A Cast of Flies

After Steve Johnson's clinic on tying wet flies last week one of the attendees said to me "I'd like to try this but how do I rig them properly." I drew a quick diagram which is reproduced below.

In general the point fly or anchor fly should be the heaviest and the top fly is the lightest and fished in the surface film. If your fishing where only two flies are permitted you can use a small split shot as the anchor or simply go to two flies. Alternatively, you can go to 4 or more flies. While in Scotland some years ago I watched a number of local anglers fishing 6 flies on 12-foot rods.

Depending on how I am fishing and the rod I'm using, the distance between the fly line and the top fly is 4 to 6-feet. Note that a tapered leader is not required. I'll use 6 to 10-pound mono for this section.
Instead of looking precisely like a particular type of insect, a wet fly is more an imitation of a stage of life of aquatic insects. Many wet flies imitate a struggling nymph as it attempts to reach the surface of the river. These same wet flies also suitably imitate dead or drowning insects. Either way, one thing about wet flies is that they generally imitate aquatic insects in motion (moving to the surface, drowning in the water, etc) - not just floating in the current. I think the best way to fish these flies is to actively move them through productive lies by using the rod, mending, and various hand retrieves. Unlike dry fly or nymph fly fishing, wet fly fishing can also be very rewarding to beginner anglers. Perfect, or even good technique, is not needed for new anglers to hook some nice fish.

And the reason for this is because of the way most wet fly fishing is done - neither requiring perfect casts nor split-timing when setting the hook.