Tough day on drys

geo4316

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Fished my local rainbow fishery today & blanked. Lost one at the net & must have risen at least a dozen others on deer hair emergers. Never even jagged any of the other fish i tried everything, striking straight away, pausing, not striking at all but no luck. Very enjoyable but frustrating day. Should i have tried smaller flys? I was fishing 2 size12s
 

mc nab

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May sound daft, and I only say because it's happened to me but check your hook points. I had an evening on a river where fish were rising to my fly with almost every cast but I couldn't hook one! I had a bent point. Ofcourse you may find nothing wrong with your hooks but it's just something to rule out.
 

matoakwell

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Could be several things. Flies too big, tippet too thick and / or floating. Could also have tried a different shape fly. They may have been drawn to your fly but turning away at last second as not looking like the natural they were feeding on (assuming there was a hatch?).

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boisker

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I don’t fish still waters.... but when fishing a river on slow glassy pools if I encounter a similar scenario where I have a number of rises but don’t even touch them, I would drop to a smaller size fly... i will often change to griffiths with the hackle cut flush underneath so that the fly sits right in the film...
 

thetrouttickler

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I sometimes read that trout bump flies to make them sink. It will look like a rise when it isn't. Why they do this, I don't know. Perhaps to cripple the emergers. I don't think I have ever witnessed this behaviour (sounds more like a stillwater thing where there is less time pressure to eat a passing morsel).
 

Scotty Mitchell

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Was your leader sunk below the surface, or could you see it all the way to your flies?
Floating leader on stillwater can lead to what you describe as the fish sees the leader aborts the take at the last second.


Sorry Matoakwell just realised you had covered this.
 
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BobP

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Fished my local rainbow fishery today & blanked. Lost one at the net & must have risen at least a dozen others on deer hair emergers. Never even jagged any of the other fish i tried everything, striking straight away, pausing, not striking at all but no luck. Very enjoyable but frustrating day. Should i have tried smaller flys? I was fishing 2 size12s
When did this action actually occur? Within a few seconds of the flies landing, or later if they were just left there?
 

Cap'n Fishy

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Fished my local rainbow fishery today & blanked. Lost one at the net & must have risen at least a dozen others on deer hair emergers. Never even jagged any of the other fish i tried everything, striking straight away, pausing, not striking at all but no luck. Very enjoyable but frustrating day. Should i have tried smaller flys? I was fishing 2 size12s
Could be wrong profile of fly. Could be wrong size of fly. Could be floating leader. Could be a combination of these...

A question... is your water heavily-fished and has a lot of catch & release?

This is in part just a hypothesis, but it is gathering weight with time for me...

I have found over recent years that, as the level of catch and release goes up and up, more and more fish are caught and released several times each. The more they are caught and released, the more twitchy they become. So, you can find yourself alongside someone who is fishing big, crude CDC shuttlecocks tied with a dozen plumes, while you are fishing nice slender imitative dries. And the guy beside you is catching fish, while all that you are doing is bringing fish up that are having a look and aborting the take without going off with the fly. But if you look at the fish the guy beside you is catching, they are just recent stockies, for whom the big CDCs look like something they might eat instead of a pellet. The fish that have been caught several times are not fooled by the crude CDCs and don't even look at them. Likewise, the stockies are not even noticing your small dries. The wary residents do notice them and they come for a look, but their 'danger circuitry' is ramped-up and at any sign of something not right - they abort the take. And let's be honest, at best our attempts to imitate an insect are fairly crude and dependent on a level of naivety from any fish that is going to take it.

Col
 

mackiia1

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I agree with Col - fish that have been caught and released several times can become very nervous.
I fish a small stocked fishery which is only stocked only 3 or 4 times a year . After a recent stocking , the fishing is usually pretty easy - give it a forthnight and its a different story .
The lake is always full of fish and CnR is pretty much practiced by most anglers - the fish don't stay stupid for long.
If you are not fishing light and small , it's tough going.
 
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eddleston123

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I agree with Col - fish that have been caught and released several times can become very nervous.
I fish a small stocked fishery which is only stocked only 3 or 4 times a year . After a recent stocking , the fishing is usually pretty easy - give it a forthnight and its a different story .
The lake is always full of fish and CnR is pretty much practiced by most anglers - the fish don't stay stupid for long.
If you are not fishing light and small , it's tough going.
Hi mackiia 1,


So, that does not concur with the theory that trout only have a memory span of some 5 minutes - as their brain is only the size of a pea!

