The Global FlyFisher
Simply the Best Place to go for Online Fly Fishing and Fly Tyinghttp://globalflyfisher.com/fish-better/takes
South African Korrie Broos has developed this "Chart of takes" to classify the takes and different methods to employ to fish for the takes or to trigger the take.
a. Normal feeding take
b. Inspection take
c. Curiosity take
d. Instinctive take
e. Competition take
f. Provoked take
g. Teasing take
h. Spooked take
i. Hot plate take
This is what we all fish for: The Take!
Without a take, we might as well do casting practice.
With dry fly, a take is easy to see, as it is visible, sometimes, it will be short, for a variety of reasons, the drift is not natural, the fly does not look right etc.
With all the nymphing I have done and having seen some of the world's best nymph fly fishers in action and fished with them, I have developed a "Chart of takes" to classify the takes and different methods to employ to fish for the takes or to trigger the take. This is by no means a scientific researched, empirically proven classification, but based on my personally experience and observations thru the years. This piece is not about the various nymphing techniques, but only about the different takes.
Normal feeding take
We all are very familiar with this take, here the fish is in a feeding mode, and will take the nymph, when it drifts towards the fish, it will even move to fetch the "food". The fish is 100% sure that what he is going to suck in, will be food, the nymph. We sometimes say how "deep" the fly was, or we got the fish in the scissors. The take is a very positive take and the fish will hold the fly a long time in its mouth. When fishing with a strike indicator, the take will register as a very positive take. Flies that are very good will be Gold Ribbed Hare's Ear nymph (GRHE) , Pheasant tail nymph (PTN). Both fly designs with beads and various hotspots in either the to bead area or the tail area, will also count among these, and all the patterns that will be classified as very "Natural".
Inspection take and curiosity take
These are sometimes very similar and could overlap.
With an inspection take, it will be a natural style flies, but the fish might not have seen the fly pattern before, but it will "Look like food, but the fish will not be sure". I was fishing in Spain, with some members of the Italian National fly fishing team. A hatch of the Echdinorous venusus (March Brown) was starting to come off. This species of mayfly is one of the largest mayfly species. Edoardo Ferrero showed me, how the fish was "avoiding" the nymphs and the naturals, as the fish were not use to such big nymphs and flies, as first. He showed me, how feeding behaviour and takes of the trout will be changing. As we in South Africa, do not have such big mayflies this was a first for me. He showed me how the fish was at first "afraid" of the nymphs. The fish will nip at the nymphs, not take a normal feeding gulp, at such a "Big Mac" floating by. The "nip" was an inspection take, to see if this was food. The more the fish got comfortable the "nip" changed into a Normal feeding take. The fish were gulping the big nymphs and later the dry flies, with such positive takes, that all the flies were deep in the throat or properly in the scissors of the mouth or the firmly in the jaws of the fish. So, if you are fishing a nymph or fly that is much larger, it might "inspect it" to check if it is food.
How many times have we either found or heard of strange objects in a trout's stomach? Pine kernels, sigarette butts, little twigs, stones, bright objects, bubble gum. The list goes on and on, the more you speak about this with fellow anglers, the more you hear about strange objects found in the fish's stomach.
Did the fish take this as food?
I doubt it.
It took a nibble at this, thinking "what is this? Is this food? Could this be food?"
If 100% sure it was not food, it would spit this out, but when the fish is in doubt, it will swallow this. Flies that will create a curiosity take, in my opinion will be blobs, boobies and any other flies, that are not "natural". Or it could be flies, that are "natural" but are much larger than the naturals in the water or a "natural" pattern but with different colors.
When a trout is spooked, instinct will kick in and it will dart off, "automatically". But when it comes to feeding, instinct also kicks in. When swinging , wet flies, or woolly buggers in fast water, we all have had vicious takes, even snapping off on the take. As mentioned, this is my personal theory, and I cannot scientifically prove it, but when a trout is positioned, looking upstream in fast water, it is focused on what drifts or washes towards him.
