Crucial moments - part 2

3- Reminiscing

Another moment frozen for us to analyze thanks to digital magic.

A habit that can stick with an angler of his life.

This photo graphically shows something that I've pointed out on other occasions. The loops have been perfect so far. But, before the line and fly land in this cast, the fisherman opens the loop unnecessarily. His presentation is going to be clearly worse because this loop is more at the mercy of any eventual breeze and his accuracy and line control are bound to pay a price. I consider this an error and it's the result of applying too much power in an attempt to propel the fly to where you want it to go. This habit, unless it's corrected, can stick with an angler all his life, because its origin lies in behaviors acquired during many years when he used to fish with spinning or casting reels.

4- In what order?

A passive leader is hardly ever the best option.

Observe how all the line is already on the water. Then the leader falls on the water starting with the butt and extending down to the tippet. The last thing on the water is the fly. This is the order in which the system makes contact with the water in the vast majority of fly casters.

Getting the tippet down before the line.
Although it may surprise many, from my point of view, it's one of the best anti-drag presentations in complex, ill-defined currents near the fly. Even with an absolutely straight line and leader, if the fly lands before the rest of the system, you get a fraction of a second of natural drift, which can make the difference.

There is, however, another way with some clear advantages over this passive leader turn over. The idea is for your leader and tippet to be an active, controlled, live part of the whole cast. With this active leader presentation, the loop completes its trajectory at the end of the tippet. It has these clear advantages: it's easy to get your leader and tippet to land before the line; your accuracy is much greater, particularly in difficult, hard-to-get-to lies and the wind plays with your fly a lot less.

With this loop profile your leader becomes active.

There are another two intriguing advantages. An active leader facilitates a presentation technique that is hardly used: the inductive method. Another very useful technique that more and more anglers are using consists in presenting your fly by opening the loop from below. This kind of cast requires a fast, narrow loop that finishes at the end of the tippet. Also, the trajectory must be descending and it must be formed vertically from bottom to top.

5- Startled

A good-sized trout rises to Paco's fly. He strikes and... zilch.

Paco is as startled as the fish.

In such slow water with so little line out, the most likely reason for not hooking up is simply that the fish didn't take the fly.

One of the most frequent dry fly rejections is the last-fraction-of-a-second rejection. What the fish takes to be an appetizing insect at a certain distance, no longer looks so good when it's just in front of the trout's snout. What looks like a naturally floating, tasty tidbit, ceases to be enticing when, up close, a discerning trout perceives excessive weight or a hint of tension in its drift (micro-drag). A trout can make an imaginative concession to take an implausible pattern, but never an insect floating by with even the slightest unnatural drag. The startled fish swerves away at the last instant to avoid touching that hard-to-identify object that has suddenly turned into a hazard. The surface swirl and the noise trigger a violent strike with the consequential startling pickup of the line.

Unless the trout is pricked by the false strike, it'll resume feeding when its level of wariness decreases. But even if it does start feeding again, its level of wariness won't return to the original low level for quite some time. According to the Wariness Scale theory, a trout can be feeding up to a level of wariness two and with a certain “awareness” of the angler's presence. Its rises, however, won't be so regular or predictable, which greatly complicates matters for the fisherman, who should still wait even after the trout resumes feeding until its wariness level drops to one or zero.

No words