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Casting dry fly problem

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Of all my years fly fishing, i have done relatively little dry fly fishing. However the other night fishing at one of my favorite small trout lakes the fish were rising like crazy. Since i wasn't very comfortable with dry fly fishing i just threw out a small leach and hammered them. After about 15 fish i wanted to switch things up. With the fish still rising decided i would try out dry fly fishing and see if i could connect with any fish. I didnt... Heres what im guessing my problem was. Whenever i cast my line out the dry fly and leader all collapsed together in a messy way. I had a 9' leader on but the fly was only getting 3 or 4 feet away from the end of my fly line, resulting with my leader and fly landing coiled up together on the water. The best way that i can describe it is that there wasn't enough energy to get the leader and fly fully out. I don't think it was a problem to do with my casting, as i was doing nothing different than i do with nymphs, which i have never had this problem with. So whats going on?? I was using a 5wt rod, casting a 9' 5x leader (which i made sure to straighten before i used), and a size 16 dry fly. Is there something wrong with my setup? Or is there an error that is being made on my part to cause this to happen? Im guessing that i had no takes because there was to much disturbance near the fly, with both the leader and fly line making contact close to the fly, which would scare the fish away. Does anyone have any solutions to my problem?

 

Thanks a ton

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I believe ... the main thing to do differently, is to cast to a point ABOVE the water. If you are casting a sinking fly, you aim for a point on the water, and everything lays out the way you want. But you start trying to "land" your dry fly gently, and that's making you (perhaps subconsciously) alter your cast.

Envision a point a foot or so above the point you want to land the fly. Cast to that point. If done correctly, the fly line, leader/tippet and fly all straighten out and drop to the surface together.

Also, if you are casting lighter flies, you might need lighter leader/tippet.

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It may be a leader problem. Or it may be a casting problem. I think "leader" but I may be wrong. Practice on water with a dry fly to try out different leaders or different casting techniques.

 

If I were hammering fish on a wet, I doubt I'd change!!!

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A 5wt and a 9ft leader tapered to 5x should easily turn over a size 16 dry fly. It may be that your just not used to casting a dry fly. A weighted fly generally has enough weight to carry it to the end of a leader. A dry fly needs a tapered leader to provide the energy. So yes it could be the leader or a casting problem.

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With dry flies i find that a deliberate stop of the rod above the point of where you want the fly to land and then relax to let it all lay down works. The deliberate stop of the forward cast straightens everythihng out in front of you, then just let it drop. The trick is the timing of the stop, and how far above the water. It's a different technique from wet fishing where you sort of don't care if you drive the fly into the water or it tumblwes in. Dries take more finesse and I think that is what you dicovered. With some big fluffy dry flies you also have air drag and or floating or fluttering action and the leader becomes a more citical facrtor in landing a fly correctly too.Often 3X or even 2X is needed if the fly is large enough. on a lake it's best to try and go as light as possible though, especially if it's glass smooth water. often you can do better fishing in teh film or just under the surface with teh nymph of teh fly the fish are on. Surprisingly they aren't always on that dry you see on top but the nymph trying to break the surface tension. I've seen fish head and tailing on the nymph consistantly..

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You did not mention the distance you were casting. If close in, a leader may not turn over fully because not enough of the weight in your fly line is in play to drive the cast out with authority -- especially in a head wind.

 

You want a balanced leader that flexes progressively throughout its length with the flyline in use and the fly of your choice. Combine a bushy fly and a very light tippet that is too long and the cast also could land in a pile as you described. Go a bit heavier and/or shorter and you should get the the slight S curves that allow for both a free drift and quick strike response.

 

Rocco

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I would tend to agree wtih Jaydub and Dave G. above - it sounds like you're just not used to casting dry flies, and they do require a bit more finesse. Fishing wets and streamers doesn't demand that studied "stop" of the rod at just the right moment--you can just sort of lob them in there since it doesn't really matter how they hit the water. Also, as someone already mentioned, weighted flies like nymphs and streamers will straighten out the leader by themselves where a dry fly won't.

The advice you've already been given on the cast is good--aim for a point above the water, and concentrate on a firm "stop" of the rod on the forward cast. To that I would add that that "stop" should come with the rod a little higher in the forward casting stroke than you might think--around the one o'clock position, and it should feature a little flick of the wrist as the very last thing that happens before you stop the rod.

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When i'm dryfly fishing, i'm almost always using a 7'6" 3wt Jet or a 8' 4wt Zenith, 12' guideline trout tapperd leaders with about 1metre of tippet, same size or one smaller. Tappered leader should be 1.5X the lenght of the rod, longer for small flies & shorter for big flies! Remember to stop the rod hard, & even very high on short casts! I only ever use one back cast! Also don't have slack in the line when you pick it up for the back cast, or you might have a splash & i like rio dart & the three colour combo line gives you good reference points for lifting up the line for different lenght casts!

