Trout Fishing Method: Dry-Fly Fishing Technique
The floatingoffers advantages not always clearly appreciated. Fish see very much less of a than they do of a wet one. Many fish are caught on that would refuse a wet, simply because they can give the latter closer inspection. Most trout, taking waters as a whole, are hooked the instant the dry fly touches the water. They rise, so to speak, spontaneously.
Dry fly is often best in sunny conditions, because the leader point is less conspicuous when floating in the surface-film. This is especially true when there is a bit of dust and summer scum on the water.
Many studies have been made of what a trout sees when it looks up at a floating fly.
A trout probably sees a blurry image, faintly coloured, with a few insect legs penetrating the water. The ‘educated’ trout is no doubt influenced by the size and colour of the image more than by its mechanical details. All trout see the steel bend and barb of the hook, but since this is outside of their experience it is not taken into account.
The easiest way of fishing a dry fly is to wade and cast the fly up and across a slow current, line being gathered with the left hand until the fly is ready to be picked off and recast.
Often wading is impossible and the fly must be cast from the bank. It may be necessary to cast the fly in any direction — even downstream — in order to cover the fish. Casting across a current raises the hoary problem of drag. This is caused when the current moves the line or the leader in a different direction from that in which the fly is drifting. This motion is soon transmitted to the fly, which is then, in the worst cases, dragged bodily across the current.
There are several standard ways of preventing drag, all of them based on the principle of keeping the rod out of direct contact with the fly. Some anglers deliberately cast a wavy line, as opposed to a straight one. This is managed by driving forward fairly hard on the forward cast and giving the rod a slight lift and shake before the line straightens. To do this and achieve a measure of accuracy is not easy.
The line can also be ‘mended’ to counteract the dragging effect of the current. Placing the line upstream with the rod point has a similar but more positive effect.
The best way of preventing drag, however, is to remove the fly from the water before drag develops. It should be stressed again that the most killing part of a dry fly’s ‘travel’ is the first few moments after it touches water. Some fish — notably grayling and sea-trout — do tend to follow a fly and take it some distance downstream, but trout don’t do this to any marked extent. In brisk currents, therefore, where drag is very difficult to combat, the best technique is to use a short line, cast often, and allow the fly only a short travel. More water will be covered and more fish risen this way than by any other.
Dry fly on the quiet chalk-streams, casting to rising fish, permits of a more precise approach. The fly is presented a metre or so above the position of the last observed rise and enough slack line is laid on the water to allow it to drift without dragging for at least 1 m (1 yd) beyond the position of the trout.
In rough streams the angler can pick the fly off when he chooses. In clear chalk-water a pick-off too near the fish will certainly put it down, and the fly should first be allowed to drift beyond the fish until it starts to drag.
Hooking fish on the dry fly calls for restraint. It takes time for the trout to rise, take the fly, and turn down; and the bigger the trout the longer the time. The angler usually sees a swirl or bulge as the trout reaches for the fly. Unless it is allowed a second in which to take it and turn down there is a danger of pulling the fly out of the fish’s mouth.
Various sorts of preparation are offered for makingbuoyant. Personally, I keep a little petrol in an air-tight jar in which a bit of petroleum jelly has been dissolved. Modem silicone preparations are clean and easy to use.