Dry flies need slack. So give it to ’em, George Harvey style

by | Jun 30, 2017 | 15 comments

Hatch Magazine published my article today: Dry flies need slack. So Give it to ’em, George Harvey style.

It’s about using George Harvey’s leader concepts to give the dry fly some slack. With s-curves and circles on the water, you fool a lot more trout.

Here’s what the leader should look like on the water.

Illustration by Dick Jones

I share a leader formula in the article. But more importantly, I also discuss Harvey’s leader concept, and why it’s so much different than a standard leader approach.

Find the full article over at Hatch Magazine.

Enjoy the day.
Domenick Swentosky
T R O U T B I T T E N
domenick@troutbitten.com

Share This Article . . .

Since 2014 and 700+ articles deep
Troutbitten is a free resource for all anglers.
Your support is greatly appreciated.

– Explore These Post Tags –

Domenick Swentosky

Central Pennsylvania

Hi. I’m a father of two young boys, a husband, author, fly fishing guide and a musician. I fish for wild brown trout in the cool limestone waters of Central Pennsylvania year round. This is my home, and I love it. Friends. Family. And the river.

More from this Category

Podcasts Begin — Episode 1: This Is Troutbitten

Podcasts Begin — Episode 1: This Is Troutbitten

In this inaugural Troutbitten podcast, my friends Bill, Austin, Trevor and Josh join me to discuss how fly fishing for wild trout creates a life on the water.

We consider what it means to fish hard, how hope is the strongest trait of a successful angler, why everything works sometimes, and how fly fishers, all too often, are a little much.

We also talk about the tenets of Troutbitten, or the shared interests and characteristics about fly fishing that bring us together and keep us excited about trout fishing for a lifetime . . .

Night Fishing for Trout –The Wiggle and Hang

Night Fishing for Trout –The Wiggle and Hang

Lifting the rod slightly, I shake the rod tip left and right. Easy, rhythmically, I wiggle the tip and feel the line wave as I see it dance and glow in the dark. The fly shimmies and sends a pattern of waves through the surface and beyond, calling to any trout within who-knows-how-far.

#7. Guiding the Flies: Nine Essential Skills for Tight Line and Euro Nymphing

#7. Guiding the Flies: Nine Essential Skills for Tight Line and Euro Nymphing

We overweight to lead the flies, and we underweight to track them. But to guide the flies, we must find the middle ground, with enough weight to control the flies against the effects of the current but not so much that the flies cannot be permitted to drift at the will of that same current.

This may sound like a bit of hocus pocus. But in truth, it’s an intuitive process that becomes natural with trial and error . . .

Night Fishing for Trout — The Bank Flash

Night Fishing for Trout — The Bank Flash

I returned to a tactic that I’d employed on many dark nights where I couldn’t effectively reference the bank. I reached up to my headlamp and flicked on the light for an instant — a half second and no more — before returning back to the black. Then, just like the quick shots of lightning earlier, the lamp showed me the way. The image of the riverbank burned into my brain. Something inside of me calculated the adjustments and converted the images into accuracy with my tools of fly rod, line, leader and fly. It was a little bit of magic . . .

What do you think?

Be part of the Troutbitten community of ideas.
Be helpful. And be nice.

15 Comments

  1. Love the artical. Trying to find a way to reduce the times my dropper is wrapping around the leader. Blood knots are not doing it for me… does it happen to you? Any tricks?

    Reply
    • Hi Taylor,

      No dropper on the dry fly leader in this article. I think you might be asking about the slideable dry dropper system from a couple weeks ago. Send me an email. domenick@troutbitten.com

      Reply
  2. Could you add a tippet ring to the end of the 4x so you don’t have to keep making new leaders or will it affect the drift

    Reply
  3. Domenick, why the Gold Stren? What advantage does that bring?

    Reply
    • Good question, man.

      Two reasons:

      First, when the leader lays on the water, the gold stren gives me some sight for a portion of my leader. I can see if it’s about to drag, judging its position in the currents.

