We all miss fish and lose fish on a fly. Why does it happen? Is it an accident? Is it avoidable? And how can we improve our hookup and landing ratio on the water?
If you’re at the point where you’re worrying about why you are missing and losing fish, then really. . . you know you’re already doing a lot of things right.
Fooling trout is the hard part. Fly fishing is not easy. And trout — especially wild ones — are not forgiving. They don’t grant you much grace. And rarely do trout take lousy presentations. So if you trick a fish into taking your fly, then pat yourself on the back. And when you start to fool them often enough that you notice a trend of missing or losing fish, then again, just know that you’re doing a lot of things right. Convincing trout that a fake fly is the real thing is tough. The rest? Well, it all comes a lot easier.
So, of course we want to land our trout. Missing and losing fish is frustrating after a while, because we sense there’s more that we can do to keep fish buttoned up. And really . . . there is. There are observable causes for trout missing the fly, just as there are mistakes we make on our end that result in another miss or a lost trout.
Like everything else in fishing, there’s a lot of nuance to this topic.
Reasons and strategies for missed and lost trout change whether it’s dry flies, nymphs, wets or streamers. Maybe a trout refuses our dry fly in a quick swirl as it rejects the pattern in a last second decision. It looks like the trout ate, so we set the hook and even feel the hook touch the fish, but we still miss it. This is not a hook setting error. It’s a presentation error. The fish refused the fly.
The same happens with our streamers. And this is where I think we see it the most. When trout charge the streamer and maybe even strike it — but if they don’t eat it, then no amount of perfecting the hook set will catch that fish.
So there’s a lot to see and understand, and this conversation helps bring a lot of that to light.
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