Sunday, December 6, 2015

Video- How Trout Take Flies

I absolutely had to share this video. I saw it this morning over on The Limp Cobra blog by Marc Fauvet.

I don't normally regurgitate the work of others, but I'm sure you'll agree after watching the video that it needed to be shared. It is a priceless video of fish hitting a variety of flies- a muddler minnow type, a foam Chernobyl type fly, and two bugger types. They are being tossed to obviously pen reared fish as told by all the rubbed off fins, but the mechanics of the take, as well as refusals etc. are very instructive to all fly anglers.  Go on and watch.

Let's break this down just a little.

I've been fishing muddler minnows a lot lately, and getting my best fish on them. I also "miss" a lot of fish on them. What is apparent to me is how quickly  the fish react to the unnatural feel of the prickly deer hair. None of the fish give it a second look after ejecting the fly.

The next fly is some sort of foam and hair monstrosity. It looks terrible, and yet they bite it and hang on, and even come back for a second bite. Also interesting are the refusals. Some fish very pointedly decide it's not food and turn away at the last second.

The last two flies were very interesting- they are so convincing to the fish in both look and apparently feel that they grab it, bite down, do their best to swallow it, and when it is pulled from their mouth they bite it again. One fish takes the same fly five times in rapid succession.

The Takeaway

Missing the hook set: Yes it happens, and the first fly in the video shows how fast it can happen when trout spit out something they don't want in their mouth, taking in and ejecting the fly in a fraction of a second. We humans don't have reflexes fast enough to react. If this happens a lot you need to switch to a fly with more natural materials that fish will hold on to.

Refusal: Looking at this video, I'd say the majority of "misses" are actually refusals. In the normal speed video the refusals are identical to the actual strikes to my eye, and it's only in slow motion that we see the difference. The next time you think you missed a hook set think again. If you are getting a lot of refusals you  need to change flies immediately to something they recognize.

Getting the fish to eat: The last two flies were incredibly instructive to my eye. The fish are doing their darnedest to eat them, not just strike out of curiosity. If I could have a choice it would be to get the fish to react as they do to these last two flies, chomping, holding on and repeatedly eating the fly.

Again, my thanks to Marc Fauvet for sharing this and please keep up the excellent work at The Limp Cobra.


  1. You know those refusals and slow hooksets happen, but it's amazing to see.

    1. It's really cool to see why. Maybe we know why woolly buggers have always been so popular too.