Expert tricks for catching more fish on traditional wet flies
With the basic swing, you’re fishing blind, hoping a fish happens upon your fly. But if you can read water and cast more accurately, you’re ready to try the Leisenring lift, popularized in the 1940s by author and wet-fly whiz James Leisenring. Start by identifying prime fish-holding lies, such as current breaks, log-jams and undercut banks, then cast the fly considerably upstream of your target. How far upstream you cast depends on the water depth and current speed. The goal is to place the fly so that it ends up a foot or two from bottom just as it reaches the lie. Once the fly hits the target area, you lift your rod tip, causing the fly to stop and rise to the surface. This perfectly imitates an aquatic insect emerging from its husk as a winged adult, making for a powerful strike trigger. Combine the Leisenring lift with better line control, and wet flies become as versatile as any modern pattern, yet still easy enough for the average angler to master.