Fly Casting- The Wiggle / Horizontal Hump / Fly Dryer Pick Up

as the title suggests, this technique has several names but in my heart it’s the Wiggle and since i like things that wiggle… i’ll stay with the jiggly moniker !

just as in Pavel Kupstov‘s description and super-excellent video below, its main purpose is to easily and very quickly shake/fling off water from a waterlogged dry fly or emerger during the backcast lift without having to bring the fly back to dry and/or treat it with more floatant or powder.
as we’ll see in the slow-to-fast sequences in the video, the Wiggle sheds most if not all residual water on one single backcast enabling the angler to complete the cast and present the fly with one p/u and lay down instead of having to whip the line back and forth, false casting to get the same result.

how does it work ? just as with a standard casting loop, most of the water is shed when the fly goes from one direction to its opposite direction (back to front/front to back) but in this case, there’s a whole lot of direction changes before going into the actual backcast loop and this latter one finishes flinging off whatever water was left. pretty ingenious when you think about it.

the Wiggle also sheds water from the leader and fly line, something that will greatly help when using a silk or textured line and furled or braided leaders but ‘standard’ mono leaders and plastic fly lines aren’t immune to ‘water retention’ either.
in both cases, fly and line(s) won’t be spraying fish-spooking residual water droplets upon presentation, something to keep in mind in slower flowing pools or stillwater.

as for this pick up’s history and other names, i have no idea if other authors have talked about this p/u method previously but Joan Wulff writes about it in Fly Casting Techniques and Jason Borger in Nature of Fly Casting.
Joan calls it Horizontal Humps and Jason, Wiggle Pick Up. i might have missed it but interestingly, neither one mentions the p/u’s fly-drying attributes as its described as a way to effectively pick up fly and line from vertically oriented snaggies like grass and brush without, well, snagging them so there you go, yet another reason to add this technique to your bag of tricks.

as for how-to’s, wiggling is pretty straightforward but i always advise to start off the lift with the arm extended, rod tip pointed directly at the fly and start wiggling as you’re drawing the elbow back towards you whilst lifting the rod tip and then going into the backcast propper. this avoids ‘running out of casting arc’, leaves more space and time to get it all done correctly and smoothly and generally leads to a better backcast loop. Pavel’s one of the finest casters there is and despite that we’ll see backcast loops that aren’t picture-perfect but that’s not important as long as we don’t lose control of the line and flop it around.

last note: in her same Pick Ups chapter Joan also writes about a variant; Vertical Humps. basically the same thing but instead of wiggling (humping?) left and right, the waves are created by jiggling the rod tip down and up during the lift and since it doesn’t really matter which plane the waves are going, there’s yet another option for you.

there might be more but i can only think of one potential minorly negative aspect: all that spray goes straight towards the caster but then humping usually involves some kind of, ehhhh, nevermind….

Fly Fishing Tips and Tricks- Weight shift/Attitude adjustment

Davy Wotton needs no introduction. for me, he’s one of those few people that when he speaks and shares his wisdom, i’m all ears because those words are the fruit of many, many years of experience and always lead to not only learning something new but also a new mental approach to that particular subject and today’s ‘Attitude Adjustment’ does just that.
it’s not just a super-easy way to very quickly get our flies at the right depth but also gets us thinking about how flies move and how we can alter those moments during the drift or retrieve.

here’s just a few text tidbits to wet your appetite:

“There is no doubt that bead headed fly patterns have a place but not always. That said by a simple process the fly fisher can for the same fly pattern used have many options in so far as altering how that fly will fish and by what attitude or movement it can be presented be that dead drift or with animated movement such as fishing wet fly, soft hackles and streamers.”

