F.S.S., otherwise known as Fly Switching Syndrome. We all suffer from it at some point. Sometimes it hits you during a heavy hatch of bugs, or while casting over a pod of trout that you can clearly see huddled near the bottom of a pool. No matter what the fishing scenario, a sure sign of Fly Switching Syndrome is a fly patch that has more flies stuck on it than what’s left in your fly boxes! So, is there a cure for F.S.S.? Yes! Well…sometimes…At the very least we can learn to minimize the traumatizing effects of F.S.S.
So, what are the cures for Fly Switching Syndrome? In no particular order, they are: Confidence; Patience; Observation; Experience. Experience could also be expressed as the combination of knowledge and skill. Let’s take a look at how these 3 ideas combine to minimize F.S.S. and help you catch more fish while using fewer flies.
Insect hatches can be magical fishing experiences, or lessons in frustration. Often times we focus on what fly to use, when we should be focusing on how we are presenting the fly. This can lead to major bouts of Fly Switching Syndrome. Patience and observation are very important when fishing a hatch. Through those, we can gain experience & knowledge. Before you even move into casting position, take the time to find out what is hatching. Once that is determined, watch the fish to see what kind of rise form it is making. This will be how you choose your fly. Observe your surroundings to determine what is your best casting position. NOW you can start to fish. During a hatch, timing can be critical. You may have to make several casts to any one fish before you get it timed to the fish’s rise. Don’t automatically think you have the wrong fly just because a trout isn’t taking it on the first or second drift. Analyze your timing & the “quality” of your drift before you decide to change flies. Be patient; observe; have confidence in your fly pattern; catch fish.
If you don’t have years of experience, how do you choose a fly that you can have confidence in? This is where you can lean on other’s expertise to help you choose. Look to local knowledge for the best advice. The message board here at MN Trout Forums is a great place to find solid, up to date information on what flies are working throughout the season. I can also say, with confidence, that all the fly patterns available through Bluff Country Flies have been thoroughly tested throughout the Driftless Region over the past 10 to 20 years. I developed many of the flies while overcoming bouts of F.S.S., and now rely on these relatively few patterns for the majority of my fishing. They are my confidence flies, and can be yours, too.
An angler may never totally overcome Fly Switching Syndrome, but through patience, observation, confidence & experience, we can minimize it’s effect and better enjoy our time on the water.