Present and Set   8 comments

Hidy Ho Good Neighbors,

Been a while since my last post, but glad to get a minute to slap some words down.  T’was a great summer (I know it’s not officially over), caught a bunch of fish, met some super people, worked nearly everyday, remodeled 2 bathrooms in my house, AND got the house up for sale.  Pretty productive.

The Fly Fishers Playbook revision is going well.  The addition of around 10,000 words is fairly easy, it’s the pictures and illustrations that are proving difficult.  Hopefully, I can find some time to fish on my own to get more pictures.  Should be done in a couple months, I hope.

I learn something every time out on a guided trip.  The prevailing theme this summer has been set, set, set.  I am dedicating a large portion of the chapter in the book about hooking fish to the simple yet all important set.  Trying to impress upon folks to set the hook quickly, firmly, yet not too hard as to snap off, isn’t really as easy as it seems.

Most folks new to the game expect to feel the fish eat.  Those folks are easy to work with and fix because you can just keep practicing the set over and over again.  They will eventually figure it out, but usually remain just a bit slow.  That’s also simple to work on by decreasing indicator to weight distance, and finding faster moving water for them to put in some time.  The less distance increases their reaction time allowance and faster water will help fish hook themselves.

Intermediate folks are tougher to deal with because they tend to not set because they invision the bugs simply bumping on the bottom.   Oft times I will call for a set and the response will be something along the lines of “That was just the bottom”.  Drives me crazy.  How do they know that?  Can’t possibly be able to tell.  Those of you that fish under an indicator a lot know that fish will often eat without the indicator even pausing.  They eat and spit stuff all day, and our flies are no different.  Set on everything.

Advanced nymph fly fishers have learned to set on every bump, twitch and pause.  Advanced nymph fishers rarely make it through an entire drift without a set.  Advanced nymphers also have learned to set on movement , flashes or subtle changes within four feet of the indicator.  Simply put, they set, and don’t question the indicator.

I think that’s how beginners work toward advanced status, fish one rig consistently so you know it very well, and don’t question the indicator.  Jeremy Hyatt will ask his clients, “Why are you arguing with the indicator?”.   That is the main point, react to the indicator when you can’t see the target fish.  If you are sight nymphing and can clearly see the target fish, then try to watch the fish and your flies while keeping the indicator in your peripheral vision.  This way you can set on fish movement as it eats, and your indicator becomes a safety valve in case you don’t recognize the eat.

Present and set.  That is all it takes.  Doesn’t matter to me what it looks like getting to that point, but presentation and the set are crucial to all types of fly fishing.   Yea, there are certainly more effective methods of presentation than others, but really, it doesn’t matter how pretty your 20 foot roll cast is.  The key is that it gets into the slot you want to drift.  As for mending, it’s the same thing.  What you can’t lift off the water, you can’t mend, so high stick as often as possible.  It isn’t pretty, but it presents the bugs, AND sets you up for an efficient set.  Present and  set.

That’s plenty for now.  Thanks for tuning in again, and I’ll try to get  more regular entries as summer wanes.

Fear No Water,


Some summer pictures……….


























8 responses to “Present and Set

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  1. Waiting patiently for the next read, Duane!

  2. Duane Thanks again for the great teaching experience on Saturday September 7. Ameil and Myself talked about our fishing all weekend long after the 4 hours we spent in the river with you. By the way we tore it up the next day on the Arkansas thanks to the knowlwedge you shared with us. I have your blog site in my favorites and look foward to reading what you have to say.

  3. Hey! We were just talking about how much we enjoyed our day with you-so I wandered over to your blog, and surprise- there I was- trying hard to stay upright while you held my catch! What an exciting day for us- we are ready to come back and do it again, when it warms up a bit. Thanks for the fantastic experience!

  4. Shoot! I just saw this! How did it go for him? We saw one show last season, and plan to see one this summer too.

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