Posts Tagged ‘wet flies


Fly Tying: Full Steam Ahead………………

SwittersB fliesI store most of my flies in boxes with little cubicles. Later they may get transferred into the foamed fly box. The flies, especially the dries are often smooshed together over time. The hackles are askew and different than how they looked out of the vise. If one takes the time, steam can be used to resurrect those flies. It can also be used to spruce up fly tying materials. Here Don Bastian provides helpful advice on steaming feathers. Don has a very nice ‘wet fly’ site. There is much to be inspired by on Don’s site.


Fishing Streamers & Wets: More than swinging across stream

Dry Flies, Nymphs, Streamers and Wets (forget the eggs, worms, terrestrials and mouse patterns for now). As a beginning fly fisher, I would suggest the inclusion of a few wet flies and streamers in your arsenal. And, as you hone those skills on a drag free drift for the dry and watching for the strike indicator/sighter to dip for the nymphs, don’t forget to learn how to present a wet fly (it is more than just down and across swings) and the streamer.

Slow your presentations down to move with the current speeds and dissect the holding lies to move the fly via mends into prime holding spots. Simply swinging the wet or streamer through a stretch of water will catch some fish, but you will up your odds if you guide the fly’s path through the water. Learning to correctly present these two pattern styles can also greatly enhance anyone’s efforts to learn traditional fly fishing for steelhead or salmon too. 


Fly Fishing: Observe & Study

One of the enjoyable aspects of fly fishing (and also of fly tying) is the why of it all. This is then followed by the how, what, where, when of it all. You observe as you pass through the wild. You take it all in. Insects on the rocks, on the water, in the air, on the shore side bushes. Birds scurrying about and maybe the fish visibly feeding.

You observe what is going on and make a selection or many selections in attempting to solve this transitory puzzle. Maybe you are partially or totally successful; maybe you zero out. If so, only a few will really be certain of the why. The rest will ask why and launch into followup study.

This past week, I had occasion to work over a sporadic hatch of PMD’s and two types of Caddis. I worked the convergence of currents below an island. As I watched the slashing rises down stream, I noted the pattern of rises just inside a seam on the slightly faster water side.

I only saw a few insects alighting and steadily drifting toward shoreline vegetation. I put on an a PMD emerger, a PMD dry, a PMD floating nymph. Nada. But, a greenish yellow bodied, brown hackled wet fly sporadically took fish as it swung into the area of the seam. But, there were a lot of missed/hits and bumps. Why? I noticed drag. I noticed when I reached beyond with longer casts, I through quite a few upstream mends to avoid the drag. This resulted in the wet fly sinking more before it came around and started to rise….bang.

Now, I kind of new, by now the theoretical why of this…the fish turned off by drag; the rising fly simulating an upwardly emerging something. But, I wanted to study the why a bit more. I turned to David Hughes fine book: Matching Mayflies.


 I researched the why and reaffirmed and improved some of my correct but muddled thinking about how mayflies emerge toward the surface. This studying of the various ways mayflies emerge from the nymphal confines was beneficial as to how I would tie various patterns in the future and as to how I would present them.

Also, tucked in Hughes book was a bit about presentation in exactly the same kind of shoreline slack water/adjacent to faster water I had encountered that same day. The casts were perfect but the offered mends did little to get the fly down or avoid drag even while I missed fish after fish. Hughes offered up: present from farther upstream and inside more; reach cast with a wiggle stack.

So, my why’s from the stream were researched when I got home to research (or you could call a friend, talk to a fly shop). I developed some what, how, where, when info (I am the who) and am eager to get back out there and try it out. This is, as I say, one of the enjoyable parts of the sport. Observe and then ask why as you pass through. 


Don Bastian Wet Flies (A Temporary Hiatus)

Nice work on wet flies by Don Bastian. He has taken a break from his site for personal realignment. He intends to return. In the mean time take a look at classic wets and their history.


Colonel Fuller Flower by Don Bastian




Fly Tying: Wet Flies (Just Experimenting for Effect)

Had fun tying these wet flies (sizes 14 to 20). I continue to appreciate thread bodied flies with the wire ribbing, a bit a of dubbed thorax with strands teased out to the rear and the starling or partridge wing. Simple and very effective.


Wet Flies & A Beginner’s Retreat (Stop Thinking So Much)

Wet Fly~SwittersB (Lose the bead to go lighter)

Wet Fly~SwittersB (Lose the bead to go lighter)

You are a begining fly fisher and overwhelmed with Dry flies, stillborns, emergers, nymphs, pupa and larva. You glaze over at Rhyacophila, Dicosmoecus, Rhithogena and those are some of the more frequent ones. So my recommendation borne from some experience and some damn good fly fishers I know is go wet. Saves you many hassels of figuring out hatches and dredging the bottom. Tie or buy a simple assortment of wet flies….or ‘flymphs’/soft hackles and cast them precisely, swing them, retrieve them, jerk them back in fits and starts and you will catch fish. While you do that and have reasonable outtings you can still study and observe. But you will relieve yourself of all that thinking. Do you want the thinking? The puzzle? Then keep it simple for awhile: caddis, mayflies, golden stones, dragonflies, damselflies, baitfish or midges. Recognize the difference between a caddis and a mayfly. Recognize when to put on the Elk Hair Caddis or the Adams or small Midge. If you’re fishing subsurface with a nymph then stick to Hare’s Ears and Pheasant Tails. Keep it simple. The Latin can come later if it must. In the meantime, when you walk the shoreline before dinner or after poke that wet fly here and there. Read the water’s different verses and savor each perfect and not so perfect casts. KISS.


Soft Hackles (Whiskey Creek Primer)

Bead Head Wet

Stella's Seducer (Wet)~G. Muncy

Excellent sequence of posts re tying the Soft Hackles. I have a friend, who fishes soft hackles probably 90% of the time on streams-rivers and is a phenomenal fly fisher. He loves starling and partridge and rarely goes bigger than size 16’s unless the specific hatch calls for it.


Simple Buzzer (dark, fuzzy w/ refraction) + Scottish site

A very informative UK/Scot flyfishing site. Well put together and a great deal of detailed information. It is always apparent to me that UK sites, re tying, place emphasis on the traditional wet fly…classic names, which must produce given their longevity. Perhaps another reason to explore simple wets and “flymps”? And, as you know, the UK seems to have defined the buzzer, gnat, chironomid, midge patterns, which BC flyfishers borrow from and of which US flyfishers sometimes have a clue (like me) . Look how fuzzy that pheasant tail appears when wrapped around the shank and used for the wingcase.



Simply Wet


Wet Flies (neglected)

Brace of WetsA donated collection of wets by R.E. Brooks of the Washington County Flyfishers (Oregon 2006). I know of several friends, who I estimate fish with wets about 80% of the time. Whether in Alaska, B.C., Montana or where ever they search for trout, they start with wets (one to three depending upon their casting skills). These flies are sizes 14-16. My friends fish sizes 16-20 most often. They tie mostly with partridge or starling for wings/hackling and vary the body material. Most of us don’t give wets a fair shake. These flies were still in the display packet from the auction…almost two years ago. Simple to tie and productive. I know they work, why the mental block?       

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August 2020

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