Spooking fish?

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This topic contains 5 replies, has 4 voices, and was last updated by  Scotty MacFly 1 year, 9 months ago.

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    Scotty MacFly

    Guys, I have been thinking. People speak of over lining fish and how it can spook them. I kind of disagree with this to a point. In faster ruffles & pocket water I don’t think the fish care. And they see things floating on the surface all day long like twigs and things.

    Now in large slack water or pools, I can see it being possible to spook fish if the water is shallow. But even I have fished somewhat slower moving water just less than knee deep, physically seeing fish with my line going over them and they don’t seem to be bothered at all.

    But here is the kicker. If a person is nymphing in slack water with an indicator, wouldn’t that be just as bad as over lining? My nephew was talking about not over lining the fish, but allowing his over sized Thingamabobber float along over his targets. I kept silent.

    What do you all think?



    I think not lining the fish is part of a good presentation. As for bobbers. They may not spook the fish, but in some places the fish won’t take whatever you have hanging from the bobber. I’ll give the Taylor River hog trough as a perfect example. Those fish are educated to spot bobbers. You can’t use any kind of lead weight either.

    So, the answer is……….what turns off some fish might not turn off others. I choose to treat them all as being fussy.



    In my admittedly limited experience – it depends. If fish see a lot of leaves, twigs, cottonwood puffs etc floating by they don’t seem likely to be spooked by indicators. Creek’s point about heavily pressured trout avoiding anything near a bobber could explain why I’ve found fishing dries so effective on popular rivers like the San Juan in NM. The fish might get wary of bobbers even if they don’t exactly flee from them as a threat.



    I’m sure even a twig landing right in front of a fish will alarm it. That’s the difference in a twig floating by and a line landing on the water. It’s the landing on the water that’s the concern.

    As for pocket water Scotty. Usually, the line isn’t near the fish. Pocket water fishing is usually a small drift and all that should be near the fish is the leader. Since pocket water is faster water I wouldn’t worry about what the fish can see. Just concentrate on making the fly look as natural as possible.



    Grsdlnr said: “The fish might get wary of bobbers even if they don’t exactly flee from them as a threat.”
    And I think this also applies to wading too close or drifting a fly or line over them too many times. I’ve seen fish stay where they are, and its tempting to think they’re unperturbed, but suddenly they’re ignoring food, both real and artificial, floating by them. I think they’ve sensed trouble, but figure until further information is available, they’re safer just freezing where they are.
    Then again, that’s me pretending to think like a trout. So, maybe not.


    Scotty MacFly

    This is awesome stuff guys. Your helping me find a way to explain this to my nephew.

    I wanted to at least give him a dry fly to use and take that indicator that was the size of a kiwi off his line.

    I do agree that a twig landing near a fish will alarm it as well as fly line. But debris floating along that has been in the stream for awhile, I have to give the fish some credit to it’s intelligence.

    My nephew doesn’t fish pocket water or dries. He is strictly a nymph fisher. He isn’t good at false casting even just a few times to get a fly in a certain area. So he just roll casts all day long. He does have a beautiful roll cast. So he likes open areas where there are riffles and long stretches of slower moving water. So pocket water is out of the question for him.

    He is young, 18, and has a nasty habit of walking down to the river and chucking his roll cast as far as he can using that indicator to help him reach as far out as possible.

    You guys Wil love his excuse. He said, I cast way out to the other side because the fish over there can’t see me.

    Bless his heart.

    I love my nephew, but this is the future America I am dealing with here.

    As a nymph fisherman, he does really well, he will hook fish, but he sure loses a lot due to being so far out there and he will usually hook up when the line straightens out and the nymph rises to the top. I should show him the video of Oliver Edwards talking about how and why you lose more fish downstream rather than up. It can explain it better than I can.

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