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

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