OREALD.COM - An Old Electronic Library
eng: a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y z

The necessity for the dry-fly

Pages: <1>

The dry-fly is already a necessity on many rivers, and as fishers increase in number and wander ever farther a field in pursuit of the trout, so will the list of waters which will yield results to a submerged imitation of a fully developed fly become reduced.

Consider a day of early April, when beside the river the angler rests expectant. Across the broad expanse of brilliant blue great clouds sail before the fresh west wind; now the sun blazes through a cleft in brilliant rays, lighting up the pool, revealing every rock set amid the gleaming gravel; now it is obscured, and the ai- feels chill: the water is dark and dismal.

The river is flowing full and free, merry and lively; the brightness is not dimmed by summer weeds; the wave-crests sparkle when the cloud passes;; but of life beneath the waters there is no sign. Every trout seems to have been swept along the floods of winter. The angler begins to stir with impatience, but let him wait a little longer.

On the wings of the breeze is borne a shower of March Browns, a most welcome sight, welcome because they mark the passing of weary idleness and herald the coming of activity. Winter has passed away, and the season of plenty is at hand. The flies alight upon the pool; the wind buffets them about, blowing them across to the farther shore towards the saughs, that also have answered the call of spring. The brown insects dance from wave to wave of the rushing throat, but there is no time to observe them all, for, from the first moment of their advent, the trout are leaping joyously, leaping to welcome the gilt of April, leaping until not one fly remains.

The angler's rest ceased with the first grand leap, his rod has awhile been active; but, though he finds its labours not quite without reward, he is perplexed with doubts and vexed with questionings.

Why should his fly disappear beneath the surface, when the beautiful insect 't copies sails the wave? Though it be an exact imitation in form, size, and colouring, can it give him faithful service when it errs in such a conspicuous and important particular? Why does it not remain in full view, bobbing to every wavelet, sitting naturally on the water, answering the wind and the current?

Will the wise and wary trout not look with suspicion upon his lure, made with infinite pains and skill though it be, and treat it with the contempt it merits? The younger fry, not yet versed in the wiles of man, and still unaware of the dangers that surround them, may accept the unnatural object without hesitation; but the older, experienced trout will flee from its vicinity.

With so much to persuade him the angler will retrieve his unsuccessful fly, which miserably fails to yield the sport that the pool can give, and the conditions allow; he will dry it carefully, anoint it with some preparation which will enable it to resist the water, and send it forth endowed with greatly increased capacity to compete with the living insects for the attention and acceptance of the eager trout. No longer will it be ignored, but at every subsequent shower of March Browns it will deceive a fish or two, and the basket will begin to grow agreeably heavy.

The only really wonderful fact about the dry-fly is that it was not invented first. Instead of being a development of the wet-fly, it should have been its precursor. Why did these old anglers, who have assisted so much by their study of the food of trout and by their laborious search for materials where with to copy the various species of flies, attend only to certain details, highly essential no doubt, and ignore the most important characteristic? Of course, in these far-off days trout were numerous and unsophisticated, and anglers were few, so that little thought was demanded; but even that fact does not excuse or explain the omission.

Some may respond that it is easy to be wise after the event. They should, however, note that the use of a floating fly was advocated at least seventy years ago, and that the idea has occurred to many anglers who had previously never read a single word about it or seen anyone using it. It is certainly surprising that the art of dry-fly fishing has taken so long to become well-known.

As long as trout are accustomed to see flies, living or dead, sailing on the surface of the water, and are willing to take them, so long must the angler take heed that his artificials behave in exactly the same way. Wherever trout have reached a degree of wariness sufficient to make them suspicious of a winged lure borne down beneath the surface in answer to a current or other force, then he must make sure that his fly will not be unnatural in action.

In some streams, thrashed every day by many anglers, it is a well-known fact that sport is generally poor during the summer months. It is commonly stated that the reason for this is that the trout are well-fed, and neither require nor desire food. With that some disagree, maintaining;, that the fish have had such abundance of Insect-food that they are completely sated with it. and wish a change, of diet. Acting on this assumption, they fish the worm in clear water and prove conclusively that the trout are very keen on food; but it does not follow that flies are temporarily out of favour.

