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Page 187

famous. Oil the after noon of the second day, f spotted a rise on a 10-foot-wide offshoot of the main river, which was surrounded with brush and practically covered with a canopy of branches. My only approach was from downstream from the opposite bank, an J I took it. My first cast fell short. On my second cast, the fly floated perfectly over the are?i where I thought the fish was—but no take. My third cast was too long, and I hastened to pull in fly line before it floated over the fish, spooking it, I was a little late reacting, though, and the fly skittered across the surface as I stripped in line. To my surprise, the trottt smashed the fly.

We discovered later during the trip that lemmings were pari, of these trout*' diet. The little rodents occasionally swam across the river, and the trout slurped them up. One of my fishing partners had brought a hat adorned with hass bugs, inc!tiding some deer-hair mice, on that trip—only because it was his favorite fishing hat, not because he was planning on using the big flies on a trout stream. But after I caught that fish, and we figured out why, that stained and ugly little crusher became more an object of desire than a flush toilet.

Setting the Hook

No matter what kind of fly you're using, never wait to set the hook. Artificial flies don't feel at all like the real ones, and fish are quick to spit them out.

When fishing with dry flies, you'll know when to strike. As soon as the fish sips that fly off the water, lift the rod tip sharply while holding the line between reel and first guide firmly in your off-hand. Just make sure the fish actually has the fly first. It's possible to pull the fly away from the fish if you don't have much line out and you see the fish rise up to inspect the artificial fly. Don't react to the sight of the fish. Wait until the fly disappears before you lift the rod.

It's important that you don't have too much slack line on the water. Although you often need slack to prevent drag, don't have so much line out that you won't even move the fly when you lift the rod. To prevent this, always mend line as your fly drifts toward you.

It's difficult to detect a strike when drifting a nymph or a wet fly before it arcs down-stream and the line straightens out. Because the nymph is beneath the surface, and the line isn't under tension, a strike isn't obvious, and you certainly can't feel one. Closely watch the end of your fly line and strike sharply when you see a slight dip or a momentary pause in its drift. Often, that's the only clue you'll have that a fish has taken the fly. That's why many nymph fishermen strike at any seemingly unnatural movement of the line.

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Fish Recipes

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