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Swinging Wets And Nymphs (3 of 14)

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Video Transcript:

Fishing a wet fly or nymph on the swing, in other words, across and downstream on a tight line, is both a return to a more traditional way of fishing with a fly and a relaxing and elegant way to fish.

One of the really pleasant things about fishing a wet fly is that they don't have any air resistance at all, and so they don't have as much air resistance as a dry, and unlike most nymph fishing, you don't have an indicator or weight on the leader, so the casting is just really easy and pleasant.

Because trout often take the fly on a tight line, the strike is felt immediately, and fish often hook themselves. It's also a great way to cover a lot of water when you're not sure where the fish are. This kind of fishing a sunken fly works best in shallow water with a gentle riffle, and it's tougher with conflicting currents and in very deep water.

Wet fly fishing is also most productive when you see the occasional rise.

So, I'm just letting that . . . I don't even really have to make a mend in this nice slow water. I can just let that fly . . . oop, there's one. Oh, we lost him. Don't even need to mend. This water is so nice and gentle and uniform. I can just let that fly swing across the current.

Although most of the time when you fish nymphs, you strive to eliminate drag on the fly, when swinging a wet fly, the drag is subtle and controlled. Some aquatic insects can swim. A swung, wet fly could imitate a tiny bait fish, or it might also imitate an aquatic insect rising to the surface to hatch. We don't know exactly why fish take a swung, wet fly, but that's part of the fun and the mystery of fishing this way.

Frequent mends keep the fly from swinging too quickly, because a tiny insect can't swim that fast against the current. So the slower your fly swings, the better.

Keeping the rod tip relatively high also helps to keep the fly swing more moderate. One more scientific way of fishing a wet fly on the swing is called the Leisenring lift or induced take. Here, you cast the fly slightly upstream and across, make some mends, follow the line through its drift with the rod tip, and when you think the fly is close to where a fish should be, stop moving the rod tip or lift it slightly. The fly will suddenly rise toward the surface, and often it encourages savage strikes from the trout.