The Presentation of The Fly

by Fly Fisherman

The presentation of your fly is another substantial condition that has a bearing on successful results. I can tell you to lay your dry fly on the water like a wisp of down and that the fly must deliver a cocky semblance of the natural, that it must float without a trace of drag, that it must float high, under one condition, or that it must float close to the water, under another condition, that your leader most certainly must be submerged to prevent that magnified shadow on the bed of the stream, that you must fish upstream or that you must fish downstream and you’ll exclaim, “Beloved cow, what does that lug expect?”
I don’t expect it! A perfect presentation is one for the book, they’re so rare even with skilled and long experienced trout fishermen. What is to be expected is that every cast you make, every fly you present should be done as well as you know how. What is to be expected is that you will refrain from careless casts thrown without aim, without interest and without thinking. When you get to that stage it’s time for a siesta and a cigarette or a pipeful.

If ten per cent of the fishermen fishing trout would average ten days of fishing during a season and would, throughout the day, make almost perfect presentations of their flies with a faultless approach, then were compelled to kccp all those over ten inches, for this example, every stream would be stripped clean of trout. You might ask what about the little ones? The other ninety per cent of the fishermen, those with faulty or mediocre approaches and presentations, would have all those trout running up to ten inches in their creels by July 1st. Those are the kind they generally bring home anyway. When these fishermen do snare sizable fish it’s because of an accidental, unplanned, suitable approach and presentation.

I haven’t outlined much on what a good presentation is. This, too, is an essential that must be determined somewhat
by the fisherman according to the conditions under which he has to present his fly. In fishing the dry fly, of course, a chief necessity is NO DRAG. The fly must float, looking much like natural insects to the trout, and the natural insect floats freely, unhampered by a leader. The fly must be directed to, and placed above, the potential fish immediately beside the channel which carries his food to him. The leader, attached to the fly must be away from this channel whether your fly is drifting to the right or left of that food channel line. If fishing the wet fly, or nymph, it too must make its journey as would the underwater natural, whether the natural be insect or minnow. There are other methods of presentation which will be covered later under the specific suggestions for fishing the various types of flies.

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