The Joy of Wets

The Joy of Wets

Martyn White | Tuesday, 12 November 2019

I'm pretty sure that you if you asked most fly fishers which freshwater method they liked best, they'd say dry fly. I'm not talking about most effective, but most loved. Folk seem to love watching a fish sip down a nicely presented dry, the literature is full of it and it's a passion that is driving the avian eugenicists to produce ever longer and crisper hackle. Not me though.

Much as I enjoy the dry fly, there's nothing that catches my imagination quite like the thought of drifting in an old clinker built loch boat, drogue hanging out the back slowing the drift over slate waves with heavy dark grey clouds scudding across the sky. 

I have always loved arriving at the loch in those slightly uncomfortable conditions that scream wet fly. 

Picking out the team from the box, how big a fly do the waves warrant? How bushy? Maybe a muddler on the bob? What's going on the point and dropper? Bright , dark? Is there a hatch?  Motoring out and settling in to the drift. Casting the short line and pulling the team back to the hang with the bob fly bulging through the surface film of the wave. The flash and tug as a furious brown or seatrout snatches the fly right in front of you. That's my favourite... By a mile.

It's a seemingly simple way of fishing, but there are dozens of nuances that only come from experience, and like every branch of the sport individuals all have their favourite flies, lines and leaders that definitely work better than anything else that anyone else is doing. And the flies that don't work; I've never caught a fish on a soldier palmer- I'm actually suspicious that the fly's popularity might be some kind of conspiracy. But I worry it's a skill that is at risk, Ireland, Scotland, and Wales are places where loch/lough style wetfly fishing still truly hang on, maybe also in some parts of England although I'm not sure it's as prevelant. 

The flies too, are a joy to the fly tyer. Wets are my favourite flies to tie challenging and aesthetically pleasing, they offer a great opportunity to develop and hone your skills at the vice. They also make a good bridge  for learning the skills needed to tie classic salmon flies without the same level of expense.

You can tweak and adapt to your hearts content or stick with established patterns, it's great fun. Give it a try.