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Over-Shotting:  Ultra Sensitive, Tight Window,

Small Stream Float Fishing

 

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 offering.

            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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