When in doubt.... do nothing [Archive] - Fly Fishing Forum

: When in doubt.... do nothing

i'm so outta here
01-31-2001, 08:06 PM
From the deep sand eel sit on the south island tip to the Suconnesset shoals lazy man's strip, there's something to be said for a do nothing retrieve. Sometimes just letting your fly hang in current or sit on the sandy bottom of a beach is just what the fish want. Sure, varying your retrieves is always a good idea, but sometimes you just have to suck it up and admit that occasionally there's poetry in [no] motion.

Anyone have a story related to this idea?

<font size="1">BTW, Juro and GregO can fill us in on what I'm alluding to in my first sentence....</font><!--1-->

01-31-2001, 08:40 PM
Fishing "the Dangle" is pretty common (and occaisionally deadly) when Salmon fishing - rule of thumb used to be count to thirty before making the next Spey cast - of course in this instance the flowing current is still working the fly.

Last year I used arctic fox on some bonefish flies and found otherwise reluctant fish prepared to literally pounce on a "static" fly lying on the bottom. This was an accidental discovery which occured after the guide had told me my cast was too long (and was he surprised - LOL). Once again, I suspect that the current working the highly mobile A/F wing was the key.

01-31-2001, 09:36 PM
I use the "Catatonic" presentation with several leech, backswimmer, dragonfly nymphs. The trick is to find a balance between overall weight and bouyancy of the material.
Several tests in a pond teach me how deep the fly sinks. Then I just cast it and let it sink. I have 3 foot, 6 foot and 9 foot specimens that I developped over the years. It works great on lakes for slow days, seems like large cruising trout can't resist the free offering. Slow/no retrieve is the ideal for this type of approach, If there is a little wind, cast such that the wind action keeps moving the line away from you, just stay in touch with the fly.
Very important to write down the amount of weight and dubbing so you can duplicate it after. Wind action seems to impart just enough movement to trigger a usually violent strike. Never had much success with sitting on the bottom, but trout may be too fussy?
Catatonic supension should be worth a try in the salt during the slack periods before or after a tide change.
Let me know if anyone experiments with this technique.

02-01-2001, 04:27 AM
That was the ticket out on suconnesset last year. Feed some line back into the rip and leave it there twenty feet behind the boat. You could watch the Spanish macs come up behind the fly and neatly clip it off your leader. Time after time after time after time.

Bob Pink
02-01-2001, 05:48 AM
Ken Abrahmes(sp?) is a big proponent of letting the fly 'swim' into the strike zone naturally by concentrating on presentation; swing, mend. (Read: The Perfect Fish) Anytime there is moving water, a cast and strip will typically pull the fly away from the fish waiting for bait.
The Tip-rip dead-drift was clearly illustrated to me on RT II las year. I had been casting the deep sandeel out about 90* to the shoreline and letting it swing in from that spot. Someone who had been there on RT I (I apologize for not remembering the name) suggested that I cast more upcurrent, mend out some line as it came perpendicular and then walk the fly down the beach about 10-20 steps before stripping back in. Of course that mean I had a butt-kicking fish take me to the cleaners 2 minutes later. With that moving water, the key was to get the fly down deeper and drift it right over the holes.

02-01-2001, 08:25 AM
As you know the concept works. Here's prove. How many times have you had a hook-up while untangling knots while leaving your fly drifting in the current?

Watch the action of the nearby baitfish and try to mimick their motion. Quite often they are just holding their ground.

02-01-2001, 12:29 PM
Untangling knots - hmm that brings back a painful memory. Back in my freshwater days, we would fish a team of three flies for rainbows & browns from a drifting boat on lakes. One morning, we hadn't even left the boat jetty, I was stripping line ready for the start of the first drift and somehow the point fly was hanging in the water over the side of the boat. A 3 pound rainbow grabbed the fly and the next thing I knew I was plying the fish with my right index finger, the middle dropper well and truly embedded. After a short but extremely painful fight I netted the fish. Static can be truly deadly!

02-01-2001, 12:40 PM
Ray, that's a good point. This fall was my lastest situation which I should have known better from past experiences. I was fishing from a boat off of South Beach in Chatham, the eastern shore and boats were drifting all over the place and we seemed to hook up consistantly with good size fall stripers with sand sharks following them in(I think Little sand sharks), anyway ,I stop to help my buddy land a fish and I thought I stripped my fly all the way but I guess a portion of my leader slipped back in the water and as I am helping this guy my rod in the stern of the boat starts jumping all over the place, from one side to the other. I lunged for it just as it is about to go over(even with the loose drag). almost bye-bye to a Scott Eclips 10 wt and Tibor riptide.. ouch.

