Tough day on drys

geo4316

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A couple pulled away at the last second but most took the fly well or at least appeared to, i was going to drop a size but the wind would have made seeing flys any smaller impossible for me
 

Cap'n Fishy

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A couple pulled away at the last second but most took the fly well or at least appeared to, i was going to drop a size but the wind would have made seeing flys any smaller impossible for me
(With one possible exception...)

If the fish appears to take the fly well, if you lift and make no contact (what we refer to as a 'fresh-air shot' 😜), then if it did take it, it also spat it back out again in the instant before you lifted... otherwise you would have made some kind of contact with it. Therefore, there was something it detected as being not right that triggered an instinctive response:. ABORT, ABORT!!! GET RID!!!

Its reflexes are faster than ours, so it had time to ditch the fly before you could lift into it. So, then you need to look at the possible reasons why it spat it out in the same instant as taking it.

The exception...

Sometimes, the rise is sssssooooo sssssllllloooooowwwww...... that if you lift at normal speed, you whip the fly away before the fish has finished taking it. But those guys are sssssooooo sssssllllloooooowwwww......, that you usually realise you have been too quick on them with the lift.

Col
 

thetrouttickler

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Case closed
If the fish were taking the fly as the OP has said, they weren't leader shy.

This is something else I think, either the timing of the strike was out (although the OP said he was alive to this), the fish weren't actually taking the fly with their mouths (perhaps trying to cripple it) or some other failure (broken hook, hook gauge too small, fish too small to take a size 12 fly, etc).

From the limited known facts I would have:

- changed to a different version with new hook of the same pattern (the fish were clearly interested in it)

- experimented with different strike timing

- changed fly pattern altogether, perhaps to something smaller

- I would not have struck at all and waited to see if the fish returned to take the fly again after knocking it.

- perhaps suspended a small nymph below the dry.
 

geo4316

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I have only really started dry fly fishing on stillwaters this season, I fished the exact same set up on the Lake of Menteith last week & caught a few & jagged a few. Was just so different yesterday only hooking one fish. 90% of the rises the fish top & tailed & took the fly. Maybe it was just down to my striking too soon or too late. As always the replys to this are excellent & i learn something new all the time. Cheers
 

Cap'n Fishy

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If the fish were taking the fly as the OP has said, they weren't leader shy.

This is something else I think, either the timing of the strike was out (although the OP said he was alive to this), the fish weren't actually taking the fly with their mouths (perhaps trying to cripple it) or some other failure (broken hook, hook gauge too small, fish too small to take a size 12 fly, etc).

From the limited known facts I would have:

- changed to a different version with new hook of the same pattern (the fish were clearly interested in it)

- experimented with different strike timing
Although the fish were taking the fly, they can still abort due to the leader. They can get a flash from a floating leader as they take it and move the leader in the process - causing the flash - and they can eject the fly in the same instant, long before the angler lifts into them. I don't know how many of the aborted takes came to droppers? Usually, the tail fly of a 2 or 3 dry fly rig does better, as fish coming across the leader to take a dropper can get a mouthful of nylon along with the fly and, again, their reflexes are fast enough to eject the lot before we can lift into them.

If the OP was not making any kind of contact with the fish (not sure if he has confirmed this?) then we can surely rule out any issue with the hooks, as there would be contact of some sort.

Timing is certainly a possibility. Without video for us to study it's a really tricky one to comment on, save to say that I am sure there is not a dry fly fisher among us who doesn't miss-time the lift on more occasions that he is happy about. 😜

- I would not have struck at all and waited to see if the fish returned to take the fly again after knocking it.
The key here is surely whether the fish has taken the fly and gone down with it, or whether it has not taken it but left it floating. If the latter, then wait to see if it has another go. If the former, it's either about timing, or it's a case of the fish ejecting the fly (for some reason best known to it) before the angler can set the hook? If it's done that, it's not coming back for it...

Col
 

ohanzee

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I have only really started dry fly fishing on stillwaters this season, I fished the exact same set up on the Lake of Menteith last week & caught a few & jagged a few. Was just so different yesterday only hooking one fish. 90% of the rises the fish top & tailed & took the fly. Maybe it was just down to my striking too soon or too late. As always the replys to this are excellent & i learn something new all the time. Cheers
Something in that sounds familiar, sometimes you have a couple of days of predictable takes then for seemingly no reason the same fly in the same place gets only the odd look, what you may not have noticed is they are feeding on a different stage of the cycle, nymphs just before they emerge if they are now more available, looks much the same on the surface but is subtly different.
A Shipmans buzzer can work for that but they are really annoying to see.
 

tangled

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Fishing small C&R waters becomes progressively harder as the season goes on. Looking at our catch returns, blanks at this time of year are very common.

I think it's a combination of increasingly educated fish and increasing water temperature - the fish just can't be arsed. Plus, as the temperature increases - and other things happen like lowering of oxygen and water chemical changes - re-stocking gets suspended so you get fewer mug fish and literally fewer fish too.
 

codyarrow

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Do you always need to see your dry to fish it? There are times from with a small dry at 20 yds in a ripple I struggle. We roughly know where it is going to be, so if there is a rise in that area I strike.
 

ohanzee

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Do you always need to see your dry to fish it? There are times from with a small dry at 20 yds in a ripple I struggle. We roughly know where it is going to be, so if there is a rise in that area I strike.
Those with special powers seem to be able to do that, I just find it really annoying.
 

