Fooling Tough Customers
No this is not a marketing lesson, not exactly anyway. Anyone who has fished in waters that get heavy fishing pressure knows that fish get educated by anglers. Sometimes such fish get very visible and approachable but often times they begin to refuse even the best of fly patterns fished with the best of presentations on the lightest of tippets. This is sure to bring on a serious case of frustration, nearly obsessive compulsive fly switching, hair pulling, and occasionally leads to profanity.
However, one technique that I've found to be effective in such difficult situations is to allow a heavy nymph that roughly imitates a local invertebrate food source to rest on the bottom just upstream or in front of the fish. Sometimes even picky trout will move in and grab the fly off the bottom like a bonefish or carp. If they don't go after it, twitch it. If nothing still, try to lift the nymph with a smooth steady upswing of the rod tip to bring the fly swimming up in front of the fish.
This motion mimics what fish often see in hatches and can trigger a strike. This works best of course in relatively slow moving rivers and lakes where fish are visible. My first greenback cutthroat, a deep crimson hued 17 inch beauty, was caught in heavily fished waters in a lake in Rocky Mountain National Park. He succumbed to such a technique after I'd tried everything else on him for about half an hour. What a beautiful reward for such an effort!