Across and Down
Parmachene Belle, Queen of the Waters, Royal Coachman, Silver Doctor; if you know what I’m talking about, I bet you had one of those sheepskin fly books. Oh, that musty smell. Those were the staple of many anglers. They were quite nice when new but soon became quite ugly from rusted hooks and poorly dyed feathers. Do you remember that sickening feeling when you first opened one after a long winter and moths flew out? Those were simple times; soon things got complicated. Most no longer carry any of the classic wet flies. They aren’t the in thing now.
Do you want to catch more fish this spring? Of course you do. First, learn to tie a blood knot and make up a couple of leaders with one or two droppers. I can’t help you there. You can easily find instructions. I’m going to help with the catching fish part. Tie on two or three wet flies to your brand new leader and head to your favorite stream. Approach the section you intend to fish at the top end of the run. Stay back and do not create a shadow on the water. Make a short cast to the opposite bank and let your flies swing downstream and across the run to your side of the stream. Pull out 6 inches of fly line and repeat your cast. Keep feeding out line 6 inches at a time and casting across and down; until you get the amount of line you are comfortable casting. Now, you don’t have to worry about fiddling with line anymore. Just fish.
Take a half of a step and cast across and down. You get the point now. Take another half step and repeat until you reach the end of the run. Shazam; you have just put your flies in front of every single fish in that section of water. Didn’t take long to thoroughly fish it, either. Nothing has to be as complicated as many want you to believe. Keep it simple and be successful.
Many of the old time wet flies were pretty gaudy and they caught fish way back when and they will still catch fish today. Good luck finding some that aren’t tied in Malaysia or some other trout heaven. I’m sure you can come up with some through a diligent search. I found out long ago that if a fly contains peacock herl; it will catch fish. My wet fly box pretty much is filled with Picket Pins in various sizes. That is all I need. Remember, keep it simple. I have had very good success with that one fly. It can imitate a minnow, crayfish, emerging caddis fly, drowned caddis fly or even a caddis fly returning to the water to lay eggs. What more could you ask for? It has peacock herl, too!!
The old lowly wet fly added protein to many ramp and potato streamside campfire meals of yesteryear. There is no reason that they cannot do so today. Yes, things got complicated. You can prevent that and keep it simple across and down. Fishing is supposed to be fun and not a chore. Don’t be afraid to add some split-shot to your Royal Coachman’s, either. Just fish.
(c) 2016 High Virginia Outdoors Photo (c)2015 High Virginia Images All Rights Reserved
This is my April 2016 article for Two-lane Livin