Davy Wotton 'Attitude Adjustment'
“So here is the deal. l carry with me a box which contains tungsten beads of different sizes and colors, size of bead is of course related to the weight. Many of my fly patterns are not adorned with a bead head included on the hook shank.
l now have many options to change the fly by the addition of bead size and color, or number of beads used, more to the point by the addition of the bead to the tippet or leader above the hook eye it will cause the fly to fish hook up.”

click the pic to access Davy’s complete article. enjoy !
and HERE for previous articles on Davy’s wisdom posted here on TLC

going down deep

where most anglers would walk on by.

here’s a little excerpt from the video’s page, underlined is the interesting part for us fly fishers-
“The snow is melting in the high mountains, flooding the lower rivers. The lowest, clearest water lies in the upper river tributaries. This pool is usually a bit easier to swim in low water, but today powerful rapids create a vortex of currents. Beneath the churning rapids lies a surprise- 15 feet of deep calm water.” where the fishes are !

now, getting our flies down to 15 feet in fast water isn’t the easiest thing to do (and in most cases impossible given the short drift times and adding that the faster water above is pulling the line/leader downstream, etc, ) but, these calm and fish-holding zones aren’t always that deep. sometimes it’s just a few feet and that’s very feasible.
how ? by dumping heavy/hydrodynamic flies (sleek and slender, nothing bushy !) into the very base of the waterfall using CNT ‘contemporary nymphing techniques’ (i’m trying not to use the term euronymphing… ) and letting the falling water push those big-heavy-nasty flies down deep where the fish are holding up in the slower waters waiting for just that:
food being pushed down to them.
finding the right approach position is crucial here or we can’t keep contact with the flies. it can be from upstream or usually to the side of the deep zone but for once we have an easy job discretion-wise as there’s a lot of bubbles, debris and stuff obstructing the fishes view. i wouldn’t go stomping the ground or rocks but it’s a safe bet they won’t hear us or detect unnatural vibrations either given all the ruckus created by the falls.

we’ll notice in the video all the smaller, curious and oh-so cute trouties hanging out by the diver but rest assured that the bigger dominant fish scuttled off before being filmed. these zones are prime holding areas for the bigguns because its a perfect place to eat in peace and stay away from predators.

another treat from River Snorkel i hope you’ll enjoy.

Presentation Fly Casts- Getting more action out of your flies through line control

by Phil Monahan via Orvis News

its been a loooooong time since i’ve read an article with so much insightful, out of the box, and all around great line/fly control tips. woW !

i had to include this in TLC’s Presentation Casts category because P-casts are about different manners to present our flies fly but ! the lazy caster needn’t worry, apart from rolls and a reach cast that every single fly angler should know anyway, these tips aren’t really about casting in itself but more about controlling and affecting a fly’s movement after delivery through simple but well thought-out mends.
mostly intended for sunken nymphs and streamers we’ll also see that certain floating flies can really benefit from these techniques as well. as noted, we’ll maybe first think of skittering caddis but lets also add mice, frogs, terrestrial insects and even slithering snake imitations and other whatnot critters to the list.
worth noting as well is, since the casting part is reduced to a minimum, all of these methods will be a great asset in low light and dark situations whether your using a single or double-handed rod.

Fly-Fishing-Streamer-Illustration

“But once you’ve learned to use line mends to render your drifts lifeless, it’s time to think about using these same concepts to give patterns life—to activate the presentation. Rather than counteracting the effects of current on your line, you can instead use this tension to make a streamer dart erratically without pulling it out of a good lie, make a nymph rise in the water column, or work flies into spaces that you could never cast to. Using the current and your line to work the fly means you can keep it in the strike zone longer, fishing slower, or make multiple presentations within the same drift.” and that’s just for starters…

be sure to click the image for the complete article that’s sure to open a few eyes and help think out of the box.
this stuff’s the Shiz, enjoy !

Sinking Fly Line Techniques 101

constantly surprised to hear so many anglers consider sinking lines as ‘specialty’ items or even lines they’ve never used, this new video should be able to set things straight for the neophyte who wants to expand their fishing possibilities but, the well-seasoned sinker just might pick up a thing or two as well.

once passed the rather awkward intro… the always-pleasant-to-hear Simon Gawesworth and his Rio cohorts kick in with a whole bunch of  very good info and tips and trick that can make or brake your day at the lake when fishing below the surface. enjoy !

