Some of the most important things to understand first:
- The bigger the fly is, the easier the Sea trout can identify it to be wrong. Best strategy to fool the Sea trout here is a high retrieving SPEED.
- The smaller the fly is, the slower you can retrieve while a fast retrieve still is an excellent strategy for fishing smaller flies as well. The small fly is harder to be identified to be wrong.
- The deeper the water is, the more time all those Sea trout staying near the bottom (90%) have to look at the details of your slow running fly above them.
- In shallow water Sea trout strike significant better compared to deeper water. This holds true especially on slow retrieved flies. But again the faster fly often outfishes the slower ones independent of water depth.
- Muddy water allows for a slower retrieve since Sea trout can't identify the fly to be wrong as easy as they can in clear water.
- Calm and clear water makes it much harder to fool the Sea trout while below serious waves there is a lot of reflection taking place making it harder for the Sea trout to identify the fly to be wrong. In addition waves and muddy water make it harder for the food to see the Sea trout coming. Thus Sea trout easier can get their bait and therefore like to hunt in rough water conditions. So having some wind is supporting you to catch Sea trout for sure.
Your best strategy:
Taking all points above into the equation a fast retrieve is nearly always best for catching coastal Sea trout.
If you have just 10 or 15m of casting distance it won't be much fun to fish with a fast retrieve all day long because you'll end up casting most of your time. I recommend to use a floating line here and offer a small (weighted) fly slowly or (even better) medium fast retrieved. The small fly works fine to fool the small to medium sized Sea trout. Still I recommend to start every new fishing spot with some fast retrieves first.
If you have a serious casting distance available I recommend to mainly strip your fly truly fast and for catching medium to large sized Sea trout use medium to bigger (heavily weighted) flies. Heavily weighted flies are those between 1 and 1,5 gramm. A sinking fly line is the best choice for a fast retrieve in order not to have the fly to close to the surface. I should mention that you loose a lot less fish when fishing a sinking line. This holds true not only for coastal Sea trout!
No matter how you retrieve: When you have a Sea trout following (they love to follow when realizing something to be wrong with your fly) strip as fast as you can and don't lift your rod until the line is tight and the fish is on. Strip strike it due to your fastest retrieve.
I like to say: When a Sea trout follows your fly there is something wrong in your strategy. The relation between the size of your fly and it's speed usually is a very critical aspect here! First aid: SPEED UP and know that often the fish takes the fly just in front of your rod for two reasons:
1. The water gets pretty shallow and that makes it harder for the Sea trout to closely and easily look at your fly.
2. When you lift the rod (to get the fly out) your fly gets a dramatic speed up. It's that what makes the Sea trout hammer into your fly often. So you better be aware of this to happen.
Always look out for little colored/muddy water and edges between that and the clear water.
Right now it's pretty cold on Gotland, Sweden where we are fly fishing at the moment and so we are fishing shallow bays in the first place. Such bays get warmer much faster as soon as the sun is out.
Fair to say so far we had a blast and a proper number of fish were caught. Several first Sea trout on fly among our catches!
Great fishing and a nice week to all of you!
All my best
Some pictures from the last days...