Author Topic: Dry fly setup  (Read 3010 times)

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David Heine

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Dry fly setup
« on: December 18, 2013, 04:54:38 PM »
I am wondering what people use for their dry fly setup.  I primarily nymph and streamer fish and both setups can be dual purpose but am looking into a single purpose setup.

Also, how important is this in the competition scene?  I know a hopper dropper rig is important and deadly but where does a single fly rig fall into the toolbox?

Chris Puchniak

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Re: Dry fly setup
« Reply #1 on: December 19, 2013, 08:27:14 AM »
I use a 4 wt rod most of the time in either 8 or 9' length, but on a bigger river system I might use a 5 wt 10' if I have the room and distance is required.  Most of the time I am using a WF line with a basic tapered (manufactured) leader, such as a Powerflex Rio.  In general about 12' length to my fly, but that might vary depending on the conditions.  Fairly classic approach.  Really need the good turn over unless you are just dapping in pocket water.

I sometimes will use FC as a tippet on it for added stealth despite the sinking properties of it.

Dries aren't used heavily (singly or double dries) in competition settings, but that's not because they don't work.  I think it is more because we (anglers in general) are continually convinced that nymphing is the way to go all the time.  That may be true 90% of the time, but some major events have been won by teams employing single dry flies.

Often I find when fish are concentrating on dries (surface feeding) it can be darn tough to catch them on a heavy nymph, yet people still try (an unweighted nymph might be better...) - mostly because the fish aren't looking down.  As they say, never fish below the depth that the fish are feeding at - fish will come up to a food source, but few will go down (most won't even see it below them due to their eye properties - but above them at least a dry creates a visible silhouette they can see).  Hook-up rates may sometimes be lower on dries, but I don't like to leave any options forgotten, so I do like to look for chances to catch fish on dries during comps.

Usually fish feeding on dries are also sitting completely different than those on nymphs, which means you might be able to target a few easy fish on dries first, then drop a heavy nymph through the run afterwards to pick on a whole other group of fish feeding further below (which may be undisturbed).

I like having a dedicate rod for dries.  I have tried using my nymphing rods, and they work fine in limited applications, but I always feel like I am using the wrong tool for the job.

What have you worked with Dave?
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Todd Oishi

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Re: Dry fly setup
« Reply #2 on: December 19, 2013, 08:50:40 AM »
I typically use a 2- and 3-weight fly rods for 80% of my fishing while competing in a river session (streamers and very heavily-weighted multiple nyphs being the exceptions), as I can fish nymphs and dries equally as effective with this setup.

As for a dry-fly/nymphing, dual-purpose rig is concerned; I simply take a "Steelhead taper" tapered leader and cut the leader at 0.013" diameter mark, which allows me to turn-over my flies and maintain a proper taper in my competition leader (I use a caliper to identify the diameter of the leader where I'm making the connection, and to confirm that the rest of my leader is continually tapered).

The top dropper tag can be used for placing a dry if I wish to fish with a dry-dropper rig, or if I'm fishing with 2 dries (I never use 3 dries while fishing moving water). This leader system will also allow you to present smaller nymphs and dries at a greater distance - in situations where delicate casting and fly placement accuracy is required. Using a lighter rod also affords me to use lighter tippet and will reduce the chances of breaking-off fish as a result of a smashing take and/or overzealous hook-set or strike.

Anyways, this is how I role...
« Last Edit: December 19, 2013, 08:53:18 AM by Todd Oishi »
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Andy Larkin

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Re: Dry fly setup
« Reply #3 on: December 19, 2013, 09:05:35 AM »
Dry flies are always a good thing Daver!

Rods from 8-9 feet are the way to go.

For single fly on rods 8-8'6, supple 7.5 foot tapered leaders with 2 feet of tippet work great.  The Rio Gold, Perception and LT DT's are all great choices for these sticks and load well at close distances.  For 2 flies on shorter rods, stiffer 9' leaders with 3 feet seem to turn everything over better.

