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Set the Hook!

JJ with a Nice Rainbow

JJ with a Nice Rainbow

On Wednesday, I was guiding J.J. from Tucson. He called a few of weeks ago and said that he has been fly fishing for a couple of years and wanted to work on improving his skills as his goal is to fish a lot more in 2016.

We hit a private pond first so that we could work out any casting issues he might have developed. He landed a few rainbows and then we moved on to a stream.

He hadn’t had his line in the water for more than half an hour when we saw a brown flash in a back eddy. This brown was eating JJ’s fly. It didn’t move the indicator so he didn’t think to set the hook. I suggested that if this happens again that he set up on the fish. We expect trout to pull the strike indicator down but that isn’t always the case. In a back eddy, fish are sitting there because food gets trapped and it can be like a buffet of bugs. In amany of these situations, there isn’t much current so you have to be aware of light takes. If you see a flash, that is more than likely an eat. We got lucky because this particular brown gave him a second chance and ate the fly again. This time, JJ set the hook when he saw the flash and he landed our first of two big browns for the day.

JJ's Brown that ate in the Back Eddy

JJ’s Beautiful Brown that ate in the Back Eddy

If you have ever fished Silver Creek with me, you know I am always watching fish rather than the indicator. When you see a flash where you think your fly is located or you see a fish open it’s mouth, it is time to set the hook. Unfortunately, trout don’t throw up a neon sign that says “I just ate your fly”.  If you think something doesn’t look right, lift the rod. You will catch more fish by trusting your instincts than by waiting for the indicator to go under. Sometimes, the bigger the fish, the lighter the take.

Recognizing subtle takes and realizing that when the see a fish flash that it is more than likely eating your fly, will get more fish in your net.

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About Cinda Howard

Cinda Howard has been an Arizona fly fishing guide for several years. She’s spent her whole life fishing and picked up a fly rod in 1996. She worked for the Orvis Company as a Fly Fishing Manager for eight years before branching off and starting her own business in 2012. Cinda spends a considerable amount of time instructing people on the sport of fly fishing. Cinda has been featured in several fly fishing articles and books (“Fly Fisher’s Guide to Arizona” by Will Jordan, “Arizona’s Official Fishing Guide” by Arizona Highways and Arizona Game and Fish Department) as an expert on fly fishing Arizona. She is extremely passionate not only about fly fishing but also about teaching others. She hosts trips all across the world and has taken customers fly fishing in Alaska, Belize, Oregon, Montana, Colorado, New Mexico, Utah and The Bahamas. Cinda loves to fish for trout, steelhead, pike, carp, bonefish, tarpon and anything else that will eat a fly. She is a past President of Desert Fly Casters and is a Zane Grey Trout Unlimited board member.

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