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


The Basics: Presentation - Part 6
Yesterday, I wrote a lot about getting slack in your tippet in order to get a drag
free drift. Remember, slack in the tippet will only provide a very short drag free
drift, depending on the current your fly line is floating across. You need slack in
the fly line, leader and tippet if you need for your fly to drift drag free very far. If
you are casting to a feeding trout, and can make a fairly accurate cast, then you
can shorten the length you need for your fly to drift provided you can make the
fly land without any disturbance. The closer the fly lands to the trout, the more
likely it is to spook the trout rather than catch it.

I mentioned that factory tapered leaders often have too short of a tippet section
when you are fishing smooth, clear water, such as in spring creeks. When you
add extra tippet or increase the length, you are also making it more difficult to
cast. The tippet material cannot be stiff or it will tend to drag the fly. Smaller flies
need tippets that are lighter than heavier flies. It is difficult to turn the fly over
when you are using long, light tippets. For example, you cannot turn a bass bug
over very well on a four foot, 7X tippet. You could turn over a very small dry fly
or nymph on it. The more air resistant the fly, the more difficult it is to turn the fly
over. If you are fishing a hook size 18 Blue-winged Olive Dun, then a four foot
long tippet is about as long of a tippet as it is possible to turn over. You may
have to adjust the length, or shorten the tippet for certain flies and tippet
lengths. Of course wind affects this considerably. The stiffness of the tippet
material affects it also but you cannot use stiff tippet material, or it will affect the
drift of the fly. Of course, all of this is affected by the way you cast and the rod
and fly line you are using. Trial and error is required in many cases. The key is
to use as long of a tippet as you can use and still turn the fly over when you are
fishing conflicting currents in very smooth, clear water.

Remember too, that you always need to get into the best position to cast from,
not just to reach the trout and keep it from seeing you, but also to help control
the drag. Often, you can just move a few feet in one direction and lessen the
potential drag. You could change from casting directly across current to down
and slightly across, or up and slightly across. This isn't always possible, but the
point I want to make is to be sure you are in the best position to cast. There's no
sense it making it tougher than it has to be.

Of course you can always mend the line to help get a drag free drift, but as I
said a couple of articles back, if your fly line, leader and tippet lands on the
water across current in a straight line, the fly is going to drag instantly. You have
to rely on more than just mending your line to control drag. I will get into
mending tomorrow.