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Page 185

without the fly line following it. As the fly progresses downstream, you can mend line (strip it in) and lift your rod to ensure that the faster-floating fly line doesn't drag on the fly. (See How to Avoid Drag below.) After the fly floats past the target, or begins exhibiting drag, lift the line and cast again.

Wet flies are generally best cast directly across stream or at an angle downstream. The fly sinks in the water as the current pulls it downstream, and line tension at the end of the drift will pull the flies around in an arc in front of your target. Then the fly can be worked around the target, and into different areas by lifting and swinging your rod. Finally the fly is slowly retrieved.

Nymph fishing is similar to dry-fly fishing, except that the angler works a general area rather than a specific fish. Cast nymphs up- and across-stream and mend line to keep the nymph drifting naturally underwater as close to the bottom as possible. As the nymph passes in front of you, mend more line and lift the rod. Wait until the nymph swings around in an arc as the line straightens downstream, then pick up the line and cast again.

School Notffi

Sometimes fish appear to be rising but they won't take a dry fly that matches the insects vou see flying a bout. Often, these fish arc taking hatching flies before they reach the surface. Switching to a wet fly of the same pattern and casting it upstream, iike a dry fly, may take these fish.

The best way to fish a streamer or bucktail in a current is to cast it directly across-stream, or a bit upstream if the water is fast and/or deep. Allow the streamer to sink a bit, then retrieve with quick strips of the line. By continually recasting to a point just a bit downstream of the previous cast, you can cover an entire section of water below you. On your down-stream-angle casts, be sure to let the streamer arc completely across the current before you begin the retrieve.

How to Avoid Drag

Drag occurs whenever your fly, dry or wet, travels on or through the water faster than the current in which it is drifting. It occurs most often when your heavy fly line, which is extending across the river or stream, is subject to currents of various speeds and travels downstream faster than the fly is traveling, thus pulling the fly along with it.

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Page 186

Drag can be the ruin of the dry-fly fisherman casting to a rising fish. A trout, for example, might be stationed in a current seam during a hatch, rising up to take an insect about once a minute. All these insects drift past the fish at the same rate of speed. So the angler wades down- and across-stream from the trout and casts so that his dry fly, which exactly matches the hatching insects in size and color, will float directly into that trout's lie. He casts perfectly, but just when his dry fly is about the enter the feeding area above the trout, his fly linewhich is already downstream of the flygets caught in a fast flow and causes the dry fly to skate across the surface, putting a little V-wake above the lie. The trout takes off for deeper water and skulks there, thinking spooked-trout thoughts, and the frustrated angler moves on.

Drag can also affect wet-fly and nymph fishermen, especially in fast, deep currents. These anglers must cast far enough above their target to let their flies sink to the proper level; often, the current takes the heavy fly line quickly downstream before the flies even enter the strike zone.

A few methods to defeat drag have been mentioned in the previous chapters. Here they are in summary:

  1. Cast up- and across-stream. Your fly will float longer without drag than if you had cast down- and across-stream.
  2. Mend line. As the fly and fly line cross in front of you, strip in line with your free hand. Simultaneously jerk your rod tip every few seconds to flip the fly line a bit upstream, which will prolong the fly's natural drift.
  3. Cast from another angle. Sometimes moving a few feet upstream or downstream will reduce the current's effect on the fly line.
  4. Make S-casts. These put more slack into your fly line, which will delay the current's effect on it.
  5. Try a different approach. Unless you must use dry flies, such as during a hatch, try fishing a troublesome area with wet flies or nymphs, letting the fly arc across your target on the line's downstream swing.

catch a fish. When fishing the Albany River in the northern Ontario wilderness one spring, our group of five anglers fished for almost two days without catching one of the native brook trout lor which this flowage is

Although it happens rarely, sometimes drag can actually help you

Loose Lines

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