Photograph by Steve Barnett

Saturday, 30 October 2010

Basic Principles - Principle Number One

Fish where the fish are.  Dry fly fishing is like any other branch of the Sport, for success you must fish where there is a decent chance of finding fish.  How are you going to choose such a place (or such places)?  Research and Reconnaissance will help you.  A good use of your time over the next five months will be searching for suitable venues.

Thursday, 28 October 2010

Shopping list...

Click and then click again to see it properly!
...for the Fly Fair?

  1. Cock Badger Cape of the highest quality
  2. Cock Honey Dun (and all the Rusty, Brassy, Blue variants) ditto.  If only I could find a genetic quality cape in the colours of this old Indian cape that I acquired nearly forty years ago.
  3. Fine black Ostrich herl preferably on the plume
  4. Size 26 (round not oval )silver braid (if I ever see it again)
  5. Anything else that turns the head and fills it with the inexplicable desire to possess and maybe even use it!

Regular Rod

Thursday, 21 October 2010

Anonymous said:


I know of only one line that comes in a brown colour but, having obtained one, even that could be a better shade and finish, also the taper is not designed for dry fly fishing but is simply a conventional floating line that does most things adequately but is not ideal for the extremes that serious dry fly fishing can demand from the angler. That line is available from a vendor on the fly forum.

The best coloured lines I have used so far are the ones I had made, some time ago now, by Cortland but they were made up for me using one of their standard tapers and coatings simply coloured dark brown for me.

I'm getting some lines made, designed from scratch to be perfect for dry fly fishing. The taper is such that it is capable of making the rod work and the cast turn over under control when fishing at very close quarters and with only a foot or so of fly line out of the tip ring. Yet, when a long cast is needed to the opposite bank and the fly has to be put into a tiny hole in the overhanging vegetation, the line will allow this.  Its special low friction coating will let you shoot the line that little bit further, which can be essential if you have very limited space for your back cast, but you still need that bit of extra distance.

The colour is a matte, dark muddy brown and is exactly what I believe is the very best for avoiding all the problems of light coloured or shiny lines.  The core is braided so you will be able to use the needle knot for attaching your leader.

The lines are being made with absolutely no compromises at all and no shortcuts in quality (there is no point in "spoiling the ship for a ha'porth of tar") so in a few weeks I will bring these lines onto the market.  Their price will reflect their quality, but I'm sure anyone using them will be nothing less than delighted with them.  I know I am already delighted with the prototype.

So to answer Anonymous:  If you can wait a few weeks I will be able to recommend to you something then, much better than I can recommend right now.

Regular Rod

Friday, 15 October 2010

Facts and...


Fishing with nymphs, lures, spiders, traditional wets, Czech nymphs, buzzers, blobs and other things are not really my strengths. I have a go at some of them now and then but not enough to offer solid advice on any of these methods, or the equipment needed for them. However, for forty one years now I have certainly immersed myself in every little detail of dry fly fishing. Hence the brass neck to make a blog called... Dry Fly 'Expert'!


Drab, brown fly lines ARE best for dry fly fishing!


“But a fly line on the water would be harder for the fish to see if it was the colour of the sky!”

“I like a white line because I can see it move if I get a take!”

“I catch fish and I use a line that is sky blue pink with yellow dots on!”

And so on...

Let me explain why I am adamant that a line in a drab, brown colour IS BEST FOR DRY FLY FISHING!

It matters most of all during the casting process. Dry fly fishing demands frequent false casting. When the line is in the air, passing to and fro in the cast, if it is a pale colour it brightens its surroundings as it moves. In some circumstances this can be measured with a good quality light meter as used by traditional photographers, its needle moves as the line passes through its field of view. Trout can detect such changes. The line need not be seen by the trout but it will notice the change to the light made as the line passes by and very likely will cease rising. A drab, brown line makes no such noticeable change and so the trout is not put off its meal at the surface.

Yes this is a nit picking detail but it is an important one. Yes you might be able to catch fish with a pale coloured line but consider this...

You have worked hard, made a considerable investment in time and money to get leave to fish. Bought tackle and clothes.  Learnt how to use it all.  Now here you are, hiding in the margin and you have carefully worked your way into position to get a better view of that “fish of a lifetime” rising a few yards up stream of you. Yes, the fish is bigger than you first thought and it looks to be in immaculate condition. It is rising and you have identified the flies it is eating. Brilliant! You just happen to have some perfect fakes of this fly in your box. You tuck yourself down and carefully change the fly to the type you have spotted. Everything is just right. The fish is rising four or five times a minute. Now is your chance to make that cast...

Why risk letting any of the tiniest details work against you?

Frederick the Great of Prussia once observed that “Genius is the infinite capacity for taking pains.”

Stopping your fly line from signalling to the fish that things are not normal is a pain worth taking.

Regular Rod

Thursday, 7 October 2010

Seasonal Endings...

... and Beginnings

Today was golden.  See the picture for proof!  Watching the rises it was easy to select the grayling although I did succumb to temptation thrice and deliberately cast to trout today as they were large fish and each one was rising in in its own particularly difficult place for the dry fly angler to cast to.  Two flies were sacrificed to the tree Gods, but this is a small price to pay for attempting the theoretically "impossible".

If you want to carry on with the dry fly, now the trout are off the agenda, you need to get used to spotting grayling rises (or else go after chub if you are lucky enough to have them in your rivers).  Grayling rise from the bottom of the river.  This means they are coming to the flies almost vertically.  When they turn down with a fly, their mouths, being underslung like barbel, have to be opened from underneath.  This is coupled with a roll as the grayling turns itself the right way up again.  These actions combine together usually (but not always) to make a bubble appear in the ring of the rise.  This bubble in the rise form is the signal for you to watch closely and confirm or otherwise that the fish is indeed a grayling.  If it is, you can then cast with confidence knowing that you are going to catch a grayling and NOT a trout!

Regular Rod