One of the greatest things about fishing with friends is the opportunity to trade fishing secrets, collaborate on daily fishing quests, or learn about new fishing methods and techniques. Great tips and tricks have resulted from angling clubs and fishing enthusiasts around the world. When one is able to give back in this capacity, the privilege is often mutually felt.
On a recent trip with friends, a "tip of the day" opportunity presented itself. Most guys in the group were fishing deep holes and pockets with nymph rigs, a great setup for finding nice fish. When comparing notes after a morning session on the water, we found a variance in catch rates for everyone involved. Some fisherman had not caught a fish, while others had only caught a few. One person had a 15-20 fish morning, and lost many more. Granted, we were fishing different sections of water, with different set-ups, so that was a likely a factor. But, above all, the primary contributor to that angler's success that morning was the two rod system.
One of our favorite tricks when fly fishing (regardless of location or situation) is to always prepare two rods for use during excursions. This has paid dividends on the Bighorn River, central SD stock dams, the mighty Mo, northeast SD lakes, and Black Hills streams and reservoirs. Typically, there will be a few favorite patterns on the brain that are just begging to catch fish. Other times, mother nature will have already hinted at what to prepare for. This particular time of year, great hatches, terrestrials in the trees/bushes, and beautiful weather have fish pigging out in the black hills.
You should always come prepared with a deep diving nymph rig setup along with a dry dropper combo of some kind. The last few years, beetles have caught more fish than anything, but klinkhammers, hoppers, and hippie stompers will all move fish in the right situations. Having two rods allows one to diversify their presentation options to fit the time of day, weather conditions, temperature, hatch and varying water situation without having to make drastic changes in any one setup. When fishing Spearfish Creek, for example, one can easily move from hole to hole offering multiple presentation to willing trout that lie in wait. Begin with the dry-dropper to catch those fish looking up or cruising mid column. After you cover a spot sufficiently, go back through and clean up with the nymph rig. At each spot you will have a chance to catch those fish looking up for beetles and hoppers, while also finding those sitting a bit deeper to take a hot spot tung teaser combo. The system works to perfection as long as you are able to remember your second rod each time an upstream move is made. That is a challenge, and finding it after is a hassle! Best bet is to have a fishing buddy along to hold the extra rod while you leap frog fishing spots.
Of course adjustments will have to be made in your rigs from time-to-time, but that's just fishing. Having two rigs will save you time, catch you more fish, and give you a tip to pass on to your fellow anglers next time you chase trout in the Black Hills. Just don't leave a rod behind if you do!