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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
peter-s-c said:
That's assuming you allow a belly to form and the line to be dragged on the cross-current cast. I wouldn't say that is true if you maintain a drag free drift through mending or other means.

peter-s-c said:
Gary, Willie, it only dawned on me afterward that the difference in our positions is based on the typical differences between steelheading and fishing for Atlantics.
I cannot understand why anyone would like to dead drift a fly. Educate me please I'm just a salmon fisher
Surely the fly only has life when it is moving relatively to the current. A fly dead drifting must appear lifeless. Like a leaf or piece of twig.
 

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#&%*@^# Caster
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Good question. Some of us on this side of the pond would love to know as well :lildevl:

-sean
 

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Willie Gunn,

I do not like the idea of dead drifting a fly for atlantic salmon. However, their have been some articles printed in the UK angling press about anglers doing well by dead drifting weighted nymphs over autumn salmon during times of low water.

It is done by casting upstream over known lies and preferably where the fish can be seen to mouth the fly. The technique is, apparently, not dissimilar to fishing a weighted nymph on a short line for river trout.

I have heard a rumour that this technique actually foul hooks more salmon than it takes cleanly. To me, this seems logical, as dead drifting a weighted fly over a salmon lie is sure to give high odds of illegally hooking the fish.

It all seems a step too far for me (desperate) ; if you can't take a fish cleanly on the swing then just put it down to poor conditions.

Tight Lines,

Gary.
 

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Here's why!

On the river I regularly fish, beadhead nymphs are dead drifted in the current for steelhead quite effectively. The idea is that these flies represent the nymphal life stage of aquatic insects that opportunistic trout find naturally drifting along on or near the bottom with the flow of the current, usually along seams. If any action other than the dead drift of these immitations were imparted, the trout would refuse it as unnatural. These insects will rise through the water column when hatching, but not against or across the current. Rather, they tumble along with the current. The flip side of this is that predatory trout will chase a swung fly as well, so rather than dead drifting under an indicator (bobber :mad: ) an angler can cast the fly upstream of a desired piece of water, letting it sink (mend big here) and dead drift it though a likely looking holding area where a fish may lie, and then when the dead drift has run it's optimum length, given the amount of line out, current speed, etc. and a dead drift can no longer be managed, the fly can be swung around under control (mend!) to the dangle. We use caddis pupa, flashback pheasant tails with a turn of partridge, birdsnests, etc.. It should be noted that this is in a river and at times (much of the year, actually) where the steelhead are not big, often referred to as half pounders, and behave much like regular old trout.
 

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Why not ??

got to reply here.

A dead drifted fly is the most natural presentation there can be.
So, in turn it makes sense to use it.

The fly will only be lifeless if built/created that way.

A specifically designed dead drift fly looks alive in the water, even when at rest.

Small fluctuations in current will move a dead drifted fly in ways you'll never emulate by hand.

It is done by casting upstream over known lies
Not always

I have heard a rumour that this technique actually foul hooks more salmon than it takes cleanly. To me, this seems logical, as dead drifting a weighted fly over a salmon lie is sure to give high odds of illegally hooking the fish.
Total rubbish, don't know where you heard that at all. In fact detecting takes on dead drifts are quite difficult sometimes, and fish will often mouth the fly many times without the angler seeing or feeling it happen.

Now, if a fish mouths a fly, and in turn hooks itself in the proccess of refusal, then its a legal take. Swinging a fly over a known lie is much more likely to snag a salmon than a dead drift.
 

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fly on little wing
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Hi Willie

I catch alot of fish on the dead drift. More so than on a swing. Many of my flies have marabou or rabbit. These materials undulate with the slightest current. I think that most fish are lazy and prefer to pick up an offering in their face while they lay in the foam line versus chasing something down. I think this is true especially after they have been pricked a few times throughtout the winter. From my experience, the longer the fish (steelhead) is in the river, the more it behaves like a resident trout.

Gary
 

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Myfishcasting,

Firstly, I have heard that a lot of atlantic salmon are foul hooked using dead drift methods by experienced, dependable ghillies. So, I think "totally rubbish" was a bit strong.

Also, if a fish attacks your hook, misses, turns and hooks itself anywhere other than the mouth, that fish is considrered to be foul hooked. Most decent anglers that I know would return a fish taken in this manner.

