Give Your Dry Flies The Full Treatment (Lindsay Simpson Guest Blog)
Lindsay Simpson is a renowned angler and fly tyer who has competed at the highest levels in river and loch style disciplines. He runs his www.iflyfish.info website but is more renowned for his highly successful YouTube channel where he promises 2 new fly tying tutorials per week and fly fishing vlogs from venues across the country - Highly recommended, please take a look here.
Give Your Dry Flies The Full Treatment.
When we tie flies generally, we tie them up, wait on the head varnish to dry then fire them into the fly box ready for action! With dry flies though we can give ourselves as anglers a distinct advantage by utilising the various chemicals that are out there. The choice is huge, in this article I will be discussing what’s available and when the best time to use them is.
So, straight off the vice before a dry fly makes it into my box I treat it in one of two ways the first and generally my go to is dry fly mucilin silicone. It comes in a small bottle with a brush applicator that ensures you can get right in about all the nooks and crannies of the fly. When I only want certain parts of the fly to float for example on a parachute fly I only treat the hackle. Leave it to the side to dry and then pop it in my fly box. The evening before going for a days fishing I will select a few flies that I think I might start with and apply a little floatant to the hackles. This ensures when I arrive at the waters edge the flies will perform perfectly with little attention from me. I can then concentrate on the fishing as the fly pretty much looks after itself.
Of course, after a few fish the fly can become dishevelled and not perform as well as it did at the start. On these occasions you have a couple of options. You can simply change the winning pattern for a fresh one. I like to get the most out of my patterns and if it is working I will always choose to recover the fly. Again, there are a number of products available. First thing to do is get any excess water off the fly you can do this with an amadou fly drier or the synthetic version of this (which I prefer). Once the bulk of the water is off, I always use a powder desiccant this will ensure that your fly will float like a cork. I do find that once you have started though that every now and then you will need to reapply the treatment. The desiccant works superbly on all patterns but is particularly well suited to CDC flies.
That’s the flies taken care of let’s look at the leader next, when dry fly fishing in calmer conditions or a particularly slow stretch of river you can find your leader floats on the surface of the water. This can be very off putting to a fish coming to inspect the dry fly. If you fish with fluorocarbon then this helps as it will slowly sink, that said as a general rule I still degrease my tippet with mud. If you are using co-poly or mono then it is essential to treat those tippets. This will ensure that you get the best opportunity to fool that fish!
One last tip, before starting a dry fly session I always ensure that I treat the first 3-5’ of my fly line with green mucilin paste this ensures the tip of the fly line does not sink below the surface. This helps in a couple of different ways. It prevents the fly line from pulling your leader and the attached dry fly under the surface. It also ensures that when you lift of to recast that you are disturbing as little water as possible. When you turn to dry fly fishing it is because the fish are high in the water. Casting much more than 20’ will just spook fish. As well as this it is a very visual way of fishing, if you have cast to the moon then there is a fair chance you will miss a subtle take from prowling fish.
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