Tips and Tricks: High Sticking
Common sense will tell you that if you havent seen a rise, the fish are feeding below.
If it wasnt for a friend explaining the importance of high sticking, I would’ve left a lot of difficult rivers skunked. High sticking is a technique that provides an angler with the opportunity for total line control, giving your fly more of a natural presentation as it drifts by.
To use this technique, reading water is just as important as tying on the fly. The technique can be fished in swift, deep, or breaking water (behind logs, boulders, eddies…) and works best with a strike indicator. Its often overlooked by beginners new to fly fishing, however, the advantage of not having to cast far (just a short flop 15 ft upstream) and strikes are easily detected allow for a prime opportunity to land a fish. Most beginners will also overlook their entry and most likely land right on top of the fish or spoke them. With high sticking you’ll be right on top of the fish, so worst case scenario if you dont catch anything at least you’ll be able to watch them!
Dave (example above) is not using the high stick technique, however, he is reading the water and fishing at the end of a run.
Shown below is Philip (a new angler to fly fishing) who is applying the high stick approach… he also read the water correctly and is allowing the fly to settle in a decent size pool/run, where a few fish were holding up at…
Although the rod tip was not level with the water, this was a huge improvement to someone new to fly fishing and it can present an opportunity to catch what we all came out to the mountains for…Also notice that he doesnt have to worry about casting far at all. 15ft upstream is a small waterfall… and with a small toss at the waterfall and the current will take care of the rest. This will allow for a dead drift and natural presentation that is ideal when fishing spooky fish like the ones on the Davidson.
The video below is a favorite of mine. Not only will this demonstrate the high stick technique, but I havent seen someone attack the water like that before. He only has two videos, but check out the awesome caddis he ties. I’ve tried it and it definitely works!