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View Full Version : Let's talk about drift shall we.


Rodonthefly
05-26-2010, 03:28 PM
i have had a couple of poeple ask me about or how to make a good drift. I think line management is a must after yoour fly hits the water. I fish all different ways, upstream, down stream and across the river. One thing I never do though is fish a fly on the swing. I'm wondering how you guys fish? How imporent and what do you do to acheive a good drift. I personally mend line like there's no tomorrow. i miss a lot of fish because I feel like I have to much slack on the water, but I do get alot of hits.


I saw that waterwolf fishes down stream, do you start mending line once your fly hits the water, wolf?

gmreeves
05-26-2010, 03:51 PM
I think it all starts before your fly hits the water. Knowing where to lay the line down in the water after completing the forward stroke can make all the difference in how your drift starts. Also deciding whether you are going to need to throw some "zig zags" in the line as it lays on the water helps a good deal too. Sometimes no line on the water is the best approach. It all depends on the situation. Long slow pools, pocket water, riffles, runs, etc. A good drift is definately the key to getting a regular strike. Clear as mud, right?

David Knapp
05-26-2010, 06:46 PM
I mend as necessary but much prefer to get a clean drift because of a good cast. The reach cast can be your best friend on tailwaters (or anywhere for that matter) Also aerial mends before the line hits the water can help... I prefer to find feeding fish and sight cast and in general, it is best to keep the cast just a little above the fish. If you make a good cast, it shouldn't be dragging when it gets to the fish 2-4 feet later.

waterwolf
05-26-2010, 10:34 PM
I spent far too much time learning how to dead drift flies to resort to swinging flies. And IMO there is no comparison between the success a person can have fishing flies on a dead drift versus swinging flies. I know people catch a few on soft hackles and the like, but the success rates are so vastly different between the two techniques that it amazes me that people stick to that approach.

millerdvr
05-26-2010, 11:04 PM
I think your drift depends on what water, what cast, and what position you happen to be standing in. I have developed a slight snap on my forward cast that puts enough slack in my line that i just need to throw a couple mends in as it drifts, I don't do much casting dead upstream, mostly I swing my fly towards the fish, I find I can get a good cast in without spooking the fish more often with a good swinging drift rather than throwing just ahead of the fish.

gutshot
05-27-2010, 12:32 AM
The tailwaters don't have enough variations in flow when the generation is off that one needs to have a ton of on the water mending ability. The keys, IMO, as Plateau alluded to are a good reach cast, but with an aspect of a parachute cast, pile cast, or mid air mending. The key is to get the fly headed towards the fish with a few serpentine sections of leader above the indicator to act as cushion to feeding line out and maintaining a drag free drift while keeping the fly fishing as long as possible.

Once people are able to snake additional line out of the guides without effecting the drag free drift (the reason for the cushioning serpentine section of leader) then they only need to pick the runs apart and get the fly into the fish's feeding lane.

The right fly, suspended at the right depth, and flowing with the current (aka drag free drift) is all you need to catch tons of fish in the tailwaters. If you position yourself across stream or upstream at a slight angle you don't even need to be able to reach cast.

Rocketroy
05-27-2010, 05:17 AM
:biggrin:By far,the lack of a good floating line results in most poor drifts! The ability to line manage,by lifting and mending{ before it is needed},can not be done with a sinking line tip! Once that high floating line is working,my best dry presentation comes with establishing a casting position angle,accompanied by an overpowered curve cast,followed by a quick mend,or tip lift, over close in faster flows! Often,a little fly movement triggers a take.......just not a full blown out of control v-wake! Imperfect F/F? I often will drop a soft hackle,off my dry,and let the fish decide which one they like,using an imperfect drift ,to my advantage!Ah, the mystery of it all......now solved!!!!:cool:! Rocketroy

waterwolf
05-27-2010, 07:58 AM
Of course we all learned how to shadow cast, we wouldn't need to worry about drift.:biggrin:

BlueRaiderFan
05-27-2010, 08:41 AM
I think the most challenging aspect to the Smokies is mending across the smaller streams to a good pool on the far side of mulitple currents. You have to get your fly to stay as long as possible and often that's only for a couple of seconds. I try to reach these place before hand with a good upstream cast, but sometimes I can't. Besides, across stream seems to be more effective.

