Steelhead Bump

Discussion in 'Steelhead' started by gbeeman, Jan 6, 2006.

  1. I don’t think I’ve seen this addressed before. What do you do after you receive a “bump?” I usually swing the fly through the same area another time or two and then move on. I’m beginning to wonder if I might be better off to change files and take a few steps up river before starting again. Thoughts?

  2. I would do the same thing with one or two more swings the same way.

    Then I would very quietly move upriver a few yards and try to repeat or recreate the previous series of actions, swings etc that had elicited the strike or bump to begin with. I might use the same fly, or I might change it. If I know there is a fish around, and it had hit my fly with even an noncommittal bump, Im not leaving that area. Im going to get back upriver and rework that situation.
  3. iagree . If the fish doesn't pull again, step back, let it rest for a few minutes, change profiles and silhouette and swing just above where you think the lye was. If nothing else you know where a holding lye or moving lane is for later on- document it.
  4. My approach in this situation is almost the exact opposite of Skwala's -
    First it is important to realize that when a steelhead takes a fly it has moved from it is position to do so. Immediately after the take the my return to its original holding area or lay but move often (especially in the winter or with traveling fish) they merely reposition themselves. It has been my experience that the repositioning often results in fish being downstream of the starting location. I have found that if the fish is immediately shown the fly again there is a probability of a more solid take.

    To be able to show the fly to the immediately after the take the angler needs to be aware of where the fly was when the fish took and where the fish would likely re-position itself. Knowing where the fly was is aided by noting the length of line out and the downstream angle at the time of the take. Knowing where the fish will re-position depends on the visisbility, current, and amount of cover. However with experience one can guess correctly surprising often.

    Following a gentle pull my next cast is typically at more of downstream cast aimed several feet upstream of the suspected holding spot - slack line is then fed to the allow the fly to sink to just above the holding fish and then allowed to fish. Depending on that situation and my comfort in predicting the location of the fish I may make several such cast to slightly different spots.
    While it is surprising on often that approach results in another take if one does not occur (and no one else is fishing the water) I typically quietly step out of the water change the fly to a different profile and move upstream and refish the water, typcially a little more careful than the first time through - if I was moving 4 or 5 feet between each cast I cut the distance to maybe 1/2 that.

    A special cast the happens fairly often, especially if the take is in shallow water is that the spooks itself. It that case the fish almost always moves to heavier cover - typcially further out from the bar and upstream. If I suspect that is the case then I make a guess at what cover the fish will be using and attempt to cover the best I can.

    Obviously the more you encounter such situations the better you get at getting the follow take. The best skill the angler can practice to facilate this is keeping good track where the fly is in the river at all times. There are more than a life time of skills one can master in this game we call fly fishing. And as the responces show there is always more than one option to solving a given puzzle - experiment and find what works for you.

    Tight lines
  5. Smalma, the exact opposite? I think you're saying the same thing as me. If you consisder the fish as moving above it's percieved lye, then you don't run the chance of swinging past/below as you can work your swing above and down to it. I have very liittle success moving a fished that pulled and didn't take with the same pattern, and it's not because of presentation. My proven success has come from- regrouping/resting the fish, taking a few steps back as mentioned above, and changing to a smaller profile and either darker or lighter color depending on what got the pull. Obviously if a dark silhouette moved the fish I'm not going to change to a bright, unless warrented by the conditions.
  6. Skwala -
    It is only different in that I attempt to immediately "cover" the potential fish re-positioning itself to a new downstream lie. That comes from my experiences with waking dries for summer steelhead. I can't begin to count how many times that a fish that "missed" the fly was moving about "looking for the escaped fly"; typcially downstream of the original rise. If I covered the fish immediately an aggessive take was the most common result. By apply that approach (with the obvious sub-water adjustments) I was able to achieve immediate succes. By making the same cast (which only shows the fly to the fish that returned to the original lie - which by the way happens most frequently if the fish was holdng on some specific sturcture) and then moving upstream and changing up you delay presenting the fly to those fish. Will they still take - you bet.

