Fly fishers talk a lot about a dead drift. And why shouldn’t we? So much of our time is spent trying to replicate this elusive presentation that the concept of drifting flies without influence from the leader dictates a large part of what we do. It’s what we think about. We plan for it, rig for it and wade into position for it.
. . . If you just twitched or stripped your fly, it cannot dead drift next. Anything under tension drifts with some influence from the leader. And that’s not a dead drift.
Most sports have a set of unwritten rules, generally agreed upon by those in the know. But the trouble with the unwritten rules of fly fishing is that many newcomers aren’t aware of them, and it might take seasons of error before realizing that you were pissing everyone else off while wading downstream into the upstream guys.
When fishing dries, the cautious angler has many chances to fool a rising trout. Start behind the trout at the back door. Next move over and try the side door, beside the trout. Then try going right down the middle and through the front door.
Making consecutive casts with a dry fly produces often enough to believe that the next cast will seal the deal. But there’s a lot more to it . . .
The early spring season is very much defined by the resurgence of the egg pattern. And by the time the suckers are done doing their thing, our hatch season is in full swing. Then, just like that, the egg bite turns off. Suddenly the trout favor mayfly and caddis imitations over the full-color egg options.
But as reliable as the egg bite can be in early spring, you don’t want to sleep on the Olives . . .
The river is full of challenges and the trout dictate the terms. A versatile angler is ready for anything. But it helps to be thoughtful about every transition, every time you alter your rig or tactics on the water. Is the change a good bet? And if so, what adjustments need be made?
While fishing the long flies, accuracy is paramount. In a recent conversation with my friend, Bill Dell, he made an excellent point that changed the way I fished streamers again. Bill’s thoughts forced me to rethink the habits I’d fallen into. And that hammered me back into shape.
Bill told me he doesn’t make a cast until he’s in the ideal position, until he can deliver the streamer to that sunken log near the bank with exactly the angle he considers best. He refrains from any lead-up casts. Rather, Bill saves the initial cast for when he can deliver the knockout blow — no jabbing on the way in. Here’s why . . .
I recently wrote a short piece about what trout eat, where I argued that a handful of flies will get the job done on a daily basis no matter where you fish. In essence, I think how you fish your handful of flies is usually more important than what those flies are.
But your handful of confidence flies needs some diversity. It needs attention getters. It needs flies that will motivate a trout to go and eat them.