Owl
06-03-2010, 05:06 AM
Here's a tip, take it or leave it.



Not enough people move a dry fly. Skitter, skate, dance, hop it - when appropriate, it will up your strike-triggering rate. Trout, although in many cases prone to look for the dead-drift of an insect, will readily come to a fly given some movement, IF the movement is convincing. And there is the trick....learning which rod movements create that magic movement that imitates life.


good luck.

waterwolf
06-03-2010, 08:07 AM
Here's a tip, take it or leave it.



Not enough people move a dry fly. Skitter, skate, dance, hop it - when appropriate, it will up your strike-triggering rate. Trout, although in many cases prone to look for the dead-drift of an insect, will readily come to a fly given some movement, IF the movement is convincing. And there is the trick....learning which rod movements create that magic movement that imitates life.


good luck.
Allright owl, how much skittering of CDC comparaduns and No hackles have you done with success? I would be willing to bet not much. Fish will eat a caddis skittered but the majority of the time mayflies float motionless on the surface, and the patterns used to imitate them on our tailwaters cannot handle being skittered.

JMHO, but I would trust dead drifting flies for success 1000% more then moving flies at all. But that is just me.

Rocketroy
06-03-2010, 08:17 AM
Here's a tip, take it or leave it.



Not enough people move a dry fly. Skitter, skate, dance, hop it - when appropriate, it will up your strike-triggering rate. Trout, although in many cases prone to look for the dead-drift of an insect, will readily come to a fly given some movement, IF the movement is convincing. And there is the trick....learning which rod movements create that magic movement that imitates life.


good luck.
The wise one speaks great truths! Wanna really make that dry look alive? Drop a small beadhead stonefly about 24 inches below your dry,or mash on a small lead,and put some up/down tip movement to work....... the slight tip bounce will impart a dipping action to the dry,as an egg laying insect.......it drives em MAD! Deadly, and does not require nor is recommended......long casts! Regards, Rocketroy

waterwolf
06-03-2010, 08:49 AM
Things must be dramatically different in N. GA versus East TN. I would love to see that tactic tried on the Clinch, it would be entertaining to say the least. Especially right now, with the water extremely clear and the fish amazingly spooky. Short casts, split shot, moving flies; sounds like a recipe for a long day. Heck, the fish I have dealt with lately spook if a fly even slightly drags, they spook with fly line still in the air, and they spook off of tippet shine. Good luck...

Rog 1
06-03-2010, 09:30 AM
[QUOTE=Owl;81273]Here's a tip, take it or leave it.



Not enough people move a dry fly. Skitter, skate, dance, hop it - when appropriate, it will up your strike-triggering rate. Trout, although in many cases prone to look for the dead-drift of an insect, will readily come to a fly given some movement, IF the movement is convincing. And there is the trick....learning which rod movements create that magic movement that imitates life.


good luck.[/

Great tip....have used similar idea when fishing a slow quiet pool..will sometimes gingerly vibrate the tip of my rod which will translate into a slight vibration of my dry fly...like a quivering insect...and this will entice a strike....use the same technique fishing for bluegills...a dead presentation and then just a slight movement will often bring the desired results.

dizzyg
06-03-2010, 09:34 AM
I've had several recent outings on the clinch where a twitch was absolutely necessary to induce a strike. When the fishing gets tough, and/or the fish are keying on emerging bugs, movement is worth a shot.

DBKSTONE2
06-04-2010, 04:30 PM
Waterwolf,

I respect the knowledge you bring to board and your advice/opinions have helped me be a better flyman. Alas, we must continue to have a difference of opinion on the point of soft hackles and "swinging flies". This past weekend was a great case and point for the much disparaged soft hackle.

