Whether you’re fishing up-stream presentation with a delicate dry fly, mixed-presentation of a double-nymph rig, or downstream swinging, there is one important standard to consider to maximize you’re efficiency. Often overlooked are those fish that hold in the fringes of areas many anglers concentrate on, so to increase your efficiency, be sure to cover all the water.
Start short. It’s so easy to glance at a piece of water and identify the prime juicy zone where the fish most likely hold. Often we strip out gobs of line, and walk or float right up to the edge of that area and begin casting. We may spend a considerable amount of time repeating a presentation right down the middle, or the “Guts” of a section of water. Over and over, repeating more or less the same cast, through the same drift give or take a few feet.
I like to think of it this way. Chances are pretty good if your fly selection and presentation are remotely acceptable, a fish will eat it the first time it sees it. After the first viewing I think the odds of a fish eating your fly drop off significantly. Lets say the section of water warrants x amount of time and x number of casts. Rather than beginning with the first cast through the “red zone” and subsequent casts repeating the same, I like to start close and short and evenly distribute my casts throughout the entire area. Countless fish holding in the fringes of prime water are spooked by anglers approaching too close to begin with, and or by their fly line passing over them en route to the middle of the prime water. Especially when feeding on dries, a sizable number of fish will hold in surprisingly shallow riffle water that many anglers would naturally walk through but never even consider fishing first.
Hit the pockets, the nooks and crannies. As the prime water is covered and fished, push your cast and or move to get the far perimeters as well as the upper and lower reaches. So many fish move around and can end up in the fringes, especially if you’ve hooked a fish or two in the process, and the commotion caused by playing and landing the fish may push others into some of those outlying zones. By covering more “new” water with your fly and fewer repeated drifts you will effectively increase your efficiency, and discover catchable fish holding in areas you may have never before considered.