Rotation as a Tactic for catching more fish. [Archive] - Fly Fishing Forum

: Rotation as a Tactic for catching more fish.

03-08-2006, 04:00 PM
I was out this past weekend with one of my fishing buddies, Tony; at a river that has been treating us rather nicely over the winter. It is a large river but because of its low gradient and a large impassible waterfall near its mouth it only has one pool that is comfortable to fish with a two-handed rod and a swinging fly. Fortunately the pool is sufficiently large to accommodate a large amount of anglers. It also has a very rocky bottom and the fish can hold anywhere in the pool. It is an ideal pool to fish on a rotation.

When we arrived there were about 6 anglers in the pool all using two-handed rods. They were evenly spaced through the pool at about 50 feet apart and they did not move. They made the same cast to the same spot every time, covering the same small strip of water. This left a large portion of water between each angler virtually un-fished! Tony and I got in the water and started our own small rotation in the deeper marginal water up stream of the main pool and Tony eventually got a fish. We would get in, make a cast and let the fly swing, take a few steps down and repeat the process until we got within casting distance of the first angler. Then we would get out and repeat the process, following each other and rotating through our small portion of the pool.

The water was cold and the fishing was slow that day and there is almost no doubt in my mind that Tony would not have caught the fish if we had not used this method of fishing. At one point Tony asked the lead fisherman in the main pool if he was interested in starting a rotation. To our dismay the guy did not know what we were talking about. It is to bad because I think these anglers would have had greater success if they had rotated through the pool. This would have allowed every angler in the pool to cover fish that they no doubt missed by standing in one place.

I guess I took it for granted that everyone with a two handed rod knows what a rotation is. Many fishermen think it is just a way of being polite to your fellow anglers, but it is much more. It is in fact a very affective method to take fish.


Muckle Salmon
03-08-2006, 07:08 PM
Hi Charlie. Sometimes a baseball bat is a diplomatic tool:devil: . As I get older I have a harder time putting up with the b@#@#@$$t. If you have gone far enough in the game to get to the point of purchasing a 2 handed rod you are also aware of proper etiquette. If you wish to fish in a traditional manner then you have to follow all the rules. After I have politely made someone aware of this, I keep moving down. Trust me when that inexorable pressure starts building with each step you take, they will eventually start to move.
Sometimes you just have to help people do the right thing:)


03-08-2006, 09:53 PM
This is a very good point. The effectiveness of covering the water depends largely on the movement downriver.

03-08-2006, 11:27 PM

There is a certain, very well-known S river here in Washington state that on many days in summer there is a line up at some of the best water. This means that the only way folks get to fish is everyone starts at the top and rotates through taking their place on the beach afterward until everyone has gotten in at the top before getting back in for a second go through. This is how every fly fisher I know fishes for steelhead out here.

I also suspect that some if not all of those folks using those 2-handers that parked and didn't move, are folks who until recently fished with gear and had no clue about rotating through a run or why rotating is effective. I know there are quite a few primarily gear fishers out here in WA state who have picked up the lower priced 2-handers and started fly fishing who almost to a person just park like the folks you ran into. This is what they did with gear, so this is what they do with the 2-hander.

Besides, it is just plain river etiquett to rotate so everyone gets a chance to cover the lies.

03-10-2006, 09:07 AM
You speak of my home river. My experience is that very often there is a rotation going on down there. On rare occasions we have even coaxed some of the pin boys to join in. However, it seems the number of guys I have seen down there in the last two years swinging flies with two handers has gone way up…which is a good thing…but I guess there is bound to be a learning curve also. Swinging flies is sooo much different than the chuck and duck that some of these guys have been doing for a long time that sometimes it’s tough to break old habits. There is a real paradigm shift that needs to take place. It’s always easy to identify a C&Der, Indie Guy, or dead drifter that is new to swinging. He will be the guy that can’t get himself to cast below 90 degrees, he needs to feel his fly tick the bottom every few feet, and refuses to go any heavier than 6 lb fluoro even though he breaks off every hard earned pull he gets on the initial strike. Standing on one rock like a heron is unfortunately one of these habits that needs to be broken. Hopefully in time more and more guys will start swinging and figure out that rotating is an integral part of the technique. Unfortunately, due to the nature of many of our rivers we will probably never see rotating as the norm. We generally have shortish fishable sections of rivers that have an impassable barrier that create an environment with lots of fish and lots of fisherman. Guys use many types of different techniques and all it takes is one guy to trash a rotation. On top of that there is almost always a competitive atmosphere on the river where success is measured by numbers and guys arrive at the stream hours early so that they can get a spot in the bucket. I have even seen guys eat lunch while standing in their spot in fear of loosing it. I guess my take on rotation is enjoy it when you can and try and educate new swingers as much as possible about the benefits of it.

Tight Lines