Aim For Shade

I always try to plan my flyfishing for overcast weather. However, on recent trips I have been confronted by bright sunlight, which has reduced my chances of catching. What techniques can I use to prevent me from blanking altogether? Jamie Tranter

Jonathan Tomlinson replies: This is a statement I hear from people all of the time: “It’s too sunny, there’s no point going fishing; we won’t catch anything!” But there are ways around it.

Look for areas of the water that have cover from trees, weed rafts or buildings as any kind of shade is a potential fish-holding area. Casting a fly along the side of a weedbed can be deadly as the trout lay ready to ambush food passing by.
If my memory serves me right Hampshire angler Graeme Pullen had a fantastic day at Avington many years ago by jigging his fly just over some rafts of weed and some of the biggest fish in the lake fell to him that day.

Trout don’t have eyelids so cannot close their eyes which means they will naturally seek out shade and cover, much as we would when we get too hot in the sun. Light penetrates the water less and less as depth is increased so fish will often not stop feeding but just follow the food deeper down in the water column. This doesn’t mean that you have to fish a Di-7 fly line and Boobies to stand a chance of catching (although often a very successful method). I suggest you change from a floating line and nymphs to a sink tip, full intermediate or Di-3 fly line. These will take your flies down enough to reduce the effects of a strong sun, but allow you to fish your flies as you would have done on an overcast day.

Reprinted with permission of Trout Fisherman magazine.