What are the most common fly fishing mistakes?
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Fly Fishing is a past time which many anglers seek to enjoy, throwing an artificial fly a couple of feet from the bank or a boat and waiting for that elusive tug on the end of the fly line. Fishing has been proven to actually lower stress levels, but what about when the fish aren't biting? Take a look at these top 11 mistakes fly fishing mistakes I come across out on the water.
#11 - Don't cast too far!
Fly Fishermen are under the influence that the further they cast, the more likely they are to catch fish. Now, under some circumstances this is true, the fish sometimes congregate a long way off shore on a weed bed or around a structure, but a lot of the time fish lay in close to the banks and follow the contours of the lake or river. Look for drop offs, usually a colour change in the water will show the deeper and shallower sections which fish like to patrol. Keeping your casts short also mean that you'll get better turn over, remember, presentation is everything!
#10 - Be gentle on the back cast.
Your back cast is key to achieving the best possible cast. Applying too much power into the back cast can mean that you let the rod fall too far, almost touching the ground. Lowering the rod can create all sorts of problems on your back cast, loosing energy and line speed, hitting the water and scaring anything around you or hooking trees or grass resulting in multitudes of lost flies and frayed leaders. It's good practice to stick to the 10-2 rule, like the hands on a clock. Keep your rod between these angles and you'll make casting a fly line so much easier. A common misconception when fly fishing is that the more power you give, the further you will cast. This is not entirely true unless you're a tournament caster.
#9 - Give the fish what they want!
Personally im a big believer that you will catch fish on almost any fly pattern as long you're in the right area and the fish are feeding. However, feeding fish are usually fixated on some sort of insect, so what's the point in throwing a big black wooly bugger when they're taking something minute from the silt or around weeded areas? Matching the hatch is key, present a selected fly near a fishes lay, in theory, would be more effective than casting any old fly to the water.
#8 - Choose your fly line
The traditional angler tended to use just one fly line, a floater. As fishing become popular, sinking lines were in demand! The intermediate fly line was born. A line which settles just below the surface and sinks at a rate of around 1.5 inches per second under no tension. Ideal for delivering your flies at a level plain beneath the surface. As anglers advanced further, heavier sinking got introduced to the fishing scene, sinking as fast as 8 inches per second! Choose your fly line according to the fishes depth. Quite often you see anglers using a floating line or intermediate fly line when the fish are deep or on the bottom. Get yourself some heavier sinking lines for the colder days and learn more about what happens below.
#7 - Talk to the locals!
These guys simply know where the fish live! Regulars on any fishing hole will always have an inkling on where the fish or what fly to try. Listening to stories at the bar and simply spending time on the water can put the locals ahead of the game. Get chatting to the locals, most are friendly, offer them a pint and they'll show you that secret hole!
#6 - Wear waders
This may sound a little controversial but on some areas of the lake you could find yourself in knee-deep of water. Fishing waders are a must as when casting a fly with very little back cast will hinder your distance, distance which is critical in these situations. Get your waders on and step out into the lake in search of fish-able water or simply to make a better back cast. Making sure your fly gets to where you want to with ease is part of the challenge.
#5 - Overcrowding
If an angler (or you!) is regularly catching fish the instinct of most is to try to get as close to the successful angler as possible, because that's where are the fish are, right? Wrong! More than likely there's just as many fish in those areas as in front of the other anglers. It's just the fact the lucky angler may have chosen the right fly, line or retrieve. Stay away form the crowds, this amount of fishing pressure will push fish into the quieter part of the lake or stream! You're better off staying in the quieter sections and waiting.
#4 - Wind knots
Wind knots are inevitable, simple as. Even the best casters in the world get wind knots in their leaders. This is usually down to anglers putting too much or too little effort into the cast. Wind knots form when the fly line collapses or hinges causing the fly to wrap around the leader. Mellow out, take some time out and regain confidence in cast gently.
#3 - Longer fishing rods wont make you cast further
Distance casting isn't to do with how long your fishing rod is, it's all about timing your cast perfectly with the correct amount of line. One tip I would give is to practice your casting before heading out on a lake expecting to reach the horizon. An instructor is a great way to iron-out any underlying casting problems!
#2 - expensive fishing tackle
expensive fishing tackle has never caught anybody more or bigger fish than someone with less expensive tackle. A lot of anglers fall into the trap where they need that $600+ fishing rod, or the most expensive waders. Simply go fishing to enjoy the sport, use what you can afford and catch plenty of fish doing so!
#1 - Pay attention to the weather
The number one mistake angles make isn't usually anything to do with their fishing ability or tackle choise. Paying attention to the weather and searching for the perfect fish feeding times is absolutely key. The better you understand weather systems, the more successful as an angler you will be. Weather systems and moon phases are two factors that have as much of an impact on fishing success as the type of fly or method you wish to use.