How many rises makes a rising fish? Is one rise enough? Two times? Six?
You should not immediately move to a fish you see make a single rise. Some fish rise in an opportunistic way, not soon repeated. Others will be steady risers, five, six or seven times in a few minutes. These you can safely call “rising fish.”
When we see (or hear) a rise, the temptation is to attack it. We will just flip whatever is on the line at the fish as soon as we can. A more productive strategy is to watch for a while to see what the fish is doing. If it is a consistent riser, move into the best position to cast to him and then just be still while you observe. If you can see the fly he is taking, definitely try to match it. If you can’t, make your best guess. See if he comes up in the same spot, or is he moving around?
Often, when out in the main current, the same fish will rise repeatedly but not exactly in the same location. Some fish will move upstream or downstream, side to side. Others will not move an inch and you need to put your fly right on their nose. The first rise does not give you this tactically important information.
Now you have the information you need to try to effectively catch this fish. Since you have been still for a while, he is not aware of your presence. You’re within reasonable casting distance, you have the best fly on your leader, whose strength is not compromised by a wind knot and is the lightest one for these circumstances, and most importantly, you have had a chance to get a hold of the adrenaline rush which came with the first sighting.
Excerpt from How to Fly Fish for Trout, the FIRST Book to Read.
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