Q & A: Which line is best for shallow water fishing?

Q: When fishing shallows of less than six feet deep, which do you prefer to use: a midge-tip line, or a slow glass/hover line?

Nick Sliwkanich

ROB EDMUNDS REPLIES: I would opt for a midge-tip line and in particular the three-foot fast intermediate tip version. There are a number of different length tips and sinking densities now available for anglers wishing to purchase a midge-tip with three, six and 12-foot tips being the most popular.


The reason is simple. You will have more control over your line and cast, and, depending

on your leader length, type of flies and fly spacings, you will be able to fish the flies at all depths from just under the surface to along the bottom.

For example, if you wanted to fish nymphs in the top three feet I would use a copolymer leader with size 12 Crunchers or Diawl Bachs on the droppers and a Booby on the point.

If you wanted to fish nymphs deeper (down to 10 feet) then use a fluorocarbon leader, with a heavyweight Buzzer on the top dropper, a Cruncher on the middle and a Micro Booby on the point. Obviously, with weighted lures or nymphs you would be fishing the bottom layers.

Indicator takes

Q: While fishing a single Buzzer under a Thingamabob indicator I had at least 40 takes. I landed seven fish and had four more come off. I suspect I was striking too quickly when the bung went under. What’s the best way to strike and improve my catch rate?

Gary Reynolds

PAUL RICHARDSON REPLIES: There is an easy way to resolve this issue and that is to go one or two sizes up on your strike indicator sizing. What is potentially happening is your set-up is almost too perfectly balanced and even the slightest inquiry from an inquisitive trout is making it go under. You are then striking before the fish has consumed your fly.

By increasing the size of your sight indicator it means the indicator only goes under when a trout has fully committed to eating it. This way you are not pulling the fly out of the strike zone, instead you are increasing your catch numbers.

Dropper lengths

Q: What is the best length for droppers? All fly fisherman seem to talk about droppers but fail to say how long they should be.

Jan Hack

ROB EDMUNDS REPLIES: Dropper lengths can vary slightly depending on the style of fishing you are undertaking.

tip-the-rod-back-a-little-on-the-back-cast-to-avoid-dropper-tanglesFor example, when traditional ‘loch- styling’ with Bumble and Dabbler patterns it’s normal to have droppers up to 10 or 12 inches long. This extra length allows the flies to be ‘dibbled’ through the surface when short-lining.

However, for standard Stillwater or reservoir fishing I start by fishing nine-inch droppers. These will allow me a couple of fly changes before they get too short. I would then change the leader once the droppers get to five inches.

Tangle-free casts

Q: What’s the best way to fish when you’re using a dropper? When I use two flies my cast ends up like my granny’s knitting!

Andrew Marr

PETER COCKWILL REPLIES: I always say that the tangle when using two flies is interesting and when using three flies it’s fascinating!

But you can lessen your chances of getting in a mess by adopting a much slower casting stroke and opening out the back loop by tipping the rod a Little back beyond the upright at the finish of the back cast. That way there is Less chance of the leader and flies being too close to each other on the turnover and hence getting in a tangle.

As with most casting it really does pay to slow down. I also Look to see how my flies have landed and at the first sign of ‘trouble’ I check the leader.

I also believe that using a tapered leader is a definite advantage as it helps turnover as opposed to a level length of nylon.


Rod weights and when to use them

Q: l’m a new trout fisherman and was wondering if you could explain about rod weights and their corresponding uses?

Robert Rao

IS: Rods are marked up with numbers which relate to the most effective Line weight they can be used with and they should really be matched to the situation you find yourself fishing.

For example, rod sizes 6-8wt would normally be your standard Stillwater fishery range and they match perfectly to the size of fly/tippet/fish you are likely to encounter in the UK.

Rods rated 2-5wt would ideally be used in streams and rivers where smaller flies and shorter, more delicate casts are required.

When you get into the heavier size of 9-plus, this is really useful when either you need to cast great distance or land large fish, such as salmon or saltwater species.

There is of course some crossover but the above would be a good general guide.

Weighted flies

Q: l’ve noticed that a lot of flies can be fished ‘weighted’. How is it best to apply this weight?

Stewart Thorpe

ROBBIE WINRAM REPLIES: Weighting in a fly usually consists of various forms of lead, tungsten wire, beads or beadchain.

The easiest way to apply lead is in the form of wire which you simply wrap around the hook shank in close touching turns before adding the body material over the top. Lead wire comes in various diameters from superfine to thick so you can tie up a range of the same pattern but with different diameters of Lead wire to achieve a nice slimline body and different sink rates.

Lead foil is another option. It comes in strip form on a card and in self-adhesive sheet form which you cut to shape with scissors or a scalpel and apply around the hook shank. This foil is particularly useful for creating the distinctive ‘hump’ back on a shrimp pattern.

Tungsten wire, heavier than lead wire, is less common and quite difficult to work. It is very springy and I suggest you secure it with Superglue and cross wraps of thread to stop it from uncoiling from the hook. But if you’ve got the patience a little tungsten wire does offer a lot of weight.

Beads offer probably the most versatility as they come in so many variations including round, dumb-belland cone and in glass, resin, brass, Lead-sub and tungsten. They are available in a range of different sizes from tiny 2.3mm to almost 5mm, and in many different finishes – black, gold, silver, copper, matt, metallic and hot fluo enamel colours.

Look for beads with a tapered or countersunk hole or a slot on one side as these are easier to get onto the hook.

For more information about hunting and fishing, visit Robbie’s website at: https://hunting-tips.net/

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