Hover your flies!

Hover your flies!

Viking Lars | Saturday, 30 January 2021

We have about 2 inches on snow, right now -7 degrees Celcius (around 20) where I live. The water is 1-2 degrees cold and that means that sea trout are quite inactive, not eating much. It also means that they seek warmer water, and just 1 degree can mean the difference between finding fish or not. I once fished a small bay not far from where I live. The inner parts had slush ice so I walked to the mouth of the inlet, where there was no slush ice. My thermometer said 0,1 degrees Celcius. The waiting game was on, and after about an hour, I spotted a small school of sea trout (it was a calm, sunny day) and managed to catch one (not very big) but as I played it, it spooked a couple of big ones (I’d say 3-4kg ones). In this case, just that change from slush ice to water made the difference.

Seeking ever so slightly warmer water means that sea trout often are found in shallow water during the cold months (or in quite deep water, but that’s hard to reach for a fly fisher). And by shallow, I mean quite shallow. Any where from ankle- to knee deep. A sunny day can heat up shallows just enough to bring in the sea trout. A sunny days in shallow water of course means long, light leaders and small flies. Many use light lines too, as do I. I try not to wade in or not to spook trout. If wading is necessary, always cast ahead of where you’re walking. Always!!!

Just fishing a normal, unweighted fly slowly in this shallow water can present a challenge as removing a stuck fly is also enough to spook nearby fish. Enter the hover fly. This type of fly was first brought to my attention by a well know Danish fly fisher, Jens Staal - now retired from the shop Go Fishing. During the winter and the difficult times in late September and early October, he often fishes small, lightly dressed flies on light wire hooks. Simply letting them hover with almost no movement.

I’m not sure who took this concept a step further and began adding foam to the flies (maybe Jens Staal, but it might have been someone else, maybe Claus Eriksen to keep hos rather large fly, Pattegrisen, hovering?). The idea is not to float the fly, but to make it virtually weightless, so it’s possible to fish it very slowly over shallow water, and even let it hang/hover.

Very descriptive of the eather, the fly is photographed on a background of snow...

A very simple fly to tie:

Hook: Ahrex NS 172 six 6-10.
Thread: To match the dubbing - 8/0 Uni.
Rib: 0,18mm mono.
Body: Dubbing of your choice.
Back: Foam, colour of your choice (pink can be good too), fastened only with the rib. Don’t murder it with tension.

If you fish cold (as in really cold) water - do try these flies and techniques. They can be very effective.

Have a great weekend!