When Your Patience is Tested

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When Your Patience is Tested

By: Jacob Noteboom

Fly fishing is often thought of as peaceful, tranquil, and satisfying, but there is just as much frustration as relaxation when it comes to fishing. We all have little things that press our buttons, but since I’ve started fly fishing a few more things have made it to my list. Most of the time they are the result of using gear that’s under par. I’m going to go over a few of these issues and what you can do to prevent these problems.

Tangles and Wind Knots

Everyone knows the dreaded moment when you make a cast with a double fly rig, strip it back in and see a giant bird’s nest of leader. This can be caused by many things: wind, crosscurrent, or a sloppy overhead cast. When you bring up a mess of line, the simplest thing to do is breathe, snip the leader at the eye of both hooks, and attempt to pull the knot loose. If it gets even worse - which happens more often than not - it is best to just break out a fresh leader.

There’s a couple things you can do to help prevent these knots. Partridge tippet rings allow for easy attachment of droppers and result in stronger leaders because less knots are needed. Good fundamentals are also a great way to keep from tangling. A good old-fashioned roll cast that lands straight and true is arguably the best cast for a double fly setup.


One of the most heartbreaking things in the world is watching a large fish turn away and say no to your fly. As a novice you may think, “I wonder if my fly wasn’t big enough. He’ll probably want this big bug!” But often, it is the exact opposite. A simple way to react to a refusal is to downsize everything. Smaller leader, smaller fly. But on the other hand, if you’re sight fishing with a large streamer to predacious fish, upsize your fly slightly and speed it up greatly. This will entice a greater reaction from the fish and make him hunt the fly down and hit it even harder. Even if you get repeated refusals, at least you know where the fish is. That in itself is a big plus.

Sharing the River

Maybe you used to be able to go to the river during a weekday and get your favorite Spey run to yourself. Then maybe one or 2 other anglers would show up. But it seems in the last couple years, classic Spey runs are becoming very populated. What can you do to be able to fish without bothering the other anglers who ended up on the water before you? Be polite. That’s all you have to do. If there is an obvious system or rotation in place, simply ask the angler next to you if it’s okay to hop in above him. Join in, and fish harder than the other guys, while still being decent human beings to each other. It is only about having fun. Somehow, this is a difficult task for some people, so if someone is being rude or uncooperative to you, then they might have changed the rules in your favor. It depends on how martial you are, or want to be. You might want to try quiet communication first. And, remember, you’ve got the whole rest of the river to fish.

All in Good Time

Just remember, the biggest secret to solving your fishing problems is patience. Take things slowly and with a level head and you’ll be a better problem solver, and a better angler.

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