Bernd Ziesche | Wednesday, 4 March 2015
Around the Baltic Sea we find thousands of anglers chasing Sea trout. Catching a truly big and silver one means for most of us coastal anglers the catch of the year but for us fly fishermen it is more about the catch of a lifetime!
When we successfully want to fish for Sea trout there are four really important questions that we should find the answers to.
1. When will be the best time of the year?
2. Where should I fish in that time of year?
3. What will be the main food of the Sea trout?
4. How do I imitate the main food?
The answers are simpler than we might think first. Let me offer you my answers as a result of 20 years chasing the big and silver ones around the Baltic Sea all year long.
The best time of the year depends on where you are fishing. So there is a close relation between question one and question two. For almost each months of the year there is at least one area around the Baltic Sea where this month usually is high season for catching big and silver Sea trout.
Here are some examples for the Baltic sea:
January: Rügen in Germany
March: Bornholm in Denmark
April: Gotland in Sweden
May: Kalmarsund in Sweden
July: Fyn in Denmark
September: Sealand in Denmark
November: Öland in Sweden
December: Rügen in Germany
To find the right answer to question three we first have to understand the feeding behaviour of Sea trout related to it’s size!
Small Sea trout in the size of 30-45cm are mainly feeding on small crabs, shrimps, worms and small bait fish. Medium Sea trout in the size of 45-65cm are increasingly changing their food into higher percentage of bait fish. In most areas these are tobis (sand eals) and herrings. Large Sea trout over 65cm are feeding more than 90% on tobis and herrings and in some areas also on other significant sized baitfish.
The more tobis and herrings are available in the area the more focused on feeding almost nothing else large Sea trout are.
To answer question four we first of all have to understand what tobis and herrings are doing when a Sea trout gets close. Again the answer is quiet simple: They are swimming like hell and they are getting really fast!
To imitate them as good as possible we need a relatively big fly – a tobis imitation will do a great job. Then we need the fastest retrieve we can produce! Believe me, this is the same all year long in most situations (not in everyone).
More Big Points
At this point you might ask for the best weather, specially the best wind direction, the best water temperature or the best fishing time of the day. Well, we can’t adjust these variables. Keep it simple: Offer your fly whenever you can!
And then focus on:
1.) Retrieve as fast as you can.
2.) Use a big fly (10-15cm). Tobis imitations are much better for long casts compared to herring imitations (less wind resistant). Put some lead in the head and use a loop knot (non slip mono loop is mine) in order to achieve high action!
3.) Rough water is always best as long as you won’t lose control over your presentation. Some colour in the water (but not due to chalk particles!) will be very good, too. Sea trout show up a perfect bite reflex in coloured water.
4.) Sinking lines will bring best results. Your fly should be offered in the lowest third of depth. That’s where a lot of Sea trout are most of the times besides the fact you will lose much less fish during the fight because you will set the hook much better via sinking line!
5.) Of course you need damned good casting abilities to cast against the wind. Look out for side winds! And then a clean cast with a straight leader is much better than the longest cast without a straight leader. Start to retrieve immediately after your fly hits the surface. This is when you get a lot of fish.
6.) Wade as “aggressively” as you can! Try to get out on the reef. Often it is not about the longest cast but getting on a reef where others don’t fish.
7.) Put highest concentration on the first casts. The first cast is always the best cast! Start with your fastest retrieve and really straight casts. Fishing a very fast retrieve during the whole day means hard work. This needs lots of practise. But even Paul is able to move his fly fast for a few minutes when fishing a new (hot) spot! ;)
8.) Don’t lift your rod to set the hook. Always start to retrieve as fast as you can when you realize a Sea trout chasing your fly. Retrieve until the fish is on “stripstrike” it!
9.) Use an 8 weight fly line in order to be able to cast heavy flies along strong winds. There will be wind along the coast!
10.) Don’t concentrate on places with water depth higher than 2 meters. Due to our relatively slow moving flies (compared to the natural bait) Sea trout will have too much time to realize there is something wrong. Their bite reflex is much better in lower water.
Truly Silver ones
Most of us coastal fisherman call the silver and mostly really fat Sea trout which haven’t been up their river to spawn for one period the true Baltic Silver – or just the fish of their dreams. And exactly those ones are hard to catch on fly! Thus too hard of a fishing for Paul that is. ;)
Hopefully I could give you some good ideas about how to catch YOUR big Sea trout. This is what I wish you to catch on your next trip – good luck!
All my best
P.s.: How to retrieve really fast? You may start a thread on the Sexyloops board: We have some true experts in this like Peter Morse, myself and more.