Everyone thinks that fishing with dry flies requires a god given skill from on high, one must be blessed to fish dry flies with any confidence, right… WRONG!
Most anglers dismiss dry flies as their first line of attack if there are no fish rising, but from now until the weather turns cold again, those trout will be up near the top of the water column and a fly stuck in the surface film is a very easy meal, let’s face it, it’s going nowhere fast.
From small water’s to upland tarns the dry fly can pretty much reign supreme, and yet we insist on pulling wets and lures or ‘twiddling’ with nymphs, just in case. It’s because we feel that we are doing something. Line get gets cast out and the n retrieved back in again, and repeat! With dries there’s a little more patience required even more so in a flat clam situation, but persevere and you’ll be rewarded.
One my favourite dry flies, one that I seem to be relying on more and more these days, now that I’m older and wiser and less likely to be fooled by a the latest and greatest ‘new material and or pattern’, is the Bob’s Bits.
It’s so simple in its design, designed by a mate of mine a man that in his day had no equal when it came to fishing dry flies on the Midlands reservoirs, Bob Worts. The name comes from the "bits" of wool pulled from the jumper that he used for the body of the original fly.The thinking behind the pattern was as simple as the tying itself, create a fly that would looked and behaved just like a buzzer trapped in the surface film.
Tying it is easy, a small application of seal’s fur on a ‘thinnish’ wire dry fly hook, a small sighter of white cock feathers tied in as a wing and a small unobtrusive hackle. Simple, easy and quick to tie, as is often the case with most good patterns.
I will happily use these flies in all weather condition from a big blow - go up a few sizes, 10’s and 12’s and they tend to be better tied in black or claret - to flat calms, where small 14’s and 16’s in red, claret and orange will often work their magic.
Fishing them is again, simple.
In a breeze: floating line of your choosing, a tapered leader, 9ft and 8ft of tippet, 6lb breaking strain is enough, with your two flies placed 6ft apart. Rather an than casting and leaving it cover some water be sure to fan cast leave the flies on the water for no more than 10 seconds before lifting off and covering new water.
In a flat calm I sue a 12ft tapered leader, 8ft of tippet again, but a thinner diameter, 4lb is often more than enough. Do not go casting over and over on the water, cast it out and leave it, the fish will find it, this is a real test of patience, but I promise it’s worth it. If you see a trout rise cover the water nearby 5ft to 10ft away from the rings the fish will find it!
As with all dry fly fishing a bit of prep is always good, make sure to degreased your leader, you don’t want any flash as the light hits it and you need to remove any grease, so that it sinks.
Be sure to treat the TOP of the fly with some floatant, do not go overboard, by applying it to the top of the fly only it’ll sit in the surface properly, giving the impression of a rapped insect!
Fishing with dry flies is one of the most visible and exciting forms of our sport, don’t for minute think it’s difficult. Get out there and try it, you’ll be surprised how easy it can be and be aware most of the better fish we see caught tend to be caught on dries!