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Switch Flies on Obvious Hopper Refusal!

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September 28, 2009

Switch Flies on Obvious Hopper Refusal!

By Kirk Deeter

You cast a hopper fly at a rising trout tucked against the cutbank... the fish follows your fly, and rejects it at the very last instant... what do you do?

The answer to this pop quiz question is D, switch flies.

Let's break down why that's the best answer...

Option A.  Sit on the bank and cry.  Nah, haven't cried since my Snoopy rod broke.

Option B. Cast again, this time tighter to the bank.  Nah, there's no reason to believe the fish will like the fly any more in a different line, if it clearly saw it, followed it, and refused it the last time around.  The number one instinct is to re-cast right away (oh, I need a better cast), and that's probably the worst thing you can do.

Option C.  Wait five minutes and cast again.  Well, yeah, but during those five minutes if you switch flies to another terrestrial... all the better.

Option D.  Yes.  Switch flies.  Guide Bob Lamm proved this lesson to me many years ago on the Railroad Ranch section of the Henry's Fork.  The switching of flies is particularly important when you are fishing hoppers.  If you get refused on a mayfly hatch, size down on the same pattern (or go to a cripple).  On the hopper bite... purely opportunistic feeding... assume it's a one-shot deal.  Three casts with the wrong bug at the right fish will put that fish down and shut off your opportunity.

Option E. Size down on your tippet.  Puh-leeze.  You're throwing a #10 Club Sandwich and you think the difference was 5X vs 6X?  No way.

Option F.  Move upstream, make downstream presentation.  A solid option number 2.

Option G.  Move on and find another fish.  What, are you nuts?  After one cast?  After a few casts with a few flies, then move.

Two more updates:  I went elkless for 2009 archery season; and TOMORROW Tim and I float the Colorado River with Joe Cermele from the Honest Angler blog.  Do you think there's any way he'll HONESTLY not get bounced out of the raft?

Deeter

Comments (9)

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from Koldkut wrote 4 years 29 weeks ago

I obviously would have missed that fish.....Joe's not going to know what to do in the CLEAN water.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from YooperRyan wrote 4 years 29 weeks ago

JC eh? Do I sense a future installment of hookshots in the works? Perhaps a little FT/HA showdown? that would be fun. If you had room, I could be convinced to call in sick. Pumphouse at 7? ;-)

Best of luck!

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from kirkdeeter wrote 4 years 29 weeks ago

Correct again Yooper... Hookshots in the works, Pumphouse for the start. I'm worried that we'll have room in the raft though... Cermele will no doubt want to bring the worm can, the live bait, the cooler, the lawn chair, the outriggers, the radios... I think Timmy's trying to fix a T-top on the raft, just so Joe's comfortable. We want to be good hosts, after all...

Nah, I'm just funnin' with Cermele here. He's a good buddy and the real deal with a fly rod. At least I think so... we'll find out tomorrow on the Colla-Ratta, wont we?

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from Alex Pernice th... wrote 4 years 29 weeks ago

Deeter, Family is planning on coming out towards Colorado sometime this year, we need to talk about getting a few casts off together... (No bait allowed...) I feel a one fly grudge match coming on!

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from buckhunter wrote 4 years 29 weeks ago

The one option you never mentioned was a little "twitch" to induce a strike as the fly passed over the trout. I've read about this move and have had mixed results with it. Mostly bad.

Archery elk is my number one favorite outdoor pursuit. If you didn't lose 10 lbs last week you didn't walk enough.

I'll try to help you guys out. I suspect when JC comes to visit you should have plenty of that dark beer in dark bottles around. No twist offs please.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from kirkdeeter wrote 4 years 29 weeks ago

buckhunter... I hear ya'. I'm still hearing the bugles in my head. Believe me, I marched... hope 10 pounds worth... sure felt like it. I swear, Friday morning, if you wanted to record a soundtrack of bull elk... I was in the spot. I had five working on five different tangents. Saw two. It was surreal. But I just never had a realistic, ethical shot. And as such, I am totally fine with the experience as it unfolded.

