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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
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    Wiltshire
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    Default Deep questions for the deeply troubled

    I guess this is sort of linked to the thread in the tackle section on poly length leaders… just how deep or shallow is the ‘right depth’ for the fly and more importantly even. How on earth do you know when you’ve got it there?

    This is something I get terribly confused about. Say I’m using an intermediate with a slow sinking 10ft poly leader and a 1” brass tube. Would that be 1, 2, 3….7 ft down? Yes, of course the speed of the swing counts too and you can’t see what the things doing anyway. How do you know where it is and if it is in the right place?

    The permutations are endless and there must by 20 different combinations of set up for every depth you care to mention accept the very deepest or just under the surface. How do you experienced guys decide your set up and how do you know what depth the fly is actually at?

    Those of us who get a few days here and there or the odd week a year on the river; if they are like me they arrive at the river armed with three or four different main lines and up to 15 poly leaders and then a range of brass, plastic and ally tubes, bottle tubes, singles, doubles all with heavy dressings, light dressings and so on. …. What should I put on to get where???? Oh, and maybe a spinner/Devon and then there are a few weights of those to choose from and and and ….. aghaaa!!! Help!!!!

    An example of what I try... In spring (lets just say the seond week of Feb on the Dee on Park or Middle Drum – no particular reason to pick those you understand…..) I would tend to put a set up together until it starts hitting the bottom and then go up just a bit with either a lighter tube/fly or go up one poly leader sink rate. Now, is that foolish, sensible, in absolutely the wrong place in the water column? I don’t know, please please help….

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Oct 2007
    Location
    East Dunbartonshire
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    3,080

    Default

    DryFly,

    Your last paragraph makes sense for fishing cold water during the spring. It has long been stated that you need to get down to fish in cold water, as they will be less inclined to rise to a fly. You must treat this as a general rule. On a few occasions I have fished through a pool with a fast(ish) sinking set up a couple of times in spring and at the backen in cold water temperatures, only to witness anglers coming down the pool with very slow or even full floating lines and catch fish.
    We often assume that fish will be lying in the deepest part of the pool and will be hugging the river bed, but this is not the case. they can be anywhere in the water column and are often happier sitting in 3 feet of water than they are in 6 feet.
    For spring fishing in a normal pool, if there are fish resting in the pool and you are covering them, then I would take the approach you suggest in the last paragraph of your post. If there is more chance of picking up running fish, I'd be tempted to fish higher in the water column, trying to get the fly about a foot under the surface.
    As you have also pointed out, the speed of the current has a lot to do with this as well. I think we often fish our flies a lot shallower than we think in stronger flows. Some experimenting in an area of river with a pool tail and good visibility showed me that even some deep water tactics only took the fly down between one and two feet.
    "... the grand excuse for loitering in peaceful places."

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Nordic Noir
    Posts
    4,459

    Default

    Depends where you're fishing Drfly.

    For Hampshire Avon Springers a fast sink shooting head, five foot fs poly and four feet of nylon would be just fine, pluse a big tube in alluminium.

    I didn't use polys but the tube hit the water with some ferocity.

    Paradoxically I found on the Ribble a slow sink head S1/S2 or a slow sink tip on a multi was fine.

    One rule is that below 42f salmon will not rise or move far to the fly, over that temperature it is a bit more free form.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Apr 2009
    Location
    sale
    Posts
    1,738

    Default

    hi dryfly it saddens me to read a post like this cause its sound like the thing you have not got which you need the most of and you can,t buy is confidence. No one on here can tell you what to use on any pool until you see the water has it got 9" of water or 11" and so on. I know its not what you wont to hear

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Apr 2009
    Location
    Cambridgeshire
    Posts
    255

    Default Fly Depth

    A friend of mine who fishes with great success uses the following formula to choose the line and therefore depth he fishes .
    For any pool or beat use the following simple sum
    (Present water height) - (perfect water height) = depth to fish fly ( if gives a negative figure then fish floating line)

    Simples

    Personally unless I end up catching the bottom I am never absolutely sure what depth I am fishing. Observation leads me to reckon that generally most lines fish much higher in the water than we think they will.
    Although a heavy tube (slim dressed) will change this.

    The one place this formula does not work is in bubbly fast water where as ABK has written we need to get the fly down into the water below the bubbles for the fish to see it clearly.

    There are so many variables in fly fishing that I find I need a theory or two to base my strategy on

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Location
    Wiltshire
    Posts
    4,108

    Default

    Lack of confidence is exactly it! It is so infrequent that I get to fish for salmon that enevitably I only catch 3 or 4 a year and never build up that insight and understanding that comes from experience. (I dont have that problem with trout (632 caught last season, or grayling 76 for the season - I do fish a fair bit)

    I rather like having a formula though... (Present water height) - (perfect water height) = depth to fish fly ( if gives a negative figure then fish floating line)
    ....

    At least it is somewhere to start from if nothing else, even if it is wrong!

  7. #7

    Default Too much choice.

    I wonder if you are giving yourself too many choices with your several lines and 15 polyleaders.
    Salmon in my (and others) experience love to lie in a depth of 3-6 feet, so if salmon are lying in 6 feet for e.g and they may also be resting anywhere between 1-3 foot off the bottom so if your fly is fishing 2 feet down it is never going to be far from the salmons nose.

    Unless the water is extremly cold and unusually deep and strong I am happy to fish with a wetcell 2 and just vary the tube weight (not neccesarily size) according to how strong the flow is.

    I believe that a salmon even in low temps will come a few feet to take a fly if they want it. I also concentrate my efforts on the edges of strong deep pools where I know the depth will be 3-6 feet and my fly will swim well (you still need to have some knowledge of where fish lie in a given pool) ignoring the heavy deep portions of the pool.

    By the way, and this will ruffle a few purists. If the pool is big, deep and strong and temp is very low a good and tested method (if allowed) is to fish a light weight devon on a big hillman or similar weight and fish it like a fly through the deep water right in to the edge. many people seem to decry this nowadays but in my opinion it is no different to a fast sinking shooting head and big tube

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Location
    Wiltshire
    Posts
    4,108

    Default

    Thanks guys,

    Does anyone know the sink rate of a wetcell2 in ips - my lines only give that info (actually the AFS Rio SH dose't give any info on sink rates). Would one of those in a 2/3 be about the same?

    Oh, whats a Hillman? A rather poor quality 1970's family car seems a bit heavy for my casting ability

  9. #9

    Default

    I think a Wetcel 2 sinks at about 3"/sec in the salmon sizes, dropping to 2"/sec in the lighter sizes.

    A Hillman lead is basically a bullet that is attached to the swivel with a piece of wire. The advantage of them is that they are very easy to change, so if necessary you can alter the weight as you fish down a pool with minimal effort.

  10. #10

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Dryfly View Post
    I would tend to put a set up together until it starts hitting the bottom and then go up just a bit ….
    spot on 99% or more of fish are on the bottom or running the bottom..you only see them when they have lice etc or when running hit a river bed table of rock or tree branch etc....
    Last edited by DryFlyFishing; 12-01-2011 at 11:19 AM.

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