For Rods 9', single fly, a 9 foot supple tapered leader with 2 feet of tippet and 12.5 footers + 3 for 2. 

Of course leader length/tippet can change based on water clarity, etc, blah blah blah.

I've always been a fan of slightly quicker 9' 3wt's as in the event of high winds, they can get the job done and at the end of the day, any fly rod can present a fly correctly generally once you know how to use it...  Also, in terms of reacting to strikes they seem to 'get on the fish' quicker and can also be turned into a level leader nymph stick or floating line streamer rod in a hurry.

The Sage 386-4 VXP would be a beauty of a dry fly stick.   ;D ;D ;D

David Heine

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Re: Dry fly setup
« Reply #4 on: December 19, 2013, 07:40:47 PM »
Thanks guys.  Very helpful info.  I haven't fished dry flies very much and will really be working on this in the spring.

That 386-4 VXP is looking pretty sweat right now.  Hmmm I wonder if Santa knows.

Aaron Laing

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Re: Dry fly setup
« Reply #5 on: December 20, 2013, 08:14:16 AM »
Using dries alone in a comp setting requires a lot of faith, a proven strategy or a lucky hatch scenario (preferably all three).

In the first two situations having a suitable dry fly rod rigged and ready to go is your best option. I like Andy's call on the rod--a nice crisp 3wt in the nine foot range is the perfect stick for the job. I use a Sage 389-3 VPS light (long since discontinued, but a beautiful dry rod).

It's the third situation where you run into problems. When the gods smile on you and you suddenly find previously unknown fish rising to the dry, running back to get that rod isn't always an option (unless you've mastered the art of fishing with two or three rigged rods) . You have to work quick given the time allotted.  Here your best option is to work with what you have, and if that means chucking dries with your nymphing rod then so be it. It's rarely a pretty thing but you can learn to throw a dry with almost any set up, and I think this speaks to Todd's point about working with what you have. I practice chucking dries with every rod and leader set up I can and I suggest every competitor do the same.

For what it's worth, I've fished dry only in two of my past competitions--Quebec in 2008 and Fernie in 2009.  Both were under conditions of opportunity: An afternoon hatch and rising fish where there had been precious little of either in the practice sections--I sucked in Quebec (generally) due to a bad call on the flies used, but in Fernie I was rewarded with a first place session finish because I made the call. The moral of the story is to know every style of fishing and be prepared to use them in a comp.

Aaron
« Last Edit: December 20, 2013, 08:15:52 AM by Aaron Laing »
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Danie Erasmus

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Re: Dry fly setup
« Reply #6 on: December 22, 2013, 06:23:04 AM »
I do not fish competitions, but my favourite dry fly setup is a 9' 4wt with a soft tip (Winston DL4, discontinued long time ago) This rod was designed for dry fly fishing with small diameter tippet. I like longer leaders, for example 12' taper with 2-3' tippet. 

On smaller streams I use a 8'6" 3wt soft tip (Winston BIIX) rod with 9' leader and 2-3' tippet

On tiny creeks with dry flies #16 or smaller I prefer my 7' 2wt (Winston WT) with 7'6" leader and 2-3' tippet

All my leaders taper down to 4X and I usually then add 4X-6X tippet. On the rare occasion when 7X tippet is needed I will taper down from the 4X leader to 1' 6x tippet and then add 2' 7x

Claude Cipelletti

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Re: Dry fly setup
« Reply #7 on: January 05, 2014, 12:55:39 PM »
For dry fly fishing "only" I take my old 3 weight Sage RPL+ with a SA nymph indicator line. I find that combo to excel in accuracy and believe it or not delicate presentation.

Alex Berger

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Re: Dry fly setup
« Reply #8 on: May 02, 2014, 12:54:54 AM »
Hi Calude,

I read your post, I don't see why using a nymph fly line indicator for a dry flies.  The tip of the nymph fly line is heavy and may not help to make a soft landing, and if it is colored then it may not be helpful. 
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