When it comes to trout fishing, particularly on smaller streams, one need not let a lack of fly casting skill keep him or her from enjoying the benefits of showing the fish flies. In many instances ultralight spin fishing gear will also get the job done.
My longtime friend and outdoor partner Dave isn't a fly caster. But many days he outfishes me on western Pennsylvania's wild trout streams, most of which average 10 to 25 feet in width. Armed with a 6-foot spinning rod and a handful of flies he's quite effective.
Here are a five tips and thoughts regarding the use of light spinning gear to target trout on smaller waters.
|St. Croix Premier Series Trigger Rod|
1. Use an ultralight spinning rod, but one with decent length. Many spinning rods in the ultralight category or too short to be used efficiently in this situation. Dave uses a St. Croix Premier 6 foot light action rod (Model PS60ULF). The added length (many ultralights are 4.5 to 5.5 feet long) allows the angler to follow the drift of the fly and to swing it over obstacles like log jams.
2. Couple the rod with a good lightweight spinning reel like Shimano's Sedona model 500. Load it with a quality nylon monofilament like Sufix Siege, which has low line memory. Go light with 4-pound test. You'll be making a lot of short "flip style" casts; the last thing you need is problems with loops forming on the spool from non-supple line.
3. In fly casting, the line provides the weight to cast the nearly weightless fly. When used with spinning gear you'll need to add weight in the form of split shot. Carry an assortment of small squeezable shot in size B and BB. You don't need a lot of weight, just enough to provide the needed mass for short casts and to get the fly subsurface.
|Wooly Bugger Flies - 12 Pack|
4. While this spinning approach can't accommodate surface (dry) flies, it works remarkably well with subsurface flies such as small streamers, nymph flies and certain terrestrial patterns. Carry a selection of Wooly Bugger flies, Green Weenies, Hare's Ear nymphs like Montana Fly Company's 12 pack of flies or whatever specific patterns duplicate the food present in the waters you fish.
5. Cover the water just as a fly fisher would do. In rocky runs, make upstream casts, allowing the fly to tumble with the current, reeling in line to maintain feel. In the case of streamers, feel free to make cross current casts, working the fly with short twitches that suggest a minnow. And by all means, make short flips up against undercut banks and into scour holes underneath logs jams.