DAPPING A WET FLY

by Fly Fisherman

There is a special method of fishing small, deep pools where it is possible to get your rod directly over the deepest water without the fish in the pool seeing you. This situation turns up fairly often in rocky canyons in Western streams and occasionally in Eastern and Middle Western trout streams. Often there is an underwater ledge that prevents the fish seeing you. If the bank of the pool is covered with thick vegetation it helps because you won’t then be silhouetted against a sky line background. I call this dapping a fly.
Make your approach slowly and carefully. Keep low. You may have to use the dodge of moving in to your fishing position, even if the fish can see you in the process, and then staying still long enough to let the trout forget the disturbance and go back to their feeding. This they will usually do if you give them time.
In dapping a nymph or any wet fly, I use a leader long enough to reach the bottom of the small deep pool or rock pocket without having any of the line in the water at all. You can dap a fly either on the surface or near the bottom; but I’ll give suggestions on surface dapping later when we are studying the use of the dry fly.
Just now, suppose we are using a nymph, which we should be in the 50° to 55° water temperature range we are considering. With a flip cast or a roll cast, send the fly to the head of the pool and let it sink to the bottom, which is usually sand, gravel or hardpan. If the nymph stops on the bottom, gently raise the top of the rod so the fly will continue its drift to the deepest part of the pool. Use a natural drift technique except let the fly light and stay on the bottom for a few seconds every few feet of the drift. As you can see just what it is doing all the time, you can guide the fly just as you want to. Don’t try to give the nymph any regular wet fly action. In fact, a nymph should never be fished by live fly, or action, technique.

DAPPING A BUCKTAIL
If, after several dapping casts with the nymph, you get no action from the trout—you can probably see the fish—then change to a bucktail or streamer and try some action. Cast the same way, let the bucktail sink and then bring it up with a series of gentle twitches of the rod tip, much as you work a bass bug except that this action is vertical while the fly is under water. When the fly gets to the surface let it drift down again
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and towards you. Strip in any slack line and repeat the vertical-twitch technique. The hairs of the bucktail or the feathers on the streamer fly should wiggle in this twitch retrieve much like the rubber skirt on an Hawaiian Wiggler.

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