Micro-Flyfishing, Part 2

In micro-flyfishing you’ll involve yourself with a constantly changing approach to the stream. As you hunt for likely looking cover, try to stalk along the bank as much as possible and avoid the temptation to wade. Streamwalking sends shock waves to the quarry all too readily. Since trout face the current and are able to see in all directions but behind, it’s preferable to walk upstream along the bank or on the water’s edge rather than fishing down. Keeping out of view, you can often approach a trout to within a rod’s length from yourself.

Walking from one piece of water to the next, you’ll probably need to revise your strategy or adopt a new one. You could have a tiny pool in front of you one moment then, in the next, you’ll be looking at an undercut bank or a monstrous tangle of branches. For each new location, figure on a strategy that minimizes the risk of spooking the trout. Wild fish are always watchful to avoid the spear or the paw of predators, and with one wrong move on your part they are gone. Learn to recognize a trout’s protective shelter, which could be a deep hole, undercut, boulder, log, or other protuberance. A trout’s small house will always have a door from which it can scoot for a morsel of arriving food. A good house is one that allows the best security while minimizing the risk in grabbing food. Keeping this in mind, you’ll optimize your chances of success.

I use several different mini-casts while fishing the small stream. The first one is infrequently needed: the flyfisher’s forward/backward cast. In the wild trout’s tiny world (whether it be on a meadow brook or on a wooded mountain stream), you’ll seldom have the chance to do the far-and-fine. A second cast that I employ here is the underhand swing. When you’ve worked yourself into a ridiculous position surrounded by a welter of possible snags and overhangs, a cautious underhand swing may be your only hope for that hungry-looking trout. You simply swing your shortened line and leader to a point ahead of the fish and pray that the gods are on your side.

A third feed, the roll cast, is probably the one I use most often in the tight realm of the brook. With a length of line on the water in front of me, I raise the rod and line. With a forward snap of the casting arm, the wrist and the rod propel the line to another choice location. Finally, there’s a fourth cast that I’ll commonly use in restricted areas of the stream. It’s the bow, or bow-and-arrow, cast.  This one is a little tricky to learn, but once you’ve got it there’s a lot of good holding water that’ll open up for you, water that’s untouchable with any other type of cast.

The bow cast starts from a crouch on one or both knees. Facing the target area, grasp the barbless hook with two fingers of your casting hand. Pull back the fly and leader so that the rod flexes upward toward the forward cast position. Aiming at a target upstream of the trout’s location (real or imagined), carefully release the fly from your fingers. Try to keep your casts short and accurate and, as the fly drifts closer to you, keep the best part of your line and leader off the water.

When a fish rises or you see a flash of motion underwater, set the hook. Apply pressure on the fish by holding the line tightly against the rod’s handle and by stripping in excess line. Sometimes it’s good to use side-arm pressure on a larger fish to keep it away from obstacles like roots and logs.

[Part 3: Some challenges and satisfactions found in micro-flyfishing]

About rivertoprambles

Welcome to Rivertop Rambles. This is my blog about the headwaters country-far afield or close to home. I've been a fly-fisher, birder, and naturalist for most of my adult life. I've also written poetry and natural history books for thirty years. In Rambles I will mostly reflect on the backcountry of my Allegheny foothills in the northern tier of Pennsylvania and the southern tier of New York State. Sometimes I'll write about the wilderness in distant states, or of the wild places in the human soul. Other times I'll just reflect on the domestic life outdoors. In any case, I hope you enjoy. Let's ramble!
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2 Responses to Micro-Flyfishing, Part 2

  1. Mel says:

    Back for more of this great read on Micro Fly Fishing. Thanks for sharing and reminding of the necessary cautions an angler needs to take on small water. Casting can be tricky, but, the fishing will pay off!

    • Always welcome, Mel. I try to encourage this sort of fishing because most anglers tend to fish down where the stockers are and don’t give the higher country a chance to be enjoyed. There’s different ways to look at this, butsmall streams can be fun andthey help toease the angling pressure, too.


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