Q: How do you deal with frustration of leaves on water…it’s where the fish are?
A: If you’re having problems with leaves I suspect it’s because you’re fishing with a graphite rod. Since I fish exclusively with bamboo, which has natural leaf repelling properties, I’m never bothered by the leaves!
But seriously, leaves can be an annoyance for all of us for a few weeks in October. You just finished a long perfect drift but didn’t draw a strike so you raise your rod tip to carefully lift the fly off the water without spooking the fish and just before the fly lifts off the water its hook point pierces a partially submerged sycamore leaf the size of your spread hand which causes a commotion on the water and puts down the fish you had so carefully approached. It is at this point where I have found that there are mostly just two options from which to choose. The first is to rip the fly, leaf, and line off the water with enough force to fling it into the overhanging branches behind you while spewing a string of profanities which will hang over that particular stretch of water for the rest of the day or maybe for eternity. Who can know? The second option is to draw a deep breath in through your nose and slowly release the breath out your mouth while carefully drawing the offending leaf across the water causing the least disturbance possible. Once you’ve removed the leaf from the hook, pause a moment to look around at the beauty of your surroundings and give thanks for the gift of being alive, healthy, and able to fish.
I still find myself using option number one from time to time but strive mightily to be an option number two kind of guy. It seems to make for a better angling experience. Good luck and tight lines!
Charlie Downs ~ CWO Professional Guide