Despite the surplus of fly patterns available today the key to catching stillwater trout on a consistent basis is a result of the animation the fly fisher imparts to the pattern.
Presentation is the critical skill all fly fishers must master no matter the environment, river, stream, ocean or lake. For the stillwater fly fisher the handtwist retrieve is cornerstone to imitating all food sources on the menu, even those capable of quick bursts such as baitfish or crayfish. Most prey items crawl or dart in a random manner as they forage and migrate throughout the underwater jungle. The handtwist is the ideal retrieve for duplicating this natural behavior. The handtwist is a busy retrieve that keeps eager anglers at bay as the fly moves at a natural pace while their hands are in motion. To begin the handtwist lower the rod tip to the surface upon completion of the cast. Place the fly line under the fore finger of the rod hand so it runs between the finger and the handle. For added sensitivity try holding the fly line between the thumb and forefinger of the retrieve hand. Pull the fly line using the thumb and forefinger of the left hand (for right handed casters) from behind the rod hand and roll a hand width of fly line upward around the pinky finger. Wrap and hold the fly line in the palm of the hand. Depending upon angler preference the coils of retrieved fly line in the left hand can be release immediately or held to avoid the risk of fouling. This handtwist or rolling motion is the crux of the retrieve and depending upon the food source being imitated it can completed at variety of speeds from painstaking to brisk.
To further slow the retrieve distance the handtwist can occur by using only the width two or three fingers. This modification is ideal for duplicating listless pace of chironomids or immature damsels.
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