I’ll always remember the primary time I hunted trout at night time. On the time I’d solely been flyfishing for a number of weeks, with restricted success. It didn’t assist that I used to be fishing extremely technical rivers—gradual, gin-clear water and bright-sand bottoms made for chronically anxious fish that will scatter like buckshot the second I obtained to inside casting distance.
That every one modified after I returned to these exact same waters to fish mouse patterns after dusk. All of the sudden all these trout that noticed me coming 60 toes away had been banging into my kneecaps to eat a rodent, and I began to boost fish far bigger than I had thought my river system might produce. In the event you’ve by no means tried mousing, you’re lacking out on hands-down the very best and most constant big-fish chunk of the 12 months.
Decide Your Vermin
Mouse patterns vary from giant, articulated ties like Tom Lynch’s White Bellied mouse, which requires a 7- or Eight-weight rod to solid, to smaller Morrish Mouse patterns that may be fished on a 5- or 6-weight. The one factor all mouse patterns have in frequent is that they make a wake on the floor, and it’s that wake that calls fish in. At night time, you possibly can typically get away with chopping your 9-foot chief again to six or 7 toes, and utilizing a a lot heavier tippet, all the best way as much as 15-pound-test. This heavy tippet works nicely since fishing in the dead of night will make the bankside grasses and timber appear a bit grabbier than regular.
As to presentation, mousing is similar to the quartering-downstream you may need finished with moist flies and leech patterns—mainly, you solid at a 45-degree angle towards the financial institution and let the fly swing cross-current till it’s dangling proper under you. That stated, there are a number of key variations to fishing a mouse. The primary is to land the fly with a very good, laborious splat. Mousing is absolutely the one time that trout fishing requires a full-throated smack upon landing—nevertheless it’s darkish, in any case, and also you’ll must get a trout’s consideration.
What comes subsequent is essential: As quickly because the fly lands, throw an enormous upstream mend in order that the fly doesn’t begin its swing too rapidly. This provides the trout a protracted second to seek out the supply of the splat. If a fly lands and instantly begins swinging cross-current, an keen trout’s capability to seek out your providing in the dead of night is compromised, particularly in sooner flows.
Because the fly swings, alternate between small strips and small upstream mends to mimic a mouse struggling and resting within the present, whereas doing all of your finest to take care of some slack in your line (a taut connection to your fly is a mousing no-no). You may obtain this by protecting your rod tip excessive and reducing it to observe the fly at a pace only a bit faster than the present—you’ll know you’ve sufficient slack in your connection in case your fly line kinds a barely sagging bow as an alternative of a decent, straight hyperlink to the fly. This further little bit of slack is crucial. When a trout decides to eat a mouse, it’s not anticipating to come across any resistance in any respect.
At the hours of darkness, realizing if you’ve been bit is a sonic affair, so that you’ll be relying in your ears. There are two sounds to pay attention for. One is apparent—a toilet-bowl whoosh that gives you one thing simply wanting a coronary heart assault. It will usually come from smaller, less-experienced fish. The second sound is way subtler—a brief, deep baritone bloop attributable to a mature trout effectively lifting its nostril out and in of the water to eat your mouse. This sound is simple to overlook, particularly in quick, noisy water, so that you’ll must pay shut consideration. Mousing is just not for dreamers.
When you’ve been bit, the primary and most necessary factor to do is…nothing in any respect. “Be a statue” was the very best recommendation I’ve ever gotten relating to fishing mice in the dead of night. After all, that is hundreds of occasions simpler stated than finished. Your intuition will likely be to rear again in your rod tip to set the hook instantly. Resist. Trout usually miss mice on the primary lunge however will search the world for his or her escaping prey. Preserve your rod tip low and wait till you are feeling the load of the fish. Then increase the rod tip upward in a swift movement and combat the fish in guide, hand-to-hand fight—there’s no must put a moused-up fish on the reel.