Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Gear 101: #3 Flies


In the third installment of our 101 series we will tackle the very broad subject of flies, which can be broken down into two main categories, dry flies and wet flies.

Dry flies are designed to be fished on the top of the water and mimic the adult stage of a bugs life. Generally, they are fished on the surface of the water in a dead drift, riding the surface in a natural pace. However, other techniques can be employed depending on the fishing conditions. For example, dry flies can be pulled gently across the surface of the water so that they skim along the water instead of drifting, this technique is called skating. Or, you can intentionally pull the dry just below the surface of the water and fish it half sunk. Deciding which technique works best takes a combination of practice and an understanding of the behaviors of the flies you are intending to mimic and the behavior of the fish that you are trying to catch.

Wet flies are designed to be fished below the surface of the water and can be broken down into two smaller categories, nymphs and streamers. 

Nymphs mimic the pre-adult stage in a bug’s life cycle and like dry flies, are generally fished in a dead drift technique. They are cast upstream and allowed to sink, where they drift down river naturally being swept along in the current. Nymph patterns are tied in a variety of sizes and colors. Some nymphs are tied with beads which provide weight to the fly and allow it to sink faster and reach a deeper point in the river. Others are tied without beads, making them lighter therefore allowing them to be fished closer to the surface. Fish feed among the river from the bottom to the top. With study and practice you will soon figure out which nymph is best used in each condition. 

Streamers, like nymphs, are designed to be fished sub surface. Unlike nymphs they are most effective when they are pulled through the water, a technique called stripping. The streamer is cast out into the water and allowed to sink, but instead of just letting it drift naturally down stream as you would with a nymph, the streamer is pulled back toward you, through the water, as you retrieve your line. Most streamers are tied to mimic small fish and various aquatic insects and therefore the movement is the most important aspect. When fishing streamers try different styles of retrieve, alternating slow and fast strips to see what works best. 

This is a general explanation of how to start identifying different types of flies and how to fish them, if you want to dive deeper there are numerous resources available online that go into the entomology, or science, of bug life and can offer you a precise explanation of the different stages and behaviors for each species. 

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