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Check out the casting videos on the Orvis how to site (the orvis [email protected] http://howtoflyfish.orvis.com/video-lessons/chapter-one-the-basics-of-fly-fishing is much easier to navigate than their youtube videos). I watch the casting videos and then practice things I am deficient in a few times a month and I get better all the time. Its really hard to diagnose a fault in your casting stroke or equipment with out seeing it but with some time and effort you can figure it out and correct it on your own.

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Didn't read all the responses thoroughly but.... was there any wind? ANY... wind at all? I know a puff at the wrong moment makes my perfect cast look amateurish at best many a time while casting a dry fly. Usually a headwind - will blow my fly into a heap as mentioned. It doesn't seem to take much either - just a little, almost imperceivable puff of wind and BAM! - a heap! However, I am no expert. There's a lot of good suggestions already mentioned.

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Of all my years fly fishing, i have done relatively little dry fly fishing. However the other night fishing at one of my favorite small trout lakes the fish were rising like crazy. Since i wasn't very comfortable with dry fly fishing i just threw out a small leach and hammered them. After about 15 fish i wanted to switch things up. With the fish still rising decided i would try out dry fly fishing and see if i could connect with any fish. I didnt... Heres what im guessing my problem was. Whenever i cast my line out the dry fly and leader all collapsed together in a messy way. I had a 9' leader on but the fly was only getting 3 or 4 feet away from the end of my fly line, resulting with my leader and fly landing coiled up together on the water. The best way that i can describe it is that there wasn't enough energy to get the leader and fly fully out. I don't think it was a problem to do with my casting, as i was doing nothing different than i do with nymphs, which i have never had this problem with. So whats going on?? I was using a 5wt rod, casting a 9' 5x leader (which i made sure to straighten before i used), and a size 16 dry fly. Is there something wrong with my setup? Or is there an error that is being made on my part to cause this to happen? Im guessing that i had no takes because there was to much disturbance near the fly, with both the leader and fly line making contact close to the fly, which would scare the fish away. Does anyone have any solutions to my problem?

 

Thanks a ton

 

There is a difference between what happens when a dry fly lands with slack and a nymph lands with slack.

 

With a nymph, the nymphs sinks faster with slack and eventually the leader will straighten and be tight from strike indicator to nymph or rod tip to nymph.

 

With a dry fly on moving water, slack is needed so the slack in the leader can allow a longer drag free drift of the dry fly. So dry fly leaders are typically designed as George Harvey slack leaders in which the tippet section is designed NOT to straighten.

 

However, a bunch of slack near the fly on a lake can put the fish off since they have a clear view of the water surface when the surface is smooth and not moving. So what to do. One option is to pull the line back so the leader and tippet are straight on the water surface when the leader fails to straighten. The other option is to cut back the tippet and possibly use a thicker 4X tippet so leader can straighten.

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I would bet your tippet was to long. I occasionally have the same problem as I try to go out with the longest tippet I can get away with so as I switch flies I don't have to add tippet material during my time on the river. On my 9'5w rod I use a 9' leader but snip back a few inches so my leader + tippet is 9' total.

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I was fishing today, and this thread came to mind. Something that I didn't mention in my first post. To cast to a point above the water takes MORE power on your forward cast, not less. Trying to get a gentle landing of the fly, many will probably try to "gently" cast. But that leads to insufficient energy to actually straighten out the line. You have to snap the back cast to keep it in the air for the forward cast. You also have to snap the forward cast if you want to keep it in the air.

Many times, our "final" cast is done differently than all the false casting. I was trying to analyse my cast ... and dry casting to get more line out, I keep the fly rod more elevated. (11 and 1, for example)

When I make my final cast, my rod comes forward all the way to the fishing position. To get the fly to stop at that point above the water, you can't bring the rod forward like that until you want the fly to drop.

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Your post brings me a reminder Mike, by your indication that you thought of this post today while fishing and that led to your obvious observation of your own cast.. I've been known to fall prey to final cast mistakes more times than I can count, LOL ! Excitement of rising fish gets to me and I fowl it up sometimes, it happens. My biggest mistakes ? Punching the line foward and or letting the forward cast go limp. Two total extremes from one another in one fell swoop ( IE, a real crappy presentation to say the least) !!!!!! The third is pointing the rod tip at the water on the final cast. Why ? Dumb. And everything tumbles to the water surface or I get a twanged up fly. So after so many years of fly fishing , Knowing better, knowing how to do it the way so the result is predictably in my favor and the "wrong way" Not- In- My- Favor, I make these mistakes anyway. Often this is the end of the day, fishing was slow going in but now they are rising, maybe something else is on my mind. What ever. I'd like to say/think that most of the time a decent cast is second nature but if we stop and look at what we are doing, I'm sure it can be better too. Even on my best day I suffer from a left hand hook in my landing point of the fly in certain winds. Before I die, I might overcome that, which will result, Finally, in my dry fly floating down river ahead of my leader when the current has left to right flow !

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