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Old 10-03-2010, 02:33 PM
peregrines peregrines is offline
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Default Re: Wooly Bugger help

Hey dmabe welcome to the forum.

Tell us a little more about where you are and the types of waters you fish--- (streams or lakes?)

Mosca hit the nail on the head with great advice-- the good news is that some flies (like woolly buggers and muddler minnows) are hard to fish "wrong".

Most folks fish them close to the bottom, so woolly buggers are often weighted with lead (or “nontoxic”) wire wraps, beadheads or both. Additional weight in the form of split shot added to the tippet, or the use of a sink tip or full sinking line can also be used (especially if you’re fishing deeper lakes or deep pools in large rivers).

If you're fishing still water- in a lake or pond for example, one way to fish them is to cast out, let them sink a bit, then retrieve them back in 3” strips--- with a strip-strip-pause, strip-strip-pause type of retrieve. By counting “mississipi’s” after the cast and before the retrieve, you can fish different depths--- start at 10 mississipi’s for a few casts, add another 10, repeat until you hit fish or start pulling in stuff from the bottom. Woolly buggers can imitate a lot of different things. In lakes and ponds, black woolly buggers are a good imitation for leeches, and small olive ones size 10 or so, fished over weed beds can imitate damsel and dragon fly nymphs. And try some "fan" casts, casting not only straight out, but to the left and right--- you might have a better chance of running into a fish by covering more water and either finding the odd cruising fish or some sort of structure, like a drop off or hole that attracts fish.

In a stream you can fish them a bunch of different ways, depending on the size of the stream, current speed and water depth. Here are a few different ways you could try:

For larger streams, you can cast across current and let them swing downstream. At the end of the swing let them hang in the current a bit, then retrieve with short strips. You can cover a lot of water this way. As Mosca said, throw a "mend" or two in your fly line to keep the fly from swinging too fast as the faster current in the middle of the stream grabs the fly line and starts to "belly" it downstream. (Here's a link to an excellent article on mending: Fly Fishing, Fly Presentation, Mending - MidCurrent )

To fish a narrow run in a small stream you can “drop back” your woolly bugger by feeding fly line downstream and steering it through the run with your rod. You can also do this by standing up stream and feeding line out so a bugger drops back down to tree roots and other snags, or along undercut banks that might be difficult to get a fly into otherwise.

To fish a riffle, you can cast upstream with an indicator and let the bugger tumble along the bottom—this could be a good tactic if your stream has a lot of large stonefly nymphs.

In high water or off colored water you can cast across current let it swing below you—and after letting it hang, sometimes ripping a large fly (like a bugger) fast along the bank can get some savage strikes.

I’m sure others will chime in—feel free to experiment.

And keep asking questions... there are some great folks here that can help get you going.
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