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Thread: Spooking fish

  1. Default Spooking fish

    After spending a few days on the water with an variety of anglers in really tough conditions. With water quite low and clear, and not a lot of fish (blaming droughts and floods for that) the fish that were on offer were ones that you did not want to spook. Of course, we spooked our fair share, and that brought me to sit down and think what the things are that you need to tick off to NOT spook fish (well, as few as possible anyway, because I'm convinced some fish spooked just because we happened to book that beat the previous night already!!)

    Main reasons in UC, Bold, Und with a selection of sub reasons below each. In no particular order, and with additions welcome are ...

    NOT STEALTHY ENOUGH
    Wading when you don't have to
    Moving (too fast)
    Not crouching/staying low
    Wading noisely
    LINING FISH
    Leader too short
    Just casting badly/also not knowing where the fish are (see below)
    NOT KNOWING WHERE THE FISH ARE
    Fishing too close
    Wading onto/next to fish
    FLASH
    Rod Flash
    Reel Flash
    Watch Flash
    Other flash (nippers, zingers, forceps)
    GoPro Camera Flash
    Rod Colour
    Fly Line Colour
    LIFTING LINE FROM THE WATER
    PUTTING YOUR FLY DOWN TOO HARD
    FALSE CASTING TOO MUCH
    STRIKE INDICATOR
    Too large
    Too bright


    Put a % next to each main category to add to 100%, and if you feel so inclined to take the time you can break down the sub-cats too, but only if you REALLY want to.
    Last edited by smallstreams.co.za; 06-05-14 at 07:47 PM.
    Mario Geldenhuys
    Smallstream fanatic, plus I do some other things that I can't tell you about

    "All the tips or magical insights in the world can't replace devotion, dedication, commitment, and gumption - and there is not secret in that" - Glenn Brackett

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
    Location
    Tauranga North Island
    Posts
    274

    Default

    Yikes!! The list of things that could contribute to Spooking Fish is impressive and right on the mark.

    My problem is this. As I am subject to just about every one of the items in the list. Am I only catching REAL DUMB FISH???
    A man is only as big as the things that annoy him.

  3. #3

    Default

    Nice post, a couple to add to your list Mario:

    I think you have this covered already - causing ripples in still sections
    Not using thin enough tippet - min 6X pref 7X
    not letting bad casts drift through
    crunching gravel and small rocks outside the river - walk on larger rocks
    If you are spooking fish up long flat sections it is better to get out the river, walk up 30-50m and climb back in
    If using indicators, use black egg yarn indicators - add a bit of colour (White or chartreuse seem to spook fewer fish than the brighter orange and purple) to the top section in bad light - always trim to smallest possible size
    ripping the fly off the water
    micro drag
    drag free first
    fishing flies that are too big
    correct positioning to get the first cast drag free and perfect
    fly to the fish first
    downstream presentations work well in flat water
    avoiding throwing shadows over the water, especially rod shadows early morning and late afternoon
    moving in the shadow of trees, rocks etc if possible
    talking too loud
    wading sticks without rubber feet
    dry flies spook fewer fish
    Too much blind casting - rather sight fish or target the hot spots in flat sections (otherwise you end up chasing the little sh1ts and spooking everything)
    Loop knots for nymphs
    Degreasing your leader
    don't over treat your flies with floatant or top ride

    If all else fails, strip a big woolly bugger past them :-)
    Last edited by dlampert; 06-05-14 at 10:49 PM.
    “Apparently people don't like the truth, but I do like it; I like it because it upsets a lot of people. If you show them enough times that their arguments are bullshit, then maybe just once, one of them will say, 'Oh! Wait a minute - I was wrong.' I live for that happening. Rare, I assure you” ― Lemmy Kilmister

    Reap the Whirlwind - WM

    Paradise = A 3wt Rod & a fist full of someone else's #32 parachutes

  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Location
    Parys, Free State
    Posts
    10,038

    Default

    Make sure it's a black Wooly though...
    Gerrit Viljoen

  5. #5

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by The Largie Whisperer View Post
    Make sure it's a black Wooly though...
    Do you get any other colour? :-)
    “Apparently people don't like the truth, but I do like it; I like it because it upsets a lot of people. If you show them enough times that their arguments are bullshit, then maybe just once, one of them will say, 'Oh! Wait a minute - I was wrong.' I live for that happening. Rare, I assure you” ― Lemmy Kilmister

    Reap the Whirlwind - WM

    Paradise = A 3wt Rod & a fist full of someone else's #32 parachutes

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Oct 2007
    Location
    Sydney
    Posts
    641

    Default

    Yeah - good post.