02-01-2001, 05:26 PM
Adrian... OUCH!!!!! I was cringing reading about the fly in your finger with another one yanking on it. by the way, what kind of pattern do you use the fox for? I've been playing a bit with it as well. I have white, red, olive and silver/gray fox tails. Tom D

02-01-2001, 09:12 PM

I know that at the end of last season jborkowski and I had a decent night catching schoolie to medium sized bass at Singing Beach (North Shore of Mass). We had a good night but the only successful stripping method that fooled the bass on a regular basis was a very, very slow retrieve. I was moving the fly about 2 inches every 5 seconds. A dead drift would have worked just as well as the crawl. However, the crawl really helped me to stay in contact with the fly and feel the slight tick of a striking bass.


02-02-2001, 11:36 AM
When fishing a strong current the "no-strip" method is definately worth trying & probably should be the First thing you try. Not to be redundant with Al, but Big-Girl & Succonessett are two prime examples. In both cases casting perpendicular or even a little up-current was the prefered method, then a little up-current mend, then letting the fly & line swing past. The only stripping necessary is to keep fly contact.

Now for some difference, the morning I was "in-the-zone" at Big Girl, I let the fly swing all the way across the "C-shaped" bar at the tip & twitched the fly as it went into the deep hole behind the bar. The pickup was so light I thought a hooked a micro & started chatting with Al. It finally dawned on me that I had never really set the hook, so I gave a little combined strip&rod set & that's when all hell broke loose. As best as I can figure, the cow inhaled my fly & proceeded to swim towards me at a leisurely pace.

Now at Succonesset, we were anchoring up in the deep water about 50' above the bar. Getting a boat into good position on a rip is not trivial & it took us about a day and a half to really figure it out. The most effective cast was to flop out about 40' of line perp. to the current, then play out more line. Again, as best a we could figure, the Maks. were basically cursing the bar & waiting for disoriented bait to get washed out of the deep water onto the bar. So, we were playing out line & getting out fly to wash over the bar. If there was no strike you could simply strip in 8-10' of line & then play it back out to try again. I should also mention that there were Maks in the deep water, but they were less concentrated, however once in awhile one would pop up right off the stern of the boat flowing our fly as we were stripping in.

There are tons of example when the swing or dead drift should be tried, mouths of rivers & estuaries (especially if there's jetties), The Canal, Any rip close to sure, ans so on.

i'm so outta here
02-02-2001, 12:24 PM
Some great stories here, gang....THANKS! Here's my own:

As some of you may recall, I dislocated my left ring finger last season on some slippery rocks while trying to assist a stranded boater. I'm still not 100% healed from that -- the knuckle is swollen, throbs in the cold, and I've had to start wearing my wedding band on the other hand....

Well, about a month after the injury, I was out trying to break the skunk I was experiencing since the mishap. It was rough going. Fish were finicky and I wasn't fishing very efficiently since every third cast or so would go awry: I'd catch my finger on my wading belt during a double haul, lose hold of the line, and spend the next few minutes recovering it and composing myself to try again. Each time this happened, off went my back cast to the shallows near the beach.

On one particularly painful occurrence of this, I had to stop what I was doing altogether and just rub my finger until the pain went away. While I was stretching my hand out to release the knot in the tendons, the remaining line in my basket suddenly started peeling off like it was attached to a freight train. A 28" schoolie had been cruising the shallows and picked up my absolutely motionless fly.

"Don't be a wuss," I thought and I grabbed the line with my bum hand and started stripping for all I was worth. When I finally caught up to the fish it had run out into the fast current. The subsequent hook set was like trying to stop a falling concrete block with dental floss, but my leader held. Man! what feeling to finally be on after so long. I was one happy gimp.

After a time, I managed to horse the fish into the calmer waters and landed her, so ending my three week drought, in praise of doing nothing http://www.flyfishingforum.com/images/flytalk/Wilk.gif


02-03-2001, 10:18 AM
Hi Tom

I used the arctic fox for the winging a variation on the 'gotcha. I think the color is described as Butterscotch. In addition to the wing material change, we replaced the pink head with fluro neon red - just a small 'bead' - believe it or not it doesn't spook 'em and works a treat in size 6 down on Exuma.