When going seatrout fishing and you are a novice to the sport, it can end up being rather frustrating. Hours and hours of casting, standing in cold water and freezing your various extremities (yes, even though I am a woman, I do freeze my toes too) are all part of spring seatrout fly fishing fun.
It gets even more frustrating if you go out fishing with a friend who is a so called ‘fish catcher’. Your friend is heaving fish out one after the other and you…nada, nothing, nix, not a single nibble. In these hours of distress you feel like breaking your rod and giving up fishing altogether! It is the darkest hour in your fly-fishing life, so it feels.
But before you give up fly-fishing in total, think about your fly-fishing history. You will probably realize that you have caught fish before, and maybe had days when you were the “fish catcher”. Don’t get mad with the fish Gods, or with Lady Luck, Mother Nature or that new rod you bought. You know you can catch fish, and that your turn will come again – maybe in the very next cast. After all, you do love fly fishing, don’t you?
Believing in yourself and that you can catch seatrout, is a good way to start fly fishing the coast for them. However, as with all other fish species it helps if you know a little more about their lifestyle and feeding habits.
Seatrout are an anadromous fish – meaning that they spawn in rivers and returns to the sea to feed. They travel miles along the coastline, feeding solitary or in small groups, and it will eat mostly any fish, larva, insect or small creature that it finds – after all, it is still a trout. However, there is a difference in the distribution of its food depending on the location. Is there structure in the water – stones, vegetation or a reef? Is the reef leading into deeper water? Is there a strong current?
The location can give you lots of clues to what the fish are feeding on and this can help in finding the seatrout’s behavior pattern. Shallow water with loads of structure and vegetation has lots of hiding places for mysis and shrimp, and in these locations start out by trying a small shrimp imitation.
Reefs with a connection to deeper water function like gateways, and both large and small fish use them as highways to travel and feed along. In these locations, it is generally better to start with a baitfish imitation.
According to the choice of fly imitation you should think about how to retrieve it; and here again be aware and observe what the natural foods are doing. Observe how mysis move in water. How does a shrimp behave close to the weed beds? How does a baitfish swim – particularly when scared by a predator (such as you)? Observe the most obvious movement patterns of the natural food and then change your retrieve pattern accordingly.
Although most of the time sea trout fishing is done in shallow water, presenting the fly at the right depth makes a big difference. Remember it is just a trout and it sometimes needs to have the food presented right in front of its nose. This doesn’t mean one has to wade up to their nipples (very cold in winter, believe me) to catch fish.
Let the tackle do the work. I use RIO’s Outbound Short lines, in floating, hover and intermediate densities as it is a very easy casting, long distance line and perfect for the coastline. These lines, coupled with a handful of different sinking Versileaders, will give you all the choice you need for effectively covering the different depths of water.
With all fish one just has to crack the code of the day, and it is no different with the seatrout. Go out and carefully study its world, use the information you have unlocked and it will eventually lead you to your goal!