Before we move into the chapters on how to fish varies types of water, it may be a good time to summarise what has gone before.
The prime priority of any successful fishermen is to find where to fish. Locating fish or places where fish are most likely to be, is the prime criteria for success.
If you are fishing where there are no fish - you cannot catch fish.
It seems too simple and trite, but any day, on any water, there will be disgruntled anglers grumbling about the “lack of fish” - the fish are likely to be there, but not where these anglers are placing their flies and lures.
The next priority is to assess the best method of placing a fly or lure in front of a fish, or where the fish are likely to be. Very often your position relative to the fish, or its probable lie, can dictate how a fly or lure can best be presented to the fish.
In addition the skill level the angler has attained may limit the options available to placing a fly or lure where it can be effective.
So ‘how’ to put a fly or lure in a position where a trout might be persuaded to bite it is really a ‘where’ priority in disguise. As we will see in the following chapters: where the lure or fly is, in relation to the trout, is of critical importance.
How to put a fly or lure where it will be most effective is the second priority.
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The decision on what to fish with, i.e. what type of lure or fly, is made after the first two decisions are made.
If you have the choice, presenting a lure or fly that imitates, represents or approximates the food the trout is currently eating will maximise your chances of success.
Most experienced anglers will have less difficulty finding fish or their probable lies. They will have less difficulty working out how to present a fly or lure to that fish or lie. Also experienced anglers will have the range of skills necessary to present that fly or lure in the right place, even in difficult situations. They will be able to select a fly or lure to match the ‘Where and How’, more selectively.
For less experienced anglers, taking the time to first find fish to fish to, then select a method to place a lure or fly in front of that fish that fits their angling skills, and finally making a selection of the fly or lure, will be the surest way of increasing catch rates. As skills grow the process will take less time.
One thing I am very sure of, if the less experienced angler ignores the ‘Where, How, What’ process, and fires out casts any-old-where in the hope of catching fish, they will learn nothing.
Oh, they may well catch a fish occasionally, but that will be mathematics coming into play, sooner or later, if only by chance a fly or lure will flitter past a trout’s nose and it will grab it.
But it is a bit like buying a Lotto ticket where a trout is the prize, and with roughly the same chances of winning.
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Grip and Kill
The way a trout is held when taking a photo, (aka 'Grip and grin'), can easily turn into 'grip and kill' if the fish is not handled carefully and correctly.
The area above the pectoral fins, (the fins just behind and below the gills) contains the fish's heart and other organs; too much pressure applied to this area can lead to the fish's death.
For the full story on releasing fish with best chance of survival: