Home Fishing Tips Advanced Stillwater Fly Fishing | Orvis Guide to Fly Fishing

Advanced Stillwater Fly Fishing | Orvis Guide to Fly Fishing

Advanced Stillwater Fly Fishing | Orvis Guide to Fly Fishing

hi and welcome to the orvis guide to fly fishing i’m your host tom rosenbauer and i’m a lousy stillwater angler and we wanted to bring you a show on advanced water techniques so i have asked my friend phil rowley to pretty much host the show and teach all of us some advanced still water techniques phil welcome to the show thanks tom it’s good to be back and i’m looking forward to taking you out in the water sitting down with you talking about these advanced still water tactics to help improve your success on the water and everyone else as well and maybe i can even catch a fish i can almost guarantee you’re going to catch a fish alright we’ll try oh yeah nice fish that fish has already refused that fly you’re gonna have to try it just a slightly different pattern the roll cast pickup is a great cast to use in a lot of fishing situations this is a beautiful wild trout from a small stream just a gorgeous little fish i say hit that bank let’s go to that grass bed the orvis guide to fly fishing is supported by orvis fly fishing adipose boat works global rescue proud unlimited oscar blues brewery for many using indicators in still waters is a primary presentation option and for many they think it’s as simple as just putting an indicator onto a leader attaching a fly setting for depth making the cast and waiting for that pull down but if you want to take your indicator fishing to the next level there’s a few details you need to pay attention to the most critical aspect of successful stillwater indicator fishing is leader construction many use a standard tapered trout leader 9 or 12 feet long you want to avoid these leaders those leaders are primarily designed for turning over dry flies emergers in rivers and streams they feature a butt section that’s at least 50 percent of its length it’s critical to have level leader between your indicator and fly a level leader really pays huge dividends when fishing small bugs at exact depth so we’re talking small bead heads and particularly chironomid pupa where the change of six inches means the difference between an okay day and the day of dreams so leader construction is critical you make an indicator rig that’s quite different from what we would use in a stream it’s it’s a lot different yeah and it’s also you know most people coming to fly fishing lakes nowadays think it’s just an indicator oh well you just put that indicator on i tie a fly on and i go fishing yeah yeah and it’s for me it’s arguably the most complex leader system i built and the the real key to the whole method is when we’re talking about indicators well first of all indicators allow you to to me control two of the most critical presentation elements the depth of your presentation and the speed of your retrieve now the depth of your presentation is simply governed by the distance between your indicator and your flies and the speed and the speed of your retrieve is governed by how little or how much you choose to move the fly for the situation you’re in and that’s where most people struggle in lakes is they make the cast as soon as the fly hits they’re pulling it right right and it’s a we’re saying it’s gonna slow down let let things sink and let it sort of let it happen so if you if you start to use a standard tapered leader as the basis for your indicator rig those leaders are primarily designed for river and stream fishing casting dry flies half the leader length is butt section to facilitate a gentle delicate turnover what we really need when we’re indicator fishing in lakes is that our leader between that indicator and fly is level so when you set it for eight feet it’s going to hang straight down at eight feet if you use a standard tapered leader because of its differing thickness along its length you’re going to set for eight feet but it’s actually going to come off the leader in a bit of an arc and droop down and it’s going to rob you of actual depth if that makes sense i usually start with about 10 feet and then i’ll add on to it after that but if i anticipate i’m going to be fishing uh you know fall conditions where typically we’re targeting water 10 feet or less i may start with just eight feet of overall level of level level okay so i’m going to start with a section of 2x it could be nylon or fluorocarbon and i’m going to form a perfection loop in one end so the next thing we’re going to put on is a little rubberized bobber stop we actually use these as a marker on the leader so when our indicator pops and we want to go back to where it was to catch that fish we know back to the original depth so there’s no read you know after every time these quick release indicators we use uh trip we don’t have to go through a whole depth setting process again either measuring or what have you okay i’m going to pass isolate the one i want and i’m going to pass this through and then i’m actually going to grab that bobber stop and pull on it i’m just showing it here it’s starting to slide up the wire and then also that’s going to fold over and go and now i’ve doubled it i’ve transferred it from the wire it’s now on the doubled section of uh tippet material and i’m just going to keep sliding it and i’m moistening a little bit to ease the um pulling on it and eventually i’ll pull that tag end through and i’ve effect and now i’ve transferred that onto the leader and then i would introduce my indicator so these are the releasing indicators the reason we like these so much in lakes is because if we’re using a long rod maybe nine and a half ten feet these indicators will release on the strike so now you can fish deeper depths because the indicator isn’t a barrier you’re landing the fish it’s not stuck up with the rod tip so i’m just going to thread this through so i get this indicator where i want it to go i’m going to pull the peg out and i’m going to hold the the indicator in such a way with my forefinger that i’m not going to allow this to move so when i push the peg back towards the indicator because that section of leader can’t move it’s going to buckle and form a loop and you actually pinch that loop just snug it in so what happens with this indicator is when you recognize a take and you lift the rod to set the hook and of course that drives the hook into the fish’s mouth and the fish reacts by bolting the tension of those two actions pops this it slides off slides all the way down so the i have used this indicator to 22 feet between indicator and fly that’s set up there and now we would add a swivel and the swivel again adds weight and because it rotates it helps prevent tangles to some degree it adds weight it’s an inline weight system at this point i would be i would add fluorocarbon so we’ll take a little bit of 4x in this case off and i like about two feet that goes like this all right and then that would go down to your fly and again we’d use that non-slip loop knot tie in a balanced leech in this instance again through the eye of the hook through the loop pull on the main line and the tag to somewhat size the loop so it’s about approximately twice the diameter of the hook eye wrap that around take that tag in through pull it tight so that’s the whole setup so we’re set up we’re in about 12 feet of water we want to make sure we get our fly suspending at the right depth you always want to set your depth from the bottom and work your way up i like to start on a flat muddy bottom about a foot off the bottom if the bottom’s irregular i might be a foot and a half or even two feet if i’m working over weed beds with long vegetation growing up from the bottom i’m going to be about a foot off the top of the weed tops so how do we set the depth well you can literally do poles like this two four six eight etc or you can use a ruler but what i like to do is attach a weight to my fly in this case a balanced leech and let that weight pull the everything down the bottom and adjust the indicator from there let me show you how we do that the weight’s in place i’m going to lower the hemostats and fly gently down i don’t want to plunge it into the mud and give myself an inaccurate reading hits the bottom i’m going to grab the leader where it contacts the surface that’s the distance between my indicator and fly that’s how much my fly would be suspending off the bottom which i don’t want i want to be about here a foot or so off the bottom so i’m going to slide my bobber stop into the new position release the indicator up to the bobber stop reset reload and that just to confirm and now my indicator is approximately two feet off the bottom which is where i want to be because we have a little weed growth down here so i want to make sure my fly is visible above those weeds and that is how easy it is to set to accurately set your fly so it’s suspending at the right depth so all i got to do now is come up remove the hemostats and go fishing presentation is important with indicators as with any fly fishing technique i like to use long rods minimum nine and a half 10 foot they give a great roll cast which is an excellent presentation option with indicators because it’s a tangle prone system so to make the roll cast i’m just going to draw the rod back keeping everything on the surface the indicator adds drag which helps load the rod form the d-loop push to a high stop everything turns over and you’re fishing so short cast indicator fishing is not a long cast game you need to be able to recognize subtle takes particularly when they’re eating small food sources like chironomids may fly nymphs scuds those kind of things and you need to be able to react to them if you make a long distance cast you’re probably not going to be able to see that indicator move or pull under unless it really dives under and even if you do there’s a time delay for you to react and you’re probably not going to hook that fish so the deeper i’m fishing the closer i fish that indicator towards me so i can react right away because i have to get that hook set into that fish’s mouth very very quickly one of the techniques you want to think about when you’re fishing indicators is something i call moving the strike zone we always anchor with the wind at our back and your tendency is to cast straight down wind and always put your fly directly in this case below the boat but if you could move that little circle of visibility around the fly let’s say for argument’s sake it’s 10 feet if you could move that 10 foot circle around you’re going