I employ this term, technical presentation, regularly to refer to the type of fishing described by Trout Champ. Floating imitations presented to well educated, larger trout feeding in the clear, smooth surfaced but complex currents of big spring creeks or tail waters with similar habitat. We used to use this term frequently on the Henry's Fork and, more often today, on the Upper Delaware and Missouri. My understanding and use of this term refers to the prerequisite of manipulating a fly and its attached leader/tippet in mid air and again, upon the water to present the fly with no drag and no tippet below it, so the trout sees the fly first as if unattached, with maximum precision in complex, difficult feeding lies. To accomplish this an array of techniques may be utilized by the angler in response to the unique circumstance presented by the individual fish. Droplets of water can be sprayed off your line and leader during false casting so often it is ill advised to lengthen line in air towards a rising fish, cast parallel but away from your Henry's Fork bank feeder. There are often submerged chunks of basalt creasing the currents and weed beds too twist the flow of water unpredictably so straight line presentations will quickly set up drag. Putting a reach in you cast by generating a high line speed, tight loop and reaching the rod tip aside while feeding slack from your line hand into the reach, puts the line down with an up steam "L" shape. While executing the reach you can also shape some "S" curves into the line and leader by controlled oscillations in the rod tip during delivery while the line is still airealized. This combination allows the fly to have current cushioning patterns of controlled line upon the water as it is floating toward the fish poking its snout out from beneath an elodea mat lodged tight to a bank protrusion. A funnel of current feeds flies to this dominant fish's lie and by controlling the attitude of your fly by having it downstream and across from your casting position, you can align it with the current funnel and strive for good timing. I prefer to ere on the outside of the fish to get a feeling for what the currents will do as my fly approaches so I can modify my casting position, fly placement...usually a few feet above the fish, or the shapes of in air and on water mends required.
A never ending evolution of learned and developed skills can be added to this repertoire to enhance your "technical" capabilities and they are not all about rod/line/leader design and casting. I recall a morning on the Nature Conservancy water on Silver Creek, one of the most technically demanding pieces of public water I have ever fished. PMD's were emerging and there were some small spinners mixed in too. A straight section of dense overhanging grass bank gave way to a recess, a small cove indenting some four feet, forming a back eddy. There was a good pod of fish slurping along the the backward current but right below the point where the bank gave way was a particularly interesting trout feeding. The stream is deep between where I could wade and where this fish feed so I had to get well upstream and, with a reach and mend, alight my fly along the grass of the straight piece of bank to allow the swirl of current to float it into the beginning of the recess. Because of the position I could wade to it was a moderately long cast of about 45 to 55 feet and then a drift of about 6 feet was required. I changed my position a few times as well as the configuration of my presentation and, after a while, I was getting my fly to this fish pretty well. But it was a bright, hot Idaho morning and the Sun was getting higher and the hatch was declining. The fewer the number of insects on the water, the more intermittent the fish's rise activity became and then there was the not entirely natural artificial fly with he reflective string attached to it. Clearly the more I persisted in casting, the more likely I was going to put this fish down. I wanted to hook it badly...so I stopped fishing, carefully backed out and went on my way. But I triangulated my wading position relative to the trouts lie and bank side focal points carefully. That evening I returned, entered the stream well above this fish so I could observe its activity and, as the sky colored and the spinners fell, I approached my pre-determined casting position. In the gloaming light my casting and tippet were less evident and I knew just how to get a complex dead drift and...she ate on the 2nd or 3rd presentation. A thick slab of a female rainbow, she ultimately came to net in time for my partner to come downstream and meet me. She was a clean, unmarked 23" specimen and an image of me with the sunset behind releasing this great trout is hidden somewhere amongst thousand of 35mm slides in a cabinet here in my office.
That, my forum friends, is technical technique and tactics.
as do we all in varying forms and usually not so eloqently.
Originally Posted by sweetandsalt
That, my forum friends, is technical technique and tactics.
I'm not so sure that answer defined a technical rod.
On your subject though, I find myself when not on Henrys Fork or a tailwater or a nice, slick clear section of the Ausable or Manistee creating technical presentations to the harder fish in lieu of the easy pickin's. Quite gratifying that.
As to what defines a technical rod; it's a rod that took some deep thought, practical history and design engineering to make it something that both comes alive in your hands yet becomes an extension of your brain and arm. Any rod that is part of a seamless connection between sight and fly placement is a technical rod. A rod that is able to do that is a huge part of being able to do what s&s described above and a huge part in the enjoyment one gets by having technical rods (though that term is rather cold and lifeless in my eyes)
Now that I have defined the way I define technical presentation, I see the emphasis on the type of rod used in such situations in this thread. Tippet protection is important just in case you actually hook one of these challenging fish; I use 6' of Orvis tapered braided leader carefully matched and spliced to the tip of my extended head, long rear taper fly line. After building down with a few sections of nylon (never fluorocarbon for this application) I terminate with a minimum of 5' of appropriate to fly size diameter tippet (5 or 6X most often). Plenty of shock absorption built in here but one must be cognizant and attuned to the recovery rate of your rod's tip to bring the hook home and respond the the leaps, surges, head shakes and great runs of your quarry. A rod that generates very high line speed and is prone to form extremely smooth and tight loops offers enormous advantages in keeping the line in the air to perform the selection of line manipulations prior to laying the fly and, subsequently, the leader and line upon the water. I want the sharpest pencil in my box to draw these curves and wiggles as precisely as I can. Any superfluous oscillation in the rod's tip is a precision thief. The deeper the rod flexes during casting into its mid section, the slower the tip recovers during this important procedure. Light weight, crisp, communicativly responsive, ample lower taper reserve power and a rapidly recovering tip with the minimum of oscillation and the maximum of true tracking are fundamental characteristics of a technical presentation specialty rod. Guides that are not too small which can inhibit slack line feeding, line weight ratings that offer enough mass to facilitate the elaborate aerial and on water mending (#'s 4 and 5, sometimes 6-weight, never slender, ultra-light weight lines) and enough length to optimize taper transitions and fight gravity, 8 1/2' - 9', are additional advantageous traits.
Plenty of "general purpose" 5-weights are good technical presentation rods; original and HLS Streamdance GLX from G.Loomis, Sage's popular XP and terrific Z-Axis and justifiably award winning, Hardy Zenith come immediately to mind. In my current quiver, G.Loomis NRX 9'/#4 and the remarkable Sage ONE 9'/#5 are standout technical fly rods with the ONE being one of the finest special purpose dry fly presentation rods ever. Keep in mind though that these rods and style of dry fly fishing are specialized to a minority of rivers at particular times of the season and are not tailored to or scalable to most freestone rivers and smaller creeks where different, more conventional tactics, techniques and sweeter, less demanding tackle may be more appropriate.
---------- Post added at 12:32 PM ---------- Previous post was at 12:19 PM ----------
An additional thought: Any tackle embraced by a skilled and experienced angler can perform an elaborate presentation because, he, the fly fisher, is capable of it. And too, even when one expects to toss elk hair caddis to rainbows busting in a nice run, a big old brown might be discovered hidden in a slick, bank side, micro-habitat that demands all the technical talent one has accrued.