Articles in the Category Tactics

Sensitivity in a Fly Rod — Two Very Different Ways

How much can we feel the fly at the end of the line? And how well does the fly rod transmit the flex to the angler? These are two very different kinds of sensitivity.

(VIDEO) Three Great Ways to Create Tag Droppers

With three good solutions for creating tag droppers, there’s a method for every moment. And by getting each of these under your fingers, by practicing them and being comfortable, you’ll find uses for all of these methods as you work up a river.

Why I Hate the Water Haul Cast

I don’t like using a rig that forces me into a water haul as my only option. I’m happy to use the water haul as the occasional problem solver, but for day-to-day casting, no thanks.

Are Light Nymphs More Effective? Is Less Weight More Natural?

Presenting natural, convincing or looks-like-real-food drifts is the responsibility of every angler. Whether the flies are light or heavy, whether we’re drifting weighted flies, drop shot or split shot, it’s our ability to adjust, to refine and endlessly improve that keeps us wading into a river anew with each trip.

It’s why we love the nymphing game . . .

Fly Casting — Don’t Reach (with VIDEO)

Fly Casting — Don’t Reach (with VIDEO)

But, what about that pretty magazine pose? What about those videos of nymph fishermen with their arms high and extended, reaching the fly rod out to maximum length? It’s silly. It’s unnecessary. And it won’t last for long.

Reaching is an unsustainable body position at any age. Reaching the arm takes power from the forward cast. And by keeping the elbow in a natural and relaxed position, casting accuracy and delivery options improve dramatically . . .

Lightning Fast Leader Changes (with VIDEO)

Lightning Fast Leader Changes (with VIDEO)

Continued success and enjoyment on the river is a result of versatility. Solving the daily mystery, adapting our approach and getting that next bite is our endless goal. Adapting and changing quickly is a critical piece of the game. Knotting on the next fly is the easy part, but swift, wholesale leader changes are more elusive . . .

The Hop Mend (with VIDEO)

The Hop Mend (with VIDEO)

We mend to prevent tension on the dry fly or the indicator. All flies could drift drag free in the current if not for tension from the attached leader. So it’s our job to eliminate or at least limit that tension on the tippet and to the fly.

This Hop Mend is an arch. It’s a steep and quick half-oval. It’s a fast motion up, over and down with the fly rod. It’s powerful and swift, but not overdone . . .

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Drop Shot Nymphing on a Tight Line Rig — Pt.1

Drop Shot Nymphing on a Tight Line Rig — Pt.1

As the years pass, I’ve found a few refinements, I’ve learned a few advantages that lead me toward drop shot as the solution for more on-stream problems. It’s a tactic that has its place alongside all the other ways that I like to drift nymphs. Because the principles of dead drifting a nymph usually come down to imitating a natural drift as close as possible, but the methods for doing so are remarkably varied.

Every river scenario has a solution. And quite often, drop shotting is the perfect answer.

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Casting Forehand and Backhand (with VIDEO)

Casting Forehand and Backhand (with VIDEO)

Fly casting differs from spin casing in a few key ways, and here’s one one of them: You need both a forehand and a backhand cast to achieve effective presentations. Trying to fit a forehand cast on the backhand side is a bad habit that causes problems and limits what is possible on the water. While there’s plenty of room for personal style in fly fishing, this is not one of those places.

As you can see in the video, there are multiple reasons for developing both the forehand and backhand casting stroke. Being equally comfortable with both sides opens the doors to every angle necessary on the river . . .

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The Easy Way to Release a Snag (with VIDEO)

The Easy Way to Release a Snag (with VIDEO)

Snags happen. I’ve fished with people who see every hang up as a failure — every lost fly as a mistake. But inevitably, that mindset breeds an overcautious angler, too careful and just hoping for some good luck.

Hang ups are not a failure. For a good angler, they’re a calculated risk — an occasional consequence after assessing probability against skill, opportunity against loss. We all hang up the fly sometimes. So what.

Now let’s talk about how to pop that underwater snag loose . . .

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