to expose your fly to more fish and consequently catch more fish so how do i do that well as i said earlier moving the strike zone so i’m going to take and place my cast i’m a right-handed caster so i’m either going to overhead cast or roll cast i can actually do a reach cast and position that indicator so it lands on an acute angle off the bow of the boat here and i’m going to let that indicator and fly just drift downstream so if that circle of vision that 10 foot radius around the fly moves downwind 30 feet and then i retrieve it back 30 feet that’s 600 circular feet if that’s the right unit of measure that i’ve moved the fly i should catch more fish we want to let that fly drift slowly down we can mend by brazing the rod tip up and then lowering it over like so and continue to let that fly swing down on a tight line we don’t want a big c to form in the line a big curve we want to keep that indicator moving down so we mend by a gentle rod raise and a lift meant a little mend often and we’re just going to let that drift down again we do not want the big c to form because the big c speeds up the fly and in some cases like a river current can actually pull the fly up out of the depth you’re trying to target so move the strike zone and you’ll catch more fish so i went to mend the fly because when indicator presentations we do use techniques such as mending and reach cast to make sure we have that straight line connection between ourselves and the indicator and the flies below so i went to make a little mend that moved the flies indicator just dove under we’ve got a fish on hybrid or cutthroat rookie we’re not sure i think it’s a hybrid again ate the upper fly got that little baby leech baby leech tied on a little jig hook and right in the mouth thank you not a bad fish see there’s the well twisted up here but that’s the bruised leech below and then this is the little micro leech on the dropper i always like to put my heaviest flies on the point so they don’t foul up and cause tangles that’s a beautiful hybrid from here henry’s lake let kevin do the audrey’s wind drifting allows you to move the strike zone it is an excellent presentation technique when using floating lines both with and without indicators as it allows your flies to cover water with a static or near static presentation from an anchored position with the wind at your back place a quartering reach cast to your left if you are right-handed or to your right if you are left-handed this casting approach avoids having your line and leader crash into you should you lose control of the cast it also induces the line to drift allow the wind-induced surface current to swing the fly line downwind use a series of small gentlemens to avoid having the fly line form a large sea this dreaded sea makes setting the hook more difficult speeds up the fly and potentially raises it up out of the strike zone mend a little mend often allow the fly line to swing directly downwind below the boat with the fly line downwind begin a slow hand twist retrieve to complete the presentation when you’re fishing indicators on still waters many think it’s just heave it and leave it and just let it bob up and down and that’s definitely one option but i use four retrieve options or four presentation options when i’m fishing indicators the first one is just what i said previously is you cast it out and just let it sit there and let the gentle wave action bounce those flies up and down rhythm rhythmically often that’ll bring a fish to the fly if you start to get bored watching the indicator the cure for boredom is move the fly move the indicator through a retrieve so we have a couple of different options we can do a slow hand twist retrieve just keep bringing that fly and indicator back toward you that’s going to track those flies back from where the flies first landed back to you and cover some water you can also induce a take sometimes by using a long strip so give that fly a long strip to make that indicator create a weight that’s going to raise those flies up and as you stop they’re going to flutter back down you always want to watch the indicator immediately after the strip because it’s that movement that attracts the flies to the fish and that indicator will often dive under the other presentation technique is upwind this works very well with leech and minnow patterns particularly balanced flies under an indicator where on a light wind day you actually cast the fly upwind and let the line and leader drift back towards you fish tend to feed up wind and lake so you’re now drifting flies back into their cruise path and this can be very successful but again only do that in light wind situations so you have those four presentation offense options static slow hand twist retrieve strip with a pause and casting up wind whether you’re using the strip retrieve or hand twist water temperature is another factor that affects your retrieve speed generally as the water temperatures cool the fish’s metabolism slows you’ve got to use slower retrieves so let that water temperature be your guide for your retrieve speed if you go to fly fish lakes one of the pattern styles you need to consider are balanced flies what am i talking about well balance flies were designed primarily for fishing under indicators because one of the problems