The Wetter the Better or How to swing old school.

16 Apr
March Brown Wet by Laura Williams.

March Brown Wet by Laura Williams.

The old school method of swinging wet flies is still a very effective method of fishing, especially for the beginner.

This is how I started fly fishing.  I got a fly rod as a kid and put many short casts down and across the stream and then just held on and waited for the strike.  We soaked our fair share of Royal Coachman wets, because they were the coolest looking, and probably lost too many to count.  I don’t remember ever having to worry about the drift, dead or not, depth or staying tight to the line, because all of that just happened on its own.

For the beginner the method is almost exactly as described above, tie on an old school wet fly on a standard leader of 9 or 12 feet.  Find a pool or riffle that looks fishy.  Place a cast downstream and across and follow your line with the rod tip.  Allow the current to swing your flies across the stream and toward the bank you are closest to.  Leave the flies hanging by the bank for 3 to 10 seconds before picking up your line and making another cast.  Move downstream a few steps at a time to cover the stream at a leisurely pace.

Now before I make this sound too simple, there are a few refinements to your technique that can add up to more fish.  First all the mends and casts that aid in drag free drifts will help you put flies right in front of fish.  The longer you can maintain a drag free drift the deeper the wet fly gets before the swing. Also mends can help to guide your flies into pockets, undercuts and seams, these are definite places to drift into.

I try not to use weights on the line when I use this technique. I also don’t weight the flies.  I don’t know why, it is just the way I learned and if it works, why fix it.

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One Response to “The Wetter the Better or How to swing old school.”

  1. Steve April 19, 2013 at 1:07 PM #

    Great article, I have caught myself many times worrying about how to swing a river “properly” even though most fish were hooked using this method.

    It’s easy to get caught up in things and over-analyze a situation. Just fish and have fun.

    Tight Lines

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