Dip and Swish — The Fly Rod Quick-Dip

by | Sep 23, 2018 | 19 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.

On Troutbitten, I sometimes focus on the small things that make a big difference — the type of things that new anglers might figure out for themselves but that 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 . . .

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, dip and swish 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, swish, 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 to. 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). So, let it help.

Fish hard, friends.

 

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

 

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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.

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19 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
        • Thank you very much.
          I thought I was alone in my awkwardness while changing my flies only to sadly note that I have line wrap around the rod tip. How frustrating knowing my lure is not in the water where the fish are! Sometimes dip and swish works and sometimes I have to clip off a bird’s nest. Some days I wish I have 11 foot arms to work my 11 ft rod.

          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
  6. Great tip! It has been there all along, but I didn’t see it. What a simple and effective way to deal with the issues you mentioned.

    I grew up fly fishing on banks and from John boats for bream and bass. No current! When I moved to PA in ‘74 to start my career, some friends and I started down the path of discovery of trout fishing. It has been quite a journey and I still learn. Many thanks for the tip. Now I need to research and find more of your gems.

    Reply
  7. Hi Domenick, that’s a good idea, I have on small question I am just getting started numph fishing and most people fish with two or three is one effective for a beginner and also I just talked to joe I live in ******* and read his gas meter for many years he is one special man my friend and I use your setup on our reals it works well the reason I talked to joe is to see how we could get permission to get on the ****** for those bruiser browns he was very helpful, nice talking and I read your web all the time I will be ordering some things from you soon. Thanks,, gary

    Reply
  8. Great tip to deal with my usual tip top wrap! BTW, that’s a heck of a beautiful photo of a sweet brown trout! Hope you get your son on a namer soon!

    Reply
  9. Thanks for the tip.

    I found the Diamondback Ideal rod gets less wrap around issues to begin with as well. I also try to take in slack before I change flies to avoid this in the first place.

    Reply
  10. Also works when a “fish on” runs directly at you and you need to recover a lot of slack in a hurry.

    Reply

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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.

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