On a cold day in July or on a warm summer evening, flies are plentiful, and trout will take them quite as greedily as at any other time. The fact is that flies never are unwelcome, but on certain days, particularly in summer, they are very scarce, conditions being not such as they prefer. It is very seldom indeed that on a river a hatch is not accompanied by a rise; but the trout have learned a lot dining the spring, re-learned all that they forgot during the winter, and the result is that they are less easy to deceive.

The ordinary wet-fly is now practically worthless; but a dry-fly, if floated carefully over a feeding fish, is almost certain to produce a rise. Those anglers who object to natural baits of all kinds will find that a floating fly will bring to an end much of the disappointment they experience in the difficult days of July and August.

It would be perfectly fair to ask why it is that the wet-fly meets with any success at all, when it acts in such an unnatural manner. That success should attend the use of sliders or wingless flies is not surprising, because some of the best patterns suggest tolerably well nymphs and other subaqueous creatures. The majority of wet-flies, however, are dressed in imitation of fully developed flies, and yet are fished beneath the surface, that is to say, they are put into a position which the natural fly can seldom occupy.

When thus submerged, the wings in many flies fold over the hook, and covering slightly the body and modifying its colour, presumably give the lure the shape and shade of a nymph. Bf. ing under water and subjected to movement by the current and perhaps also by the rod, the so-called fly resembles the nymph in another particular, viz. action, and therefore it is accepted. In short, though designed to represent a fly, it accidentally suggests something else well enough to delude a hungry fish.

Again, it seems reasonable to assume that a trout has no clear view of the surface; in certain circum stances at least, for example, when the water is ruffled by a breeze or current, it is possible that it cannot see exactly whether a fly is on the surface or slightly above or below it. Consequently it may rise for a fly which has not yet reached the water, just as it may take one that has sunk an inch or two.

It is now understood that a trout is able to see objects coming through the air towards the water. Those who dap with the natural fly must have had the experience of exciting the curiosity of several trout in a pool and leading them about by dangling the fly in the air; it is possible at this game to select the best trout out of the following company. Most wet-fly fishers will agree that on the liver a great many rises occur at the moment the flies alight on the surface. Everyone must have observed a trout break water as soon as, or even before, the fly arrives, as it had been awaiting and expecting the event. The trout is there on the surface actually before the fly.

Intent on feeding, the fish eagerly watches for the appearance of food, and takes the artificial the instant it arrives, not knowing whether it is going to act in unnatural fashion by sinking in the water. The trout accepts the fly without suspicion, because the fly is acting precisely like a natural insect. It cannot tell whether the fly is similar to those already accepted, and it has no reason to suspect its genuine ness. Hence it is that the wet-fly sometimes meets with a fair response.

At every part of the season and in all streams inhabited by worthy and wary trout, the dry-fly is essential when the fish are feeding on flies in their winged state. Other lures may then produce a trout or two; but if the maximum of sport is to be forthcoming, then the fly used must be a good imitation of the insect on the water, and it must likewise float.

The dry-fly is not a satisfactory lure when trout are feeding exclusively on subaqueous forms of flies or on any of the many and varied creatures which pass all their days beneath the surface; but it is often a means of securing a fair basket, though not a rise is seen.

A rise is an effect of which a fly is the cause, and if the fly is absent the rise cannot take place - an axiomatic truth which is sometimes overlooked. If, however, the fly is supplied, even though it be an artificial fly, a trout will accept it, provided always that the fish is in a humour to feed, and is satisfied in all respects with the object placed before it.

In summer the trout are certainly not always on the look-out for food, they can afford to do without for a short time, if necessary; they do not meet the flies half-way, unless a hatch is on; they examine and either reject or accept according to their conclusions from the inspection. Under these conditions, and whenever surface food is being taken, not only in summer but at all times, not only in the most severely fished rivers but now in almost all waters, the angler's fly must behave in all respects like the natural fly it is intended to represent.

Pages: <1>

Pictures for The necessity for the dry-fly

Home | Privacy Policy | Copyright | About