I had a question from Turkey yesterday, which went something like: Hey Paul, I like Sexyloops very much, but it's bollocks; here we have overgrown trees and flycasting is impossible.
And only last week I gave a masterful demo in Germany, where I picked the most overgrown stretch on the entire river and lost four or five of Lars' well-tied flies in the overhanging branches. Had there been any fish in the river whatsoever, they would have been in big trouble. Everyone was convinced.
So basically that's what this week's flow is about; fishing impossible places with impossible casts.
I have several techniques for casting beneath branches, so let's cover them first.
1. The Pendulum Cast (also called the Underhand Cast, until the Loop Brothers reinvented the Single Spey), which throws an upside-down loop and is cool. You can do this with roll casts as well as overhead strokes.
2. The Tension Cast. With the line laying straight out directly downstream you can make a short low flick upstream. This is a great way to move line around, especially if your hauling hand is otherwise engaged in, say, stopping you from falling into the river (that can happen sometimes by the way and in general is best avoided).
3. The Tailing Loop. Yes it's true; a well-formed tailing loop can be useful for popping flies beneath branches – don't you just love those Bum Casts?
5. Casting from an upstream position and using the flow to carry your fly downstream – you may not even have to cast. If you are going to try this baby, learn to flick anchor-mend some flyline downstream after the fly in order to keep up a sexy drag-free drift (slip some line into a small D-loop and flick it downstream). Or else try a traditional Zonker.
I have three methods for jungle fishing. (You can tell I've just spent a week in Germany can't you; everything is set out in an ordered list, hell, if you didn't know me you'd think I knew what I was doing)
a) A dry fly. Dryflies are great for impossible casts, because often impossible casts are accompanied by impossible lies, and what's above the surface is mirrored below, and we're not talking you here, but branches and roots and other stuff. You don't want to stick your Mayfly Nymph down there, as I discovered last week (oh and hey, if you don't lose flies you're in the wrong place…)
ii) Mayfly Nymphs, otherwise known as bugs. Czech nymphing, the most popular method on the planet, because it has a catchy name, can be quite useful for fishing the sticks. Even I do it sometimes: just lob the fly upstream, keep in touch with the drift, fish downstream, lift the rod tip, discover that you've managed to get the tip stuck in the branches, give it a little flick popping the fly up so it joins the tip, say “Scheisse” and then explain to anyone who still finds this interesting that there are several ways to remove a hooked fly from the branches: use the rod tip unhook the fly, but be careful unless yours has a Lifetime Guarantee, Roll Cast some slack line towards the hook, or else ask a wader-wearing German to unhook it for you.
7b) Traditional Zonker fishing. Lower the fly six inches to the side of the fish and jiggle it around a bit and hang on.
If you are going to try any of these things, and I think you should, especially in Germany, where they don't work, remember the Art of Camouflage.
Camo-Guy says: “When engaged in Traditional Zonker Jigging remember to… no hang on, what was it again… erm, boys and girls? Huh? Teapots?”
Next week: Action on the Slime