Alex... bring it on, lil' buddy. I'll be here (for the most part), and would love to fish with you... but I won't compete with you... we're on the same team.

Will keep you guys posted on the fishing tommorrow... looking forward to spending a day on one of my favorite rivers with two of my favorite people. It's why we fish in the first place...

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from Alex Pernice th... wrote 4 years 29 weeks ago

True, Deeter I know you like carp fishing, and I bet you like smallies, next time you fly into O 'Hare airport, take a few extra days and shoot me an E-mail and you can see fly fishing gone crazy... (Ever gone carp on 3 wts? its fun...) And we don't do it the same around here Kirk, More cat fisherman than fly fishermen.

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from aragonnapoles wrote 4 years 28 weeks ago

I'm waiting that multiblogger post (Tim,Kirk and Cermele)plenty of honest angling.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Wags wrote 4 years 28 weeks ago

Yeah, plenty of honest angling.........my Dad had a saying about such situations.......first liar don't stand a chance!!!

0 Good Comment? | | Report

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from kirkdeeter wrote 4 years 29 weeks ago

Correct again Yooper... Hookshots in the works, Pumphouse for the start. I'm worried that we'll have room in the raft though... Cermele will no doubt want to bring the worm can, the live bait, the cooler, the lawn chair, the outriggers, the radios... I think Timmy's trying to fix a T-top on the raft, just so Joe's comfortable. We want to be good hosts, after all...

Nah, I'm just funnin' with Cermele here. He's a good buddy and the real deal with a fly rod. At least I think so... we'll find out tomorrow on the Colla-Ratta, wont we?

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from Alex Pernice th... wrote 4 years 29 weeks ago

Deeter, Family is planning on coming out towards Colorado sometime this year, we need to talk about getting a few casts off together... (No bait allowed...) I feel a one fly grudge match coming on!

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from kirkdeeter wrote 4 years 29 weeks ago

buckhunter... I hear ya'. I'm still hearing the bugles in my head. Believe me, I marched... hope 10 pounds worth... sure felt like it. I swear, Friday morning, if you wanted to record a soundtrack of bull elk... I was in the spot. I had five working on five different tangents. Saw two. It was surreal. But I just never had a realistic, ethical shot. And as such, I am totally fine with the experience as it unfolded.

Alex... bring it on, lil' buddy. I'll be here (for the most part), and would love to fish with you... but I won't compete with you... we're on the same team.

Will keep you guys posted on the fishing tommorrow... looking forward to spending a day on one of my favorite rivers with two of my favorite people. It's why we fish in the first place...

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from Alex Pernice th... wrote 4 years 29 weeks ago

True, Deeter I know you like carp fishing, and I bet you like smallies, next time you fly into O 'Hare airport, take a few extra days and shoot me an E-mail and you can see fly fishing gone crazy... (Ever gone carp on 3 wts? its fun...) And we don't do it the same around here Kirk, More cat fisherman than fly fishermen.

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from Koldkut wrote 4 years 29 weeks ago

I obviously would have missed that fish.....Joe's not going to know what to do in the CLEAN water.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from YooperRyan wrote 4 years 29 weeks ago

JC eh? Do I sense a future installment of hookshots in the works? Perhaps a little FT/HA showdown? that would be fun. If you had room, I could be convinced to call in sick. Pumphouse at 7? ;-)

Best of luck!

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from buckhunter wrote 4 years 29 weeks ago

The one option you never mentioned was a little "twitch" to induce a strike as the fly passed over the trout. I've read about this move and have had mixed results with it. Mostly bad.

Archery elk is my number one favorite outdoor pursuit. If you didn't lose 10 lbs last week you didn't walk enough.

I'll try to help you guys out. I suspect when JC comes to visit you should have plenty of that dark beer in dark bottles around. No twist offs please.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from aragonnapoles wrote 4 years 28 weeks ago

I'm waiting that multiblogger post (Tim,Kirk and Cermele)plenty of honest angling.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Wags wrote 4 years 28 weeks ago

Yeah, plenty of honest angling.........my Dad had a saying about such situations.......first liar don't stand a chance!!!

0 Good Comment? | | Report

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