I spent three hours on a non-local tailwater and tried every midge variant I had in my box. I tried every presentation method that I know of and could not get takers on the dead drift nymphs. I finally decided to expand my offerings and tied on a soft hackle similar to my previous offerings but with the addition of the feathery collar. I started the traditional 45 degree down stream cast and used a slow strip at the end of the "swing". All I can say is FISH ON!. I caught 30 fish in less than an 1 1/2 hours.

I don't know why you hate it but I wish everyone else would hate it as much as you do:biggrin:.

Compared to most, I am very young into the fly fishing game. I have yet to figure out how to impart the rising action of an escaping water born insect with a strictly dead-drifted nymph. I think anything that is done to alter a nymph's floating below an indicator is just a varying degree of "swing fishing". Anyone who thinking differently might want to see if they are kidding themselves. I guess the point to this is that the different presentation methods are attempting to mimic different activities of the bugs. Whether its dry fly, dead drift, swing, french, chech, high stick, etc. they all have a valid purpose and situations that work best.

Truth be told, if we were all forced to go with the most tried and tested method we would not be fly fishing. We would all be slinging night crawlers on a spinning reel.

waterwolf
06-04-2010, 11:23 PM
The most pertinent question regarding swinging of flies and your experience on a non-local tailwater is what was the quality of the fish you caught. The only reason I ask, is that I have seen rivers which are mainly put and take types with most fish being stockers, being places where fish will ignore dead drifted flies but readily take anything which is twitched, stripped, or moved.

My opinions are formed and prescribed for rivers like the Clinch, Holston, Cumberland, and other spring creek type rivers with varying size and age classes of fish.

In my experience a dead drifted nymph or midge will out fish anything swung 10:1. The thing soft hackle folks ought to wonder is what is a good day? A good day to me or someone dead drifting nymphs could be dramatically different then a good day trolling flies.

I personally do not care how anyone chooses to fish, I only try to offer opinions based on what has worked well for me, fishing companions, and clients over the years.

flyman
06-04-2010, 11:49 PM
Different techniques all have their place, the real trick is knowing when to use them. Mimicking an aquatic insects' behavior and recognizing the stage of the life cycle the fish are feeding on can mean the difference in an average day, and a very good day.

Owl
06-05-2010, 08:50 AM
Allright owl, how much skittering of CDC comparaduns and No hackles have you done with success? I would be willing to bet not much. Fish will eat a caddis skittered but the majority of the time mayflies float motionless on the surface, and the patterns used to imitate them on our tailwaters cannot handle being skittered.

JMHO, but I would trust dead drifting flies for success 1000% more then moving flies at all. But that is just me.

Little hostile aren't we? As I said, you can take it or leave it. What do I know? I've only been doing this for 23 +/- years.

As for N. GA, I wouldn't really be that familiar with the fishing there, or should I say here. It's been about 5 years since I did any serious fishing in Georgia which consists almost totally of small freestone streams where a 10 ft. cast is a long cast. But were we talking about casting for distance? Maybe I missed something? You seem to want to question my qualifications to give advice? If I've cast into the backing at least once does that meet the requirements to talk about fly drift?

Anyhoot, almost all of my fishing is in NC and TN, inside the park. However, Georgia has it's share of tailwaters and I've fished them in the past. Maybe you should try some 8x tippet and see how that works out? I don't believe I've ever had such a hostile reaction when trying to give advice, but it's a brave new world out there I suppose.....


Rog1 - very true. Sometimes, what we consider "normal" isn't "normal" in nature on any given day. I've seen times when even the most selective trout will not rise to a dead drifted fly....but you put one little twitch into it that looks authentic and as exactly the right moment, and it will trigger the strike. In that regard trout are not much different from bass...when they are on a kick like that...

David Knapp
06-05-2010, 11:21 AM
I've seen times when even the most selective trout will not rise to a dead drifted fly....but you put one little twitch into it that looks authentic and as exactly the right moment, and it will trigger the strike. In that regard trout are not much different from bass...when they are on a kick like that...