when you’re fishing a regular bead headed fly is it tends to hang vertically in the water now most food sources leeches minnows damselflies etc they move horizontally so this is a balanced fly see how it hangs horizontally under an indicator it taunts and dances and works wonderful it’s also an excellent pattern choice when you’re fishing cast and retrieve techniques because the balance fly is essentially a little jig and jigs are arguably the best lure ever designed so these flies move through the water they pitch and undulate very seductive action the trout and other fish bass walleye fish like that all like that kind of action and it’s a great fly the balance fly concept was originated by my friend jerry mcbride from spokane washington realizing that traditional flies suspended under an indicator hung vertically jerry creatively developed a pattern solution to better match the natural horizontal travel path used by the majority of stillwater food sources the key to a balanced fly is the chassis beneath the fly i like to use 60 or 90 degree jig hooks i lash a sequin pin or a common household pin that i’ve cut to length generally the distance between the hook eye sorry the hook eye and the point and then i slide a tungsten bead on um so the wide end of the tapered bead envelops the pinhead and i lash it to the shank and i like to lash them in regardless of hook size about two bead widths out in front of the hook eye itself i typically use a 1 8 bead for size 10 and 8 jig hooks and 7 64 inch bead for smaller plies the reason we use the ufi jig hook is practicality once the fly is tied we have a nice exposed eye that we can find and tie on to the end of our tippet you can certainly use a down eye hook but the risk is you’ll obscure the hook eye when you’re tying the fly you have a wonderful balanced fly you simply just can’t tie it on balance flies can be challenging to cast especially when using thin level indicator leaders as with all indicator presentations the roll cast is your best presentation option roll cast minimize tangles and help promote short casts that allow you to react quickly to any signs of a take long distance indicator casts aren’t recommended as it is difficult to see or to react to takes from a distance a dynamic roll cast featuring a brief rod pause eases any casting challenges when using balance flies under an indicator when roll casting balance flies pull the rod back quickly so the leader and fly are up near the surface pause the rod just long enough for the d-loop to form as soon as the loop forms push the rod forward to complete the cast pausing too long allows the heavy balance fly to sink making it tough to roll out of the water so you can complete your cast i got them switched over to the indicator give the armor rest and originally started about two feet off the bottom or in 10 and i kept hooking weeds because there’s long stemmed weeds growing in here came up a couple feet and on the next sort of drift down she went eight balanced leech bruised black and blue black with little electric blue highlights one of my favorite colors over the years get all the line and leader off them and there’s a beautiful cutthroat lots of life ahead of it to get big and fat let them go it’s one of those cuddy high bows cuddy high bows off he goes if i had to fish a lake one way it would be with a floating line and a long leader we’d call it the naked technique simply because other floating line techniques that are used primarily indicators have something on the leader so because the leader has nothing on it hence the naked technique that’s where it comes from but it’s an excellent presentation because depending you’re playing around with four variables that we’ll get into in a second but basically i can cover water from five feet deep to over 20 feet deep from an equipment perspective it’s a floating line method right arguably any floating line would work but you would want to look for a floating line that had uh that was designed for say casting indicator and nymphing rigs on a river big bushy flies wind sorry windy conditions those kind of things from there the leader itself we start with a 12 foot leader would be a good starting point and what tip it sizer doesn’t it um i usually like to start with about 3x okay you know um fishing trout and lakes productive lakes are are known for being big and we’re going to downsize it so that’s a good starting point we don’t want it too thick but what we’re doing with this 12 foot leader is we’re actually using the taper of this leader to help with the presentation and to control the sink rate so we get that nice steady retrieve back towards us so from there we just add a length of tippet to complete the overall leader now it’s just not an arbitrary number we pick to make our leader 18 feet we use a general rule because the way this leader comes off the line it’s going to come off like this and then kind of droop off and tail down so because it just at the tip it part yes because it’s thinner yeah so it’s a bit like this a bit of an arced profile so you have to compensate for that with extra leader length so we use a general rule that if you want your leader 25 longer than the water the depth of water you’re trying to target okay so if i’m trying to get down to 16 feet 16 times 25 1.

25 is approximately 19 feet okay so we would add 12 feet to this and then step it down so we got 12. we need to get to 19 we got to add another seven so i might add another three and a half feet of the same diameter tip it and then i might step it down one size to make the final three and a half feet okay and that’s that’s your overall leader length okay the other variable in this is your your sync time so these this is a patience game so my minimum sync time when i’m using this method is 30 seconds so i make a cast and i actually use my watch as a guide and then it’s the speed of the retrieve and the retrieves are painfully slow you know if i was to do an example with this line here if i was retrieving this line in i would have the rod in my hand i use my fingers as a uh as a control point and retrieves come from behind the hand so i would you know this is a standard hand twist retrieve where we open we catch with our thumb and forefinger so when i’m using this fishing small nymphs chronomid pupa chronometer larva those kind of things i’m actually using just my ring finger and i’m moving the fly about this fast okay so we retrieve this so slowly that is there any l what i call line squiggles where there’s little memory yeah there always will be a little a little bit because the only thing that’s going to really pull those out is is tension with you pulling so if you pull fast they’ll straighten so we go so slowly that they won’t straighten this is called a line take so this would be coming back like this just dragging drag and dragging all of a sudden the line starts to do this well you know you’re going so slow that you’re not causing that squiggle if you will to straighten then the form of tension that’s coming on that line is coming from the other end and that’s a fish that’s moving off the only other consideration of course we’ve talked about uh leader length sync time retrieve speed and then it’s primarily we’re using weighted patterns so small bead heads or hard bodied flies that are going to sink quickly and get down because what you’re trying to do much like an indicator presentation is track that fly back ever so slowly that’s why we have to go so slow with the retrieve because the fly will start to climb up after a while if you go too fast it starts to rise so that’s the four principles just trying to strike the variable the balance between your leader length your sync time the speed of your retrieve and then the weight of the pattern so let’s let’s build one of these leaders sure yeah show me how you put one together okay you got a 12-foot yeah we got the 12 standard 12-footer from the pack so we’re going to say let’s we we talked about um the 25 rule and and so we’re going to build one about 19 feet long that would allow us to get into that 16 foot range okay all right so we’ve got uh we’re going to take some equals so we got 12 so we got to add seven so this is 5x so sorry that’s a 4x liter so we’ll add approximately three feet so i like a whatever leader connection knot you like i use a triple surgeons because i can tie it um it’s easy i for me i i use blood knots for thicker diameter material i find i’m better able to tie it but i like the triple surgeons because if you’re combining i found if you combine nylon to floral it’s the way the knot forms it doesn’t tend to bite into nylon uh as readily and it’s also more horizontal so it’ll pass through guides so we just moisten those two give yourself enough to work with form our overhand loop and pull that through three times and now it’s going to take i’ve got a little barrel swivel here in the palm of my hand and for that i’m just going to use a clinch knot to attach it just give it a nice smooth firm that’s going to hold trim scenes light here’s some of the issue and now we’ll step down and go to the 5x just right here so how many feet did you put on there three so we’ll go about let’s go about four or five because i put a little extra on because i gotta factor a couple of fly changes that kind of thing i’ve got a little a little flexibility so this is the same back through again give yourself enough material to work with go around back through snug a little bit of saliva not dripping and then from there you just add whatever fly you’d want on so there’s your whole leader so we’ve got if we go from the fly we go on here now if you were gonna do two flies would you tie the second fly in line no i uh i am a i like to fish flies off separate droppers so they can both work independently of each other so i like the non-slip loop knot so the flies no matter what flies i’m tying on they have freedom of movement so a lot of people find when i talk to them they’re always concerned about loop size right they want that nice yeah so what i do is once i form the loop and