Intro to Fly Fishing: Catching the Tree Trout
We’ve gone through a number of different items with our Intro to Fly Fishing series - from the single haul, to the gear, and more. We are almost ready to hit the water.
But first, we must catch the not very elusive and ubiquitous tree trout….
Catching a Tree Trout
This is what I want you to do. Rig up your rod and actually tie a fly on. Make sure it’s old and junky because it’s going to get ruined. Go to the spot where you’ve been practicing your casts. Find a tree. Strip out about thirty or so feet of line.
Now, hang up your fly on low branch in the tree so it sticks pretty well. Back up, taking up the slack until the line is more or less straight in front of you. Now, play the tree like you’re playing a trout……hence the name tree trout. What you’re looking to learn here is the action of the rod, the pull in the line, and ultimately the point to where your fly breaks off.
Learning Your Rod
Seem crazy? Maybe. By doing this you’ll learn your rod and the breaking point of the leader you are using. That could be a useful bit of information when you hook a fish of a lifetime. Better to learn on a maple tree than a 24” brown trout now isn’t it?
Learning to Set The Hook
This is also a good way to learn to set the hook. The line flows freely through the rod. You will never set the hook like you do gear fishing. If you’re righty, you want to elevate the rod up and back in sweeping motion with your right hand while simultaneously pull down on the line with your left. Try this with different amounts of line at your feet. You’ll soon learn that if the line is super tight, you’ll snap off the fly. Too much, and you never set the hook.
Trust me on this one, you’ll really want to give this a go. Every time I take someone out new to the sport, I run through this exercise. It makes the transition to the water so much easier, and a whole lot less frustrating.
Tight Lines and Screaming Drags