Fishing a Pocket or Pool

by Fly Fisherman

If you’re fishing a pocket or a pool where you’re pretty certain there are catchable trout residing, and they refuse your offering after tempting them in the customary fashion, hit the spot from other angles. Practice the different retrieves on them and with varying rates of speed in the movements. If no action at all is secured and you’re still certain there are trout in the pocket, carefully leave the water and detour around the location and come up on it from the opposite direction. Change your fly to another possible effective pattern and give them the “upstream” treatment. If the stream is low and the water comparatively slow in the pool you’re working, try retrieving the fly in long, sweeping pulls as fast as the rod will permit without throwing the fly from the water. If still no action, it could be the pool needs a rest. Between five and ten minutes will often serve as an ample resting period. Try another pocket in another location then go back and try it again.

The slick, at the lower end of a pool, in low water, many times will be found a productive spot to work. If there is a lack of disturbance by a hooked fish, at these points, you may take a number of trout before the pocket is exhausted. A hooked trout will sometimes, by his escape antics, put down all other fish in the immediate area and at other times the remaining trout are as unconcerned as youth is to unasked advice. Fishing these slicks or glides the fly is generally more effective when it is traveling just under the surface. Trout will strike at a fly which is surfacing and skimming the top but usually a just submerged lure, in wet fly fishing, will accomplish greater results. Also the fly, just under the surface should seldom lag along.

 A more or less fast journey, as if the lure were trying to escape, is regularly of greater worth than with a loitering fly.
If a trout is on the feed in a pocket or pool he will, in most cases, go for the fly on the first cast providing all other conditions are favorable. Very rarely will he wait to attack the lure on subsequent casts. However, never neglect fishing a promising looking area thoroughly. Trout are unpredictable and may want to be coaxed.

Although possessing quite different characteristics from many angles, we have learned that the average salmon is caught only after about five hundred casts by the salmon fisherman. When we consider the wariness of trout and their tendency to scare easily, which is not possessed by the salmon, it would appear that trout, too, should have to be cast over at least a fifth of that number or one hundred casts per good fish. I’ve seen “put-’em-down” anglers in action on a stream where a thousand casts would never result in one reasonable keeper. One hundred casts, each carried through or followed through to some extent, would take upwards of thirty minutes to an hour, perhaps longer, so do not become discouraged if the first pool results in just fishing exercise. The next pocket or pool might be a different story because this is the case in many instances, for no particular logical reason. Fish are often active and can be taken in one spot and not in another. One of the enjoyable features of trout fishing is the suspense and the optimistic expectations.

Striking a trout as you sce him rise to your fly, when fishing wet, will in too many instances pull the lure away from him, possibly scaring him into departing to elsewhere. When you feel the tug is the time to get a tight line on him. Four times out of five when a trout hits a wet fly, if he’s hooked at all, he has hooked himself.
It goes without saying that each cast or maneuver should be completed and do not allow the fly to come to a standstill at any time. Either you are moving the fly or the current is controlling it. It just wouldn’t be natural, in moving water, that the object would halt in its travel unless an outside influence was tied to it.

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