Fishing wind lanes

Andrew Richardson
You don't need to be reading this article to discover that us fisherpersons are a weird mob, for I'm sure you already know that. We come from all different walks of life and we all have our own values and opinions. Some of us are meek and mild, while others are boisterous and bold. Some of us prefer to fish fresh water, others salt. Some of us like to fish with bait, others with lures or flies. 

Now before you panic, I'm not going to venture into the mire that is the endless debate over fly fishing-versus-lure fishing-versus-soft plastics versus-bait-versus god knows what else. I am here to say, though, that I believe we can all learn a great deal from each other if we are prepared to listen, and perhaps more importantly, open up and speak truthfully about what we know, so we can help more people to catch more fish more often.

I can hear you laughing now.

"C'mon mate, seriously? A fisherman telling the truth?'

Fair enough, you have right to be skeptical, because I know far many more "BS artists" than "honest cops" when it comes to my angling acquaintances. It can be a hard thing to deal with when people are telling you tall tales, especially those of the fish they have supposedly caught. Ask for evidence (the fish or a photo) and it's amazing how few you ever get to see. But, still, it's always worth asking the questions and deciphering the answers given into some useable information, if you can!

Recently I was involved in a conversation with a friend of mine who is a proficient fly fisherman. Now he is prone to telling the odd tall story, but none-the-less I was attempting to "pick his brains" and gather as much information as I could about the art (well, as much as is possible over half a dozen stubbies)!

I was having this conversation because I must confess I have never caught a fish on my fly rod, but I am determined to do so some time soon. Anyway my friend imparted some useful information my way, and the point I found most interesting was what he had to say about wind lanes.

Now prior to this conversation I had looked upon these as no more than little frothy patterns on the water created by the breeze. To me this was usually a source of frustration, meaning that the wind had got up to an annoying level. However my friend explained to me that fly fisherman use these lanes to their advantage, seeking them out and casting their flies to their midst. He told me the wind will push food supplies along the surface of the water and concentrate it where these wind lanes form, thus attracting the fish to them as well.

"Very interesting" I thought to myself,

"I'll remember that next time I pull out my fly rod.'

Anyway, it so happened that not long after this informative session took place I found myself wading the waters of Four Springs Lake.

My fly rod was with me, though as is usually the case, stored neatly in its holder and left in the Ute. Instead my weapon of choice was my seven-foot spinning combo with anti-kink and snap swivel attached.

As this was to be a brief morning session I'd gathered up a dozen or so lures and thrown them into a tackle box sized small enough to fit in the front pocket of my waders, and off I set.

Initially I chose my favorite "Pegron" frog-patterned wobbler. I casted it unsuccessfully for a while before changing to a green and gold spinner.  Again I casted and casted, slowly working my way over my favorite area of the lake.

By this stage I was fishing into quite a stiff breeze and still not having much success.

It was then I started paying attention to the wind lanes. There were a number of them that had formed all around me, and my mind wandered back to the conversation I had had with my friend regarding fly-fishing.

I began to wonder if the same principle that applied for fly-fishing would apply for lure fishing. Okay, my lure would be below the surface, unlike a dry fly that would remain on top of it, but if food was present on top of the water then maybe a fish could be conned into taking a lure below it.

I decided to give it a go, and casted my little green and gold spinner to the center of a wind lane that was directly in front of me, parallel to the lake shore.

I wound my line back in no more than five turns and then "BANG" - I was on.

An intriguing fight followed, with the fish initially heading towards me before launching itself skywards in that time-honored rainbow trout tradition.

Now this wasn't a little fish!

Off down deep it went in its efforts to break free, but its struggle was to be no match for my little combo, though my drag was given a reasonable working over.

A couple of minutes of good fighting fun were had before a rainbow trout of around three pound was scooped up into my landing net.

I couldn't believe what had just happened! I thought I had just discovered the secret to total fishing success, and I was now going to become the most successful trout fisherman in all of Tasmania!

"After all these years of fishing"

I thought to myself,

"All I really have to do is find a wind lane and cast my lure down the guts of it, and success is guaranteed'.

Of course it isn't quite that easy, but I was surprised and happy that my first attempt at consciously targeting wind lanes had drawn such a resounding success.

To further back up what I had learned, later in the morning a smaller brownie fell to the same combination of wind lane and green and gold spinner.

So by getting a fellow fisherman to share his experience I learned something new and it helped me catch a couple of fish. What he told me was not earth shattering, but it was an idea that got me thinking, and one that I was able to utilize it to suit a different style of fishing entirely.

So next time someone asks you about your fishing experience, why not put away the tall stories and instead concentrate on imparting some practical knowledge or ideas?

You might help someone to catch a fish and who knows, they might even buy you a beer.

That reminds me, I think I owe someone one-----------

Andrew Richardson

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