|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.
There are two types of wet flies: attractors and imitative. The old
attractors had fanciful names like The Bloody Butcher, Royal Coachman,
and Parmachenee Belle. As you might expect such patterns are very
colorful. On the other end of the spectrum are the imitative group
which are tied very sparse with subdued natural colors - light and
dark dub, tan, brown and olive. Both are tied with and without weight,
because wet flies are designed to sink quickly. Depending on conditions
many anglers will fish wets with sink-tip lines.
I'll generally use a heaver tippet (4X or 5X) when fishing wets since
the take can be aggressive. 9 to 12-foot leaders are standard fare
when you're not using a floating line. I almost always use a two fly
rig with different sizes and patterns.
The classic approach is to cast the fly down and across swimming it
through potential lies and allowing it to rise towards the surface
at the end of the swing. Then take a step or two downstream and repeat
the process. The most likely point of the take is when the fly begins
to rises to the surface. I like to fish my flies in a more active
manner. I'll mend the line upstream of potential holding water and
then fish the fly through likely looking spots. Occasionally, I'll
strip the fly in with slow or fast retrieves much like you might fish
a streamer. This is not a mechanical blind casting approach. It's
systematically covering the water with controlled casts and measured
I'm not a big fan of adding weight directly to wet
flies unless I'm tying beadheads. If the fly needs to get down deep
I'll use split shot, a tungsten bead on the leader or a sinking
leader or sink-tip line.
If you have never fished wet flies to rising trout
you're missing out on a real opportunity. The fish taking flies
off the surface are generally taking even more emerging insects
just below the surface. To catch these fish you need to present
your fly upstream of the target. As the fly reaches the fish, tighten
the line so that it begins to rise to the surface and be prepared
for solid hit.