Autumn On The EB

Autumn On The EB
Fly Fishing The Millers - With over 30 years of fly fishing this river I will claim more knowledge and fish caught than anyone. There are over 40 miles of river and I will take you to the best sections and if you want to sections that never see another angler. Don't be fooled by those who say the Millers is a Spring and Fall river. I'll show you how to have great Summer action. The "EB of the Westfield" - Wild and beautiful is the only way to describe this river. There's a lot of water here but I know where to go to catch trout. After a trip you will too!! Solitude and trout IS the EB. The Swift - 20 trout days are not uncommon on this river if you know what to do and use. I'll show the way and you catch the trout. RATES - Full Day (6 hours) = $150.00 for one, $225 for two (lunch included). Half Day (three hours) $90.00 for one, $155.00 for two. Beginners Class - 3 hours ffor $90.00, all use of rods lines, reels included.

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Ways Not To Play And Land A Trout

A trout's brain is very small. It is sometimes said that dry-fly fishermen "pit their brains against those of the trout". No-one has ever leveled a bigger insult at us. Dermot Wilson - Fishing The Dry Fly

This past season I guided two anglers who took too long to land a trout. Both hooked a trout and then began to lower their rod off to the side, one side and then the other. The trout swam around at will and after what seems FOREVER the fish came to the net. A third angler did the same but lost the trout and fly and tippet to a sunken Millers dead fall. That's what happens when you play with your fish instead of PLAYING your fish!!

I haven't a clue how this weird technique metastasized but it is totally unnecessary. Your goal it to bring the trout to the net as quickly as you can without breaking the tippet if you really believe in proper catch and release.

Let's say you hook a trout. It's first action will be to move AWAY from the PULL that you induce and to go deep. FORCE THE TROUT TO THE SURFACE where it doesn't want to be. It will begin thrashing about and EXPEND far more energy than letting it swim around at will. USE YOUR ROD to make this happen. Don't bend your rod into a candy cane shape but raise your rod arm enough to make the rod bend from the tip into the mid section of the butt. Your rod, acting like a fulcrum, will flex to every surge the trout attempts and it will be like a weight being pulled. Maybe your reel and it's drag system might even get into play. Get that fish thrashing up on the surface, in that half water, half air zone and it will tire quickly. You will net it, take a quick photo WITHOUT YOUR MITTS ON THE FISH, and then release it.

I saw a video of this weird and unnecessary technique. It showed someone hooking and landing a trout while going side to side in a low sweeping matter. It was easy to TIME the video from hook set to landing and that took 2 minutes and 12 seconds ( a long playing) BUT buried in the video were THREE video breaks of undetermined length. Why do we have video breaks? Usually because the scene is taking too long. Three, four, five minutes or longer?? Conclusion: the trout was played out toooo long. Lesson: use the appropriate sized tippet (not too light), elevate the rod, and Play the fish and not PLAY with the fish. It's best for the trout!


Parachute Adams said...

Good post, and good advice, Ken. I try to get them in quick and not touch them if at all possible. A good pair of hemostats is useful for getting the barbless hook out while fish is in the net and mostly in the water.

Regards, Sam

Millers River Flyfisher said...

Good point Sam especially not touching them. Photos in the net!


Anonymous said...

But Ken, what about the 8x on the Swift? Can't completely horse them with that...


The Eye on Harvard said...

The noted nymph fisherman Joe Humphreys has a number of videos where he advocates switching the rod from side to side in an effort to tire the fish quickly by forcing the fish to turn its head and change directions - bringing it to the surface. He brings those fish to net very quickly however. Perhaps folks are forgetting the quickly part and relishing yanking the fish around part.

Mike from Andover said...

I have read a couple of times, don't remember where, that one way to "play" (with) a trout is to apply sideways (90 degree angle) pressure, first from one side, then another. So there are books/mags out there that are propagating this nonsense. I agree that once you get the trout's head out of his (water) element, the battle is all but won. As far as the release, I swear by the Ketchum Release tool since I started using it about a year ago. With a flick of the wrist the fly is recovered and the fish is free without leaving the water.

Great discussion as always Ken - keep 'em coming!

Millers River Flyfisher said...


Read my post from July 8 2015 and then read the comments from Joe C. and Bob T. In short, you don't have to fish 8x on the Swift with sunken flies or even 7x. Joe C. gets it done with size 28 on 5X!!!!! Bob T. never goes that fine any longer and they are both very good fly fishers.

I'll go from side to side but always keep the rod UP and not low.
Your last sentence says it all.

Forceps or the Ketchum tool should be used more often.

lenny tamule said...

It's all about the big eye hooks. Sometimes I use 6lb test tippet because it has the same diameter as 5x. I brought a pig at the swift to net most likely only because I was using the 6lb tippet.


fischmeister57 said...

Switching the rod from side to side and holding it parallel to the water often works well with steelhead (who have everything in their favor) but is not, IMHO, really necessary with trout. If I can get a trout's head above water, I can usually bring it in quickly.


Anonymous said...

Agreed Ken, but if I want to fish tiny dries, I'm far more confident that I get more bites on 8x than 5x. And then I'm not going to horse those in, I'm going to play them sideways.

If you can get the trouts head up you should though. Agreed.


Millers River Flyfisher said...


Dry flies are a different matter that I explained in my July 8 post. 95% or more of the flies cast on the Swift are sunken flies and you don't need 8x as the commenters stated.


Kyle said...

One other consideration, if the water you're wading in can allow for it---without spooking any other fish in the area that is--- is to try and move downstream of the fish. With yourself and your rod below the fish, now the fish is fighting your rod/line as well as well as the current, tiring and leading the fish to your net quickly. This technique works well when wading right beside or on the bank/shore of a river.

Millers River Flyfisher said...


Good point!