Fifty Tips Tips/Tactics

Fifty Fly Fishing Tips: #45 — The Dry Fly is a Scout

on
June 10, 2018

The fly is an explorer tied to the end of a string. It bounds along with the current, making discoveries and telegraphing its collected information back through a line. Whether nymph, streamer, wet or dry, our fly is an investigator sent forward to probe the water and search for trout — and to collect more information than our eyes can see.

Standing riverside, pinching the hook of a caddis dry fly between forefinger and thumb, with slack line and a rod poised to send our fly on a mission, we scan the water for signs. We look for rising trout and likely holding lies. And we look for  much more than is easily visible. The currents of a rocky, rolling river are a converging and confusing mix. And what we may decipher through polarized lenses is a mere scratch of the surface. So we send a pioneer.

We release the caddis dry from our grasp, flick the wrist and propel the explorer forward to a target. And when the fly lands, we learn. It dances slower in a lane than we thought it might. And, provided enough slack, it discovers a minor back eddy, momentarily traveling upstream with its hair-wing sails before it’s tugged and rushed along an unnatural course, forced to follow the dragging reins.

But now we know. Now we understand the flow, the mixed currents, more than we could ever see from our distant position. And on the following cast, we take a different aim. We vary the distance, lending another twelve inches of length. And we vary the angle, tossing the slightest aerial mend after the forward check of the rod. And with an artful turn of the wrist we create an upstream arc for those twelve inches of extra tether. Our fly finds the bubbly edge of the inside eddy, and our drawn arc lands along the rolling seam. So while the fly dips and swirls with its hair-wing sails, the arc unfolds. The caddis swoons for an impossibly long moment, and a trout is convinced. The fly disappears into a hole, engulfed by the dark mouth of a wild trout from below.

That arc — our variation — succeeds because we learned about an invisible current, because the fly served as prospector. And with every cast we have another chance to watch, to discover more about exactly how the river is flowing and just where the trout may be feeding and waiting to strike.

The dry fly is a scout.

 

Photo by Chris Kehres

Photo by Chris Kehres

 

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

 

Click here for details.

FIFTY TIPS

Read All of the Fifty Tips Series
TAGS
RELATED POSTS

What do you think?

  Follow the comments on this article.  
Notify of
Domenick Swentosky
BELLEFONTE, PA

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.

STICKERS
STICKERS
TAGS
fluke thunderstorm flood photography angler types Sighter Discovery surf fishing DJS time Dylan favorite Little Juniata River indicator fishing Burke Resources Galloup Mystery nymphing fly line giveaway wildlife dorsey yarn indicator Fly rods big fish Aiden Whiskey Drinker ice friendship TU knots Troutbitten Fly Box Fly Fishing friends George Harvey beadhead Harvey Pusher Press droppers public land split shot It's just fishing Trout Unlimited mayfly History Bad Mother winter fly fishing bite windows Dry-Dropper montana Davy Wotten tight line nymphing fall Wild Mushrooms Night Headbanger Sculpin travel dry fly fishing brush fishing fly box science matters winter brown trout Grobe Streamer fishing wading cookout summertime fishing mud Dad Boat PA Gold fishing with kids dry flies backcountry philosophy simplicity tightline musician Plans gear Night Fishing Chapters stocked trout etiquette waders fly tying explore Industry Stuff stinky bass mistakes Oakiewear Stockies Floating tippet reading water Camping hiking wild trout PSA winter fishing high water wet flies backcast big brown trout Quote float Tippet Rings streamside Joey indicator nymphing Fly Casting Trust BES fighting fish wading boots come on man Ask an Expert swinging mono rig One Great Tip Jeff Float Fishing efficiency Night Fishing rules DIY dead drift family spot burning rookies drifting spawning Big Trout patience George Daniel silence Wild vs Stocked wet fly fishing Rich fishing tips summer walking leaders carp dog tracks Fifty Tips boys home-stream night-sighter tips poetry How it Started Fish Hard nymphs Christmas Lights Backing Barrel solitude marginal water Memories Wild Brown Trout Buggers club fishing tight lining Pennsylvania suspender fishing front ended Namer catch and release skunked LBI casting shark small streams Weather Grandfather regulations rigs tenkara Orvis Gierach PFBC net Whiskey trout bum flies tiny flies brookies camera Streamers Euro-Nymphing Sawyer Central PA DHALO comp fishing mousing wet wading the Mono Rig Baseball bar boots Spring Creek nymphing tips conservation fly patterns last cast Peace saltwater Presentations