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Ronan's report

Sunday July 3rd 2011

In the UK, apparently, we can get quite picky about what constitutes a dry fly. I'm stunned that on some rivers you can't use a deer hair emerger or a Klinkhammer, because they extend below the surface. That's pretty extreme, even by chalkstream standards. There aren't many traditionally hackled patterns that don't sit in the surface film, and we know that with most of them the hackle penetrates beneath the waves. Still, I guess if you control the fishing you get to make up the rules; if we accept them we buy a ticket, if we don't then we fish somewhere else.

I've been doing a fair bit of still-water fishing lately and luckily the rules aren't quite so strict up here. There's been a fair bit of surface activity. Lots of swirls and lazy backs-and-tails, as fish feed on small hatching midge and their pupa. The fish will take the occasional fly off the top, but mostly they're interested in flies pulled along about one inch below the surface.

In still conditions this can be a tough thing to do. Six inches is too deep and scooting along in the film creating a wake is too shallow. Having leader on the surface also is a no-no.

So, I'm fishing submergers. This involves a long leader with the submerger (either a snowshoe emerger or a half-hog, I think an F-fly would be OK ) on the point and a midge pupa on a dropper about 5ft up the leader. The dropper fly is designed to penetrate the surface film and start to sink the leader. After a few seconds I can give the line a quick pull and the point fly pops under the water, just. With a nicely tied snowshoe emerger it'll sometimes pop up through the meniscus if I stop retrieving (a very cool presentation!) but mostly the fish want it pulled back at a steady figure-of-eight speed.

I've had the float tube out on some of these sessions, which makes me feel like some kind of a Klinkhammer-made-human, half-in and half-out of the water. I don't think the keepers on the Wye would approve.


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