We’re back with another installment of our ‘guide poll‘ series of posts where our team of professional guides answer common questions asked by our readers.
Today’s question; As a fly fishing guide, what’s the most common piece of advice you find yourself giving to anglers on a daily basis?
Check out their answers below!
Guide Poll: Most Common Advice Given on the Water
Dan Herrig, Owner/Guide, Deneki Outdoors: “Mend. When fishing moving water, a good drift is more important than a great cast, and a good drift requires great mending skills.”
Kyle Shea, Head Guide, Alaska West. “I find myself reiterating the same three pieces of advice on a daily basis. The first is to ‘keep your fly in the water.’ Excess false casts, unnecessary mends, or time wasted fidgeting with gear are all times when you’re fly isn’t fishing. The second is to ‘set towards the tail.’ Should a fish eat your fly, the direction at which you set the hook is critical to keeping them pinned. Setting to the downstream side, or ‘towards the tail’ ensures the best hook set possible in most circumstances. Finally, when fighting fish I always stress the importance of ‘maintaining tension’ at all times. In our neck of the woods, more fish are lost from a lack of pressure than anything else. Do all three of those things over the course of the day, and odds are you’re going to put a lot of fish in the net.
Jason Whiting, Operations Manager/Guide, Alaska West. “Slow your cast down. It’s amazing how many casting faults can be corrected by simply slowing down.”
Jim Palmersheim, Guide, Alaska West:“Getting into the jet boat the proper way (i.e. sitting on the bow and swinging their feet in).”
Ben West, Guide, Alaska West: “Keep yer sh*t in the water! Haha, really what that means is stay focused and in tune, stay confident, stay hydrated, eat snacks, but stay in the game! Even when it gets “slow” sometimes you catch the biggest fish when you absolutely least expect to!”
Tom Houska, Guide, Alaska West: “One piece of advice I seem to give on a daily basis is to keep moving. While nice water deserves to be fished thoroughly, I always remind people that with a jet boat at our disposal the amount of water we cover in a day is limited by how fast their boots move.”
Ryan Gossett, Guide, Alaska West: “Listen to your guide, ha! The most common piece of advice I find myself constantly telling people is to stop wading out so far. Fish don’t take a lot of water to make a living, and the grass is not always greener on the other side.”
Rob Rymph, Guide, Rapids Camp Lodge: “Set the hook downstream. The direction at which you set the hook makes a huge difference as to whether the fish you hook comes to hand or not, and the right direction is always downstream”
Cole Cook, Guide, Alaska West: “Be observant! It’s the most broad answer for a lot of things. Watch the water, your swing, your cast, etc.”
Lucas Young, Guide, Alaska West: “Watch your rod tip! It tells you almost everything you need to know; when your false cast is loaded, when your D-loop is formed, if that grab was grass or a fish, or where the ceiling fan might be located.”
Cole Leishman, Guide, Alaska West: “Check your gear and check it often. When targeting larger game fish, it is extremely important to make sure you are fishing top quality gear all the time. Investigate your leaders and hooks often. If there is abrasion on your leader, change it immediately. If your hook is dull, sharpen it or replace it. If your knot didn’t seat right, try again. You never know when you’re going to hook that fish of a lifetime so you better be ready.”
Have a question you want our team of professional guides to answer? If so, leave us a comment below!
“Let your guide be your conscience!”. And of course “set downstream”, “mend (but not too often)”, “Don’t break your wrist on the backcast”. “We are not fishing for tweety birds or squirrels so let me get your flies out of that tree”.
Steve Sample says
Can you expand on setting the hook towards the tail, or setting it downstream?
Gary Libby says
Enjoyed the guide poll on advice, and I needed all that several times. But I learned and caught more fish than I ever imagined, thanks to the advice and patience of the guides. Got a question for Ben concerning keeping you sh*t in the water. You and I know I did that, even over-did that. When you took us to that secret lunker rainbow hole, and I tried resting my flesh/egg fly on the bottom, I caught my biggest bow when I least expected it. Have you tried that spot and method since then, and does it work often? Or was I just a bit lucky? Regardless, we sure had fun. Thanks to you all!