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  1. #1

    Default Tactics - 2nd down the pool...

    I fish regularly with a good friend and I am currently in my second year as a fly angler so an absolute novice. I would assume that any of us who fish with a friend will be discussing tactics as we walk to the river bank. I think that we seem to influence each other quite a bit and possibly not for the best. We will be fair about who goes down the run first and swap as appropriate and it is a big advantage I feel to get the first run down.
    With this in mind, I began to try thinking outside of the box. As stated, we do influence each other and invariably stick to very similar tactics. My question is, What tactics are Proven to work ? What, if anything should the second angler down the pool do to pick up fish whom have already seen similar flies fished (probably foolishly) at the same depth ??
    Many thanks for any help....
    P.S. - If this has been previously discussed I would be happy to get a link. I did look but had no joy...

  2. #2


    Personally I think it makes less sense to keep going down a pool in the same way unless you believe fresh fish are constantly moving through. If fish are generally settled and have refused a size 10 cascade, it seems unlikely that 5 minutes later they will take a size 10 flamethrower. In these conditions I would go radically different. My go to variations are bigger and deeper, usually a Snaelda, or small and on top; a skated dry or hitch, or a fast sunray. Sometimes a tiny tube on a dropper in the surface film. Of course if you think first man down fished it badly enough to curtail his chances but not so badly as to ruin yours, same again might be a good choice!

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Oct 2014


    A damn good question with numerous answers and theories but the truth is, well to me anyway is that it maybe doesn't matter who's been through the pool before you. For instants, if fish are running through then the first person to fish a pool might be covering lies that are holding no fish, where ten minutes later the second angler goes through, and a fish or two have decided to stop in the previously unoccupied lie. Obviously that guy is going to have a decent chance of a take where the first angler had no chance.

    Secondly, if a pool is holding a few fish then the first angler going through May only succeed in Stirling the fish up, giving the second angler a much better chance also as the fish are exited and up on the Finn. A few people I know love fishing the collie dog first time through a pool and then immediately go through again with small flies and regularly take a fish.
    Same scenario as if a fish follows a spinner, going back with a bunch worms works......full stop.

    Thirdly in my opinion salmon and sea trout, if they are dour and not on the take will very rarely even look at a fly, but at the click of a finger come on the take and be snatching at everything that floats past them.
    I've had it quite a few times where our angling party ( three anglers ) have all been through a run or pool before me and had nothing, and then when I've gone through soon after I've had a fish, much to their annoyance.

    Basically, I don't think it really matters how many people have fished a pool before you, if there are fish present and running then anybody has a chance, after all if your flies arnt getting wet then there is no hope.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Nov 2012


    I think you are right. Being first down a pool is an advantage. I would rather be first down an average pool than second or third down the best pool of a beat. If you have to be second have as big a gap as possible between you and your mate. You will obviously know what he is doing and even a slight change to your setup could produce a take. for example use a sink tip instead of a floater or vice versa. if your mate is using an orange based fly try a black one or a smaller or larger version of what he is using. In general I would say do not do the same as the lead angler if he is getting no response.
    There are other factors for example if the lead angler is the better caster he will be less likely to disturb any fish in the po
    ol but on the minus side he will fish it more thouroughly. if the option is available to you leave it as long as possible before following down the pool.
    Do you have to fish the same pool? Are you really really good friends. Ha Ha. seriously fish a different pool and then rotate. After all that you still have a chance of a take following someone down a pool. The Ridge on the Moy is a good example. They have 4 rods follow each other all day and at any time any one of them could get a take.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Nov 2007


    I used to fish a lot with my brother in law and he liked to fly fish. If the river was at a good fishable height, I'd follow him down the pool with a small, usually 2" devon minnow. On several occasions, we both caught fish and sometimes one of us blanked and the other caught. It never concerned me following someone down a pool as I thought that it might unsettle any fish which in turn may improve my own chances.
    I had a friend who often fished a Toby and following him down a pool, I twice caught fish that he'd fished over. He was mortified and couldn't understand my "luck" as he put it.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Sep 2008
    Marshfield Nr Bath


    Nobody really knows for sure why fish take any lure whether it be fly, spinner or worm etc, so I would say, except for running fish, the first down a pool has the best chances, providing he/she knows what they are doing and because there is the surprise factor!

    As has been said a fly fisher who splashes around with the line or makes undue noise when wading or sticks on the skyline when bank fishing has far less chance whether he goes first or second down a pool.

    As Loxie says, do something different if you are casting over "residents", smaller/larger/quicker/slower/upstream slightly, hitched/deeper/different angle etc, the choices are endless. One thing for certain, we have all caught fish when for no reason it takes when all seemed lost and someone had been bashing away on the same pool for hours.

    My best afternoon was 5 fish in about 3/4 hour in blazing hot sunshine, now, who would've thought it!! Nothing to do with skill factor, it just happened the fish wanted the fly offered at that time. I think, as with all wildlife, they are influenced by barometric pressure more than anything else and there are minute changes which we don't understand which makes them do what they do

    Bottom line, don't worry too much about who goes first, just keep the lure in the water!!


  7. #7
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Gods County


    If you fish together it makes sense to fish as a pair.A tactic that has plenty of mileage and works very well is the first one in fishes a bit bigger flee a tadge faster than they may well think appropriate,the second angler fishes smaller and slower.Both methods will work on their day,frequently however its the second rod and smaller flee that takes the fish!.
    Now when I say bit bigger + faster,its not quite ripping a Sunray or Monkey at a rate of knots and spoiling the water for who ever has to follow,rather a 6 over an 8, maybe a little extra bling cast a little squarer or even gently F08'd back,the second rod perhaps choosing a more sober 10 presented as nicely as they can!.
    I never worry about being second or third into a pool,as said fish can arrive at any time,or simply be stirred to activity by those before you,or even and its awful to say I know,but those in front may make a reet hash of it all,in which case I follow the book and present my flee as best as I can!.
    Both doing the same can work very well if there's plenty of fish in evidence and its a big pool with scope.
    What frequently dosen't work is two people on the smaller more intimate pools that don't tolerate disturbance.
    Best thing to do is to sit down and formulate a plan between you,cover your options as they are on the day.One fishing for runners up in the water and the other looking to target fish holding in the lies long or short term with a sunk flee presentation!
    Endless possibilities,you'll learn so much more and catch more by ringing the changes between you both.
    Best of luck,Pedro.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Mar 2008


    I have no problem fishing second down a pool with even the same set up. My fishing buddie and I often fish the same pool with the same set up and regularly catch fish behind the other.
    An old ghillie told me once "the second mouse always gets the cheese "

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