Finding ascending trout in a shallow side channel overlooked by the previous group of anglers trying to reach the next honey hole.
All photos by Evan Jones

Fly fishing involves paying attention to many different details, so over the course of a long day or week it can be tempting to take a few shortcuts. I’m not suggesting that every angler should follow a strict routine on the water – after all, we do it for fun – but I’ve seen that some of these time savings have ended up costing both freshwater and saltwater anglers valuable opportunities (mostly when that’s the the case is). I was a fisherman). Missing a few fish might not matter much in your home waters – which is probably why these lazy habits develop in the first place – but when you’re in a new situation where every fish counts, you don’t want small ones Shortcuts You’ve naturalized yourself at home to limit your chances in the end. Here are three of the worst offenders to watch out for.

1. Dash right past them

If you’re trying to hit as many top spots as possible in one day, you’ll inevitably have to skip some less desirable waters in between, but try not to ignore them entirely. Sometimes, especially in areas of high pressure, fish deliberately congregate in seemingly unlikely places Because Anglers will often overlook them there. I’ve fished a few very clear water trout streams where the trout felt vulnerable and restless in the angler-strewn deeper waters while gorging greedily in the fast, shallow and fairly empty grooves in between.

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With the very last litter of the day we experienced an exciting fish story from a skunk.

2. Going too early

If you don’t catch any fish, saving the rest of the day and going elsewhere seems like the best option. But the last few hours of daylight can spell sea change for many fisheries, so it’s often worth holding out until dusk. I was fishing with some friends on the plains near Sarasota one fall afternoon and we went several hours without catching a single fish. As the sun began to set and we were on our way, my friend made one final throw with a popper, which was immediately inhaled by the biggest snook of the season. I’ve seen similar catches at the end of many days so it’s definitely worth waiting until last daylight if you can.

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When mayflies like these start hatching, it’s time to switch to a dry fly.

3. Sticking to the same setup for too long

Tying many knots can be a time-consuming and laborious task, so it’s not uncommon to just keep using what you’ve already tied rather than taking the time to change the settings. I’ve been on many trout trips where I’ve hesitated to swap out my complex nymph rig for a dry fly setup – even after seeing fish rising – only to watch someone else take the time to switch and catch the most unforgettable fish in the world day.

Evan Jones is Associate Editor of the Orvis Fly Fishing blog. He lived on the Florida coast for a decade and now resides in Colorado.