Tactics on Sea trout

Tactics on Sea trout

Bernd Ziesche | Wednesday, 29 April 2015

Most coastal fly fishermen I met along the coast chasing Sea trout fished mainly one and one only tactic. That was presenting a relatively small fly in pretty low speed to the fish. They offered a much slower moving fly than 95% of the natural oceanic food is moving.

Why they did that? Some fly fishermen fished that way because they didn’t fully understand the food behavior (and how to imitate it) and others because they found it hard to strip in the fly in high speed all day long.

Right now I am fishing on Gotland, Sweden. Gotland is a beautiful island offering a fascinating nature directly along the coast. 800Km coast line! And then there are 23 rivers having sea running Brown trout (=Sea trout) in stock. So there is a healthy population of wild trout available. All in all Gotland is among my personal top three places to fish for Sea trout.

Last week we had an incredible high rate of long line released Sea trout. For example I lost 8 out of 10 fish within a few hours. I haven’t had such a poor strategy – obviously not matching the situation - for more than ten years now! What was wrong? Simply the water was too cold still and the Sea trout took the flies extremely softly and we couldn’t hook them properly. I was fishing a relatively large fly in highest possible retrieving speed though. A much better strategy would have been to present a very small fly in medium (or even low) speed. That way we would have hooked significant more fish much better.

But the key to success in Sea trout fishing is to understand the different stages a Sea trout is running thru within the year. Those stages are:

A) Small Sea trout up to 50cm not ready to spawn for a first time yet.

B) Medium and large Sea trout just returning to the ocean after spawning.

C) Sea trout in spawning color soon starting their way to enter their home river to participate in the next spawning period.

D) Large Sea trout over 60cm staying all winter long in the ocean and not participating in a spawning period for a year or two.

Right now A) and B) can be tricky to catch on large really fast moving flies. So a smaller fly in medium speed does a better job often. That is as long as the water is really cold.

Later in the year the same often holds true for C).

For D) – and those are the Sea trout I want to have a fair chance on in the first place – a large fly in the highest possible retrieving speed always worked best for me. No doubt these fish NEVER come in high numbers and they are very hard to find! One within a season (365 days) is quite excellent already!

So last week I decided to live with loosing quite some Sea trout of category A and B) but keeping the chance for a Sea trout of category D)! It really is tough work to strip in the fly in highest possible speed for about 8 hours a day. Even for me (being a professional fly fisherman = 300+ fishing days a year) that is!

Anyway once again I was spot-on and caught a fantastic Sea trout of 5Kg (>10 pounds). Definitely the fish of the season for me (I think ;) ).

There are a lot of tactics which come to my mind when it comes to Sea trout fishing. Understanding the different stages a Sea trout runs through and based on that the different feeding (or none feeding) behaviors is the biggest key to success for sure!

Hopefully I could inspire you to look around the edge trying to improve in understanding YOUR fish better. It really can help to increase the number of special days. You know those which we call CATCHING days!

Great catching day to all of you.

All my best


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Bernd Ziesche fly fishing