Ae
It’s hard to articulate the subtleties in something like casting a fly rod because there’s the discrepancy between what you think you do and what you actually do in addition to things you don’t even realize you do.
Fishing for insight 032917 AE 1 For the Capital City Weekly It’s hard to articulate the subtleties in something like casting a fly rod because there’s the discrepancy between what you think you do and what you actually do in addition to things you don’t even realize you do.
Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Story last updated at 3/28/2017 - 7:55 pm

Fishing for insight

So my buddy Rob and his wife Mandy moved to Ketchikan from Montana in the fall. Rob and I graduated from Klawock High School together and since the winters in Montana are worse (excluding this March fiasco) it hasn’t been a big adjustment for either of them. Except for the fly fishing. They are used to watching rainbow and brown trout take their dry flies on rivers that meander though meadows. They use grasshopper patterns and caddis and other fun bugs. While there is certainly a place for dry fly fishing here, it’s not really this time of year. So I met them at the river to give them the basics, which is always funny because I’m not the dude you ask for instruction.

It’s hard to articulate the subtleties in something like casting a fly rod because there’s the discrepancy between what you think you do and what you actually do in addition to things you don’t even realize you do. There are lots of things that can, and do go wrong when using heavier subsurface flies to catch trout rather than neat flies that sit on the surface. I analyzed what I said after I said it and checked it for truth. “So you don’t have to worry as much about a drag-free drift. You can have the fly twitching and moving and swinging because the fish are aggressive.”

Truth.

“Start out in front of you, then work out and downriver systematically to make sure you cover all the water.”

Truth. You cast in front of you, let the fly swing as you turn your rod until it’s pointed downriver. Then either cast a foot or two farther, or take two steps downriver and make the same cast. I then proceeded to throw a cast ten feet farther after taking four steps down river. I lied with my actions. I realized I was telling them what to do based on what I had read or seen in videos, but when it came down to it, I was doing what I do. What I discovered worked best for me. There were names probably to what I do and how I catch fish, but I didn’t know them when I started because that’s not important. If you can make a beautiful D loop but can’t catch a fish, then when you go to the river you’re going casting, not fishing.

I then finally gave them the information that will be the most helpful.

“So you’ve got some hungry fish out there.”

“Yeah.”

“And no matter how ugly the cast is, you need to get your fly out there.”

“Right.”

“And what you’re throwing at them doesn’t exist in the natural world like a hopper does.”

“Yes.”

“So just get it out there somehow, keep connected to the line, set the hook on a fish and keep the line tight. Whatever it takes for you to do that, do it.”

“Sounds good.”

This is why I don’t guide.

Jeff Lund teaches and writes out of Ketchikan.