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The Vortex: Sequencing

Steve Parton first coined the term “Sequencing” to describe the phenomena of catching a lot of fish very quickly. The ability to sequence requires the angler to be able to duplicate exactly the successful method. The same depth, the same retrieve, the same angle of approach. And immediately. It's an enormous mistake to take a break once you've caught your first fish, for this is the time you should be fishing hard. You have just discovered the successful method, the fish are switched on and trout often patrol in packs. Even large trout. And your time is limited.

In the same way that a hatch is triggered by nature, trout switch on and off, not individually, but collectively. Being able to duplicate the successful method requires being able to remember what worked in the first place! This more than anything is why it is important to fish in an organised and logical manner. Fishing is not some random affair, it is strategy pure and simple.

Whenever a fish takes, whether or not you hook up, you should immediately recall what you were doing to make the fish take in the first place. And next cast do exactly the same thing.

Understanding sequencing is the key to great fishing. It doesn't always work but when it does it can be amazing. When it doesn't you just got lucky.

I've spent a good deal of the last decade sight fishing for trout. Using the same methods as one would in the UK as well as some specific local ones. It is enlightening to watch up close the reaction trout make to flies landing, fly movement, and the things that trigger a take.

Trout in shallow water can be spooked at the slightest plip of a landing fly. Occasionally they'll home in and take it, but whatever you do, don't retrieve the fly. I believe that this is why the drop is so deadly at times. The fish hears the plip (I know “plip” isn't a word), comes to investigate and takes the dropping flies. If I drop the flies and the fish comes to investigate, and I retrieve, I rarely hook up – not unless the fish is completely crass. There appears to be a level of excitement beyond which is too much for the fish to take confidently. You don't want to cross the line from interested to manic. Plipping + retrieving = manic.

However, if the fish doesn't hear the plip, then it's ok to retrieve. But don't retrieve too quickly – usually a twitch is all that's needed. The most confident takes come from no retrieve whatsoever. But sometimes a tiny movement is required to draw attention to your flies. Many fish key in on this movement and it's how they hunt.

The way to turn a trout interested in small flies into a hooked trout is not to speed up, but rather to stop. I should add, that in the case of surface muddlers I think the key is to continue your retrieve, and then change direction on the dibble. Direction changes are deadly by the way, which is why hook casts can be so useful on lakes. I'm not a believer in speeding up. Not unless you're fishing something big and ugly.

On many of the waters I fish here in NZ the fish can be so spooky that neither plipping or retrieving work at all, especially mid-summer. Erm, that's quite important to know actually.

A plip is a small plop by the way.

Right, we're changing a few things at Sexyloops. Enlightenment is still not burned yet, but it should be out shortly. The copies I burned had compatibility issues- ie they don't work. We will be selling these for an exciting price shortly, certainly in time for next Christmas. Or the one after. The Instructor DVD is going to be sold for 15 quid plus post. If you haven't got a copy and you join our membership fast then you'll get a copy with no extra charge for delivery.

We're going to open up the members' section for all at no charge and run a regular fun packed newsletter. All those wonderful readers who renewed their membership this year will receive a complimentary copy of Enlightenment, just as soon as we have some ready to mail.

Have a fantastic week.

a view from below

Essential Bush Skills

The start of any flytying good flytying sequence involves squirting The Light of Apgai on your polyprops
Both alarm and curiousity set in when the polyprops start melting
Putting the lid back on the jar to stop *that* happening again
The flytying proper is underway
Notice the composure, that's true class that is
A difficult bit, you can tell that from the vacant expression
Essential bush skills: the third hand
Notice my hat here, it's quite daring
Snip, snip
I'm not quite sure what I'm doing here, but it's cool
Trimming an oversize hackle that appears to have become trapped in the whip finnish manoevre
Delicate precision work, the hallmark of any good flytyer
A sexy catch...

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