i push the fly on and i don’t some people fuss around with down or up or through i just get it on right now after every step you always go through that loop so i’ve done something i go through the loop okay so i put that tag end through the overhand loop and this point i i size the loop a little bit so what i’m going to do is a combination of pulling on both the main line and the tag i’m going to try and shrink that loop down to about twice the diameter of the hook eye and then i’m going to pull on the tag end and now i’ve got both that loop and fly in my thumb and forefinger grab carefully you don’t hook yourself in the tongue and just snug it tight and when the knot is seated correctly the tag end should protrude perpendicular to the knot and the non-slip loop knot’s done now a few first attempts are big loops it’s not the end of the world so that’s the whole thing there’s your chironomid pattern in this case but it could be a mayfly nymph it could be a scud it could be a leech whatever you’d like it to be up to the swivel so that’s about four and a half feet or so we added about three feet of extension and then to our 12 foot main leader and you have a naked leader built and ready to go so phil i noticed you’ve got some um sherlock we say odd looking flies odd would be a good description odd loud gaudy yeah and in still waters we do use attractor flies and it’s based on the premise that trout don’t always take our flies out of a feeding response we’re triggering an aggressive response one out of curiosity perhaps territoriality but we’re basically our time on the water is limited and if if the imitative stuff isn’t working then we’re going to try some attractor techniques on and primarily we’re using larger flies gaudy as you can see by the fluorescent colors and we’re moving them at pace so the four i use the most often are the booby which uh so named for its round foam eyeballs okay came from the uk okay yeah sorry the uk anglers um they are real um believers and use a lot of attractor techniques stocked fish are very susceptible to attractor techniques because they’re curious they sample everything a friend of mine once said they’re like a two-year-old everything’s in their mouth so same kind of thing but that’s where the booby originated from so it’s got its foam eyeballs and this fly wobbles and we fish these aggressively like three to five inch strip retrieve strip pause retrieve so that’s going to pull the fly down on the strip and then it’ll sort of hover or suspend for a second and then you pull it down and these eyes cause the flies to shake some boobies feature short little marabou tails some anglers prefer long tails lots of different color combinations this is probably if you had one color combination and a tractor we call it tequila the orange front with the fluorescent orange rear all right now the booby in england was starting to become banned so competitions are very common over there and i believe it was a scottish team um sort of figured it out well they banned flies with foam in the front so if i put foam in the back technically it’s okay and this is a this is what they came up with so if you were to take this fly just like this this is called a blob so a blob is this is called fritz material they use there’s original fritz jelly fridge there’s a whole pile of different tying materials out here that just by itself so a blob has no foam in it right sometimes you put bead heads on blobs as well but this has a little split foam tail because when you split the form it actually increases its buoyancy so this is called a fab a fab which stands for foam arsed blob and sometimes in competitions if you’re fishing flies because people get you know want to know what you’re using to mislead their comp competitors at the end of the day they could come in and literally pinch that foam tail off and everybody thought they were using a blob and not a fab because when you strip this fly rather than it wobbling so much this fly tends to on the pause the foam end tips up so this fly has more of this kind of action too and i’m i like using fabs i have a lot of success using those i talked about the blob yeah this is the blob here it’s just a blob of this is slush jelly chenille this fritz again i talked about jelly frits all these bright gaudy materials i like putting a little flash tail on it and this one has a bead head so we can cast and strip these but one of the other advantages of a small bead headed blob just tied on a scud hook is we fish them like you would fish a balanced leech a chironomid below an indicator so when trout get on zooplankton we don’t tie size 96 flies so what we’re trying to do here is imitate the various colors zooplankton cummins sort of a reddish pink chartreuse orange those kind of colors as