The Leisenring Lift
||By using the Leisenring Lift, a neophyte fly
fisher can be transformed into a fish-catching expert. It can be successfully
used for everything from streamers to dry flies.
In the years prior to World War II, Jim Leisenring, an ardent wet fly
fisherman, developed a technique that dead-drifted a fly into a prime
lie, then just as the fly reached the likely holding position of the fish,
it would suddenly rise away, inciting the fish to strike.
|Once the rod has been returned to the horizontal position, it is held still, allowing drag to set in and the currents to swing the line across stream. As a result, the fly will be swept (lifted) to the surface like an ascending natural. This upward sweeping action is the "lift" part of Leisenring's technique.|
|It is important that the fly get down on the
bottom quickly, so the angler should either weight the fly internally or
add shot or a similar weight to the leader.
To increase the chances of a fish taking the fly, the angler may try timing the swing so that it begins in areas where a fish would naturally be holding, looking for food (a prime lie or a feeding lie).
To further enhance the fish-attracting abilities of the Leisenring Lift, the angler can couple the swing with a jigging and/or stripping action. Such motion will often entice a reluctant fish to strike.
Another approach that is very effective with minnow imitations, diving caddis adults, and any emerging insect, involves multiple lifts during the drift and the swing. Rather than trying to keep the fly continuously bouncing the bottom, the angler intermittently raises the rod high, pulling the imitation up toward the surface. The rod is then lowered again, allowing the fly to sink.
Applying the lift technique to dry fly presentation can be deadly. It is especially useful for representing those caddis that run on the surface after emergence. The angler fishes the adult pattern right up on top, drifting it over likely fish-holding areas. When the swing is initiated, the fly skates across the water's surface, leaving a "v"-shaped wake, just like a running caddis. If the swing is coordinated to begin where a fish has been rising, the results can be explosive.