I have absolutely no doubt that the dead drift method works as well for migratory species as it does for others. When I was still at school I used to fish my local river by dead drifting patterns that imitated maggots/grubs for sea trout. This method often outfished others. My point is, that I no longer employ a dead drift for migratory species as I do not like this method; I leave others to make up their own minds and fish whatever legal method suits them.

Tight Lines,
Gary.
 

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I think "totally rubbish" was a bit strong.
Gary W:

I apologise. That remark was not directed at you or anyone else. It was written as a shock response to something i firmly believe is wrong. They may have experienced otherwise. Saying that, and this is going to sound bad :devil:

My experiences, on the rivers over the years shows that many say they dead drift but in reality actually don't. This gives us a fly that behaves differently to either a swung fly or a true dead drifted fly.


Also, if a fish attacks your hook, misses, turns and hooks itself anywhere other than the mouth, that fish is considrered to be foul hooked. Most decent anglers that I know would return a fish taken in this manner.
I return 99.9% of all my fish, whether game/coarse or sea. What i'm refering to is the process of an actual take, and the fish pricking itself with the hook whilst rejecting the fly. I:e still hooking itself in the mouth.

You rarely in my experience get take information from the hook hold whilst dead drifting as opposed to swinging through a lie. And this in turn must mean a fish has made a rational choice to take a dead drifted fly. A swung fly will only be in the window of opportunity for a fraction of the time, and when seen, will or hopefully trigger a response.

Most times in fact, and i'm referring here to atlantics, i'll dead drift a pattern along the lie path, and then apply tension creating a swing across the fishes nose. This is a good method. In my experience, across many species, i've only ever foul hooked a very, very low percentage of fish. Bass are the worse, as they smash the fly with whatever is available. Flank, gill covers, tail, etc are all the same to bass, but again, rarely does the dead drift fly foul fish. It sort of just gets batted around.

I've heard on here that steelhead prefer a sub current speed presentation, but you can still use a dead drift to set up the final assault.

The possibilities are endless, and slack line, slack fly presentations, whilst not always in vogue, should i think be tried much more often, especially when all else fails.
 

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Do steelhead feed in fresh water? Looking at some of the flies used, which seem to be quite imitative of freshwater bugs, it seems to me that they may do, though I'd be interested to know if that is in fact the case. Certainly sea trout (sea run browns) feed in rivers. Salmon obviously do not feed, and I think this may be the key to the different approaches.

If a migratory fish is still feeding in the river, a dead-drift fly has a chance of working, in just the same way that a nymph or upstream wet fly is fished for non-migratory trout, imitating a fly or nymph washed down in the current. The question of why salmon take a fly or bait at all in fresh water is an age-old conundrum. It seems to me that if it is because of a feeding instinct, this will be triggered by something that looks and behaves like the food source it has been accustomed to. In the open ocean this will not be something drifting lifelessly in the water. Thus a fly or lure that appears to be swimming against the current will be more likely to trigger a response from a salmon.

Like Myfishcasting, I wonder how often the so-called dead drifted flies that take atlantic salmon are truly dead drifted. On the south-of-England chalkstreams (eg Test and Itchen) they catch salmon on weighted nymphs, but my understanding is that they use something approaching a Sawyer-style 'induced take'. The moment when a fly goes from drifting lifelessly in the water to suddenly showing signs of movement could be the trigger, I suspect, in the same way that the killing moment when upstream spinning is just when the lure turns and lifts in the water. I suspect some 'dead drifted' flies actually attract salmon at the moment when they cease to be dead drifted and come alive.
 

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Gardener,

Your point is certainly true to the way I've had the tequnique explained to me. I believe the correct way of nymphing for atlantic salmon is to cast far enough upstream of the fish to allow the fly to sink to the fishes level by the time it gets to the lie, once there the rod tip as lifted and/or some line stripped back to cause the fly to rise in the water column - induced take rather than dead drift.
 

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Great Lakes

A point distinction: the post from the anglers who dead drift seem to be all from the Great Lakes steelhead fly fishers. The fall run GL steelhead over-winter in the rivers. The winters in the Great Lakes can be severe with many of the tribs completely freezing over. The weather and rivers dictate a different style of fishing than is common in the PNW or Scotland. Dead drifting, nymphing, and swinging, etc. all have their place in the GL steelheader's arsenal depending on the conditions. All of these are traditional fly fishing methods.

