Fishing Wets Across & Down

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Fishing Wets Across & Down

Postby Rabmax » Thu Aug 21, 2014 8:55 am

Hello i would say i am fairly efficient at catching with wets & nymphs in an upstream direction.But the other day i was forced by the wind to fish wets downstream.I had lots of interest as usual by the fish.But the crap hookup rate was there as usual when i try downstream wets.I was using a fairly soft 10ft 3/wt rod & line that i would guess should be ideal for this.From reading about this.I should mend upstream so there is a more drag free drift.I should keep a belly in my line so that fish have slack line to take the fly down.The striking part i am not sure about.When to strike what strike methods to try out.Anyway pretty rubbish results reckon i am pulling the flies out of there mouths.Any tips would be welcome to try out the next time i need to fish wets downstream.Cheers All
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Re: Fishing Wets Across & Down

Postby tie2fish » Thu Aug 21, 2014 9:57 am

I frequently fish wets "down and across", nearly always with an upstream mend or reach cast (or sometimes both) to impart a more or less drag-free drift for the first part. Then I let the current belly the line enough to put me in contact with the fly, but "follow it" downstream with my rod tip to keep the rig from accelerating too quickly. Sometimes I do minor mends along the way to navigate cross currents and will even feed additional line with rod tip wiggles to slow down the swing rate and/or put the fly into a specific location vis a vis the spot where I think the fish will be.

Throughout this process, I keep a small loop of loosely held slack line between my off hand and the reel to provide a "cushion" in the event of an unexpected take. I suspect that most of the missed strikes that folks experience during downstream fishing are due to the fly pulling out of the fish's mouth as it turns away because of the resistance of a totally taut line. By the same token, an abrupt, immediate attempt to set the hook will result in the same result more often than not. I have found that fish taking a wet fly at the bottom of a drift will generally hook themselves if given a chance. A simple lifting of the rod tip will usually complete the hookup more often than will a jerking motion.
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Re: Fishing Wets Across & Down

Postby Rabmax » Thu Aug 21, 2014 11:58 am

[quote="tie2fish"

Throughout this process, I keep a small loop of loosely held slack line between my off hand and the reel to provide a "cushion" in the event of an unexpected take. I suspect that most of the missed strikes that folks experience during downstream fishing are due to the fly pulling out of the fish's mouth as it turns away because of the resistance of a totally taut line. By the same token, an abrupt, immediate attempt to set the hook will result in the same result more often than not. I have found that fish taking a wet fly at the bottom of a drift will generally hook themselves if given a chance. A simple lifting of the rod tip will usually complete the hookup more often than will a jerking motion.[/quote]

Do you let the fish take the small loop hesitate briefly then lift.Cheers
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Re: Fishing Wets Across & Down

Postby tie2fish » Thu Aug 21, 2014 12:10 pm

I hold the slack line very loosely, so that any tug will trigger its release. This needs to be almost a reflex response; if you have to actually think about it, it's probably going to be too late.
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Re: Fishing Wets Across & Down

Postby gingerdun » Thu Aug 21, 2014 1:41 pm

Always interesting to compare notes on this topic.
One point not mentioned so far is the orientation of the rod tip.
Do you aim the rod at the fly as another way to minimize slack and delay?
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Re: Fishing Wets Across & Down

Postby Rabmax » Thu Aug 21, 2014 4:28 pm

gingerdun wrote:Always interesting to compare notes on this topic.
One point not mentioned so far is the orientation of the rod tip.
Do you aim the rod at the fly as another way to minimize slack and delay?

No haven't been .I have just been watching Wet Fly Ways by Davy Wotton forgot i had it.He casts across & slightly up & lets it drift.When across from him he puts in an upstream mend.He then tracks his flies downstream slowly moving his rod across & finishing with his rod towards the river bank on his side.From what i see i have been holding my rod too high with more slack than him.He also advocates striking the fish against your reel with the drag set low.Cheers
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Re: Fishing Wets Across & Down

Postby gingerdun » Thu Aug 21, 2014 4:46 pm

Tie2fish said it in the second sentence of his post:
Then I let the current belly the line enough to put me in contact with the fly, but "follow it" downstream with my rod tip to keep the rig from accelerating too quickly.

I read it too quickly, and missed it. Sorry Bill!
While fishing with Tie2fish in June and learning from him, I experimented with how high to keep the tip above the water while following the fly with it. I am a relative rookie, but found that I lost fewer fish when I kept the rod tip low to the water.

