How do Fish Take Flies?

Tight Knot Points to Team Success

When fishing a team of three different flies, it always frustrates me when I lose a fish, but cannot tell which fly it took. Do trout attack Buzzers, lures and wets in different ways?
Mel Fraser

Hywel Morgan replies: The problem is that fish do take flies in all manner of different ways. Nymph takes can be confident – the fish just swim away and the whole line locks up without you having to do anything. On the other hand there are many occasions when the fish are just not confident and the takes are tentative and stabby.

Lure takes are invariably savage as the fish tend to attack the fly, but, again, if there has been heavy fishing pressure then the fish tend to be a bit shy and just nip at the tail of the lures. If you are fishing a team of different flies you can put an overhand knot on your droppers and after a take, if one of these knots has pulled tight, then you will know which fly was taken. If none of them are pulled tight then you know that it was a take on the point fly.

If you want to be 100 percent certain if the fish are feeding on one type of fly start off with a mixture of flies (lures and nymphs) on your cast and wait for takes, then change to just nymphs. If you don’t have any takes on the nymph set-up then you can be assured that the fish were taking lures and vice-versa.

Reprinted with permission of Trout Fisherman magazine.