Fishing for Trout: Dapping and Spinning (Bait-Fishing)


Dapping is not as easy as it is sometimes made out to be. There are two sorts: dapping from a boat using a ‘blow-line’ and dapping from the bank, usually of an overgrown stream.

Dapping from a boat is an accepted method in Ireland and Scotland. In Ireland, natural flies are used, especially the mayfly and the daddy-long-legs. In Scotland on Loch Maree and similar waters, holding big sea-trout it is usual to dap with huge artificial flies. It takes a big fly to draw fish up from deep water. A dapping rod should be 3.7-4.3 m (12-14 ft) long. It must be light and the top section needs to be pliable enough to play heavy fish without shattering.

The technique consists of dancing the fly — whether natural or artificial — along the crests of the waves. A breeze acting on the fluffy blow-line makes this fairly easy. Striking is much the same as when fishing a dry fly. The fish must be allowed time to turn down after boiling at the fly. On seeing the rise some anglers school themselves to glance away and wait until they feel the fish taking line. This is not a bad plan.


Nearly every angler at one time or another has tried dapping from the bank, usually on a hot summer day when any other sort of fishing is hopeless. Provided you can lever your rod through the mass of greenery and lower the big bushy Palmer-type fly to the surface without showing too much of yourself there is a good chance of rising a big trout.

Bait-fishing — Spinning

In recent years spinning conducted against trout has come under a cloud, many people believing that it should be banned. Some Water Authorities do ban trout spinning; others permit it, but uneasily. One has got to look at the subject objectively. On most waters in Britain today trout have to be stocked. Where trout are not stocked there are few trout. It is as simple as that. Having stocked the trout you must then decide what methods of fishing are to be allowed. Should one allow the easy methods or only the most interesting methods, or simply allow people to get as many trout as they can out of the water any way they choose? Opinions are widely divided.

The hotel owner is always worth listening to on this topic, since he earns his bread-and-butter by the quality of his fishing, and at the same time must please his guests and help make their angling a pleasure. Quite a number of hotels do permit spinning, but at least as many are ‘fly-only’. On one water they have what is called a ‘Flag Day’. When the river is too spated for good fly-fishing, flags are run up masts to indicate that anglers may spin or worm, as they choose.

The Chief Fishery officer of a Water Authority once listed for me the objections he had to spinning for trout. These included too large a proportion of young fish hooked and killed while abstracting the trebles, and the wholesale disturbance of nearly every inch of water in the river.

Spinning is easy. After ten-minutes practice even a small boy can throw a minnow across a river. The lack of skill needed for spinning has led to the spinning or fixed-spool reel being manufactured in tens of thousands, and many of our rivers are now raked by minnows from morning till night. It is not my purpose here to condemn this activity as unsporting but simply to point out that good trout fishing demands restraint, and the best form of restraint is to require the angler to be proficient as an angling form that calls for some skill and experience before he becomes a danger to the fish-stocks. Fly-fishing does impose this limitation.


In neglected streams of no great size there seems no logical reason why anglers should not spin on occasion. The snag, of course, is that neglected streams become fewer every year. Some do exist, however, and in Wales there are plenty still.

Any badly overgrown water where it is clearly impossible to fly-fish may be considered a fair target for the spinning angler. A light 2.1 or 2.4 m (7 or 8 ft) rod fitted with a trout-sized fixed-spool reel loaded with 2 kg (4 lb) monofil Perlon is a suitable outfit.

Baits may be artificial or natural. Quill minnow or preserved (salted) minnow are both good. Fresh minnows can be used, too, but they are soft and don’t survive casting so well as the tougher salty ones.

One spins up and across. The minnow is recovered at a brisk pace but not so fast that there is turbulence behind it. Sometimes trout go well for a tiny silver devon spun very fast, usually when the water is clearing after a spate.

Wobbler tackles are good, too, and I sometimes use them in preference to the ordinary `Mountfast’ type of minnow-mount. The wobbler-lead is inserted inside the minnow and the trebles are clipped into the shoulder and flank. Wobbling minnows are best fished across and downstream.

Late May and June are probably the best minnowing months, with a revival again towards the end of summer. Low warm water is ideal for minnow, especially when the sun is off it.

19. July 2011 by admin
Categories: Fish, Game Fishing, Trout | Tags: , , , | Comments Off on Fishing for Trout: Dapping and Spinning (Bait-Fishing)


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