1. Never believe everything that you are told
Car park talk is often very misleading! You’ve a lot of people wanting to do better than you, so take most of the ‘hero chat’ with a pinch of salt.
“Yeah, I had 25 today, I reckon and I’ll be done by lunch time come match day!” Silly buggers!
I see this a lot and most of these HEROS are still scratching their heads come the late afternoon!
2. Check an area or a method but don’t get blinkered into thinking either is crucial
Saying the above, it’s always worth checking good solid info, there are some good guys out there, an area or a method may need looking at.
It can or can’t work but until you check it out, you’ll never know, so a little time spent scouting can help.
3. Move about and cover some water
You really can’t afford to stay put in an area for too long on practice days.
Use your time wisely and move about. This is anther common mistake I see anglers make. Sitting on top of fish catching one after another is never going to last.
A couple of trout or indeed takes in an area is enough for me, I don’t need to fill the boat!
4. It’s often important to find out where there’s NO fish than it is finding loads of them
Don’t be too worried if you’re not finding any action, you’re not over fish. This is good, you know that these areas are not worth targeting come match day! It’s not time wasted when you know where ‘NOT’ to fish!
5. Watch for takes
This can be done with any line from floaters to fast sinkers. I don’t want to give too much away with the sinking lines but with floaters, watch the loop that you create between the rod tip and the water, if it moves it’s a fish, hit it.
Don’t wait for the take at your hand, you can miss it or worse, strike to hard and snap.
6. Don’t be hasty in lifting your flies clear of the water to recast
The Hang is often talked about, it’s basically stalling your flies during the lift on sinking lines, it’s lethal at times.
But hanging means hanging, each fly left for a time before lifting clear of the water, 3 to 10 seconds, not 1, lift, 2, lift, three lift and cast!
I also like to move the rod tip as I do the hang, the fly quivers and it’s often enough to illicit a response.
7. Spoon your catch
Most of us don’t bother, the boys that know what they’re doing do. They know that often it’s imperative to know what the fish are eating. Not only to copy it, but at least to use flies that suggest it, to get an idea of size and colour of the food items being targeted.
And also to see how they should be fishing, presenting their flies to mimic the food source the trout are after!
8. Target better trout
I do this ‘A LOT’ and it can be feast or famine, but if you know how to target these special fish then you’ll have a HUGE marginal gain on your boat partner!
It may mean less takes and often fishing in quieter areas, something most anglers appear scared of, but it’s worth it.
On the first 2 day National on Rutland, 2016?? I’d bagged stockies superfast on day 1, but on day 2, I’d only managed 1 stockie by 1pm, worrying to say the least!
I had to get the okay from my boat partner. Martin Griffiths (he’d had a bad day the 1st day, his boat partner took him to some strange places) to head away to quiet water and go hunting big fish, and after giving him the fly, my little Popper Fry, Steve Cullen’s Popperfry he agreed.
I landed another 2 fish (and lost more) but these fish were both over 5lb. my three fish on day 2 were beating other bags of 6 stockies!
9. Check your hooks
We neglect this far too often, I have done it and it has cost me dearly. You get a take, miss it, then another, but you just keep fishing, DON’T! Check the hook!
It’s only to easy for a fish to turn the hook point over on a hard take. You need to be on top of things! I carry a hook sharpener a good one that cost decent money, it’s a great investment!
10. Keep your own council
If you nail it in practise, why tell the world? By all means talk about the day, a method or an area, be sociable, after all that’s what’s all about for some, but if you want to be better than others, don’t give the game away, loose lips etc!