Martyn White | Thursday, 4 May 2023

I've been tying a batch of dapping flies this week. Not for myself but for a friend in Ireland, dapping isn't something I've got much experience with, but it is quite interesting.

I should clarify what I mean by dapping; I'm talking about loch/lough style fishing with a long rod and a blow-line, not dapping as river anglers might refer to the technique of lowering a fly so only it touches the water. Both can be very effective but are quite different.

When I first saw someone dapping on a loch many years ago, I must admit to hving a fairly negative impression. I mean, although it catches fish, it looks boring, and a bit lazy. I've heard the same thing from others, but they, and I are wrong. Like so many things that look artless, there's a great deal of skill involved in being good at it. Yes, you can if you choose, fish the dap very lazily and catch fish, but I remember watching an old guy called Jimmy at it and it was something else, it really was. He didn't just let the blow-line waft out, he controlled the angles and was able to keep that fly just tripping the surface for ages. Not jumping on and off, not dibbling half submerged but skittering along perfectly in between the two. He could change the direction the fly was traveling, manipulating it so the fly was moving back and forth across the line of the drift. I watched, listened and tried to copy, but just couldn't get close to him with only a day's practice. It would take years of regular dapping to get that good, but I was still better than I had been that morning.

I'm thinking it might be a good idea to give it a go again, the gear is so cheap you'd hardly mind if it didn't get used -dapping rods are about 50 quid although many favour coarse float fishing rods as they're lighter- floss is less than tippet and the flies are simple. So it'd be easy to get set up, the difficulty nowadays would be finding someone to teach you so you don't need to rely wholly on trial and error. The other thing is if people get on to it, it might help preserve a rare or dying type of fly fishing that is nonetheless deadly.

There's very little info online, but this is among the best I've found