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Trout Question and Answer

Spooning Reveals All

Q. After receiving the Total FlyFisher marrow spoon free with the June issue I try and make a point of spooning all my fish. While some may have food in them, others have nothing. Are they not feeding or do they eject the food during the fight?

Peter Dorset

Steve Cullen Answers:

A. Taking an interest in what a trout is eating can be a great way for anyone getting into the sport to leapfrog those who are learning with them. It will give you an insight into their feeding habits and behaviour and this can help when it comes to catching more a lot!

Everything that a fish does is linked in some way to what they are feeding on, so knowing this is very important. If you make a habit of spooning every fish that you catch, you’ll quickly build up a picture of what the most abundant or easy-to-target food forms are. This goes for any stillwater. Knowing this key information will help you in the tying of flies to help resemble the food items and this will go a long way when it comes to putting more fish in the net.

Often, the spoon is empty because the fish may well have been put into the water recently and have nothing left in their stomachs. They have not yet switched on to naturals and it’s these fish that often fall victim to lure fishing tactics. At other times you may just find the odd little morsel in the marrow spoon because the fish simply isn’t eating. There’s not enough of a food source for it to eat at that particular time. However, given a good hatch over a day or two that same fish will be full to bursting!

Don’t worry if the spoon is empty; it quite often is. The fish can still be caught but perhaps lures would be a far better bet than going imitative.

Distance Casting

Q.I really struggle to get any distance when casting. Will this hamper me and is there anything that I can do to make me cast further?


Steve Cullen Answers::

A.Each and every newcomer to the world of fishing will have something or other that they are concerned with and casting is normally the main one!

Don’t be too worried about how far you can cast, it often really doesn’t matter that much, especially on smaller stillwaters. People forget that most of the fish are hugging the bank. This is the main feature and trout love features. It’s all too easy to get hung up on the distance that you’re casting; you really need to focus on accuracy. Is the fly going where you want it to go and is it turning over properly? This is key to having the fishing straightaway. It’s all very well getting a bit of extra distance but if it hampers the turnover of the fly, and therefore its likelihood of fisshing effectively, then you’ve missed out.

Always concentrate on your presentation first. Deliver the fly to where you want it to go and thenthink about distance. There are a few things that will help you get the fly further, though. Try using weight-forward fly lines with heavy front-profile tapers. These will load the rod quickly and the recovery and forward stroke will then allow the line to go further.

Tapered leaders are another good bet. They allow the transfer of energy from the fly line to the fly, not only adding turnover but also allowing you to get more length into your cast. Clean your fly lines regularly – it’s amazing the difference in distance that can be achieved. A dirty fly line will not be able to shoot through the rod rings as well as a nice, clean, smooth one will – fact.

Finally, give your fly line a bit of a helping hand with something like Airflo Whizz Lube. It’s a blend of lubricant that repels water, allowing you to achieve a few extra yards on your cast.

The Ultimate Figure-Of-Eight

Q. I have seen a chap at my local fishery who always retrieves figure-of-eight style with one hand. He never uses the index finger on the rod handle like the rest of us and, what’s more, he seems to catch more trout!

Paul, Motherwell

A. Isn’t it funny how often a subtle variation in one person’s techniques can have such a dramatic outcome when it comes to catching fish! Most of us, certainly the majority of people that I see fishing, retrieve with the line coming in over their ‘trigger finger’, the index finger of the hand holding the rod. I used to do thisan awful lot, to o, and sometimes still do, but only when fishing at pace.

If you watch anyone who retrieves one-handed, you’ll notice how smooth everything is. It’s a continuous movement, which you can do at a very healthy pace, which allows the line to travel back in a very clean, precise manner. To get to grips with this retrieve style you need to practise. As with most things, the more you do it, the better you’ll get. You need to train your mind to feel for the various takes; different sensations can be felt up the line. It’s weird but it’ll all make sense if you try. By retrieving normally, through the trigger finger, you rely totally on the triggerfinger response. It’s the first port of call for any takes and the response is good with most reasonably skilled anglers. With the fly line feeding straight into the retrieving hand, however, you’ll feel any resistance a lot quicker and more easily, which means you’ll catch more trout! When you get into the swing of things with this retrieve there’s no going back. If you watch a fly retrieved through the trigger finger and one straight into the hand, you’ll see just smoothly the fly travels with the second method. One of the other benefits is that you’ll connect with more fish.