So when a big juicy morsel all of a sudden swings from the side, into its field of view, it will "snap at it" only to later inspect it, if it is food. The trout has to move very fast, before this bonus, disappears, so without thinking, the instinct of the trout kicks in and snaps at this, then inspecting it, to see if it is food.
The competition take, occurs when a single fish, is in a feeding lay, but is not feeding. It hangs in the water column, not worried about feeding. As soon as a second fish comes around, the first fish will start taking food. The competition that a second fish provides, for the food, spurs the first fish to start eating. It is almost a scenario of missing out on dinner, and if I don't start eating, I will get nothing. If there are more than one fish in an area, presenting the fly, that it will be more to the one side, you can tease/provoke the bigger fish to take the fly.
In 2002, I was the manager of the South African team at the world championships in France. In competitions, you have to catch as many fish as possible or sometimes, you might only have a single fish, in your beat, that all ready have seen so many flies, or might have been hooked, that will not feed normally, inspect a fly to see if it is food, or snap at a swinging fly, as it is hiding in its "secret spot". We all have experienced in our life, at one time or the other, a person that will "provoke" you. It will either be to continuously do an irritating thing, until you snap, or continuously pushing you from behind in a queue, until you cannot control yourself any more, shove your elbow into them, or give them a tongue lashing or worse, a flat hand against the temple.
The basics are the same for a provoked take. In this specific instance, the French fly fisher had no fish and there was only 10 or 15 minutes left of his 3 hours session, but he spotted a fish, in a little "cul de sac" channel. The French fly fisher set about the "provoke a take".
He would cast with a single nymph, to this fish, landing the fly in front of its nose, using the same fly for between 8 and 10 casts. He would change the fly and redo the exercise. After another 8 to 10 casts, he would change the fly. Having done this 4 times, he would leave the fish for 4 or 5 minutes to "Stew in anger or fear" whichever it was. Then he repeated the exerciser, again casting 8 to 10 times, change the fly cast, change the fly cast, and let the fish "stew in anger or fear". By the fourth cycle, this fish was really angry and so provoked that it snapped at the fly.
When I present the Nymphing Master Class, I normally tell this little story to illustrate the Teasing take. When a young man, is getting closer to the wedding day, the friends will normally have a Bachelors party for him. At the Bachelors party, there might be a stripper or they will take him to a strip club "as his last bit of "legal "illegal" fun". The stripper will then be notified who the soon to be wed, young man is. She will do her best to "TEASE HIM", but his is not allowed to touch. But with copious amounts of liquor forced down his throat, his self control will be weaker and weaker. As the stripper is doing her job better and better, the self control of this young man will eventually crumble and he will touch the stripper.
This technique to catch trout, was shown to me high in the Appenine mountains of Italy, but Peir-Luigi Cocito.
The Teasing take is very similar in approach to this. The will be a trout in the stream, and might or might not be in a feeding mode. But you cannot get this trout to take your fly. By employing various down stream nymphing techniques, in crystal clear mountain waters, it was easy to see how Pier-Luigi Cocito, teased numerous trout to take his flies. Some of the techniques were, swinging flies, changing flies, weighted surface nymphing, dapping weighted nymphs on a very long leader.
The technique works in faster to very fast water, where the trout will not see you so easy or will not spook.
As mentioned, it is a downstream technique, so the flies are left dangling in front of the trout, in the water column. By bringing the flies closer and taking it away, by moving the flies more upstream and then sliding it back to the trout, doing a sideways swing, with rod tip manipulation, you can move the fly a lot.
It is like teasing a child with a sweet or lollipop. Or a dog with a bone. A child will start crying or eventually snatch at the sweet. The same principle applies to a trout. Eventually it snatches at the flies.
It is like teasing a child with a sweet or lollipop.
When Pascal Cognard, visited South Africa, in 2013, this was the first time I witnessed this take.
I was made to believe, that if you spooked a feeding trout or pricked the trout and it darts of to its "safe heaven" or hidy-hole.
It will not feed, and you have to leave it until it comes back to the normal feeding spot.
Well, Pascal disproved this long held belief. We were fishing on the Elandspad River in the Cape, and he pricked a fish and this fish dashed to its safe haven or hidy-hole about 1 meter to the left.
