To follow up on our last post about dry fly presentation from a drift boat it is now fitting to go sub-surface and briefly discuss good wet-fly presentation from a well positioned drift boat. To be a great guide in these times you need to have a pretty mean wet fly strategy and again KISS(keep it simple stupid), always! Around our region here in the Tetons and Western Wyoming we can force the dry fly and do fairly well even on the days with not much happening, in fact I know several well known guides who have made their careers on dry fly pursuits but let’s be honest, to get folks into fish you better go wet from time to time(no shame, there is still an art here), not to mention the opportunity to bump into trophies is generally much higher when fishing wet.
Rules are distinctly different when it comes to getting the fly in the strike zone dead drifted from a boat, again that is always your first choice then controlled drag is worked in as the flies begin their swing. In general and for me personally, I fish wets from the back of the boat… if fishing wet is the best option then the BSA(bow seat angler) may set the angle with a wet as well. Directing traffic between the front and back can be quite tricky with wets so paying attention will not only catch more trout but also prevent disastrous tangles. With wets I like a perpendicular to nearly back-up and across start. The faster the flow the further up behind the boat you start. Get your eyes on the strike zone, assess current speed and the fly’s drop speed through the water column(this is very important). Make the lob like cast to the drift starting position, wait for the mend(a reach is preferred, see our next post on Reach Casts), draw out any unnecessary slack, mend again… wait for it… set! I see many anglers make the mistake of casting directly to where the fish is likely positioned but you want to lay the cast down above that position to get all your mending in order and drift the fly to the strike zone- don’t put a hat on the fish! If you have the right fly weight or added weight and the fly or flies are in the zone, it will most likely get picked up. Most folks prefer indicators to dead drift nymphs or even dead drifting big streamers but over time play with it without your indicator and much less slack, it will make you a better, well rounded angler.
Streamers on the other hand are one of the hardest techniques to teach to an intermediate angler because it involves a 3-dimensional reading view of the water and it also relies largely on feeling the strike. Take away visual indicators of the strike and most folks struggle, they just never get tight on the line or the cast is too short to broadcast your offering. Again, from the stern seat(SSA) cast slightly back and across or perpendicular, if the water is shallow move the fly instantly with the rod tip but quickly draw out slack and drop the rod tip to the water’s surface(low). As the fly swings give the fly action but swim the fly with strips while pointing at the fly with the rod tip. Grabs can be anywhere so watch closely and fish the streamer nearly to the boat. Another good tip when fishing streamers is to strip quickly until you feel the resistance of the fly in the water, at that point you slow the retrieve to maintain contact with the fly. Lastly, strip set before raising rod tip and minimize false casting, it wastes time and spooks fish yet I do like and often teach a single water load. Good luck out there and always fish barbless and handle fish properly- SS