FWIW - there is a similar thread in the Great Lakes section.

David Dornblaser
[email protected]

P.S. - for the record, I do not approve of C&Ding.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
And mine, you beat me by about 30 seconds.
 

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Bobber Fishing with a Fly Rod

Gary W said:
Excuse my ignorance, C&Ding?
Bobber fishing with a fly rod, very prevalent in some states - e.g. - Michigan. The techique requires an indicator (bobber), heavy weight usually in slinky, and a fly - often an nymph or egg pattern. The weight is so heavy that the angler actually chucks the line over head and ducks not to get hit with the lead.

Peter-S-C posted this link of the cast in the Great Lakes section, Salmon River Madness thread. http://www.mountaincable.net/~pcharles/salmonriver.jpg (Peter I hope that you don't mind my copying your link).

Many guides promote this way of fishing. It is a way to get non-fly fishers into steelhead. It is an effective way to catch fish and easy for the guides to teach.
 

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Dornblaster,

There are summer run steelhead that ascend PNW rivers in March and April, which do not spawn until the following late February-April time frame. That puts them in the river one heck of a long time, far longer than the GL fish that you mentioned entering in fall. Despite this, there have been very few documented instances of PNW steelhead actually feeding and digesting what they ingest.
 

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david, there is no connection to bobber/indicator fishing and chuck-n-duck. i've never witnessed it here or heard a description that resembled it other than concerning the otherside continental of the divide. i suppose it is possible and would be functional. its another subject anyway........

C&D is an abreviation for "chuck and duck". when it was first implemented as a method it utilised light level line or straight running fly line with 2-3 very small shot spaced along the leader giving it the weight to cast, which was originally done overhead. the purpose was to avoid the large diameter head on a DT or WF line, cut through the current easier with less drag to gain depth. effective when fishing the short pocket water we have such an abundance of. it was a method born from necessity to get a fly down and soon evolved into the inevitable.....

in the current state here [great lakes area] its a very loosely used term that almost always refers to a fly rod rigged for drift fishing with mono or running line on the spool and typical drift fishing terminal gear, propelled by the mass alone.

some believe that this is fly fishing and would argue all day in defense. SG
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
What have I stumbled into? I asked a simple question about dead drifting and my mailbox fills up with anonymous private messages. Now I discover a whole new dictionary of terms, C&D? Flossing? I’ve heard of C&R and I thought flossing was a method of removing bits from between your teeth

My anonymous messenger says

< Quote I've never seen one of these dead drift "experts" do well in areas where the fish are not known to stack up. But of course they have always passed this off as there are not fish in the run or it is not the right type of water for the dead drift or some other such drivel.>

<Quote I do know that a lot of these folks hook a lot of fish in the side of the head, under the jaw, or the top of the snout, all classic foul hooking spots. They explain these odd hooking areas away as the fish either just ejected the fly after mouthing it and they didn't feel the take (or have the bobber move either apparently), or the fish took a swipe at the fly, but missed. I've found it a waste of time to try and get them to see that what they are doing is flossing fish and that they would be far better off learning how to properly swing a fly and induce a true take from the fish>

And I thought the UK had problems over wet and dry flies. Oh Dear
 

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Hmmmm .....

Willie,

I did not realize that there was any hostility to dead drifting until just now.

It is interesting that anglers get used to the techniques, equipment, technical terms and styles that that their environs and fish dictate. But, ours is a diverse sport. Just look at the number of line options, types of spey rods and casts that are being used. Not only are rivers and weather different for every fly fishers but so are the fish - ocean run steelhead, lake run steelhead, Pacific salmon, and Atlantic salmon. The nice thing about forums, like this one, is that you can learn about different ways of doing things and then either adopt those methods, modify those methods - or not.

David Dornblaser
 

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Dornblaser said:
A point distinction: the post from the anglers who dead drift seem to be all from the Great Lakes steelhead fly fishers.
David Dornblaser



California dead drifter here! Nymphing is prevalent on the west coast. :wink:
 
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