Quick Tips — The Fly Rod Quick-Dip

by | Sep 23, 2018 | 12 comments

Some things in fly fishing are obvious right away. The concepts of casting and drifting a fly are intuitive for most anglers after just a bit of instruction and a few trips of experience. Advanced techniques are later pored over in conversations, books, articles and videos. We want to learn. But helpful friends and fly fishing authors probably make too many assumptions (myself included). And a lot of what we take for granted or think is obvious has become second nature only after fishing for a long, long time.

So in this new Quick Tips series on Troutbitten, I’ll focus on the small things that make a big difference — the type of things that some new anglers figure out for themselves but that many veteran anglers may very well have missed.

Backbone of the fishery.

Dip it

Standing in the water, ready for the next cast, the line behind our rod-hand is either tight to the reel or there is some slack. Maybe there’s five feet of line hanging in a loop between the spool and the trigger finger on the rod. Or perhaps there’s just twelve inches of slack line, like this . . .

Dear Sage: Please bring back the 3850 — Signed: all long-liners everywhere.

Now let’s say we want that slack line gone — we want it out through the guides and beyond the rod tip. Sure, we can shoot it on the next cast, but let’s eliminate the extra step.

If we’d rather have that twelve inches of line out past the rod tip, let’s do this:

Dip the rod tip in the water. Do it swiftly. Drag the tip through the current and let go of the line with the trigger finger. The extra line is sucked through the guides and into the water. The slack is taken by the force of the current and by a tension created with the swishing rod tip and the line in the water.

I do this all the time.

Fishing with my young sons is wonderful, because it gives me a fresh perspective. When Aiden asked me the other day why I draw lines in the water with my rod, my answer was simple at first, but it became more complicated. Soon enough, I realized I’d lost his attention but was still answering the question out loud for myself, because I’d never much considered it before.

Standing bank-side or belt-deep in the flow, I guess I draw my rod tip through the water for other reasons too.

Here’s the rest of my answer to Aiden . . .

Tangles

When the line tangles around the end of the rod, when there are a few loops of line over the first few feet of the rod, a quick flip-and-dip usually solves the problem.

This trouble happens often with long leader mono rigs, and it happens with fly line too. Many times we elevate the rod tip while tying on a new fly or changing rigs. The slack line tends to loop around the tip, and we notice it before we cast. Flip, dip, swoosh, and the loops are out.

Now that I’m aware of the rod tip dip, I can’t help noticing that I do it dozens of times on every trip. It’s a good habit that I never gave much thought. I now notice other fishermen doing the same, but I also see many anglers struggling with other ways to undo the loops around their rod tip. And I see them false casting more times than needed to throw some extra slack.

The water is there, just waiting to be a line-grabber and help you out with a little drag (for a change). Let it help.

Fish hard, friends.

 

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 600 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

Fishing Light

Fishing Light

You’ve probably been wading upstream on a favorite trout stream and seen another angler’s lost tackle. Maybe the whole mess was in the streamside trees, with split shot and bobber attached, or a misguided F13 Rapala with rusted hooks. Maybe you’ve snagged a pile of monofilament stuck in waterlogged branches and lodged against a rock. And when you’ve seen all that mess, maybe you were stunned by how heavy the tackle was. Are you with me? . . .

Nobody Home | Nobody Hungry

Nobody Home | Nobody Hungry

Nobody home means there’s no trout in the slot you were fishing. And sometimes that’s true. Nobody hungry suggests that a trout might be in the slot but he either isn’t eating, isn’t buying what you’re selling, or he doesn’t like the way you are selling it.

Does it matter? It sure does!

Be a Mobile Angler

Be a Mobile Angler

Wading is not just what happens between locations. And it’s not only about moving across the stream from one pocket to the next. Instead, wading happens continuously.

Many anglers wade to a spot in the river and set up, calf, knee or waist deep, seemingly relieved to have arrived safely. Then they proceed to fish far too much water without moving their feet again. When the fish don’t respond, these anglers finally pick up their feet. Maybe they grab a wading staff and begrudgingly take the steps necessary to reach new water and repeat the process.

This method of start and stop, of arriving and relocating, is a poor choice. Instead, the strategy of constant motion is what wins out . . .

Beyond Euro Nymphing

Beyond Euro Nymphing

Euro nymphing is an elegant, tight line solution. But don’t limit yourself. Why not use the tight line tools (leaders and tactics) for more than just euro nymphing?

Use it for fishing a tight-line style of indicators. Use it for dry dropper or even straight dries. And use it for streamers, both big and small.

Refining these tactics is the natural progression of anglers who fish hard, are thoughtful about the tactics and don’t like limitations. I know many good fly fishers who have all come out the other side with the same set of tools. Because fishing a contact system like the Mono Rig eventually teaches you all that is possible . . .

New Structure | Old Structure

New Structure | Old Structure

One of my favorite places in the world is a deeply shaded valley that runs north and south between two towering mountains of mixed hardwoods. The forest floor has enough conifers mixed in to block much of the sunlight, even in the winter. The ferns of spring grow tall, and thick moss is spread throughout. The ground remains soft enough here that all large trees eventually surrender to the valley. When they can no longer support their weight in the soft spongy ground, they fall over, leaving a broken forest of deep greens and the dark-chocolate browns of wet, dead bark. It’s gorgeous.

Fallen timber also dictates the course of this cold water stream. The fresh tree falls force the creek to bend away from the hillside. Rolling water carves away the earth and lays bare the rocks — these stones of time, as Maclean puts it. And when water cuts into a neighboring channel, previously dry for centuries, new river banks are undercut and fresh roots exposed . . .

Light Dry Dropper in the Flow

Light Dry Dropper in the Flow

. . .The flow of the fly line through the air is finesse and freedom. Contrasted with nymphing, streamer fishing, or any other method that adds weight to the system, casting the weightless dry fly with a fly line is poetry.

The cast is unaffected because the small soft hackle on a twelve-inch tether simply isn’t heavy enough to steal any provided slack from the dry. It’s an elegant addition that keeps the art of dry fly fishing intact . . .

What do you think?

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

12 Comments

  1. Wow if only I knew that sooner. Tried “Euro Nymphing” for the first time this weekend and found the braid often got twisted around the rod tip. I did notice once that it untangled in the flow. Now I know that is something to do. I will be keeping that in my box of top tips. Thanks

    Reply
    • Cheers. Yeah that should help.

      What braid, by the way?

      Reply
  2. I’ll try it. I’m new to the long leader game. It catches fish, but the leader tangle on the end of the rod is an unanticipated nuisance. I’ll try it – but it’s hard to tell which direction the line is on the rod.

    Reply
    • You can do it! Ha. Honestly, sometimes you just have to guess. Experience is the best teacher by far.

      Reply
    • Point the rod downstream and shake the tip a little bit. What you describe happens all the time with the mono rig. The above usually works to unwrap line from the tip.

      Reply
  3. Having trouble following what you are trying to describe. A video would better demonstrate this “Quick Tip.” Thank you, and keep up the great work!.

    Reply
    • Les, I totally agree. A video would help. More videos for such things are in the works. I just need more than 24 hours in each day!

      Reply
      • I totally understand, Domenick. Being a bivocational pastor (working a full-time job plus pastoring a country church), I ‘m right there with you . Plus another 24 hours to fish! 🙂

        Reply
  4. wow, that’s a fantastic tip…will definitely try that next time I’m tight-lining (which will be next time I’m fishing)…

    Reply
    • Nice.

      Reply
  5. Tried it today. Worked like a charm. Thanks for the great tip.

    Reply

Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published.

Recent Articles

Recent Posts

Pin It on Pinterest