well and we just suspend these under an indicator and wait for the pull down and then as the mop has come to the still water attractor and this is a pattern again another english pattern i actually tie these on a jig hook so they’ll ride hook point up and we can against i’ve had luck suspending these under an indicator or stripping them and this the english version of this fly is called a what’s it because the tail represents a what’s it corn chip or crisp so that’s where it comes from and it’s the same oh it’s a blob with the mop tape yeah with the mop tail so they’re all equally effective um so the only thing you’ve got to be careful with um using buoyant flies on trout if you go with a slow retrieve and pause the fly because the fly has some buoyancy and it’ll kind of suspend or even rise slightly you lose connection with the fly so there’s an element of slack in there the fish comes up samples the fly feels no resistance and can swallow it and take the flies quite deeply so you always want to fish buoyant flies with pace so you never lose connection always quick strip retrieves never want to let that fly just sit and suspend so far we’ve been talking about fishing a single fly but you fished droppers a lot you fished more multiple flies right yeah i’m a big believer in multiple flies obviously we’re legal to do so uh and there are a number of different options so we’ll just walk our way through those the pros and the cons um the first one i’ve got and i’ve got the rigged up here for demonstration purposes but the first one is your standard what i call the tandem rigging where you will tie a section of tip it using a clinch knot or improved clinch knot to the bend of the upper fly and then hang your dropper off that yep pros of this method for me are if you’re new to fishing multiple flies this is probably the least tangle prone system all right easiest easiest to make yep and when when you’re casting one follows the other right the drawbacks to this method that i don’t like is well if the fish takes the upper fly sometimes during the often during the course of the battle the teeth or whatever the other the tip it somehow disappears and now you’ve lost this fly is gone right i also worry sometimes when you’re vertically fishing that a fish comes in to take the fly like this tries to take it and his nose actually his snout and his lower jaw hits this leader either he senses it or he pushes it out of his way and he misses the fly i like if if my preference i like to have my flies working alone from each other independently so this fly is working and i get that achieved on the upper fly by it hanging off a separate dropper tag so what i’ve done here is i tie a triple surgeon’s knot and when i’m tying the knot i adjust the tag ends so i’m going to have a long tag end and a short one and i keep the long one and the tag end i use is the one that’s going to be on the point side of the fly so it’s actually the material that’s coming off the fly the fly line end and the reason i like that is because if a fish grabs this fly and pulls on it it’s sort of pulling in the direction the knot was formed right whereas if it came off the top end it could pull down and it would stress it and and could cause breakage so it hangs like this but this is is a little can be a little tangle prone because this dropper hangs parallel or twists around so one of the things we do i’ll just put my glasses on is we and i i would do this this is all rigged up ready to go but i would typically do this before i tie the fly on but actually on the on the um fly the point fly side of the knot i would form create a half hitch so i just come across like so i would pass that tag end through it’s a little more challenging with a fly on it right and then cinch that up pull on this and cinch it what i’ve done is i’ve tied a when i snug it i’ve tied a half hitch and you’ll notice now that that stands out the other benefit of this um with this stiffer material if you get a grab we call this a tail tail dropper so a fish takes this fly and tugs and misses right what tends to happen is that see all that more drooped so that gives you a clue that this the fish actually ate the upper fly which can give you clues to size of fly color more arguably it’s about to me it’s depth right because that’s one of the critical elements and then to reset it you would just sort of pull on everything snug it up again and you back out everything sort of hanging perpendicular again again i like this system because the flies are working independently all right flies are easy to change right um but you are going to consume dropper length the drawbacks of this method and this comes to true when we’re we’re fishing um long leader techniques that we call naked technique where the leader length is