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TROUT often take at the most awkward times. You've been fishing for hours without an offer then suddenly, just as you are pulling your fly out of the water to recast, it happens.

You either see a swirl and feel nothing, or you just feel the trout for a split second as you pull the fly out of its mouth on the recast.

This is inevitably followed by a few expletives muttered under the breath or otherwise.

If you stop for a second to think about it, you realise a fish has followed your flies from the depths up to the surface and, just as you pause to recast, has taken the opportunity to grab at it.

Sometimes you don't even see them as they veer away at the very last minute.

What is the answer to this common problem? Well, simply hang your flies at all times. It's the best piece of advice I can give to any angler.

Instead of recasting immediately, let your top dropper hang in the water close to the boat for a second or two.

Then do the same with your two other droppers and tail fly.

It is amazing how fish which have followed you up will take a fly in this way.

Despite the warmer than normal weather we have been experiencing, trout are still grubbing about on the bottom for creepy crawlies such as snails, freshwater shrimps and nymphs of various flies.

For the time being you can do no better than fish artificials which are predominantly dark or black to imitate these creeping denizens of the mud and rocks.

A smallish ace of spades playing card, which could look either like a small fish or an insect, has done well for me in the past, as has another favourite, the Montana nymph. This is used to represent a stick insect - the larva of the caddis fly - which creeps about the bottom, living in the silt and hiding under stones.

For camouflage, most of the species live in cases covered with little bits of gravel and tiny bits of vegetation.

All you see is a little head occasionally popping in and out as they feed on detritus.

The Montana nymph, tied on to the tail of a cast and slowly sunk with an intermediate line until you find the bottom, is a fairly safe bet.

The retrieve should then be long and slow. Gently inch the Montana back, giving it occasional little twitching movements to impart some life into it and excite the trout.

Other black flies worth trying are a Black and Peacock Spider and a Black Pennel.

And remember, hang them before recasting.
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Title Annotation:Sport
Publication:Daily Record (Glasgow, Scotland)
Date:Apr 13, 2007
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