A couple of years again I joined a fishing membership right here in Utah. We did membership tying nights, and a gaggle of three or 4 of us often fished collectively each weekend. On one Sunday, we determined to fish a stream that’s virtually fully pocket water for its 20-some-odd mile size. A couple of of the blokes tied on indicator rigs and one went with a lone dry fly.
I tied on a Chubby Chernobyl, a Frenchie, and a zebra midge. One of many guys checked out my rig and jokingly stated, “Hey look! It’s Triple-Menace over right here!”
The nickname caught for years.
Whereas the fishing membership is defunct lately, the odd glances and onerous time I get for fishing three flies hasn’t modified. The place it’s authorized, a dry-dropper-dropper is my go-to rig for trout. Until there’s a stellar hatch, or I do know the fish need to chase massive streamers, you’ll discover me throwing three flies on any trout river. Hell, I’ve even performed it whereas fishing for resident dolly varden on Kodiak Island.
I’ve been recognized to have my purchasers fish three flies, too. Earlier this summer time, I guided a gaggle of 4 guys, and every of them balked after I handed them rods strung up with three flies. They weren’t the primary purchasers to be skeptical of my strategy, and I do know they gained’t be my final.
However that journey – and reflecting on the Triple Menace nickname – acquired me considering that the majority anglers will not be conversant in the thought of a three-fly rig. And given how profitable the rig has been for me, I figured it’s price sharing.
I need to preface this by saying I do know I didn’t give you something revolutionary right here, nor do I feel my three-fly rig makes me in some way distinctive. Fishing this fashion, although, isn’t one thing that I feel most anglers do, and even contemplate, and that makes it price discussing.
Why three flies?
Go stand on the banks of any main river in America, and I’ll wager you a dozen flies that one of many first 5 drift boats that go throughout peak season have a minimum of one angler throwing an indicator rig.
I’m not bagging on indicators, however I’m going to query the efficacy of that fashion of fishing. How usually have you ever been on a river, fishing to risers in a slack little bit of water, solely to have somebody high-hole you with a bobber rig? The trout give up feeding on prime, and should you had been there to fish dries, you’re abruptly out of luck.
Whereas indicators have a time and a objective, they’re largely counter-productive whenever you’re on a river.
For starters, as Lance Egan, Devin Olsen, and Gilbert Rowley documented of their movie Fashionable Nymphing, you merely don’t see a number of takes whenever you tie on an indicator. Trout have to essentially commit for the bobber to maneuver, and trout are infamous for being finicky, refined creatures.
Swap that bobber out for a dry fly, although, and abruptly you’re seeing much more of the takes in your backside two flies. And, you’ve changed your indicator with one thing that additionally catches fish. I can’t rely what number of occasions I’ve watched trout attempt to eat my indicator, and making an attempt to slip-set on that form of take hardly ever works out in my favor.
Talking of trout consuming dry flies – another excuse to fish the three-fly rig is that it means that you can cowl extra of the water column, and imitate extra phases of an aquatic insect’s life-style. Briefly, you’re capable of current extra choices to trout, which will increase your odds of catching fish.
Contemplate, for instance, a rig that includes a PMD, Hare’s Ear, and RS2. With these three flies, you’ve coated the most important life phases of a mayfly – the dun, pupa, and emerger. Trout which are targeted on the simple pickings will possible snag the Hare’s Ear, whereas the fish sitting larger within the water column usually tend to eat your dun or emerger.
Rigging up for 3 flies is simple. I begin with a bigger dry fly – often a dimension 14. Until I’m going with an elk hair caddis, I go for a parachute fly of some variety. I really like how they float, the silhouette in opposition to the highest of the water, and the way simple they’re to see.
Subsequent, I tie 18-24 inches of tippet off the bend of the hook. One mistake I see a number of my purchasers make shouldn’t be utilizing sufficient tippet between flies. Keep in mind, you’re not solely making an attempt to get your flies all the way down to the place the fish are – you’re combating the present, too. 18-24 inches is an effective basic ballpark that works on all however probably the most shallow or mossy of rivers.
It ought to go with out saying that your nymphs want tungsten beads and lead tied across the shank. I don’t use break up shot except I’ve no different selection, as a result of it chews up tippet and reduces your capability to really feel a fish take your droppers.
I wish to maintain the house between my second and third fly shorter than between my dry and first dropper. The reasoning behind that is that the second fly may get the eye of a trout on the underside – after which the underside fly floats alongside, and that’s the one in probably the most handy spot for the fish to eat. A 14-16 inch size of tippet ought to be greater than satisfactory.
A couple of notes on fishing
Most people fear about getting tangled when fishing three flies. That’s a sound concern, nevertheless it doesn’t occur as usually as you may suppose. Sure, I spend extra time untangling flies than if I simply fished one or two, however not disproportionately so. The secret is to provide your self a bit extra time in your solid.
It’s rather a lot like fishing streamers, or heavy nymph rigs. That further weight means your rod slows up, your loop opens, and also you’re ready only a bit longer on every casting stroke to your loop to unfurl. Take that very same idea to fishing the dry-dropper-dropper rig, and also you’ll be in enterprise.
I’d additionally suggest utilizing nothing smaller than 4x all the way down to your first fly. 4x chief is thick sufficient to assist flip over what finally ends up being a 12-13 foot chief, when all of your flies are tied on.
The dry-dropper-dropper rig can also be a lethal method to strategy pocket water. Removing the tip of your rod in order that the flies land on the prime of a pocket, lifting extra line off the water, and conserving a decent line between you and your dry fly, will guarantee the perfect drift. A couple of of my favourite streams right here in Utah are virtually completely pocket water, and the dry-dropper-dropper rig all the time produces in that sort of water.
Lastly, I wouldn’t fear about your tippet sliding off the bend of the hook should you use barbless flies, or crimp the barbs down your self. I made the swap over to barbless a yr or so in the past (it’s a lot simpler to take away barbless flies from fish, and myself, when guiding purchasers) and haven’t as soon as had a piece of tippet slide off the top of the hook.
Fishing a dry-dropper-dropper may appear to be overkill, and I suppose in some methods it’s. But it surely’s an extremely efficient method to cowl as a lot of the water column and aquatic insect life cycle as attainable. It gained’t win you any factors with the dry fly purists amongst us, however you’ll most likely catch a couple of extra fish than them.