Fly Fishing: Who’s Educating Who?


I had a unique experience catching a rather hungry rainbow yesterday on the river that really brought an interesting question to mind, “Who’s educating who?”. Let me explain.

With the water in my area of Pennsylvania still flowing higher than normal, I decided to put on my big boy waders, grab my 7wt, and swing for the fences. That’s right, I grabbed a couple large streamers and walked out the door. It’s easier to commit to throwing the big flies all day when all you bring with you is big flies.

I didn’t expect to catch many fish, but that’s a worthy sacrifice for the techniques required to draw in the biggest of trout. I decided to go fish a section of river that I have only fished once before. I really want to believe it’s the place that’s going to give up my next trout in the two foot range, but maybe that’s just my hungry imagination.

About 8 casts into the day, I hooked into something big. I’ll admit it, the strike completely took me by surprise. I was still acclimating myself to fishing my sinking line. Fumbling around with the line hanging around the reel, the fish was gone. Bummer. It’s hard to let chances like those go without capitalizing.

I didn’t touch or see another fish through the section. I decided to part ways and head for a section of river that is always good to me. A nice soft edge of a long riffle pool. First cast and strip through the zone, I saw a decent rainbow flash at my fly. Second cast, and I moved a fish again. I took steps downstream trying the retrieve at a different angle allowing me to get the fly deeper. As the fly neared my feet, I once again watched as the rainbow from before swiped at my fly. Strip set, and I missed again. By now I can’t believe that I moved the same fish three times without success. In a river that is predominately brown trout, I can be sure that this rainbow was most likely the same fish. Once again today, I’d blown an opportunity.

I decided to walk upstream about fifteen feet. I casted quartering down stream, and decided to try swinging the streamer with fewer strips retrieving the fly low and slow. As the fly is halfway across the current, BOOM, I’m hooked up. After fighting the fish near to me, as I scoop him into the net what do I see? My same rainbow from before with the streamer stuck in his upper lip.

I thought to myself, I really gave this rainbow an education in articulated streamers today. After thinking a little more, I laughed to myself. It took me four attempts. Maybe I’m the one who was receiving the education.

Again I ask, Who’s Educating Who?


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