PODCAST: Night Fishing for Trout — Swinging and Drifting — S8, Ep3

by | Sep 3, 2023 | 7 comments

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We night fish with many different fly types: surface patterns, mouse emerges, streamers, wet flies, nymphs and Harvey Pushers. And all of these flies can be presented in two very different ways — drifting and swinging.

There’s a lot of variety within these two categories. There are many ways to do both. And every fly type may seem to have its best or most effective presentation, drifting or swinging, but when that’s not working, the first and easiest thing to do, before changing the fly type, is to simply change the direction the flies are fished, from swinging to drifting or vice versa.

Drifting is fishing the flies with the current. Swinging is fishing the flies against the current. In this episode, we consider the differences between the two and the advantage of each.


READ: Troutbitten | Category | Night Fishing
READ: Troutbitten | Streamer Presentations — The Death Drift
READ: Troutbitten | Streamer Presentations — The Deadly Slow Slide
READ: Troutbitten | Night Fishing for Trout — Drifting and Swinging Flies
READ: Troutbitten | Night Fishing for Trout — Backstory: Drifting and Swinging Flies
PODCAST: Troutbitten | An Introduction to Night Fishing for Trout — S3, Ep14

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Season Eight of the Troutbitten Podcast continues next week with, Location and Imagination, Planning and Adapting. So look for S8 Ep4 in your Troutbitten podcast feed.

Fish hard, friends.


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Enjoy the day.
Domenick Swentosky


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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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What do you think?

Be part of the Troutbitten community of ideas.
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  1. I always find bigger fish feed after dark.. not many care to night fish but i’ve been doing it over thirty years on both tail waters during summer nights.. nothing like swinging a bugger or float big iso pattern if you hear them on top.. normally switch to my wet sink tip combo #6wt suffices on either Wb OR eB upper delaware system.. I release everything.. don’t fish for trout in water too warm.. I stay in the upper west or east branch summer nights are rewarding.. the latest switch to my night sink tip built into the fly line first 15ft is ideal for most the flows I use it for.. don’t need to add weight and the sink tip line is very manageable.. you should try it.. day time still my favorite for dries or nymphing but night time can be magical for those smart old 20 plus torpedos.. gl.. wish i could get out there more.. i care take all day long everyday last few years.. i do get a few days every other week or month.. been tough getting away.. anyway night time i have learned my many pools.. seeing signs on pa side ramp signs no parking after 10pm not sure ny side seems better option law enforcement.. the other security issue is not as safe because there are desperate folks in depressed areas.. so i don’t feel as safe certain places i use to park and fish alone all night.. like the main stem junction pool out of Hancock Ny ..hoping to get up soon before Fall chills.. I don’t night fish when air temps are low enough need finger gloves.. I use to but older nowadays ..if it gets too cold nothing really bites .. found best action are only warm summer nights enjoy your tips too

    • Dumbest thing I did night fishing happened last season. I was fishing with “the rod you’ll own next” 6w. Backcast gets caught in a bush behind me. Fishing heavy tippet I decide to give it a quick pop forward to try to get my streamer free. There was a pop…my sextant folded like a piece of wet paper.

      • Suggest viewing, “How to Get Ties Out of Trees”
        on YouTube (Tactical Fly Fisher Devin Olsen)

        Day or night this technique works remarkably well. Not only does it save fies/rigs but you don’t disturb the area you wanted to fish.

  2. Agree 100% on most takes being in the start of the swing. That shift from drifting to swinging produces a change in direction and slow acceleration that probably looks like escaping prey, which triggers that predatory response. Nice to hear my observations being confirmed by more experienced night anglers.

  3. What is your approach when you get a short strike? Will you give the fly slack and see if you get another hit? Recast to the same area and repeat or try a different retrieve from another angle?


  4. My ten year old son randomly told me last night he heard that pirates wore eye patches to always have one eye adjusted to the dark and one to the light. This helped them in battle going above and below deck. Maybe an eye patch could help for night fishing!


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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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