My best rainbow on Abrams (several years ago) came from the spring creek section on a day when the fish wouldn't touch a fly if it was dead drifted. Normally those fish will spook without a dead drift but sometimes its the opposite. As soon as I started dancing and twitching the fly on the surface, BAM...game on!!! On the SoHo, I've had days where a slight twitch was a requirement if you wanted fish to look at your pattern... Swinging flies is definitely not a method for every day of the year, but one that every fisherman should have ready to use when necessary...

flyman
06-05-2010, 12:46 PM
Owl, the last time you saw your backing was when you put it on the reel:biggrin:

waterwolf
06-05-2010, 11:04 PM
Little hostile aren't we? As I said, you can take it or leave it. What do I know? I've only been doing this for 23 +/- years.

As for N. GA, I wouldn't really be that familiar with the fishing there, or should I say here. It's been about 5 years since I did any serious fishing in Georgia which consists almost totally of small freestone streams where a 10 ft. cast is a long cast. But were we talking about casting for distance? Maybe I missed something? You seem to want to question my qualifications to give advice? If I've cast into the backing at least once does that meet the requirements to talk about fly drift?

Anyhoot, almost all of my fishing is in NC and TN, inside the park. However, Georgia has it's share of tailwaters and I've fished them in the past. Maybe you should try some 8x tippet and see how that works out? I don't believe I've ever had such a hostile reaction when trying to give advice, but it's a brave new world out there I suppose.....


Rog1 - very true. Sometimes, what we consider "normal" isn't "normal" in nature on any given day. I've seen times when even the most selective trout will not rise to a dead drifted fly....but you put one little twitch into it that looks authentic and as exactly the right moment, and it will trigger the strike. In that regard trout are not much different from bass...when they are on a kick like that...
It wasn't intended to be hostile, it was meant in more of a joking way. Obviously that went over your head. I can see it working in the park waters, those fish are much more opportunistic and see a variety of insects, especially caddis and stoneflies which move alot on the surface.

For the tailwaters, it would be pretty futile. 8x is not an option, our fish average about what a really nice park fish would tape. 18" rainbows **** bent on touring a 100 yard radius are hard enough to hold on 6x, let alone 8x.

2weightfavorite
06-05-2010, 11:14 PM
You guys bicker and fight like old women...is this about fly fishing or measuring our johnsons...??

psnapp
06-06-2010, 03:00 AM
2-wtfav,

Come on! Keep it clean! Those guys always have differing opinions, and it is educational to hear opposing points of view -- you can learn a lot from those with strong opinions and egos.

Phil

waterwolf
06-06-2010, 07:49 AM
You guys bicker and fight like old women...is this about fly fishing or measuring our johnsons...??
I wasn't bickering, I offered a light hearted based differing opinion. I didn't take Owl's comments as bickering either, just because people may disagree doesn't mean there is bickering or fighting behind it. We are all adults and having different views is just part of life.

alexys01
06-06-2010, 09:54 AM
hey, it's kind of like chucking corn. Sometimes they like it on the bottom, sometimes they like it drifted, and others they like a slow retrieve. HA! Ha!
Just trying to add a little humor. (I know, don't quit your day job)

Owl
06-11-2010, 03:22 AM
"Obviously that went over your head."

Yes....you're right, I'm totally stupid because your hostile reply was "supposed to be a joke."

You weren't "bickering", you were insulting. From viewing your recent posts here, I see you engage in that type of behavior on a steady and regular basis.




And flyman, I have no intention of ever again casting the whole fly line. Once was enough in competition, and I was immediately bored with the concept thereafter. I'll leave that to the people with something to prove. My point was that casting for distance or any other measure of how good a person is as a flyfisher has nothing to do with whether or not you should use a drag-free drift. I have no idea why what's his name heard one little concept he disagreed with and thought it was time to start slinging insults and puffing out his chest, but I'm pretty sure that his idea as to what makes a member here qualified to give advice on fishing is somewhat......shall we say.....superficial.

waterwolf
06-11-2010, 07:03 AM
Owl, for where you fish I would agree that a little fly movement might help, those fish probably feed more on caddis and terrestrials which do move more on the water. I don't doubt that it can be effective in the smaller streams.

