Tips & Tricks

Drag-Free Presentations

Carol Ann Morris photograph, from 365 Fly-Fishing Ideas for Trout, Bass, and Panfish

Query: Typically my fly drifts are too brief, and when my fly begins sliding throughout the present a trout received’t take it. What can I do to get longer fly drifts with out drag? —Brian L

Reply: Your query, Brian—a traditional! Drag has plagued dry-fly fanatics since, properly, most likely ever since there have been dry flies and anglers enthused about fishing them. Earlier than I get into this, although, I’d higher present some background info for brand spanking new fly fishers.
So right here’s the deal, newcomers (and by the way in which, welcome!). Dry flies usually imitate bugs that “hatch,” that’s, wriggle from the skins of their underwater lives to free the wings for his or her above-water lives. Whereas they’re hatching, most of those bugs (primarily midges, mayflies, and caddisflies) drift quietly, naturally, freely, on the water. Different bugs, that different floating flies counsel, drop to the water after which simply drift: ants, flying ants, mayfly spinners . . . So, a floating fly imitating any of those bugs should drift quietly and freely too. On a trout lake, no drawback—there’s no present to cope with. On a stream, there are troublesome, stress-inducing, infuriating currents. They catch the tippet, chief, line, or maybe even all three and drag the fly round in order that the angler (like Brian L) utters bitter language whereas watching trout keep away from the dragging fly.

Sure, they drag the fly, which is why we fly fishers name something that pulls a fly unnaturally, “drag.”

Are some bugs vigorous on the water, so {that a} dry that imitates them ought to be twitched or skimmed on or throughout its floor? Sure. However we’re not speaking about any of that at present—when trout demand a drag-free drift of a dry fly, as they usually do, you’d actually higher present it.

At this level we must always all be collectively, fly fishers new, previous, and between: we now all know what “drag” is, when and why it’s an issue, and that it pertains to not trout lakes however to trout streams. So, we’re now again to your query, Brian, which asks, primarily, “How do you keep away from drag?”

Right here’s a listing.

1. Lengthy Tippets

Leaders are tapered, and the fly traces behind them are tapered too. Snap an arc down one thing lengthy, slim, supple, and tapered and it’ll naturally straighten proper to its tip. That’s simply nice for some fly displays, however awful for avoiding fly drag—a stream’s matrix of currents attracts on the straight line and chief straight away, and the fly drags unnaturally. The trout watch the fly’s unhealthy habits, huff in disgust.

Tippet, although, is untapered, fixed in diameter. Make it lengthy, three ft, maybe even 4, and it’ll need to drop on the water in curves. In curves of slack. Slack is the first treatment for drag. A barely excessive ahead solid promotes slack in tippet: with a long way to drop, the tippet lags behind the chief, angles, after which makes its waves of slack.

After all on small water, a stream or creek, two and a half ft is likely to be lengthy sufficient for a tippet to supply ample slack—overlong leaders and tippets can develop into hazards on small water.

2. Slack Line Casts

There are just a few normal casts that pressure slack into fly line, even into chief and tippet. If I’m going over them intimately right here, this text will develop into a booklet on casting. It shouldn’t. It’s, I repeat, an article. However I can title them.

The commonest slack-line casts are the S or lazy S, the attain, the pile, and the shepherd’s criminal (now often referred to by the romantically sterile appellation “unfavorable curve solid”). There’s one other solid for making slack known as the parachute solid, but it surely’s actually for presenting a fly drag-free not upstream or across-stream, like the opposite casts I’ve talked about, however downstream. Downstream displays of dry flies are unusual, however underneath the proper situations, lethal.

And I can describe them. The S solid is made by waggling the rod tip as the road goes out. The attain is made by an upright ahead solid adopted by reducing the rod to at least one aspect or the opposite, the pile begins as a excessive ahead solid after which the rod tip is hurried all the way down to the water as the road follows, and the shepherd’s criminal is an underpowered solid made with a low rod in order that the loop within the line drops on the water. The parachute solid begins with a excessive ahead solid, the rod stays excessive, and the road and fly drop and drift off downstream because the caster lowers the rod-tip to feed line.

There’s one other, and I’ll guess you haven’t heard of it no matter how lengthy you’ve fly fished (as a result of it’s my solid and I revealed it for the primary time in my new ebook 365 Fly-Fishing Ideas for Trout, Bass, and Panfish): the crash solid. I’m absolutely not the primary to make use of it, however am apparently the primary to call it. Due to this fact it’s my solid, I assume …. Anyway, it’s nice for giant dry flies whose weight makes them sail out and pull all slack out the tippet. However I’m utilizing this solid ever extra usually with all types of floating flies of all sizes. It’s not a solid for flat water; the road actually does crash down. Not an issue on uneven currents, although.

To make the crash solid, intention your ahead solid low in order that the road loop hits the water earlier than it straightens. That kills the momentum of fly and tippet and chief they usually all drop in waves of—watch for it…—slack. Strive it.

3. Mending

Simply earlier than the currents which have pulled your line into an extended curve take away the final of the slack and begin dragging your fly, you may mend. A mend is a elevate of the road after which a flip of it, in order that whichever means it was curving, it’s now curving in the wrong way. Some dry-fly aficionados might mend two or 3 times throughout a fly’s drift.

Slack-line casts, lengthy tippets, and mending about covers it. I imply, there’s follow, in fact—you don’t get good at these maneuvers with out doing them again and again whereas giving them the care and a spotlight that deliver enchancment.
Exit then, Brian. Use every thing right here to make these lengthy, clear fly drifts your trout demand. Could peace and lots of hookups lie in your path.

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