      Second, I sometimes use the dry fly leader to nymph, perhaps with a tightline dry dropper system, or just tight to one nymph. In that case, the glod stren is usually above the water, and acts as a traditional sighter.

      Again, if you are fishing long flats and pools, in gin clear water over fussy trout, maybe don’t use the gold stren. But I honestly can’t say I’ve seen my trout ever spook from a foot long piece of gold stren going over them. It’s pretty subtle.

      Give it a try, and let me know how it works for you!

      Cheers.

      Dom

      Reply
      • That makes perfect sense. Thanks! Love this site.

        Reply
  4. Dom, thanks for another great article. Two quick questions. Is Maxima Chameleon and Maxima Clear mono interchangeable, and are their benefits or instances when you’d use one over the other to construct your leaders? Thanks!

    Reply
    • Hi Justin,

      I’ve fished with 5 different Maxima lines for the butt section of a Mono Rig. They are not interchangeable, no. In fact, they are quite different.

      What I want in a butt section is the perfect combination of stiffness and handling. Stiff mono functions more like a fly line — you can get more fly line type performance from it because it doesn’t collapse (not too flexy). But most stiff lines coil too much and are a bother to work handle and work with coming off the reel.

      There’s a good reason that so many experienced long liners choose Chameleon. It has just the perfect mix of qualities, stiff but in a good way.

      https://troutbitten.com/2018/01/24/ask-an-expert-for-euro-nymphing-or-the-mono-rig-what-leader-material-do-you-like-for-the-butt-section/

      Here’s a quick rank of the Maxima lines I’ve used. This is just my own preference.

      Chameleon
      Hi Vis — just SLIGHTLY less handling
      Ultra-Green — softer
      Clear — a little too stiff, handling suffer
      Crystal Ivory — no good for a butt section, in my opinion. Too stiff. Bad Handling.

      Hope that helps.

      Dom

      Reply
      • As always, thanks for the advice.

        Reply
  5. Howdy! Long-time reader, first-time commenter here. I made the switch to tight line techniques two years ago – only technique I fished during that time. Starting to work other presentations back into my repertoire, starting with suspended techniques over the last month or so. Next step is adding back dry flies, which I aim to do with this leader formula (plus some experimentation).

    Here’s my question: to what do you connect this leader? Fly line? More mono? I have Cortland competition nymph line rigged on my reel now (wish I didn’t, since I haven’t once needed it for nymphing purposes). Wondering if I should get a traditional floating trout line for throwing dries off this or a similar leader, or whether I can get away with my current setup, sans brand-new $80 line.

    Thanks for the great stories and instructional material. It’s really changed my fishing for the better 🙂 >~‘;>

    Reply
    • Hi there,

      Thanks for reading, and thanks for the question.

      I strongly recommend keeping a fly line on the spool that matches your rod. Give yourself the option to swap out leaders quickly and get back to casting fly line and a standard leader. It makes no sense to me to limit yourself by attaching the Mono Rig to a bunch of backing or a competition line. I love options. I love versatility. You could carry an extra spool, but WHY? It’s much easier to just swap out leaders if you do it this way . . .

      https://troutbitten.com/2017/03/21/get-me-back-to-my-fly-connecting-and-disconnecting-the-mono-rig/

      Couple applicable things in here too:

      https://troutbitten.com/2018/09/30/fly-fishing-the-mono-rig-q-a-lines-rigging-and-the-skeptics/

      Hope that helps.

      Cheers.

      Dom

      Reply
      • Dom, thanks for the explanation. Helps a lot!

        I think you are right that the competition line doesn’t offer as much utility as the traditional weighted/tapered fly line. My goal for the next year is to continue adding back techniques (tightline -> indicator -> dries -> streamers -> wet flies), and I think the traditional fly line will better help me to do that.

        Thanks again! Looking forward to getting your book.

        Reply

Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recent Articles

Recent Posts

Domenick Swentosky

Central Pennsylvania

Hi. I’m a father of two young boys, a husband, author, fly fishing guide and a musician. I fish for wild brown trout in the cool limestone waters of Central Pennsylvania year round. This is my home, and I love it. Friends. Family. And the river.

Pin It on Pinterest