    I've really been getting into my freshwater fishing again after spending ages in salt.

    The lists by Mario and Darryl really do cover the gamut of what puts fish down.
    Mario makes a very interesting comment about watch flash.
    This happened on the last trip to NZ just recently.
    I climbed an embankment so my mate had the shot and out of nowhere this flash went off across the pool.
    It was subtle, but enough to wake up everything in the pool. Couldn't figure out what it was until he cast again and I was watching him that I realised it was his watch. Cover up!

    I'd add not blending into your environment. Wear muted clothing and rain jackets.
    Covering hands and face makes a huge difference and standing dead still when fish swim past.

    Cutting the tag ends short on your flies so any stuff in the river doesn't snag onto the tag end.

    Fishing too big a fly/bead size at the start to alert them to your presence.

    Fish your bad casts......even if they are way off and only cast again once fly is well past the target.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Dec 2013
    Location
    Mpumalanga
    Posts
    215

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    elkhorn camo rod, abel camp rod, ghillie suit....lol you declare war....not fishing hahahaha...nerens word gestipuleer dat JY NIE MAG groenpap as softweight gebruik nie....
    Last edited by emjaysmit; 07-05-14 at 04:03 AM.
    The principles in life you gather from fly-fishing will make you a better more successfull person...

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Oct 2007
    Location
    Sydney
    Posts
    641

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by emjaysmit View Post
    elkhorn camo rod, abel camp rod, ghillie suit....lol you declare war....not fishing hahahaha...nerens word gestipuleer dat JY NIE MAG groenpap as softweight gebruik nie....
    Eiiissshhh....you on the groenpap or Groen Twak?

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Dec 2013
    Location
    Mpumalanga
    Posts
    215

    Default

    looooooool dogtooth my grade 1 teacher told me to always think out of the box....best ten years of my life hahahahahahaha
    The principles in life you gather from fly-fishing will make you a better more successfull person...

  10. Default

    NOT STEALTHY ENOUGH (40%-50%)
    Wading when you don't have to
    Moving (too fast)
    Not crouching/staying low
    Wading noisily
    LINING FISH (10%)
    Leader too short
    Just casting badly/also not knowing where the fish are (see below)
    NOT KNOWING WHERE THE FISH ARE (10%)
    Fishing too close
    Wading onto/next to fish
    FLASH (15%)
    Rod Flash (I'm loath to contribute too much to this, but have seen this on VERY rare occasions - 2%)
    Reel Flash (5%)
    Watch Flash (most people don't fish with a watch, which is helpful- 2%)
    Other flash (nippers, zingers, forceps)
    GoPro Camera Flash (6% - yeah, I really think trying to get cool video footage with a nice shiny lens stuck to your head or chest creates a lot of flash)
    Rod Colour
    Fly Line Colour
    LIFTING LINE FROM THE WATER (5% - 10%)
    PUTTING YOUR FLY DOWN TOO HARD (5%)
    FALSE CASTING TOO MUCH (5% - 10%)
    STRIKE INDICATOR (5%)
    Too large
    Too bright

    That makes about 100% if you add it all up - but I'm pretty sure there are still a % of fish that spook for no damn reason at all than just to laugh at us later in the evening!!!!
    Mario Geldenhuys
    Smallstream fanatic, plus I do some other things that I can't tell you about

    "All the tips or magical insights in the world can't replace devotion, dedication, commitment, and gumption - and there is not secret in that" - Glenn Brackett

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