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Wait a Minute, Cast Somewhere Else

Ernest Hemingway had his Old Man and The Sea. Angler’s Covey has Anthony Surage who offers this tip for fishing the trico hatch in 11 Mile Canyon.


One of the most simplistic tricks, but most effective and overlooked, while dry fly fishing the famous South Platte Trico Mayfly hatch is to simply cast somewhere else. I have watched fly fishers cast again and again over the same fish in the same exact drift line hoping the fish will eventually take the fly. I do know that determination and persistence will often pay off, but I have found that if I simply take a few steps,  cast to a different fish in a different feeding lane, that I sometimes pick up a fish right away. Or even if I do not pick up a fish by casting in a different spot, I often will get a rise when I cast back to the original feeding lane. I call this “fishing in circles” and “resting the fish” or “finding a fish that wants to play.”  
When I think about it logically, this approach makes some sense. If I can turn around to cast to fish behind me or at another spot on the river,  then  the original fish I was trying to catch will quickly begin to set up and feed more heavily without me disturbing them. The fish quickly gets into a rhythm of its own with out sensing me,  the fly fisher, throwing line on top of them.  Even just resting the fish for a minute or two allows it to gulp down hundreds of bugs unmolested. Then, when I do come back to the fish and cast over him, I find him more eager to take my fly. The fish is less wary having enjoyed eating hundreds of “real” bugs.
When I am guiding others and we come back to the original run of fish, I will often say to my client, “Ok, they are off guard now.  Make your first cast count. Expect a rise on the first cast. Don’t tell the fish you are here again by making a bad cast.”  Over the last several days (and decades), I have given this advice to my clients and it has been effective.
I am not sure if there is some parallel that can be made to real life. Maybe it is as simple as knowing that when you find yourself doing the same thing over and over and it is not working, try something different. Or even if what you are doing is working, “examine” it, and try something new anyway. You might discover some new insight.
Hemingway’s Santiago said “I may be old and I may not be as strong, but I know many tricks.”  Maybe we can learn a new thing or two from Santiago or Surage!

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