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Targeting Trout in Autumn

As the fishing season comes to an end, changing your tactics to stalk large trout in the Autumn can be a wise move.

Away from the noise and bank-thumping palaver of the stockie-basher lies a large brown trout – wise and experienced in the ways of man. He will have seen all the lures, flies and unnatural imitations that humans have to offer and rejected them all, choosing the quiet life behind the natural features which provide him his protection.

If this is the trout you are after, then stalking nymphs are the flies for you. Simplistic in their makeup – the stalking nymph group of flies have one feature in common – they sink fast.

Used in close contact, these nymphs have a reputation for winkling out the biggies, but are only effective in the hands of those who are prepared to do a bit of creeping around the shadowy areas of the water – away from the rowdy casters and fly box snappers.

Using the stalking nymph is easy – getting into position without scaring off the trophy fish isn’t. Large fish choose places such as under the boughs of half-sunken willows, overgrown grass edging, and clumps of sedges. They are also flighty, and the slightest movement which is out of place will cause a flick of a tail and a cloud of sediment.

To find these fish you have think like them, seeking out the safest spots. Creeping on all fours is no good if you are then going to wave your rod around above the water – your movements have to be painstakingly slow so that your rod tip will be mistaken for a twig. Using your rod tip as a catapult, seek to flick your sinking nymph exactly in front of the large trout’s snout, and watch until you see the fish take your fly.

This is an eyes-on method of fishing. Polaroids are a necessity, the more clearly you can see your target, the better.

A slight movement of his head, a quick flash of white on his jaws or the widening of gill plates are all indications that he has sucked it in. It is then that you lift your rod tip the few necessary inches to set the hook, and with gentleness and tremendous care, you may land the fish of a lifetime!

Playing a large fish in a confined space is not an easy task. The mature fish are aware of how a sunken tree stump will aid their escape. Strong tippets of 6lb breaking strength or more are recommended, and a rod which can cope with some stress will help, enabling you to put pressure on the fish, controlling and maneuvering it out into the open water where it can be brought to the net.

Any heavily weighted nymph with a smooth profile will do the job, the weight of the fly being appropriate to the depth of water being fished.

Examples of successful flies are heavily weighted superglue buzzers, anorexic nymphs such as the Anorexic Diawl Bach, and Sawyer’s Pheasant Tail and Grey Goose Nymphs.

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