Expert tricks for catching more fish on traditional wet flies
The first way to up your wet-fly game is to exercise a little more control over the fly. The basic wet-fly swing requires no particular finesse or feel, making it ideal for novices. You simply cast and follow the fly downstream with your rod tip, waiting for a hit. Then you take a step or two downstream and do it again, methodically working your way through riffles and runs. If you’re experienced enough to understand the basics of current flow and how a fly moves in the water, however, you can make a downstream swing much more effective by mending your line.
Mending just means using the rod tip to reposition a section of line, which in turn affects the movement of the fly. Current is usually slower by the bank and swifter in the middle, so when you cast a wet fly across the current, a downstream bow forms in the fly line. This can accelerate the fly, making it move unnaturally fast, which turns off the fish. But if you mend line upstream, removing the bow, the fly will slow down and sink, staying in the target area significantly longer. Mends can also make the fly wiggle and stutter a little, sometimes triggering a strike. It’s a simple, surprisingly potent trick.