The Does and Don'ts of Fly Selection
Retiring from 25 years of guiding, or should I say guiding and teaching and having just watched Monty Pythons "The Meaning of Life" again, I can now give you some insight into the trouts view of the meaning of life. Eat a lot of bugs.
Armed with powerful insight I wander along the river bank to find surface feeding trout.
How do you select the right fly to catch a surface feeding trout?
Even though a trout is a simple creature with not too much brain power and very good eye sight (some say they are smart perhaps because they have difficulty catching them) but how do they make the choice to eat your fly. To give you an example let's take a CDC Fly Ant (Black) pattern. The trout will see a black ant drifting towards them on the surface or under water at about half a metre. The fish will recognise the ant as having six legs and a segmented body and it is black. So colour is important, shape is important and size is important. Wow. This is the meaning of life.
The trout distance eating check list for survival eating.
1. What colour is it? BLACK
2. What shape is it? SEGMENTED
3. What size is it? SMALL
Let's break down the trout's visual experience. Looking upstream the fish will firstly see colour in the distance then at the halfway point the shaped segmented body and at the very close range the size. If the checklist ticks all the boxes it will be the same as the last eaten ant. The mouth will open, the fly inhaled and the tongue will push against the roof of the mouth to make sure there is the wiggling sign of life, as apposed to the meaning of life, before it is swallowed. When you think everything is right and a refusal happens within a centimetre of your fly it is usually the size. Try changing from #16 to #18. 99% of the time the mistake is not fly selection but size.
To sum up the does and do nots. The does are the rights size, right shape and rights colour. The don'ts are spending too little time checking the bug being eaten and its size. Question: If you can see the mistake in this last paragraph your catch rate is going to greatly improve.