However, on our tailwaters mainly the Clinch, the effectiveness of dead drifted flies when compared to flies which are moved is vast IMO. The water is slick and gin clear, and many times just the movement of the fly will spook fish, especially this year. Now in the limited riffles I am sure a person can move the fly some and have decent success. You had also mentioned 8x tippet, no question it will result in more strikes, but landing fish would be a major challenge as the tailwater fish are much larger on avg then those in the smaller streams. We are also forced to cast much further at times then any of us would like, casting whole fly lines is not required but casting 60-80 feet is not uncommon, especially out of a boat. Wading anglers can get away with much shorter casts.

BlueRaiderFan
06-11-2010, 08:42 AM
So, you all could be correct: Twitching works and a good drift works. Problem solved.

waterwolf
06-11-2010, 09:01 AM
So, you all could be correct: Twitching works and a good drift works. Problem solved.
How about the two combined?:biggrin: Which does work with nymphs from time to time. I would rather call it "jigging" versus twitching, it sounds fancier that way, ha. One place in particular it does and works very well is the Cumberland, occasionally raising the rod tip to every so slightly bob the indicator can produce a substantial amount of strikes. I have never had much success with it on the Clinch, but have had it work on the Holston.

Paula Begley
06-11-2010, 09:24 AM
There is no need for comments that border on rudeness. Please stop.

And while you're all at it, please take a moment to reread the site rules (http://littleriveroutfitters.com/forum/faq.php?faq=vb_faq#faq_b) .

This one is particularly pertinent:

Number 6: Please reread your posts before you post them. This should go without saying, but you might be surprised. Seriously, read your post before you post it. Think about how it reads to others, and whether it's relevant to the topic. Also, it is not cool to be intentionally offensive. Don't do it. It's also not cool to be sarcastic in order to provoke someone. Don't do it.


Also, if you feel someone is intentionally provoking...do not reply. That only turns it into a dissing match...and it doesn't get anyone anywhere.



Paula

Rodonthefly
06-11-2010, 09:56 AM
some good points here, do you guys think you can over mend line? I tend to mennd alot of line out causing me to miss alot of fish due to having so much slack on the water. I have seen guys make a cast, their line is straight as arrow, they don't mend and they kill'em. i wish i could become better at ready surface currents to where, I can make a straight line cast and not have to mend as much.

Any insite on this guys?

MadisonBoats
06-11-2010, 10:10 AM
Here's a tip, take it or leave it.

Not enough people move a dry fly. Skitter, skate, dance, hop it - when appropriate, it will up your strike-triggering rate. Trout, although in many cases prone to look for the dead-drift of an insect, will readily come to a fly given some movement, IF the movement is convincing. And there is the trick....learning which rod movements create that magic movement that imitates life.

good luck.

Owl,,,my sentiments exactly...there is so much more to fly fishing than just casting and drifting. One must feel and understand the fish and give it what it wants.:smile:

tennswede
06-11-2010, 11:31 AM
"You must tie your fly and fish your fly so the trout can enjoy and appreciate it”

-James Leisenring


Enough said, and soft hackles at that.

waterwolf
06-11-2010, 01:33 PM
some good points here, do you guys think you can over mend line? I tend to mennd alot of line out causing me to miss alot of fish due to having so much slack on the water. I have seen guys make a cast, their line is straight as arrow, they don't mend and they kill'em. i wish i could become better at ready surface currents to where, I can make a straight line cast and not have to mend as much.

Any insite on this guys?
I do very little mending personally, I also don't fish straight lines however. I make a cast and intentionally drop it a hair short (pull back right before the line lands) to give it a little slack. In places mending is absolutely mandatory, but for the slower water I fish, it is not always needed, and can spook fish. It however at other times will cause them to eat if you happen to move the fly while mending. But that is not a given, and my personal approach is long drifts with no mending, and no movement, but there are cases where slight movement or mending either helps or is mandatory.

BlueRaiderFan
06-11-2010, 03:55 PM
I get a lot of rises when I am retrieving the line in after it has gone fully down stream. Don't hook up that often, but still.