Presentation, Presentation, Presentation...
Guest Blog by: Alan Peak 5/22/2013
I could have named this a lot of things. Perhaps "forcing a fly to work" or "use the wrong fly long enough and it will become the right fly." But, I was fishing Deckers, a section of the South Platte known to dish out skunks and make you think that the trout are smarter than you. Other parts of the South Platte, especially the Dream Stream are the same way. Resident fish have seen every fly in every situation. They have seen every style of egg and midge known to mankind.
The difference in all of this, and making a fish seem less smart, would be your presentation. A poor presentation with the perfect fly will absolutely lead to a bad day. It will also lead to panicked changing of flies.
"We should have asked what he was using" was said to me on one of my guided trips recently. I knew what the trout slayer was using; as we walked past him on the way to another hole I glanced over at his Rs2's. Coincidentally the same fly I had tied on right after lunch. The difference was the drift. A clean sexy drift.
Last night I tied some flies not normally used. They had no thorax, wing casing, body, ribbing or any spiffy additions. Just thread on a hook. Even the hooks were not well thought out, they were left overs from other tying sessions.
When I arrived I surveyed the water and realized that the water had cleared up and slowed down. This was going to be a challenge as the trout were feeding, but they were not moving to do so.
So the search for the perfect drift with some less than desirable flies started. I used everything to my advantage. I found some fish sitting in a seam of quicker moving water so the had less time to look at my flies. I had to find the perfect depth to get the flies down to. I had to find the perfect amount of weight and the right configuration of the weight to make the flies sink just right. After all of that, my drift had to be effortless. If that wasn't enough, I did not watch the strike indicator, I watched the fish react to the files.
It ended up working. My wingless, thoraxless, ribless less than desirable flies started to work. Trout, I am smarter than you after all.
Frankly, I would have had a better day if I would have been matching the bugs a bit better. I have been fishing the South Platte almost daily and have the flies zeroed in. Today I just wanted to try something a little different.
What does this mean to you? The reports are normally right. They guys at the fly shop are normally right. It is just the presentation that can be the hitch in your good day. So, remain calm, do not change your flies that you have confidence in. Adjust your depth and weight. Keep as much line off the water and mend like you have never mended before!
You are smarter than the trout. Even that big old timer Rainbow Trout that has seen it all.
Alan Peak is addicted to fishing. By day he is a fly fishing guide and by night he dreams of his next day on the water. You can find him guiding and fishing primarily on the South Platte nearly every day of the week. If Alan is not with his family he is guiding, fishing or tying flies. If you see Alan on the water, say hello! Normally, he ties a half dozen flies of the day for each day for people he meets on the river.
Blog content © Alan Peak
Tiny Stevens, CO 5/22/2013 10:56:36 PM
Awesome experiment and interesting result Alan! It is interesting to me that it seems as though many of the things that you find, in fly fishing, relate to things in the spin fishing world too! Keep up the great work buddy, and excellent writing as well! Tiny
Flyrodn, CO 5/23/2013 6:42:02 AM
Preaching to the choir here. In the 80's when I had my shop in Grand Junction we used to tell people the three "P's" were the most important things when it came to fishing, presentation, presentation, presentation. In my book it has always been presentation first, size second, color third. If you're not catching fish after that, and they're there and feeding, consider pattern.
Coyute, CO 5/23/2013 8:10:38 AM
nobullfishing, CO 5/23/2013 8:28:57 AM
Agree with Flyrodn. U r preaching to the choir. Many people can talk the game, "its all about depth control n adjusting weight." I hear many people preach it but don't know how to apply it (SCA) when on the water. It's the large fish that require correct presentation n correct fly selection.
JKaboom, CO 5/24/2013 8:31:48 PM
Cool experiment and good write up!!!
SGB, CO 6/11/2013 6:54:44 AM
Alan (and Nobullfishing), Care to comment on how you produce the "perfect weight" and "right configuration" to arrive at the "perfect depth"? Love to hear your technique for tweaking depth control measures to dial it in. SGB
tay, CO 7/13/2013 11:35:17 AM
Awesome! Nice work. Now lets see if my presentation pays off.