part of the success of that method you start making fly changes and all of a sudden over time you are shortening the length of your leader and you could be pulling yourself out of the strike zone you don’t even really know it because of all the leader changes putting a new section to tip it in redoing everything you could accidentally shorten up your leader now the alternative to this is when you’re consuming that dropper right you don’t have to take to retie it you can use probably my favorite method and that’s called the sliding dropper and what i’ve set up there is i used a swivel because this novel sorry this knot works that there’s a stopper between the point fly and the dropper okay so that stopper in this case is a swivel but it could also be a triple surgeon’s knot or a blood knot whatever tippet connection knots you like to use so what we do to add the dropper put that down for a second is i’ve got again i put the fly on just for demonstration purposes you would do it without the fly but i tied a perfection loop in maybe six or eight inches of tippet material and i’m going to take that loop and i’m going to loop it under the leader on the fly line side of the stopper which in this case is the swivel and i’m going to carefully pass the fly through normally just be the tech the tip of the of the tippet section you’re adding the dropper section and i’m going to pull on this and basically loop it around the leader and i like to slide it an inch or two above the stopper and again that stopper could be a triple surge not a blood knot or in this case a swivel and now you’ve got a dropper that you can add on and because this rotates around a little bit it tends to tangle less because the uh dropper isn’t coming off at a fixed angle it has the ability to move around okay and it also acts as like a telltale dropper if the if you’re fishing an indicator situation like this a fish comes along and grabs this fly and you miss them the tension of your missing the strike and the fish pulling on the fly will send that dropper down to the stopper so you know that that fish ate the upper fly the beauty of this method why i like it is again talking about a technique like that long leader nymphing where leader length is a critical component you never adjust your main leader it’s always the same length because you’re just adding that onto and you can add and subtract flies because there are situations you want to take the dropper off typically fishing shallow weedy areas you hook a fish on one fly the other fly goes around and hooks every other chunk of weed and you lose that big fish nice i see the flash a steady retrieve yep yeah every fish has come from that direction haven’t they so we’re picking up a pattern that’s what you do in this still water stuff huh phil remember pick up a pattern like i said just like shampoo rinse and repeat once you figure it out repeat okay this looks like a cuddy all right there we go we’re just gonna depress the bulb down the throat and there you go nothing something went up i saw some greens did you we’ll let them go okay what is that that my friends is zooplankton oh my god so zooplankton feeds on phytoplankton phytoplankton does not like light so generally during the daylight hours it descends down so this is usually an indication of deep water feeding but these aren’t i’ve got my glasses on but they even moving around yeah there’s a few there’s a few quivering so how are the fish eating these they’re just going along and grazing they just almost filter feed mouth a gap and just swim through the clouds on them in the summer months in deeper lakes they’ll they accumulate right along the thermocline yeah with the lake stratifies and the trout just go there’s concentrations of them and they’ll actually show up on a cylinder too and they’re rich and they’re they’re rich in calories they’re an easy meal and trout can really get on them and they believe it or not it’ll make them grow you wouldn’t think but it’ll make them grow i hope you enjoyed this guide to advanced still water angling um phil there’s certainly a lot more to it than i thought and it’s fascinating and i learned so much from you so i really appreciate that thank you tom um i always like to teach and and get more and more people interested in still water fly fishing because i think it really offers a lot for the fly fisher and i hope it also gets some more people coming over so you can have more peace and quiet on your favorite rivers and streams because they’re all over with me on the lakes well your enthusiasm is contagious so thank you thank you tom the orvis guide to fly fishing is supported by orvis fly fishing adipose boatworks global rescue proud unlimited oscar blues brewery you


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