Getting your fly deep is getting crucial when nymphing or swinging streamers. While dry fly fishing is exciting, and nothing beats a slap on a top water fly, truth be told most of the action takes place near the bottom of the river. Food sources spend the vast majority of time there, currents have less force, temperatures also can be more favorable in the winter it is warmer, and the summer is cooler.
There are several tactics to getting your fly deeper. Ranging from the line you use to casting and line management techniques.
The fly fishing world is full of sinking fly lines and sinking tips. The easiest way to fish these is to keep a separate rod set up with just for nymphing, you can go one weight heavier than your dry fly set up to help cast the heavier flies and help in setting the hook deep in the water. If you only have one fly rod, keeping an extra spool for your fly reel requires minor changeover time, but requires you only to carry one rod. However if you want go to back and forth between nymph and dries it can eat up some precious time on the water.
If you want to just fish a floating line though there are various ways you can get your fly deep, without carrying extra gear, or spending time with changing over.
First the easiest ways to bury your fly deep into the water.
1. Weights, split shots, etc. Attaching weights about eighteen to twenty four inches above your fly will sink it. Adding more may be required until you can feel them bouncing along the bottom of the river. A delicate touch is needed to keep them from snagging on rocks.
2. Xink applied to your fly and leader before getting them wet. In many places weight is illegal, and face it, added weight adds to tangles and makes casting more difficult.
3. Weighted flies also gets you deep into the water column, today the weighted flies usually comes in the variety of beadheads or dumbbell eyes. Clouser minnows sink extremely fast as they have very little water resistance and are extremely heavy.
4. Dropper system, where you fish two flies at once, you can use one heavy one and one emerger, or even a weighted fly and a dry fly.
There are also casting techniques that help get your fly deep into the water.
1. Casting further upstream. Obviously the farther upstream you cast the longer the time fly has to sink. If you position yourself up from the prime area you are drifting through and then cast further upstream leaving plenty of slack for the fly to take deep,
2. Mending your line gives your fly the needed slack and gives you control of the line as well.
3. A casting technique called stack mending is an advanced method of keeping control of your line and sinking your fly simultaneously. The technique involves lifting your rod to the twelve o’clock position and snapping it down to 10:30 feeding slack up through the guides. Much like throwing a series of tiny roll casts.
The goal of all mending techniques is to control the line without disturbing your fly. It is important not to have any drag on the fly as it will appear unnatural to the fish. Mends, especially stack mends can be done throughout the drift, you will be continually feeding line allowing the fly to sink deeper.