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Thread: What is "swinging" a fly?

  1. #1
    turbineblade Guest

    Default What is "swinging" a fly?


    Once again - sorry if this is the wrong forum, but I am intending to do this in warmwaters I fish. I went out with a friend the other day to learn some basic fly fishing stuff, and one thing we did was "swing" a clouser minnow in a current for striped bass. Though I was more or less "roll casting" a minnow out there, letting it go down with the current, and then flipping it right back up again - I did not understand the concept of "swinging" that he was talking about.

    What is this exactly? I'm picturing a human on a swing, but this doesn't make sense to me. To me, it looked like the fly was just floating down the current, making a huge arc and coming kind of back around to where we were standing.

    Does "swing" refer to horizontal or vertical movement of the fly?

    Thanks a ton!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Sep 2006
    Manning, S. C. (formerly MD)

    Default Re: What is "swinging" a fly?

    I replied in the saltwater forum, as swinging can also apply in saltwater situations.

    Reposted here!

    "To me, it looked like the fly was just floating down the current, making a huge arc and coming kind of back around to where we were standing."

    Well, you've pretty much summed it up. "Swing" is primarily a term used when fishing in moving water, and just refer's to the arc as you've said. It's a technique used with a rather short length of line most of the time, otherwise you'll lose control over the line & fly and bites with subsurface flies would be difficult to detect. In some situations, "mending" of the line, which is manipulating it to maintain control & stay in contact with the fly is needed. When you see an angler flip the line to remove a bow & again create a rather "straight" line of direction, that is what is known as "mending".

    However, there are other terms that could also be applied as you swing the fly. Most times it would be a "dead drift" where the fly just rides along in the current as a dead baitfish or insect might & any additional motion imparted to the fly is done by the current.

    You could apply some additional movement too, by pulling the line, or by moving the rod tip so that the fly may twitch as it moves along, but not retrieve the fly in a manner where you shorten the line, until you reach the point where you need to recast.

    Swinging is different than casting & stripping line to retrieve the fly and impart motion to it, which is what you likely do when there is no current.

    Hope this helps explain the terms.
    Remember, no one likes to be behind the big truck, but that's better than being under it!

  3. #3

    Default Re: What is "swinging" a fly?

    Swinging a fly is just about the easiest thing...throw it across and just slightly downstream from you, then let the current take it while holding onto the line. Give a twitch, as stated by bigjim, for effect. When it reaches almost completely downstream from where you are standing (if wading), start retrieving.

    I've done pretty good with trout and smallies with this method and a wooly bugger.

    OH and C-A-P-S CAPS, CAPS, CAPS!!!!
    It's not the heat, it's the stupidity.
    What manner of jackassery will I be subjected to today?

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Nov 2008
    Parlin, NJ / Staten Island, NY

    Default Re: What is "swinging" a fly?

    Swinging a fly in the surf is a little different than in a river situation. I'll explain as best I can for you. Once you spend some time in the surf you will start to notice rips. These are short currents that run parallel to the beach. These rips are usually found on either side of a trough or washout. Baitfish usually get trapped in these rips and get carried by it. It would look unnatural for you to strip a fly through a rip. The right presentation there is the swing the fly, let the current take it just like it would do to a bait fish. take a look at the pic below, the blue lines represent a rip and that is where you want to swing a fly rather than strip one. Striped Bass love to sit behind the sandbars and wait for their meals to be delivered to them .This is where your ability to cast comes into play you would ideally want to set up on either side of a point and cast over the first set of breaking waves into the rip then let the rip take the fly (swing the fly). Hope this makes some sense.

    The key is to find the points. Once you find a point on the beach you can piece the rest together. Hope this helps.
    The best way to a fisherman's heart is through his fly.

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