.......................  ......Fly Fishing Yellowstone National Park


The Basics: Presentation - Part 4
The fly must drift downstream over the trout in a natural manner. If it isn't moving
along at the same speed of other stuff on the water, such as debris, bubbles
and of course the insects the trout is feeding on, the trout is going to notice it. If
a trout eats ten emerging mayflies in a row all drifting the same way
downstream, and your fly doesn't drift at the same speed and in the same line of
drift as the real insects, the trout is going to notice it. As mentioned before,
getting a fly to drift naturally, drag free, isn't easy to do.

Your fly line is most likely floating across currents of different speeds and
currents that are flowing in slightly different directions. It depends on the type of
water, of course, but even in a smooth surface stream where everything
appears to be all the same, currents are usually crisscrossing. The different
currents moves your fly line and your leader. When they do, if there isn't any
slack in the line or leader, the fly is going to be dragged along unnaturally. It is
going to be pulled by the fly line or leader. If there is enough slack in it, the fly
will continue to float along as if it were not attached to the leader and fly line.
This is a lot of writing about a drag free drift but some anglers don't actually stop
and think about what that means and what it takes to correct it.

The tippet has to be long and flexible enough that you can have curves in it. If it
is stiff, it will drag the fly unnaturally. If you are fishing pocket water, using very
short cast and your are able to hold most of your fly line and leader out of the
water during the drift, the leader doesn't necessarily have to be long. Short
leaders and tippets often work well under these conditions. If you are fishing a
smooth section of the Madison River or Firehole River in the park, for example,
the leader and tippet has to be long enough to have several cures in it. That
brings up another problem. Casting a long, light leader and tippet isn't easy.
This is especially true if there is any wind. Making the fly land smoothly, with
plenty of slack line in the tippet, yet land where you want it to land, takes a lot of
practice and it takes getting the leader and tippet being used matched up right
with the fly rod and fly line.

When you buy a factory tapered leader, the tippet part of the leader as it comes
right out of the package is often too short for smooth water with conflicting
currents. Thats because the leader is usually made to cast well. If the tippet is
very long in proportion to the other parts or tapers in the leader, it isn't going to
cast well. In fact, most factory tapered leaders have too short of a tippet section
on them for smooth, clear water with a lot of tricky currents. You need a lot of
slack line in the tippet and you can't have that without a fairly long tippet.