How To Improve Your Fly Fishing Game | Kayak Angler Magazine | Rapid Media
A man holding a trout while standing next to a paddleboard. Photo by: Landon Mace

When Landon Mace moved out of Florida, he cried goodbye to sight fishing for redfish and sea trout. After transferring to Oregon, he dried his eyes when he spotted his first trout in the shallows. “Sight fishing for brown trout and rainbows is just as rad!”

Mace, who slings bugs for BOTE Boards, Yeti and Power Pole, now spends his time prowling the shallow bays and banks of northwestern lakes and rivers. “Nothing is more exciting than seeing a fish, landing a fly in front of it, watching the fish eat and coming tight,” he exclaims.

For new anglers, Mace stresses patience. “Take your time,” he says, “the biggest mistake I made when starting out was rushing around all the time.” He recommends anglers paddle slow and scan the entire area looking for fish. That includes the fly presentation. “A lot of times we rush the presentation,” he points out. “Slow down and focus on where you want to put the fly and how you will work it.”

Another way to improve your fly fishing game is to share tips and secrets with other anglers. “We want to create a responsible, innovative, respectful and conservation-minded fly fishing community,” he stresses. That includes sharing info to get info. “There are plenty of fish for all of us.”

To target browns and rainbows, Mace looks for a 6wt combo with floating or intermediate sinking line. To maximize his stealth approach, he uses a nine to 12-foot leader. “Fish are smart; they can be wary of the smallest things.” Two flies dominate Mace’s box: streamers and nymphs. “Leeches, wooly buggers and small baitfish patterns are the go-to when streamer fishing most lakes or ponds,” he says, then he adds that nymphs can pay off big time. “Chironomid patterns, pheasant tails, hare’s ears and similar patterns will produce under an indicator.”

“In my opinion, there is no right or wrong way to play a streamer,” Mace adds. He starts with a moderate strip of four-to-six inches each second, then speeds up and slows down. “Get creative and experiment with your retrieves to find out exactly what the fish want,” he says. In nymph fishing, setting the indicator is key to detecting the bite. Once the fly has reached the right depth, slowly gather line and watch the indicator. “When it disappears, set the hook.”

Mace spends most of his time fishing off a standup paddleboard. “I can’t waste any space, every tool has to have a purpose.” One of his favorite gadgets is the Power Pole Micro. “Push a button on my key FOB and the pole sinks into the rocks or gravel.” Working a fly rod from a stationary position makes it easier to set up the best presentation. “Stopping on a dime with a push of a button gives me time to concentrate on landing the perfect cast.”

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