note: not that i mean any disrespect or anything but contrary to some of the explanations, there’s absolutely nothing new or revolutionary about density compensated sinking lines nor non-stretch cores or even the hang marker. as far as i know, it seems like its the first time these markers are factory made and good on them for doing this but its an old trick of the trade stillwater anglers have been making on their own for decades. however, what may be ‘revolutionary’ is producing a combination of these three elements at the factory. good job, i can’t wait to try one out.

the Strip Strike: another perspective

by Ronan Creane via Chris Dore and Manic Tackle Project

widely considered a ‘salt-water’, ‘pike’ or maybe simply a ‘hard-mouthed fish’ hook setting method, just like buddy Ronan, for the last three or so years i’ve equally adopted the strip-strike for trout-type fish in still waters mostly but also in rivers when using streamers, teeny-tiny nymphs or dries (and the small diameter tippets that go with them) for all the reasons noted below but there’s more to it:
assuming there isn’t a whole lot of slack in the line, i find it easier and more precise to control how much ‘strike’ (pull) is applied. this leads to many solid hookups and very few strike break-offs which is of course nice to the fisher but even nicer to the fish as it must really suck to be roaming around through life with a hook embedded in the mouth, even barbless hooks that would fall out quickly.
this works and it works very well. it’s definitely a skill worth adding to your bag of tricks.

“When you see a fish approaching (or cruising away from you!) you get into position and take your shot. You know roughly where your fly is as it sinks. You watch the fish carefully, looking for any change in direction or movement of his mouth when he is nearing your fly. If it moves, you strike. If your almost sure, you strike, maybe. If your 50/50 do you strike?? I don’t, at least not with the rod…
If you strike with the rod and the fish has not taken you will probably spook the fish. This is where strip striking comes into play.   If you strip strike you gain 3 advantages:
1, If the fish has taken you will hook up with the strip strike.
2, If the fish has not taken your fly, your fly is still in the zone. (they often come back !)
Finally 3, you are far less likely to spook a fish with a strip strike as you would be with a rod strike.”

‘the proof is in the pudding… ‘
but you’ll find more pudding by clicking the image below for the complete article.
enjoy !Ronan's strip strike - Manic Tackle Project
btw, if you’re having troubles breaking old rod-lift striking habits you could always give this a try… :mrgreen:
learning to strip-strike(image author unknown)

blanking, fish coffee and worms.

last time i went fishing i blanked. now onto more interesting stuff.

apart from the mandatory rod, reel, line, well organized chest-pack with nippers (well sharpened), forceps, floatant, net, sink paste, extra tippet, extra leaders, some flies, hand rag, tippet rings, a do-whatever needle, hook sharpening stone, lip gook, extra nippers, amadou patch (from Troutline), knife, emergency whistle, lighter and smokey things, hat, polarizer glasses in amber & yellow, buff and whatever clothing needed for the day and a million more things (basically all the above in double or triple) safely tucked away next to the mattress and the chocolate box in the van, the absolute most biggest necessity for a successful day on the water:

TLC espresso maker isn’t really the custom engraved, on-the-go espresso maker but the van.

see, what happened is, not only had i not brought the coffee maker (which isn’t such a big thing considering i didn’t yet own this beauty at the time) but since the van was at the doctor’s i took another car for the day. a Mazda.
i did miss two strikes, one on a dry and the other on a nymph and i did actually see one whole fish within range but wasn’t able to present a fly to it it before it wandered off out of sight: meaning that even if it was all trickle, drop by drop slow, the fish hadn’t all mysteriously disappeared into some weird, black, worm-hole (more on that later) but simply that my good mojo had been sucked out by the freak replacement vehicle on the trip to the water.
going back through my fishing journal at home i realized that blanking hadn’t happened in the last year and a half. i believe that’s a first for me since i started fishing something like 47 years ago so i’m actually quite pleased. blanking in itself isn’t any problem whatsoever, it’s actually a good thing as it makes one think a lot more about why one blanked as opposed to when having a good day where i’ll find myself running on ‘automatic’ and all seems to happen in a blur. sort of.  besides, thinking doesn’t hurt.
anyhow, on that particular far away day i happened to have gone to the water in someone else’s car and it happened to be a Mazda.

