TF’s ex­perts an­swer your an­gling queries

Trout Fisherman (UK) - - Contents -

QAs you know, find­ing the depth of wa­ter is im­por­tant if you think that is where the fish are. Coarse fish­er­men use a weight and float tech­nique to find depth. Is there a way for fly fish­er­men to find depth? Tony Wills

STEVE CULLEN REPLIES: The method that you men­tion is called plumb­ing the depth, where coarse an­glers use a weight and float so that they can get an ex­act idea of the depth of wa­ter at which they are fish­ing. But, and this is im­por­tant, trout, un­like most coarse fish which feed on or near the bot­tom, can be found all the way through­out the wa­ter col­umn. Find­ing their feed­ing depth is there­fore far more im­por­tant to us than find­ing out the ac­tual depth of the wa­ter. Un­less the wa­ter is very shal­low for­get us­ing a sim­i­lar method to coarse an­glers. The weight of the fly needed to pull the float­ing fly down would be very dan­ger­ous to cast! But to an­swer your ques­tion first, how to find the depth of the wa­ter you are fish­ing. The most ef­fec­tive way is to set your­self up with a fast sink­ing fly-line, and I’d sug­gest a Di-7. It sinks at seven inches per sec­ond, so makes ev­ery­thing pretty straight for­ward – in lay­man’s terms it falls through the wa­ter at just over a foot ev­ery two sec­onds! To this fly line at­tach a short length of leader ma­te­rial, say 8lb break­ing strain, and a weighted lure. Best tie it on a dry fly hook so that you don’t lose it (the hook will bend out if snagged). This is a throw­away fly, you won’t fish with it, it’s just for testing the depth. Now, sim­ply cast the line out and start a slow roly-poly re­trieve. Start with 10 sec­onds, cast, leave it 10 sec­onds, re­trieve and then just re­peat in 10 sec­ond in­cre­ments. You’ll soon get a pretty good idea of how deep the wa­ter is as the fly will snag weed and de­tri­tus as soon as you’re near the bot­tom. You can use a sim­i­lar tech­nique to find feed­ing trout, but this method is best used very early in the sea­son when the trout are deep or again in the mid­dle of the sum­mer. The rest of the time I’d pre­fer to use a bung. Use a full float­ing fly line, with a bung on the first drop­per and three flies un­der­neath. Heavy­weight Buzzers would be the best bet, spaced four feet apart. This method too will give you an idea of where in the wa­ter col­umn the trout are feed­ing.

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