    The real key is too have a systematic approach that maximizes the chances of showing the fly to the fish again. Finding winter steelhead that is willing to play is rare enough that we don't want to waste the chance at success. At the same time you want to do so as efficiently as possible. We all develop nuances in our "game" that works the best of each of us. I was just trying to lay out what my current thinking is. Trying to articulate my thoughs helps crystalize my thinking.

    Tight lines
  7. Agreed, that definately makes sense for surface/film fish that are still triggered by the wake and winter fish that are hard to move in the first place and need to be taking advantage of in that fleeding short window.
  8. well i for one stink at getting second shots....of the last 8 or 10 pulls that have for sure been fish and not hooked up solidly, not one of them have i been able to get a second strike from.
  9. I would recomend a sack of rocks and 2 or 3 m-80's, because sometimes a steelhead will get touched by the fly, and not want to come back. Only method I know of thats 100%

    Seriously, sometimes when I am swinging on the big river if I get a bump I will mend the next cast to move faster or slower depending on water temp, and somtimes that does the trick.

  10. Andy, you been hangin' with teeney?:p
  11. Curt,

    A very good friend is a master at patience when he brings a fish to the surface. He waits an average of 5 minutes between casts. I rarely have that much patience and usually will try to hit them right away. Sometimes works. Sometimes doesn't. I can usually get a second rise and if it doesn't draw iron that's pretty much it. No so for my friend as he puts on a clinic from waiting it out. To the tune that I can only recall one fish he hasn't pinned up over the past several years. That particular fish came to his fly 6 separate times. He is unbelievably efficient in closing the deal. His experience over the past 25 or so years of skating dries lead him to the longer you wait the better your odds. Keep the casts to a minimum. I can't argue with his approach as it's so damn effective. He uses the same waiting tactic on winter plucks and pulls and has very good conversion at getting them back as well.

  12. You talkin' bout my moma, cause you don't wanna do that boyyyy. Get back, you don't know me like that.

    JT you my boy!

  13. Inland -
    Great report - unfortunately we all are not built with that kind of patience.

    As I said earlier there are number of ways to get the job done. While the skated dry has a different set of problems the swung fly for winters. However if we understand how the fish behavior and react we can gain insights to potential solutions.

    One of the nice things about the summer steelhead is that we often are fishing over holding fish. This means that after a take the fish will return to the same spot fairly reliably.

    My solution to the fish that missed my skated dry is somewhat different to your buddies however I think we are take advantage of the same behaviors. Most of my experience has been in Western Washington (Stilly Deer Creek fish and hatchery fish). Typically the majority of the fish that I rise have moved/following the fly. As I said in the bump discussion after a rise I try to immediatley cover the area that I think the fish is actively search for the missed fly - again am assuming that I'm not sharing the water with other anglers. If I don't recieve a positive response in a cast or two I carefully mark the spot and continue working my way through the run with the idea of returning to re-fish that water. Either my approach or your buddies gives the fish to return to its holding spot (which I also have noted it takes a few minutes for that to occur). On my next trip thur the noted holding spot(s) I typcially change up the pattern.

    While I don't get the noted fsih every time I would say the majority of the time I do get a second (sometimes more) chance. Part of the difference maybe the difference in the willingness of the fish to take (I have higher success rates with Deer Creek fish than hatchery fish). I up side of the my approach is that I often hook a second fish below the first marked spot. Ususally I can land that fish without spooking the fish above - where if I hook the upper fish I feel it reduces the chances of hooking the lower fish. Suspect that changes with the river (size) and conditions.

    Fun stuff -- love seeing how different folks approach/solve the fishing problems we face.

    Tight lines
  14. Something important as a side note. If you get pulls on the hang down (end of the swing), undersatnd that that fish is very unlikely holding there. Instead this is a fish that moved from its lye and followed the fly for closer examination. The key here is to emulate the same swing in the same general arc at the same depth to see if you can get a look.:thumb:

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