Seek and You Will Find Fish

by Tony Bishop on March 26, 2008

In my book ‘Fishing Smarter for Trout’, (now on my site and free to read), I wrote under a chapter on finding trout…

Ask Questions on The River

A “I wonder if you could help, I am visiting the area and having trouble choosing the right fly,” question usually gains a positive and helpful response. I could not begin to count how many times that question has gained me a ‘guide’ for the day from locals only too willing to share the secrets of their river. Many times I have been able to return the favour when those fishermen visited my water. Some of these encounters have lead to long friendships.”

Well a couple of weeks ago I was fishing on the Tongariro and was experiencing a hard morning, I had caught nothing, hooked nothing. Then I started fishing below a lad of around 17 fishing the top end of a long pool. I watched as he hooked five fish and and landed three.

My feet were getting cold so I wandered up the bank, heading to the next pool, but as I passed the lad he also came out of the water to warm up.

We started chatting and he recognised me, and became keenly interested in the flies I was using. I quickly made it clear that I was much more interested in finding out what he was using, because whatever it was it was at least five times better than anything I had tied on.

Once I looked at his flies I quickly realised that it was not so much ‘what’ fly, as “what size’ fly. He was using size 14 and 16 nymphs, no gold bead, un-weighted, behind a thumping great heavily weighted ball of lead disguised as a nymph.

Now normally in a big river like the Tongariro I would not go below a size 12 nymph, usually weighted and always sporting a shining gold bead. They get to the bottom alright, but I guess they move pretty unnaturally once they get there. The little un-weighted nymphs, I surmise would really move about as the big currents moved them, much more naturally.

What ever the reason, they worked. So my new fishing companion and I moved on up the river catching a heap of fish, all on the little beasties. Fish I guess I would not have caught that day if I had not asked a question.

So, with a simple question I shattered my myth, ‘big water, big flies’, – a myth I had obviously been carrying around too long.

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