Fishing Pocket Water

I have already done this once but on a guide trip recently I was asked some excellent questions by my client about fishing pocket water and it brought back to mind that most people do not know how to fish it properly. Ive refined some information from previous posts to share with you.

On many occasions people do not even know what pocket water truly is. Pocket water is any point in a river where the current is broken up enough to create a large amount of diverse flows such as back eddies, swirls, speed changes, and more specifically, current broken up by rocks and boulders.

Most fisherman know that reading water is the key to finding fish but everyone who reads water fairly well knows that what you can see on the surface is not often what you may find subsurface. This is why pocket water is a fisherman's best friend. A blessing and a curse to most anglers. In good pocket water the fish's holding lies will be very predictable for the most part, unfortunately this type of water is difficult to wade so it may not be for everyone.

My home water is in my opinion the epicenter of pocket water fishing in the northeast at a minimum so fishing this type of water has become of of my favorite things to do. Ive complied my top ten tips when fishing pocket water for your reading pleasure.

1. Always pack a wading staff and use it. This water can be tricky to wade even under ideal conditions and flows and taking a swim in stiff current will ruin a trip rather quickly.

2. Beef up your leaders when fishing pocket water. The fish do not get as good of a look at your offerings and often times you want to bring the fish in quicker and move less to do it.

3. Fish a short line. Tricky currents are your nemesis here and mending is problematic at best. Because of the nature of the water you can get much closer to the fish so practice your high sticking even with dries and bring a longer rod if you have it.

4. Always be prepared to set the hook from the moment your fly hits the water to the moment you pick it up, Ive seen too many fish lost because the angler just wasn't ready.

5. If you are going to fish nymphs don't be afraid to fish larger patterns and if not make sure the fly is heavy enough to plummet to the bottom. The fish may only have a short window to look at the fly so you want it in the zone as long as you can keep it there, even if its only a few seconds.

6. Get close, I've mentioned that briefly but you do not need to be nearly as wary as you might be in other places, fish in pocket water will tolerate a lot more of your shenanigans and the closer you are the more likely you are to get it right the first time.

7. Dont pass up any water. If you see a current break, depth change, or seam it can very likely hold a fish or two, and these are everywhere in good pocket water.

8. Dont focus too long on one section of water. Fish in pocket water are opportunistic feeders and usually aggressive. If you thing you've covered a piece of water, move on. Just because you think there should be a nice fish somewhere doesn't mean there is

9. Check your tippet. This is the perfect place to mangle a tippet. Rocks, boulders, and gravel can be hell on a leader and if you are fishing right your line will be rubbing on this stuff all day long.

10. Organize your boxes. If there is one place where you fish and you may need to know where everything is, this is it. Hatches here, especially stonefly hatches can come off at any time and somewhat unpredictable

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