Cap'n Fishy

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Do you always need to see your dry to fish it? There are times from with a small dry at 20 yds in a ripple I struggle. We roughly know where it is going to be, so if there is a rise in that area I strike.
I find it makes a huge difference to my conversion rate if I have a 'sighter'. For the past 6 weeks, I have been fishing nothing except a paraloop mayfly spinner on the point of a 2-fly dry fly rig. Only problem with it is, it sits right down in the film and its colour scheme tends to blend in with the background, making it a PITA to see it at times. So, I make a point of always picking a dropper fly that I can see... a Wulff, or a 'Found Link', or a dark sedgehog... something that sits up and/or stands out against the background. Sometimes I will change the dropper from a light fly to a dark one, or from a dark one to a light one, to contrast a changing background. And when I cast to a rise, while I have one eye on my 'sighter', I have the other eye on what is happening 5 feet the other side of it. If a rise occurs 5 feet beyond the sighter, I will lift on the assumption it was to the tail fly. Sometimes it wasn't to me. Sometimes it was and I miss-timed it. But often enough, I hook a fish.

I've also recently acquired a pair of HLT varifocals and find they are great for helping to see a dry at distance. 👍

Col
 

Cap'n Fishy

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Do you always need to see your dry to fish it? There are times from with a small dry at 20 yds in a ripple I struggle. We roughly know where it is going to be, so if there is a rise in that area I strike.
Another thing... how often are you fishing a small dry fly 20 yards away from you? For 'long-range covers', sure, but when prospecting or for close-range covers... if you fish stealthily enough, you should be catching fish just a few yards away from you. No? At that range, you should be able to see your fly...

Col
 

fishing hobo

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I have been fishing #16 emerger with cdc and when light starts to fade it is really hard to see. All I need is a little glimpse to see where it is and if I see fish rising in the vicinity I strip strike. You soon know if you have a fish on the end. Some of these rainbows have become really wily in the club water I fish now stocked a couple of times a year, mostly released and behave very differently to another clubwater I used to fish which was stocked once a month and most took their catch home. Gone down to 5x tippet on occasions for dry fly.
 

codyarrow

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Another thing... how often are you fishing a small dry fly 20 yards away from you? For 'long-range covers', sure, but when prospecting or for close-range covers... if you fish stealthily enough, you should be catching fish just a few yards away from you. No? At that range, you should be able to see your fly...

Col
Most of the time I can see the fly. And yes probably 10 - 15 yds is the majority of fishing, but when I have taken fish at this distance, or maybe not, a longer cast can pay off.
It can also be a 20 yd cast puts you just beyond a drop off or past a weed bed. Weed bed is risky but sometimes you win.

Like you mentioned fly colour and light conditions play a part in what you can see, but what is HLT?
 

aenoon

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I have only really started dry fly fishing on stillwaters this season, I fished the exact same set up on the Lake of Menteith last week & caught a few & jagged a few. Was just so different yesterday only hooking one fish. 90% of the rises the fish top & tailed & took the fly. Maybe it was just down to my striking too soon or too late. As always the replys to this are excellent & i learn something new all the time. Cheers
Hi George.
Back on subject.
You are seeing them "top and tail" over the dry fly, trying to drown it.
They will then circle round and take it properly, sometimes instantly, sometimes after a few seconds or so, a small twitch of the line often induces said take.
Way to win here is only to strike if you feel a distinct "pull" on line.
Takes some practise, nerves of steel and all that, but is way to go!
regards
Bert
 

Cap'n Fishy

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Hi George.
Back on subject.
You are seeing them "top and tail" over the dry fly, trying to drown it.
The OP said they 'took the fly'. If they took the fly at the first attempt, they had no intention of trying to drown it. Surely it was down to the fish ejecting the fly before being able to lift into the fish, or other miss-timing issues.

The guys I know who fish foam-bodied daddies report this "trying to drown it" thing and they don't react to fish at their flies, but just do nothing until the rod is bent and the fish is charging off, with the fly hooked into its mouth. A lot of the time they are giving it movement, though... That's some kind of weird mutation of dry fly fishing as far as I can see. Almost like the FAB on a washing line...

I watch the fly. I see the fish take the fly. I lift into the fish. If I am looking away at something when the fish takes the fly, then 19 times out of 20, it takes it down, realises something is not right and it spits it out before I look back and see the swirl and lift, only to find I am too late.

There are 2 different games going on here... 🤪
 
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aenoon

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The OP said they 'took the fly'. If they took the fly at the first attempt, they had no intention of trying to drown it. Surely it was down to the fish ejecting the fly before being able to lift into the fish, or other miss-timing issues.

The guys I know who fish foam-bodied daddies report this "trying to drown it" thing and they don't react to fish at their flies, but just do nothing until the rod is bent and the fish is charging off, with the fly hooked into its mouth. That's some kind of weird mutation of dry fly fishing as far as I can see.

I watch the fly. I see the fish take the fly. I lift into the fish. If I am looking away at something when the fish takes the fly, then 19 times out of 20, it takes it down, realises something is not right and it spits it out before I look back and see the swirl and lift, only to find I am too late.

There are 2 different games going on here... 🤪
Yep.
And George was involved in the drown it game. The tail in air gives the game away!
This time of year, for about 4 or 5 weeks, daddies, great red sedges et al get the "drown it first" treatment.
Dont know why, but it happens!
regards
Bert
 
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