random occurrences are only considered random because our brains aren’t sufficiently developed to encompass all variables and we comfortingly use it as an excuse so, what remains is, things don’t happen without a cause and finally, we can deduct through scientific proof  (of sorts… but these two incidences are more than enough for me to reach this conclusion) that blank fly fishing days are caused by Mazdas.

as for the worms, Worm 2 thanks to our friends at Fly Fish Food in what might just be the most important reminder a fly fisher should keep in mind at all times: ie, that all fish love worms in one form or another and will eat them any time, anywhere and even just for heck of it, perhaps with the idea of embarrassing the more ‘noble’ insects such as mayflies: double-meaning that if we chose to try to entice them with anything else, it’s just a matter of irrational wishful thinking. combine the latter with a deep mojo-sucking Mazda and you’re screwed from the get-go.Worm 6

to conclude, firstly as a public service/good will thing to my fellow fly anglers and mankind in general, i sincerely hope the Mazda company collapses. something like a big huge-monsterous tsunami tidal wave while the employees are out having coffee would do the trick nicely i think. i don’t really mean them much harm as i’m sure fly fishing mojo probably isn’t very high on their list and they’re not doing it on purpose but fuckem’ for making me blank.

related articles

Landing Fish by yourself with a Double-Handed Rod

by Peter Charles via hooked4lifeca

nice, simple, in control throughout the whole process and a billion times better than beaching the fish downstream (read dragging the poor thing onto the shore).
this is a very effective way to land your fish smoothly while reducing stress to the angler and more importantly to the fish.
note that while the video is intended for long double-hand rods this method is equally effective for rods of all lengths and single-hand fishing. although not ‘fashionable’ in the double-hand world, we’ll also notice that this manner enables the use of a large wading-style net which is in my opinion always the better option on all levels for the fish and the angler.

“If he bolts, let him go and just repeat it all over again”. (twice the fun !) 😉

FISH ON ! fish off…

here’s a very classic example i’ve seen bezillions of times that explains why so many anglers lose a lot of fish on the strike and it’s due to improper control of the line prior to the strike and  ineffective rod angle.

– instead of having the rod tip at water level, the line is dangling straight down and the rod tip is as high as his waist when he initiates the strike.
just as when casting and we pick up the line to initiate a back cast, whatever distance that is required to regain tension is a waste of both reaction time in the case of striking a fish and in either scenario, a waste of effective rod travel which needs to be compensated by going much further backwards than is ideal.

he does indeed do a scissor strike (pulling on the line as in doing a simple haul while simultaneously lifting the rod) but the amount of line pulled in just can’t make up for the amount of slack that’s there at the beginning.

if we take into account the induced slack on the water that’s quite normal when trying to achieve a natural drift and add more slack to that due to negligence we’ll quickly realize that it’s a no-win situation that would basically require running backwards to set the hook properly. definitely fun but not always possible and it’s a really good way to crack your head on a rock or fall in the water ! (don’t ask… )

we’ll also notice  secondary negative effects to this excessive rod arc:
– when the rod tip went high and behind the fisher’s head, the only part of the rod applying any pressure to the line is the very tip-end of the rod, it’s weakest/bendiest  part.
– what we see at the end of the clip is the line sagging leading to the subsequent ‘long distance release’.
double-whammy !

remedy:
– keep the rod tip low and always anticipate the strike. (i call it ‘being in the Zone‘)
for those who have the old habit of raising the rod tip, a good way to not start creeping up is to consciously position the rod tip right on the water, lightly touching the surface.
– keep slack line at the rod tip to an absolute possible minimum and learn to include the Scissor Strike for most fishing and specially when there’s a need for slack line on the water.
– try not to lift the rod tip high but rather at an approximate 45° to the water’s surface. this bends the rod further down the blank where it’s a lot stronger putting higher pressure on the fish and also leaves room to move the rod to react  to the fish’s movements. we can’t go any further back if we’re already as far back as we can go !

as a side note, putting more pressure on the fish sooner on in the fight generally tires it out faster, leaving it in better condition to be released.
and speaking of, there’s no better way to learn to strike and hold fish than by using barbless hooks 😉
thanks Joakim for sharing this video !