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Thread: I threw all of my conventional fly fishing rules to the wind today, and it worked!

  1. #1
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    Default I threw all of my conventional fly fishing rules to the wind today, and it worked!

    Guys I need some help unscrambling my brain. Before I tell you this story, this is not about fishing in the Smokies, but the point still remains. My favorite creeks in the entire world are Cosby Creek and Rio Costilla in northern NM. My son and I have spent two days fishing the Cimarron River in northern NM. It is similar to a Smokies stream in many respects, although the rocks aren't as slippery. Native brown trout habitat with "put and take" rainbows.

    So we spent a day and a half with traditional fly fishing - PMDs, EHC, dropper rigs, etc. Tight casting conditions due to brush, so you do a lot of high sticking. It was windy both days. We brought 6 fish to hand in a day and a half. All of them 8 inches or less. Terrible, but we aren't very good - we just don't get to go fishing much.

    So we run into a local Hispanic fly fisher from the area on the way up the stream right before we had to head back to TX today. He's actually wading DOWN the stream. I thought "what the heck is this guy doing? So rule number 1 broken right there. We asked him "how many have you caught?" He said "Maybe 25 in the last 2 hours". I'm like "you are such a liar" but he showed us some photos on his iphone. I asked him "what are you using"? He said "the best way to catch a lot of large fish in the Cimarron is with woolies". Sure enough, he showed me a fat and nasty looking wooly - I would guess a #10, with an even bigger top bug. I said "well can we watch you fish for a minute to see how you do it?" he said sure.

    So he proceeds to get in the middle of the creek, clanking and clunking around (rule number 2 broken). He then casts DOWN STREAM (rule number 3 broken), and proceeds to keep letting line out until the darn thing is 20-25 feet below him. He's holding the wooly in pretty fast CURRENTS (not a pool per se) (rule number 4 broken) with no drift whatsoever, just holding it, stripping in here and there, and sure enough, he hooks a fatty right there in front of us. That one got off, but my son and I just looked at each other. We thanked the guy and moved on.

    So my son re-rigged. Big black wooley and a huge top bug. He went to the next run, got ABOVE the run, cast DOWN STREAM, let it hold, and within 10 minutes he had a 14 inch, 2 pound rainbow to hand. 10 minutes later, it was a 10 inch brown.

    WTH This broke every rule I have EVER heard about fly fishing in a stream.

    1. Hike UPSTREAM.
    2. Cast UPSTREAM.
    3. Get a GOOD DRIFT.
    4. NEVER hold the bug up in the current
    5. The FISH AREN'T FEEDING IN THE FAST CURRENTS ANYWAY.

    Whatever happened here? This local guy knows how to catch the darn fish? But how is this possible? There are a lot of great fishers on this forum and I am looking forward to hearing your thoughts.
    Last edited by HuskerFlyFisher; 06-08-2020 at 11:01 PM.

  2. #2
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    When you say even bigger top bug, is that an indicator dry or another nymph?

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by JayR View Post
    When you say even bigger top bug, is that an indicator dry or another nymph?
    The top bug is a dry, and when my son rigged up, one took the top, one took the wooly.

  4. #4
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    He is doing what I have done for years and just call long lining, the varied twitch is key in my estimation and works especially well also on tail waters with rising or falling waters.
    Like any other technique some days works better then others. Drop the dry and try that too. Just another arrow in the quiver! Good luck with it!
    "It starts with a raindrop, don't let it end with a teardrop!"

    "Nothing straightens out my mind like a twisting mountain stream!"

    Follow the Great Smoky Mountain Trout Unlimited website:

    http://greatsmokymountain.tu.org/

    FACEBOOK: http://m.facebook.com/GreatSmokyMountainTU/

    "A true conservationist is someone who knows that the world is not given by their fathers, but borrowed from their children."

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by bigsur View Post
    He is doing what I have done for years and just call long lining, the varied twitch is key in my estimation and works especially well also on tail waters with rising or falling waters.
    Like any other technique some days works better then others. Drop the dry and try that too. Just another arrow in the quiver! Good luck with it!
    Good to know! My son and I were trying to "think like a fish" on the way back to TX and can't see how a fish looks at that thing sitting in fast current and considers it something to eat. But they do!

    Does this work in the large Smokies waters? Greenbriar, Little River, Luftee?

  6. #6
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    In answer to your reply I use it on all waters at times but higher faster water seems to trigger the hit. Just a thought but may be the fish feels it has to make a quick descion to strike or lose the meat. All theory..no science!
    "It starts with a raindrop, don't let it end with a teardrop!"

    "Nothing straightens out my mind like a twisting mountain stream!"

    Follow the Great Smoky Mountain Trout Unlimited website:

    http://greatsmokymountain.tu.org/

    FACEBOOK: http://m.facebook.com/GreatSmokyMountainTU/

    "A true conservationist is someone who knows that the world is not given by their fathers, but borrowed from their children."

  7. #7
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    Cool

    Quote Originally Posted by bigsur View Post
    In answer to your reply I use it on all waters at times but higher faster water seems to trigger the hit. Just a thought but may be the fish feels it has to make a quick descion to strike or lose the meat. All theory..no science!
    that's just crazy. All I have ever heard is to "fish in the cafeteria line" - the slower runs with bubbles and other critters. I've always heard that fish aren't feeding (nor loitering) in the rapids.

    This guy schooled us. I think sometimes the fish aren't impressed with all of our rules.

  8. #8
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    Funny...but I try to remember when I see the fast riffles and fast water on top I am just seeing the roof-top of the water. The water on the bottom (the basement) may be flowing at just 20% of the water on top.
    A great visualization of that if I remember correctly is in the video mentioned in the other post on here about Euro Nymphing a week back which I have. In the Video "Modern Nymphing" they take a black rod with tied pink ribbons at various points on the rod and stick it straight up in the water. The ribbons near the surface of the water (the roof) are fluttering like in a high wind storm but the one just inches off the bottom (the basement) is just barely waving in comparison. That is why every book, video, or guide says get it down with streamers or nymphs, if you ain't hangin up you are missing fish. I think it is the hardest lesson to learn as we are inherently lazy and hate changing flies, losing flies, or constantly getting hung up. The alternative of course is just go true old school and fish only dry flies while the kid below you fishes with a squirmy worm and 4 split shot and vacuums the river of fish!
    Last edited by bigsur; 06-10-2020 at 04:19 PM.
    "It starts with a raindrop, don't let it end with a teardrop!"

    "Nothing straightens out my mind like a twisting mountain stream!"

    Follow the Great Smoky Mountain Trout Unlimited website:

    http://greatsmokymountain.tu.org/

    FACEBOOK: http://m.facebook.com/GreatSmokyMountainTU/

    "A true conservationist is someone who knows that the world is not given by their fathers, but borrowed from their children."

  9. #9
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    The traditional way to fish soft hackles (Leisenring lift technique) is to cast downstream on about a 45 degree angle, let the fly swing across the current until directly downstream then gently lift the fly to the surface before picking up for the next cast. I do this quite often with excellent results on tailwaters and other larger, fast moving rivers. It also works with Wooly Buggers and other streamers. Pretty darned effective.
    Fly fishing - it's cheaper than a bass boat!

  10. #10
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    Well Iím sure glad the local fisher showed us, and you guys confirmed how this is done. For a very infrequent fisher like me, itís perfect because precision isnít required. I really appreciate it guys.

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