I've never gone along with this, and your post displays one of the reasons why.



Douglas
 

thetrouttickler

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Hi mackiia 1,


So, that does not concur with the theory that trout only have a memory span of some 5 minutes - as their brain is only the size of a pea!

I've never gone along with this, and your post displays one of the reasons why.



Douglas
I read how trout in Chile or Argentina lock on to either the male or female of an insect species I can't recall, perhaps a wasp. The gender is identified by a different colour. Only fly patterns with the correct colour catch trout. The trout have learned that one of the genders stings (fish supposedly don't feel pain either, remember).
 

mackiia1

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Hi mackiia 1,


So, that does not concur with the theory that trout only have a memory span of some 5 minutes - as their brain is only the size of a pea!

I've never gone along with this, and your post displays one of the reasons why.



Douglas
Douglas
I have been guilty in the past of thinking Rainbows were stupid and easy to catch.
Experience has taught me that freshly stocked Rainbows are easily caught - but fished that survive the first few weeks soon wise up. Fish that have been in a water for a long time and are feeding naturally are nearly as smart as a big wild fish.
 

eddleston123

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Hi Mackiia 1,

I suspect the 5 minute memory span theory comes from the rare occasion when someone has reported being broken by a good fish - And then almost immediately cast over the lie again, hooked the same fish and retrieved his/her fly.

Not saying that that has never happened, but as above - 'A rare occasion'

The longer a stocked fish remains in the water (without being extracted and killed) the wiser and more difficult it is to catch!! I am not much of a Stillwater angler, so I am happy to be corrected on this subject.



Douglas
 

mackiia1

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Hi Mackiia 1,
The longer a stocked fish remains in the water (without being extracted and killed) the wiser and more difficult it is to catch!! I am not much of a Stillwater angler, so I am happy to be corrected on this subject.
Douglas
Thats a pretty good take on it Douglas - in my experience anyway.
Wild fish are the same to a degree.
On Corrib where I fish fairly often - smaller fish make up the bulk of the (my) catch. Obviously there are more smaller fish to be caught but smaller fish will definitely put up with more boat traffic and angler activity than the bigger, smarter fish.
The best fish are extremely wary of boats and I have seen feeding fish melt away as soon as a boat gets within 50 yards of them. Stealth is vital to catch these fish. Not easy at all.
 

Cap'n Fishy

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Hi Mackiia 1,

I suspect the 5 minute memory span theory comes from the rare occasion when someone has reported being broken by a good fish - And then almost immediately cast over the lie again, hooked the same fish and retrieved his/her fly.

Not saying that that has never happened, but as above - 'A rare occasion'

The longer a stocked fish remains in the water (without being extracted and killed) the wiser and more difficult it is to catch!! I am not much of a Stillwater angler, so I am happy to be corrected on this subject.



Douglas
I don't think it has much to do with memory (and Mackiia1 didn't even mention memory!). All creatures have an inbuilt instinct to survive. Try to swat a bluebottle and it flies out of the way. The survival instinct probably gets suppressed in stock fish as they swim round and round, being hand-fed pellets every day. From the minute they are released into the 'wild', the clock is ticking for them to get their act together and get their survival instincts to kick-in before something catches and kills them. The longer they survive, the more the life experiences they encounter fine-tune their behaviour without them needing any 'intelligence' or 'memory'. Those that don't adjust get caught - if not by anglers, by predators. The longer an individual survives, the more it automatically belongs to the smaller and smaller percentage of individuals that are the best at surviving... and are, by that measure, the hardest to catch. This will probably include them being extra wary of eating anything that seems like it might be a trap.

Or something like that...

Col

PS: And by the same means... in wild fish... it's how big fish get to be big... 😜
 
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eddleston123

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I don't think it has much to do with memory (and Mackiia1 didn't even mention memory!). All creatures have an inbuilt instinct to survive. Try to swat a bluebottle and it flies out of the way. The survival instinct probably gets suppressed in stock fish as they swim round and round, being hand-fed pellets every day. From the minute they are released into the 'wild', the clock is ticking for them to get their act together and get their survival instincts to kick-in before something catches and kills them. The longer they survive, the more the life experiences they encounter fine-tune their behaviour without them needing any 'intelligence' or 'memory'. Those that don't adjust get caught - if not by anglers, by predators. The longer an individual survives, the more it automatically belongs to the smaller and smaller percentage of individuals that are the best at surviving... and are, by that measure, the hardest to catch. This will probably include them being extra wary of eating anything that seems like it might be a trap.