And setting the hook with a double action of pulling the line sharply with my free hand while lifting the rod worked great, assuming there was little slack in the line.

When I lost fish it was usually due to a faulty knot, clipping the tag too close to the eye, or tippet weakened by trout teeth.

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Re: Fishing Wets Across & Down

Postby Old Hat » Thu Aug 21, 2014 7:38 pm

Rabmax, Lance, that is how I am normally handling the rod as well. I don't normally leave a loop but, keep my free hand gently on the line pulled just slightly out from the real. When the line is tight my rod tip is low and pointing at the fly position. On a strike I usually feel it immediately in the line with my free hand. the initial set comes with a sharp tug on the line with this hand and then followed with tension by raising the rod tip. If I feel I am missing hook ups I usually change the size of the fly slightly or offsetting the hOok point slightly usually does the trick.
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Re: Fishing Wets Across & Down

Postby Mataura mayfly » Thu Aug 21, 2014 9:09 pm

There are some very good points here in some knowledgeable answers/counter questions.
I find it difficult to add to some of these types of questions, owing to the fishing here being very different from the fishing there (in most instances).
Personally, if "down & across" fishing here, I am on fairly large rivers with good flow and rather cunning wild brown trout. Most times if I have to think "was that a take?" I am too late and have missed the fish, they are that subtle. Brown trout will sip in a fly and spit it out with very little "feel" relation back to the rod hand here.
So my usual method will be a fairly tight line compared to what most of you will be used to. Initial cast is often 30 degrees rather than the traditional 45 degrees, sometimes I will curve the leader upstream to give the flies time to sink before they are really "fishing" on the end of the straightened line. Mends come into play early on, as soon as the line lands- generally, but there can be small mends on the drift. Rod tip is pretty low, almost on the water, so the line is in a straight line from the stripper guide to the flies (in theory), thus eliminating slack line as much as possible. The line is "held" in my off hand by looping over my pointer finger and trapped by my middle finger, approximately 8-10" from the stripper, but tight between the two. There is slack line behind the off hand and reel.
I rely heavily on felt transmission back to both the off hand through the line and grip hand through the rod (glass rods are so much better for this). Now usually, lifting the rod tip is sufficient to set the hook- if you do not move the off hand from its position and there is no slack in the system in front of said hand. Similar to lifting the line to back cast- eliminate slack and lift the rod.....
If the take fails to hook up I will often feed a short length of line with my off hand so the flies settle- often this will induce a second hit from trout as they think they wounded the food initially- if they were not pricked by the hook point!

Really hard to say where things might be going astray for you without being at your side and I can tell you how I do it until I am blue in the face.... but it might not work where you are. :D
One thing you might want to try is using an indicator. It kind of makes you concentrate on the wrong thing ideally, you watch the indicator instead of feeling the fly/flies, but they can be a huge help also. If for whatever reason there is slack in the system, your line is drifting in front of your flies and you have lost touch with them, an indicator can be your friend. If a floating indicator stops, changed direction, dips, or just does something other than float down at current speed- strip slack line in and lift the rod tip- odds are you will be hooked in.

Timing of the strike? I believe this has a lot to do with local conditions and type of fish you are targeting. Brown trout differ from Rainbows and I dare say Brook or Cutthroat differ again (we do not have those). Wee trout tend to be quicker than big trout...... there are lots of variables. Big one I discovered is that Northern Hemisphere trout seem to be a lot quicker than their Southern cousins- you have to be pretty smart on those. But here, I tend not to give any spare line before lifting into a take when down & across fishing. My reaction time and the time it takes for the line to lift as I feel the initial hit seems to be the ideal delay.
From watching trout feed here, often they will turn slightly as soon as they take naturals sub surface and dart back to their lie, so that kind of leads to them hooking themselves. Honestly, the timing thing- you have to decide that for yourself on the water in my opinion.
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Re: Fishing Wets Across & Down

Postby hankaye » Thu Aug 21, 2014 10:55 pm

Rabmax, Howdy;

What I find interesting about your initial question is that
you didn't mention what type of water it is that you fish.
You mentioned up and down stream so I take it you are
on moving water. Is it small, or of a larger variety? Slow
moving or with some pace to it?
I'm sure that the advice that everyone has offered is good
for most waters in general but I feel that if you were to
give some specific information they could give some better
information to help you.

hank
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