Last week I was fly fishing for asp. Just arriving on my water early in the morning I spotted a large asp (serious large one) two times in a row chasing for baitfish on the surface. I did what I think most of us would have done. I took the fly which I thought will do the job and put more than 30 casts out covering all the area. I did change the retrieving style and offered my multi action asp fly in 3 different retrieving styles.
Nothing. After a while I stoppped and started thinking.
Then I started to study the water near my own bank and realized a lot of newborn baitfish were cruising in slow speed just subsurface. Suddenly the big asp came up again and gently took some fish out of a school of newborns.
I changed my leader and started to offer 5 now much smaller flies imitating the newborns right where the asp had shown up now three times. Imitating a school of baitfish often is a 100% must do in such a situation.
On the third cast he gently took one of my flies and even though I was using a shock absorber managed to bend the hook straight after 20 seconds. Aaah - strong head shakes for sure!
Anyway I was satisfied because I finally managed to rethink what I was doing wrong in the start and instead studied the situation first of all.
Joan Wulff once said, that you are not even in the game yet, when not being able to cover all the water with finesse by having long clean casts available.
I very much disagree. In my experience very often even the total beginner will be in the game as soon as his fly enters the water. That is, because fish sooner or later will be moving around. It's the short casts that come along with much less of a risk to spook a lot of fish before getting a chance to hook them. In my experience on long casts (especially without being able to see any fish) we often pull the fly towards the fish, which for many fish is a sign to better run off. There is no general right or wrong here. We all have a chance to catch a fantastic fish. Even the best of us don't know what they will get (or not get) - that's what fishing is all about!
But studying the fish BEFORE starting to cover all the water very often will support you not to spook the one big fish too easy. About that one big asp, I was lucky not have spooked it with shooting way too much casts with the same strategy in the beginning. Remember: Long casts for covering all water too often don't result in the fly running away but towards the fish. Of course over-lining the fish is most common on long casts compared to shorter casts.
Visiting that asp again, I wil have stronger hooks next time as you may see in the pictures below. ;)
Catchy week and lots of outside the box thinking to all of you!
All my best
P.s.: Like Joan Wulff I too believe that proper fly casting skills make for a lot more fun at the water and support best presentations as long as you learn about the fish first. Try to think like a fish and see your fly movement thru their eyes!
Some pictures from my last days...