Ultra Sensitive, Tight Window,
Small Stream Float
It is a common within the body of streams
to find turbulent and fast flowing
segments plunging into deep pools that have all the makings of a perfect
trout haven. However, the high flow rate may prohibit the ability to
fish it with a fly rod. Even with a
decent amount of split shot, you just can’t seem to get the fly into the
depths and rock bed because of the hydraulic surface loads.
Overcoming the hurdles associated with several different current seams and
the drag that they present is another hindrance to adequately targeting
these areas. Most likely, given this scenario,
you relocate to a
spot further down stream and fish the mid belly or tail out hoping that
you’ll find success there.
During the summer months when the
temperature rises, these deep pools create great spots for resident and
holdover trout to survive. The deep, faster flowing pools provide
protection from scavengers, the bright sun, and shadows. They remain
cooler and highly aerated; two important factors that prevent trout
mortality. The faster surface water also
creates a “Tupperware lid” type appearance on the surface that lends
itself to a feeling of safety as well for the fish.
Effectively targeting these areas can
pose a bit of a challenge. When I began fishing small creeks and streams
with a centre-pin, float rod, and weighted nymphs, I employed a technique
called “bulk shotting” or “over-shotting”. In doing so, I found that
my hookup rate increased dramatically.
Over-shotting is a term used to describe
putting more shot on the leader than what a
float can normally support.
This technique is most effective when approaching fast, tumultuous riffles
with water flowing into a deep (sometimes overhung and brush shaded) pool
from an upstream position. Cast into the fastest portion of the
accelerate water and immediately begin to brake the spool and check the
float for a second or two. Initially, the float may be flat on the
surface as you apply resistance. Use the force of the hydraulics to
straighten the line and leader downstream and hopefully (if your cast is
accurate) into or near the head of the pool. At this point, begin to
let the spool spin slowly, but continue to apply resistance so that the
float tip is pointed slightly upstream. The load against the float
by the water passing by will remove all slack from your main line.
The connection between the float tip and the rod tip should appear tight
and straight. By varying the braking resistance, you’ll be able to
vary the depth at which the terminal tackle and offering is presented to the fish
underneath. Be aware, because you’re “tight lining” into the strike zone,
that hits can be
quite alarming. If this technique is performed
properly there will be no question when something has chose to take your
I’ve used this technique
while steelheading and have nearly had my float rod ripped from my hands
on more than one occasion! On one memorable outing, I hooked a fish
(not knowing) and watched as the hen soared out of the water upriver at
me. Not knowing that she had my offering in your jaws, I was in awe
at this site. I thought that she was just making her way up river
and jumped because my position high in the riffles had startled
her. It became quite apparent when she turned down stream and
attempted to head back to the lake that I should stop sight seeing and get
down to the business of fishing!
This technique works best
through the riffles progressing to deeper pools and head of the pools that
are tight, turbulent and flowing into a belly. Because the line is over-shotted,
you’re limited to a somewhat short drift length, a connection that keeps
the line off the water and tight. Many times, you’ll find that this will
allow you to fish areas effectively that see little angling pressure. It
may just give you a spot to fish in a packed run as well.
This technique truly shines within small
to moderate size streams, with moderate to high gradient, and with
topography that includes repetitive plunge pools and pocket water.
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