Jonny Muir is no stranger to sea trout and when it comes to fly selection he has one rule, 'any colour, as long as it's black!'
Summer is upon us once again and, as we enter into the month of June, many of us will be turning our attention towards the migratory variety of Salmo trutta – the sea trout. So it's time to dust down your sea trout fishing tackle now!
Whether you’re heading out for a daytime session or venturing out at night in stealth mode, there’s one rule that I like to stick with when it comes to choosing a sea trout fly...
Henry Ford remarked in 1909 that customers ordering the Model T motor car could ‘have any colour as long as it’s black’ and, for me, the same rule applies to sea trout flies. There are, of course, some circumstances where experimentation brings rewards, but if there are sea trout in the pool you’re fishing, you won’t go far wrong with a black fly.
In my experience fishing for sea trout on rivers in both the UK and in Argentina, the best conditions seem to be during the low light conditions of dusk/night or, in the daytime, in slightly coloured water. In either scenario a black fly possesses a bold, dark silhouette that shows up well in dirty water or against the night sky. Remember that fish are looking up at your fly. The river may look as black as oil to you but hold a fly up to the sky and you’ll see how easily visible it really is, especially if you have a clear, cloudless night.
Here are three sea trout patterns to have in your box this June:
Clear water – day or night
Silver Stoat’s Tail
The Silver Stoat’s Tail is a great sea trout catcher during the day or night. Fish it in low and/or clear water with a steady figure-of-eight retrieve. It can be fished near the surface, as a dropper, as well as on a sink tip, so tailor your presentation according to the speed of flow and depth of water. It’ll land on the water nice and quietly if you’re fishing an area that requires subtle presentation. This fly is a great prospecting fly for your first go down a pool. It doesn’t cause too much commotion (unless you hook a fish!), giving you the opportunity to go back through with something a bit ‘louder’.
Alexandra Snake Fly
Sea trout can be extraordinarily aggressive at times and it always pays to have a fly in your box that can be stripped across a pool quickly to provoke a reaction. In my experience, this tactic works best during the daytime in coloured water following a spate, or at night-time when sea trout will more confidently attack a fly on or near the surface. There are many ways to skin a cat, and Sunray Shadow tubes, zonkers and leeches can all create the desired effect. What these patterns all have in common is size. Try the Alexandra Snake Fly with its back-set treble hook to snag those tail-nippers!
Night-time surface fly
It’s a classic for a reason – this fly has caught lots of sea trout in its time! Under cover of darkness, or even with overcast daytime conditions, the Muddler Minnow can be one of the most exciting ways to hook a sea trout.
The sculpted deer hair head creates a tantalising wake on the surface that many sea trout find hard to resist. Try mixing up your retrieves – a steady slow draw followed by a fast strip. You can even try a ‘roly-poly’ retrieve to zip it across at lightning speed, hopefully triggering an aggressive response from a sea trout without giving it time to think twice! The Muddler Minnow is also a great fly choice if you’re targeting sea trout in a loch, fished on the trop dropper as part of a team of traditional wets, just scale down the size in this instance to avoid tangles!