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Water's high and it's pouring down more rain so I'm home all day. I read threads on our forum here then scanned the Salmon Fishing Forum and checked all my Fish & Fly e-mail notifications, then I read some other forums. I read a question and the replies to the question and was moved to try to answer.

Streamer fishing is the same thing as Steelhead fishing with Spey flies or any other fly. Same goes for salmon fishing, it's swinging a submerged fly trying to get a fish to grab it. Regardless of whether you're fishing Brook Trout in the Appalachians somewhere between North Georgia and Labrador or trying to raise a Steelhead in the Pacific Northwest it's the same game. There has been a school of thought suggesting that if you somehow figure out how to give a fish a broadside view of your fly it will look more intriguing than if viewed from behind as it moves through the water. Take a few seconds to ponder those 2 views of a submerged fly in your minds eye... Got it? OK, now here's the question I found.

Hey guys I been reading about presenting your fly on a broadside view and was just wondering how you guys get that to happen. I tried looking for how to grease line but can't find a version that will ship to Canada.

You guys know me, I sorta got carried away when I tried to provide my slant on this and here it is.....


I'm not as knowledgeable as many others here but will offer what I think I know.

There's a difference between thinking you are getting a fly to do something and knowing what that fly is doing. Knowing requires that you do a little experimenting and observation that I did many years ago and which has served me well.

When faced with conditions in which you can't easily see your fly or targeted fish the easiest way I know to determine your flies reaction to line and rod manipulations is as follows. Using a floating line and a plain mono leader tie on something like a foam polliwog in a nice bright color. Make casts straight across the current from where you are positioned. When your floating fly lands make an upstream mend. Notice how the fly reacts to that mend. Unless I am mistaken you will see the fly make a sharp upstream movement in response to the mend.

Next make the same cast and work on timing a simple tip movement that will provide the upstream mend before the fly actually lands. Now allow the fly to dead drift until your slack created by that early mend is drawn out by the current. Just as the slack is drawn out by current make a second small gentle tip movement that will create a down current mend on the back third of your floating lines head. Notice that if both mends are made with proper timing and a minimum of disturbance to the length of the floating head the fly will continue to dead drift.

After the down current mend move the rod tip toward your side of the river to further accentuate the down and across attitude of your floating line and leader / fly rig. If all has been executed correctly you should see that floating foam bug start skidding along cross current toward your side of the river. That is your cross current swing...

What you see on the surface is a close facsimilia of what occurs underwater with a submerged leader and fly. Remember how the floating fly reacted to the upstream mend when made after the fly had already settled on the surface? When you use a sunken fly and make that same 'late' upstream mend you will succeed in jerking the sinking fly back toward the surface thus defeating the principle of the deep sunken fly.

Remember how when the mend was made just before the foam fly landed? If you do the same with your sunken wet flies they will stay deeper and like the foam they will dead drift until you execute the down current mend and guide the fly across with the rod tip. As the fly crosses you can add mini mends on the back of your floating head.

All of these mends are made with gentle movements which begin in the wrist and result in a controlled circular movement of your rod tip. I say gentle because you want these movements to be controlled but still crisp. These moves and resulting line movements are not the whole arm reaching motions we normally see when people mend lines. They are subtle but effective, the mends made to the rear end of your line as the fly dead drifts are essentially stack mends because they are meant to influence the drift and swing but not to disturb the very front end of your line instantly. Does this make sense?

The exercise with the floating fly will begin the visual association process for the angler, when conditions allow for brightly colored streamer flies to be cast (short range) in clear waters and observed as you manipulate the line and rod this will cement the images for you. Once you know because you saw the reaction to your movements with rod and line how that fly reacts things will not change. The only thing that will change regarding how your fly reacts will be current speeds and depths. The way the fly preforms remains the same provided you make proper changes to the timing of your rod and line manipulations in keeping with changes of current speed and depth.

There's no way I could say that without this much writing or detail. I could wrap it in a neat name but I don't have one for it, I do it always, even in shallow conditions.


I bring things here because otherwise they will just drift off into cyberspace and be lost. It is my honest hope that these things I write down will be of some value to readers. I can tell you that the things I say in writings are the things I do and often I try to describe how they came to be what I do