I decided I was going to just fish dry and started with a mulberry pattern. It probably wasn't the way to catch the most fish on the day, but sometimes you just have to do it the way you want to and after weeks of not getting out, that's what I decided to do. It wasn't completely based on stubbornness, having limited time before the thunder I wasnted to move along the river pretty quickly just looking for fish hanging under trees and bushes that I could make a quick shot at an move on. The river was still a bit dirty from the rain too so It was easy to miss the fish feeding on the bottom, and by the time I got started the clouds had already started appearing so I was mostly able to see fish in extreme shallow water or hanging near the surface.
The fish were a bit snotty, mostly milling about neutrally and there were a few that looked like they'd eat but refused or spooked from shots that I thought were good. Although after basically a month of not being able to fish, maybe I wasn't getting the shots quite right at times, even though they looked good.. hard to be 100% sure, but it's something to pay attention to next time. I did manage to get three fish in about an hour and a half, then I started hearing the rumble of thunder and decided to pack up. I had another 3 eats but didn't get the hook in the fish. 1 was because my leader hung on a twig with the fly making it to the surface so when the target fish tried to eat, it couldn't suck it down and spooked, I'm calling that bad luck on a presentation under a bush. The other 2 I was just too quick on the strike, that's clearly user error and I should have caught them. If I get out this week, weather permitting, I'll probably fish a dry for a while just to try and dial that back in. I don't want to accept the rustiness!
The first fish I missed illustrated something that I'm convinced is a major factor in carp rejecting or spooking from dry flies. Too much floatation. It's why I don't use alot of foam for them and when I do it's with a heavy hook and the fly must float low- for something like a beetle I still use foam. Over the years I've spooked a lot of fish that have tried to eat a foam berry or hopper, it's often happened at very close range and I've been able to watch them trying to suck the fly down then suddenly spook off it when it resists. Nowadays I will go through the struggle to keep a foamless (loosely spun deer hair is ideal) fly floating on top, because I'm sure it results in more hookups and landed fish.