Well, maybe Fishing the Wet Fly is a little strong for this page title. Actually the title should be Here is an Outline of how Pete Hidy fished his Flymphs as told by Dave Hughes in his book titled Wet Flies, in Chapter 12 titled Four Men and Their Methods, But that is just to long. So this will have to do.
It seems Pete Hidy and Jim Leisenring used more wet fly fishing techniques than the famous Leisenring Lift. One method in particular, which was very effective with the Flymph, involved a modified Wet Fly Swing. The typical Wet Fly Swing is a cast across and downsteam with the intent of fishing all of the water not just likely water. You cast quartering downstream - fish the flies down and around and let them dangle below you hoping for a following take. If none come you move downstream a few step and do it again. Pete Hidy's technique, something Hughes labeled "The Hidy Subsurface Swing" is a little more selective than that.
Hidy's Subsurface Swing is a refinement of the typical Wet Fly Swing and is brought into play when you find a surface feeding trout that won't take anything you dead-drift over him. When that happens there is a good chance that surface feeding trout isn't really surface feeding - he may well be taking emergers, cripples or drowned egg layers just below the surface. When they won't come to the dry here is what Hughes says to try. He is talking about just that kind of trout in the quite tail-out of a pool.
"Take up a position within 40 to 50 feet of the fish. You don't need to get as close as you do with dries. Once you're ready for the cast, make your measuring forecasts and backcasts off to one side or the other. Don't line the fish on this kind of water, or it's gone. Measure just a few feet of extra line in the cast; you'll be presenting the fly just beyond the trout's feeding lane. Once the cast is measured, change the direction on the delivery stroke to place the fly softly onto the water 2 to 3 feet beyond the fish and 2 to 3 feet upstream from it.
Now the critical part of the presentation: Lift the rod tip slightly to straighten the line and five the fly the slightest tug. Until you do this, the Flymphs will float. When you do it, the fly will pop underwater, taking few bubbles of air under with it. If you fail to give this slight tug, the fly will remain on top and cut a wake right in front of the trout. You know what happens then.
After you've given that slight tug, drop the rod point again, but not enough to let the line go entirely slack. Instead, you want the line to draw the fly in a slow arc right across the bow of the rising trout. Most of the time the water will bulge up and you'll feel a pull. If you can resist yanking on the rod, the trout will set the hook on the take, and the fight will be on.
If the fish fails to take, let the fly swing well away before lifting it to cast again. Keep trying. Vary the landing point of the fly. Remember that the trout might be backing down from its lie on each take, so that the rises you see are a few feet below the actual holding position of the fish. Try casting higher into the current. It's usually best to make your first casts 5 feet or so upstream in the first place, working the swing lower with each cast. you'll get a feeling for the particular cast that is going to deliver the Flymphs into the trout's vision. You'll be braced for the take just before you feel it. I hope you can manage then to let the fish set the hook itself. I can't. I jerk."
And there you have it - Hughes favorite method of Flymph Fishing - as taught to him by Hidy. It is deadly and has caught many trout for me. Usually after I've tried most of the dry flies in my box and have been stumped to the point where I'm talking to the fish. When I ask the trout "WHAT WAS WRONG WITH THAT DRIFT" the light usually goes off and I say to the trout "Oh, you don't want it on top, is that it?" And then, I tie on a Flymph find the range and often catch the trout.
This is just a page or so of a really great book that belongs on the shelf of anyone who fishes Wet Flies. And if you tie flies it is an absolute must.
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