope out the water and decide where to concentrate your efforts. Inlets, outlets, structure and weed beds will be your focal points with consideration for time of day and depth at which you’ll retrieve. On Fishtube, you’ll find a little free tutorial that’ll steer you in the right direction,

4. They fish with the right fly, but ask them which one and you’ll get a multitude of different patterns. That’s because we’ve invented more flies than the food they feed on. So establish are they feeding or fornicating? If the latter then spawning fish will naturally attack colour more than pattern, so your disco imitations should get more attention. If feeding, then remember when fishing in the colder months, insect hatches are a lot smaller……so the size of your fly is a major factor. The fact is Trout rarely completely stop feeding, even when chasing tail.

5. They know how to fish their fly of choice. Stripping a little Zak nymph at the same pace as a Zonker just doesn’t make any sense. Knowing how to work that specific fly through the water in terms of the depth and retrieval method / speed is key. Too many details to delve into, but here’s a list of essential fly patterns for still water trout fishing and how to fish them.

6. They are patient, knowing that it’s only a matter of time. You gotta have faith in what you’re doing. Second guessing your strategy and tactics will have you peddling around the dam creating wake that will spoil any potential action. The more time you spend casting and changing fly the less time your pattern is in the strike zone. So slow it all down, keep your fly in the water longer and be confident that the fish will eventually find your fly!

7. They enjoy every moment on the water, some due to their competitive streak, but most great anglers I’ve met treat a piece of water like holy ground. It is their sanctuary, where they can relax and all they have to think about is the fish. There’s no real pressure, nothing at stake, just the mystery of what will induce a strike to unravel, which really is a fisherman’s process, so remember above all that fishing is a pastime, not a profession.

We all think it’s all in the fly, but quite frankly it’s all in your head, hence be prepared, have a plan, be patient and appreciate the moment.