How often have you been out fishing and stay with the same fly, some fly line, and same presentation and retrieve over and over again? I've done it, I still do it, we probably all do it. Maybe we switch flies every now and then, but how long do you stay with something that is or isn't working?
Recently one of my fly fishing mentors wrote me a note. It was simple but made me think,
" Fine tune your presentation...
Changing flies, retrieves, lines, and leaders.
Maximize your retrieve in the surf.
Let fly swing ect. "
Now for some of us we like to catch fish the way we like to catch fish. I see this a lot while guiding. Clients will say, " I only want to fish dry fiies." or "Let's just look for heads." or " I want to find birds and fish for blitzing fish." There are other clients that just want to catch fish, no matter what methods are used. Nymphing, popping, dredging, stripping streamers......basically by any means necessary.
On my boat, fresh or salt, I have several rods rigged and ready to change up in a minutes notice. Either rods rigged for nymphing or streamers, or for dredging big bunker flies or fly lines for leader shy pelagics taking tiny flies. I also have another rod ready when walking the river, beach, or rocks. One, in case a breakage occurs, or if we want to give the fish a different look.
I always have a spare spool or two of different fly lines in my pack in case I want to switch. Say I have on an intermediate line on an incoming tide or am going to be fishing a deep bowl or rip and need to get the fly deeper in the water column. I have to find a place to switch over and re-rig. It can be done, but happens less than I want it to. It's a bit of an ordeal, especially if you want to switch back when moving to a different spot or finding that wasn't productive.
So, I am taking the practice of carrying multiple rods with me when I personally fish on the beach, groins, and jetties. Since I prefer to fish alone and usually pass on those areas where other anglers are this reduces the problem of the rod getting in someones way or broken.
The last three days I have found this to work for me. At first light I am able to cover water with a popper, and then hit that same spot with a sinking line for deeper presentation. Usually an angler will cover a stretch and then make the spare spool switch, if he does it at all, and then re-fish the same water. This works, however sometimes a spot is only fishy for so long. Light and tides are always changing, and may not wait for you to fish the beach down, and then back.
The same goes true for fly selection. Sometimes I fish the same fly an entire outing, and sometimes just too damn long. Other times it stays tied on for multiple days. It only becomes worse when we catch a fish because we think that is the go-to fly. Maybe there's a fly in your box that work better and catch more and bigger fish if you just tried it. You can even stay with the same pattern, but maybe a different color or size will increase your chances.
Leader and tippet diameter and length can be experimented with also. Many times clients have had on a 4x or 5x tippet but are getting no results. A quick change to a 6x or 7x can be a game changer. The same can be said for salt water leaders and tippet. Mono or flouro- tapered or not- and short and long. Conditions and species can dictate what you tie on. A classic example is when bluefish and stripers are in mixed company, wire leaders or not?
I transport my fly rods with a Sumo Car Top Rod Rack, HERE. I have used it for several years and haven't had it fail yet. However it should be checked every time you go to use it if has been on your vehicle for a while. Temperature changes and moisture content in the air can loosen them up.
Since carrying two rods I have been using Orvis reel cases, HERE, to protect the reels from damage on the rocks and from sand infiltartion on the beach. I am going to devise a small stand that I can use to keep it upright on the beach. It will prevent walkers or other anglers from stepping on it, however, you have to be careful of your or others backcasts if you're fishing in front of where you leave your rod.
So if you are fishing the beach or rocks and see a fly rod standing alone please look around for the fly rodder it may belong too before you take it to the Lost and Found.