Or something like that...

Col

PS: And by the same means... in wild fish... it's how big fish get to be big... 😜

Well, I must admit, that I just don't know, but I find it difficult to accept that the 'Survival Instinct' has nothing at all to do with 'Memory'

Stone Age man may escape from 'T Rex' once, The second time he would be more careful, based on his previous experience - ie, Memory!



Douglas
 

geo4316

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Could be wrong profile of fly. Could be wrong size of fly. Could be floating leader. Could be a combination of these...

A question... is your water heavily-fished and has a lot of catch & release?

This is in part just a hypothesis, but it is gathering weight with time for me...

I have found over recent years that, as the level of catch and release goes up and up, more and more fish are caught and released several times each. The more they are caught and released, the more twitchy they become. So, you can find yourself alongside someone who is fishing big, crude CDC shuttlecocks tied with a dozen plumes, while you are fishing nice slender imitative dries. And the guy beside you is catching fish, while all that you are doing is bringing fish up that are having a look and aborting the take without going off with the fly. But if you look at the fish the guy beside you is catching, they are just recent stockies, for whom the big CDCs look like something they might eat instead of a pellet. The fish that have been caught several times are not fooled by the crude CDCs and don't even look at them. Likewise, the stockies are not even noticing your small dries. The wary residents do notice them and they come for a look, but their 'danger circuitry' is ramped-up and at any sign of something not right - they abort the take. And let's be honest, at best our attempts to imitate an insect are fairly crude and dependent on a level of naivety from any fish that is going to take it.

Col
Reading this i think thats what the problem has been. Its a heavily fished fishery at the best of times & has been crazy busy since lockdown has lifted. I have had a few days where i miss a few fish on the dry fly but today was amazing the amount of rises with no connection at all. The rises all came after the flys had sat for a while & my leader was probably pretty visable
 

Cap'n Fishy

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Well, I must admit, that I just don't know, but I find it difficult to accept that the 'Survival Instinct' has nothing at all to do with 'Memory'

Stone Age man may escape from 'T Rex' once, The second time he would be more careful, based on his previous experience - ie, Memory!



Douglas
Aye, but there is a difference between a human and a fish. The more developed a brain, the more it relies on being taught by its parents - eg humans. The more primitive a brain, the more it relies on the programmes built into it that run it on instinct. Fish brains rely on instinct (no learning from parents), but who knows what they can learn as they go through life??? As for memory, I have caught the same grayling twice in the space of 20 minutes. Jimmy had a rainbow a couple of weeks ago that took his fly off him mid-play, due to a 2s-up... and he caught it and retrieved his fly an hour or so later!

But you can build in a memory factor if you want to. The fact remains that the longer stocked fish are in a water, the trickier they become (in general) to fool, and the older a wild fish is, the harder it is (in general) to fool.
 

Cap'n Fishy

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The rises all came after the flys had sat for a while & my leader was probably pretty visable
Stillwater dries - rule No. 1... check your leader is not floating. Carry sinkant, and degrease your leader whenever you see it floating. First clue is often when a fish aborts a take. If your leader is floating, they might get a glint of light from it due to it bending the surface tension, and spook from the flash. Or they might move the leader as they bulge the water to take the fly. The movement of the floating leader 'herring-bones' the surface, and spooks the fish. ;)

Col
 

thetrouttickler

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Reading this i think thats what the problem has been. Its a heavily fished fishery at the best of times & has been crazy busy since lockdown has lifted. I have had a few days where i miss a few fish on the dry fly but today was amazing the amount of rises with no connection at all. The rises all came after the flys had sat for a while & my leader was probably pretty visable
Did the fish actually take your fly or splash around your fly? i.e. did it appear they were taking your fly? I assume so, because you mention "rises" and striking frequently.

My experience of 'educated fish' is that they will initially look like taking the fly but will reject it at the last second. You will see more of a boil of water around the fly. You will know when it happens, because your fly is never actually taken.

If I read your posts correctly, something else was happening.
 

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