Practice pays off

Fly fishing beginner Keith returned for a trout session having taken my 1hr casting lesson a few weeks back. I was glad to hear that he had been practising in his local park. We started off with a 45 minute casting refresher. His hard work had paid off in the form of consistently narrow loops. There were a few things still to work on, but he was clearly going to be able to present his flies to the trout OK.

We did some dry land exercises to simulate bringing in a fish. This is well worthwhile – when you hook your first ever trout, you don’t want to lose it. Then we went through the knots and connections needed to rig up a rod and line from scratch, and discussed tackle and tactics for trout fishing at Rib Valley.

It was time to start fishing. With a damsel nymph on a floating line, Keith set to work covering the water. No takes were forthcoming for a while, but there was plenty to learn and practise including how to get the line and fly onto the water to start with, roll casting, retrieving the line and striking.

No action after 30 minutes; time for a change. Casting was going well so I figured we could get away with two flies without the risk of tangles. A daddy longlegs went on the dropper and a black and green lure on the end:

Black and green trout fly

We moved down the lake to the windward end. On about the fifth cast Keith’s rod took on a bend as he struck into a fish:

Playing a trout

He kept the line tight and brought it to the landing net in good style – his first ever trout:

Keith's trout

That was on the black and green – a consistent fish taker here. It was now the end of the lesson but I asked Keith if he minded me taking a few pictures while he fished on.

First he had to change to barbless hooks for catch and release fishing. Amongst his newly purchased flies we found a small black lure to go on the end and a dry daddy for the dropper. I figured the latter would float for a bit before being pulled under on the retrieve. It looked very obvious bobbing on the wavelets and I remarked that it would be nice to see a trout take it. Shortly afterwards that’s exactly what happened as a spotted head appeared and engulfed it!

Keith was on his game and connected with a smooth strike. He unhooked this fish in the net as we were going to release it (trout are best not removed from the water):

Unhooking a trout

I suspect Keith will be practising again soon to develop his casting further and pave the way to more success in the future.