If wind makes the surface choppy or rain peppers the lake, the fishing may be good because trout aren’t as wary. They usually become more aggressive feeders, perhaps because they feel safer. Wind also blows insects across the lake. The frothy foam-lines capture bugs, too.
What To Do When A Fish Bulldogs You
A hooked fish will fight for its life–jumping, running, diving–and being an ethical angler, your job is to subdue and release it as soon as possible. Or kill it immediately if you’re going to eat it. (See Moveable Feast, September 1998, for tips on how to prepare the catch of the day.)
As soon as you hook a fish, keep the line tight. If there’s loose line on the water, crank it onto the reel. To bring the fish in, “pump” the rod by lifting, then lowering, the tip, reeling in the line each time you aim the rod at the fish. If the fish jumps, “bow” to it; quickly lean forward and stab the rod tip toward the fish and give it some slack as it jumps. If the fish “bulldogs” you, shaking its head and refusing to budge, lower the rod tip to the water’s surface and work it from side to side, reeling as you gain line.
When you locate a fishy-looking spot, polarized sunglasses will help you see through the water’s glare to spot anything with gills just beneath the surface. Don’t look for the fish themselves, because they’re well camouflaged. Instead, watch the bottom and look for shadows. Remember to take your time, and before you start fishing, stay as still as a kingfisher while you watch the Water.
Sensory Fishing: It’s All In The Touch And The Nose
To enjoy fly-fishing completely, you need to use more than your sense of vision. To find bluefish or striped bass along a beach, for example, find a spot where the air smells like cucumbers. That’s how experienced surf fishers describe the scent of menhaden–the bait fish–when bluefish and bass are attacking them.
When you’re night fishing, listen for the popping sounds many fish make when feeding. Largemouth bass often splash when they attack prey. A school of small bait fish sounds like rain as the fish jump into the air to escape an underwater predator.
An acute sense of touch will help you detect a bite. You can enhance your sensitivity by having a friend tug on your line ever so gently while you keep your eyes closed.
How Do You Loud A Fish? Very Carefully
Once a trout is within reach, avoid the temptation to touch it, which removes some of its protective body slime and renders it vulnerable to disease. Don’t take it out of the water, either, since its internal organs don’t handle gravity well.
If the fish is small, grasp the barbless hook and twist it free. If the fly is deep in the fish’s mouth, you may need your pliers to retrieve it, but it’s probably better to snip the line near the fish’s mouth and let it swim free. The hook will probably rust away.
To release larger fish, use a net made of soft material that won’t hurt the fish, and keep the net in the water if you can. If you must handle a fish to release it, wet your hands first to reduce damage to its protective layer.
If you hook one of the gills, the fish will die. Ethically, you’re obliged to kill and eat it. If you’re fishing on waters posted only for catch-and-release, you’re faced with a dilemma: Allowing the fish to sink is a sinful waste, but the law requires that you release it while it’s still alive.
When you must kill a fish, do it quickly with a stone or with a club anglers call a priest. Sharply strike the top of its head, gut it immediately, and either eat it or store it on ice.
Trout: A Fish That tires Passions And Hates cities
You can have your bluefish and bonitos and snooks and little tunys. When it comes to fly-fishing, there’s nothing like trout. More than two dozen differenct kinds swim in American waters, and all of them strike artificial flies. But fly-fishers don’t love trout because of the fish’s willingness to gobble flies. No, indeed. Trout anglers love the places trout love: clear, cold waters far from crowds. With few exceptions, trout cannot, or will not, live in urban waters.
As your grow into fly-fishing, you’ll discover that more has been written about trout than any other game fish. If you’re an empiricist, you can devote a lifetime to studying trout biology and behavior. If you’re a romanticist, you’ll love the stories of spring creeks, mountain streams, and trout sipping flies from the surface. In either case, you’ll soon realize that the realm of the trout–the backwoods, that is–is just about the perfect place to be, even when the fish aren’t biting.
Mind Your Manners
Within the rod-and-reel, catch-‘em-and-gut-‘em crowd, manners are simple: Don’t spit in the boat and don’t hook your partner in the head. Fly-fishers, on the other hand, take backwoods etiquette to a new level.
* Some of us go fly-fishing simply to catch some solitude. When you greet another fly fisher on the water, it’s all right to ask, “How’s the fishing?” If the angler mumbles a response and looks away, respect that person’s need for privacy, and move along.
* Don’t whoop when you hook a fish. It’s boorish and stupid.
* When two fishers meet on a stream and one is casting up-current as the other casts down-current, the angler moving up-current has the right-of-way.
* When a fisher tells you about a secret fishing spot, never return alone without first asking his permission. And never show the spot to anyone else!
* Never transfer a fish from one pond to another. It’s rude to relocate a fish, plus you may be introducing a disruptive species or disease into a stable ecosystem.