This fish felt safe, as it was "under the rocks", but we could see half of the trout sticking out from the side. Pascal changed his fly to a French micro nymph #26 PTN. It was so small and I could not believe that he was going to fish to the spooked fish, with this tiny piece of nothing.
With pinpoint accuracy, the fly landed about 10 centimeters in front of the fish's nose. Pascal struck and the fish was on.
I could not believe it, but Pascal said, that if a fish is spooked, it does not mean it will not eat. If the drift is right, and the food is front of the fish, he will do a "tiny feeding" take. Big flies, will not work, as this will land with a big plop and spook the fish even more.
Hot Plate take.
I was made aware of this take by my Czech fly fishing friend, Jiri Pejchar.
He described this take to me, as the same as when you touch a hot plate to determine if the plate is hot or not. You would move your hand very fast and with a fast light tap you will feel if the plate is hot or not. This type of take occurs in fast flowing pocket water where the trout is holding in a pocket, sometimes the pocket of water is almost as big as the trout. As the food washes in very fast into the pocket or holding area, the trout must snap very quickly at the food and either swallow it or reject it.
He said that most or almost all fly fishers miss these takes as the take is so fast, before registering a take in the tumbling water, the fly has all ready been spit out by the trout or it has gone thru the gills. He fishes for the Hot Plate Take by lifting the rod, as soon as the fly has tumbled into the pocket water. When he is catching 8 to 10 fish for every one you catch, in freestone mountain streams, with lots of pocket water, while you are waiting for the strike to register, you realise there is something to the Hot Plate Take.
With all the different takes, comes a magnitude of different nymphing techniques. To master the techniques, and become sufficient in applying all the techniques, to quote Jiri Klima "You moest praktoesh"
GEM Skues had a "Classification or reason of takes" more than a 100 years ago.
By Ed Herbst
Flies and Lures
It should always be remembered that the man who puts up, say, a Butcher when the Blue-winged Olive is on in force has missed the whole point of fly-ﬁshing. He, poor fellow, is more to be pitied than scorned, for he has deliberately acknowledged his defeat. Fly-ﬁshing is a riddle, and he has confessed his inability to read that riddle.
Thereafter fly-ﬁshing must be to that man a mere recreation. The only satisfaction he is likely to get is the killing of a few ﬁsh, but the pleasures of angling cannot be weighed in pounds and ounces on a spring balance. Angling is a game in which the fisher cannot always win.
Trout, according to Mr. Skues, take the fly generally as food, but sometimes from motives of curiosity, tyranny, rapacity or jealousy. The angler is quite justified in endeavouring to excite any of these motives.
Even when the trout are palpably taking the ﬂy as food he is justified in trying to appeal to their curiosity or tyranny or jealousy, but he will be very foolish if he does anything of the kind.
Apart from the fact that he will probably ﬁnish up with a lighter bag, he will be indulging in a distinctly duller game. The interest of presenting the artiﬁcial in such a way that it is confidently accepted as food is far greater than when the ﬂy is intended to excite any of the other motives.
It is not lures alone which appeal to these instincts.
A large sedge, for instance, may be taken from motives of greed or jealousy.
We have all noticed at some time or other the antics of two dogs who have found a bone. It may not be a particularly interesting bone from the canine point of view, but each dog is determined that the other shall not have it. A battle usually ensues and one goes off in a hurry, leaving the victor in possession. One would suppose that the bone would be borne triumphantly away, but it is more generally dropped as if it had suddenly lost its savour. Surely it is within the bounds of probability to suppose that our trout may be actuated by a similar motive.
Mr. Skues came dangerously near the solution of the eternal problem when he wrote: "The angler will, therefore, be wise who considers, in relation to the water it is his privilege to fish, on which of these methods he can most profitably place reliance, and adjusts his methods accordingly".
Here we have the whole key to successful fly-ﬁshing. Sense the mood of your trout and he is as good as dead.
From: Tying Flies in the Irish Style by E J Malone (Smith Settle, 2000)