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Drifting, "Swinging" a dry fly

Joined:
2007/3/24 2:29
From Luzerne County, PA
Posts: 361
Offline
I got out on the Lehigh for the first time in 2 or 3 weeks this evening, around 5pm.

There were caddis around, not in great numbers, but the fish were exposing themselves with occasional rises.

I'm still in "early season" mode since most of the times I've been out so far I've ended up fishing with wooly buggers as there were no hatches or rises around. So I'm fighting with the wind, trying to get my cast down and back to some form of drifting a dry which in mid-season form I'm not too bad at.

I missed a couple fish, then tried some extra long drifts which ran through some whirling current and basically made a drag free drift impossible when I let the line swing out straight I was thinking about my situation and WHAM had a fish hit while I guess I was lifting the rod up. Although I didn't connect with this fish I've caught fish this way before purely by accident and thought, hey, so what, it seems to work. I've skittered dries, given them the sudden inch, etc. but this time it was purely by accident and laziness.

Now I understand the concept of emergers, especially with caddis, so the entire idea of presenting a fly as an emerger is nothing new to me. I remember when I first actually used one of Joe Ackourey's emerger patterns in Bowmans Creek fly stretch and wanted to see what it looked like as I "lifted" the fly to the surface a brookie came out of nowhere and slammed the fly, oh so that works,... interesting.

But this long slow swing thing I had just done by accident seemed different.

I'm nearly certain the fly line was straightened out at the time this fish hit, and he made an attention drawing splash, but I really had no idea where my fly was in the water column. I figured it was swept under but no idea how far, and with the lazy swing at the end of the drift I had no clue as to what was going on with the fly. I assume it had swung to the full extension of the line and was hanging or maybe emerging.

I tried a few more long drifts still trying to get my cast down and let a couple more swing, this time I hooked up, two more times in fact. I still couldn't tell exactly what part of the swing or rise that enticed the fish, all I knew was when I lifted my rod there was a fish on.

I started seeing more rises and went about doing what I came to do and finally the wind slowed and I was able to get some good drifts going and had some takers, quite a few actually, I ended up bringing a dozen or so to hand, a few short tussles, 2 break offs and a good number of misses.

I still can't help wondering what exactly was going on with my dry/wet drift, swing, lift activity earlier. I guess I was swinging a wet fly which I need to learn a heck of lot more about.

Sorry for the length of this post but it got me to thinking and writing down my thoughts and this is a forum so,.. With any responses I'd like to hear all the specifics, such as what position of the fly in the water column attracts a fish and what is might be representing at that second.

Thanks for your time

2 fish from this evening
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Posted on: 2013/5/8 0:37


Re: Drifting, "Swinging" a dry fly

Joined:
2010/1/2 15:17
From PA and NH
Posts: 712
Offline
Welcome to the swingers club. I'm constantly baffling my dry fly friends by twitching. jerking, yanking, swinging, lifting, dapping, man-handling, dragging. vee-waking, and at the end of the " drift"
letting it hang for an inordinate amount of time and if a fish hasn't seen it by then, repeating. I fish well into dark with my bushiest caddis and stout tippet purposely using your new found technique.

Posted on: 2013/5/8 21:45


Re: Drifting, "Swinging" a dry fly

Joined:
2007/3/24 2:29
From Luzerne County, PA
Posts: 361
Offline
Thanks blueheron for the input, since then I managed a few more while not practicing the perfect "dead drift". I was hoping for a few more comments, I'm still reading up and learning.

Posted on: 2013/5/15 0:30


Re: Drifting, "Swinging" a dry fly

Joined:
2011/4/12 17:23
From Lancaster Co.
Posts: 1125
Offline
I've had good success swinging wet flies - mostly soft hackles - just under the surface. Sometimes just letting the fly hang dead in the water at the end of the swing will prompt a strike. Sometimes they take it while it's moving. I've often varied split shot size but in many cases try to go with something that keeps the fly under the surface but not too deep.

I've not tried this much with a dry fly. Sometimes will do it with a cdc caddis if I get to lazy to dry it off good and apply some floatant. If fish are on caddis they will often take it. Its much more vulnerable than that natural bouncing around on the surface. I suspect if you were in flat enough water your dry fly was submerged but not far below the surface. Trout will take an emerging insect with enough force/speed that they break the surface.

I think the fact that you are learning on the stream is best. Keep experimenting and determine what is most successful for you and stick with it.

Posted on: 2013/5/15 10:23
_________________
"You might be a big fish, in a little pond. Doesn't mean you've won, cause a long may come, a bigger one."


Re: Drifting, "Swinging" a dry fly

Joined:
2007/3/24 2:29
From Luzerne County, PA
Posts: 361
Offline
"Sometimes just letting the fly hang dead in the water at the end of the swing will prompt a strike"

I agree, I guess what I'm stuck on is WHY? It seem unnatural unless it somehow represents the final seconds of emergence.

I should have added that this particular dry fly, called a World Famous, has sparse hackle, a good amount of hackle but sparse and no wings, when it sinks it has a very nice undulating action, when it rides high on the water it makes a great early season mayfly imitation. Either way the trout "like" it, and it's great to fish a fly that you know the trout "like". You can experiment different ways to fish it with confidence, which for me is huge.

Next time out I'll try adding some weight and spend some time just swinging it as an experiment.

I should add that at least recently, every time I've had some form of success with this is either during, or during the possibility of a caddis hatch.

Posted on: 2013/5/15 15:07


Re: Drifting, "Swinging" a dry fly

Joined:
2011/4/12 17:23
From Lancaster Co.
Posts: 1125
Offline
Quote:

henrydavid wrote:
I agree, I guess what I'm stuck on is WHY? It seem unnatural unless it somehow represents the final seconds of emergence.


I suspect that no matter how slow moving the water is your fly is never really hanging "dead" at the end of the swing. There is probably always enough current to impart some subtle, lifelike movement on the fly. What we think is stationary really isn't. The fly probably appears very vulnerable to the fish and they take it at that point as opposed going after an imitation or natural that is still swinging and moving through the water column.

Posted on: 2013/5/15 15:45
_________________
"You might be a big fish, in a little pond. Doesn't mean you've won, cause a long may come, a bigger one."


Re: Drifting, "Swinging" a dry fly

Joined:
2006/9/13 10:18
From LV
Posts: 7514
Offline
Especially during caddis hatches trout hit the fly on a swing, so it's important to let it drift out.

Posted on: 2013/5/15 18:05






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