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Written by: Phil Monahan

My finest Battenkill brown in a couple of years took a small streamer sample swung from the depths.

That Saturday was a wonderful day in Southwestern Vermont, as temperatures climbed into the low 60s, and we had some brilliant sunshine. I checked the USGS river gauge for the Battenkill and noticed that flows had lastly dipped under 1,000 CFS, which meant that considered one of my favourite early-season spots–fortunately, simply 5 minutes from my home–can be secure to wade for the primary time that season. I hit the water at about 5 p.m. and found that, whereas wading wasn’t an issue, getting an excellent streamer presentation can be a problem.

On this stretch, the river flows over a shallow, rocky ledge right into a deep pool, which transitions to a protracted flat of waist-deep water. I knew from expertise that the within of the deep gap can be nice when Hendrickson spinners began dropping–nonetheless a pair weeks away–however in any other case the fish can be on the flat. The principle present was racing in opposition to the far financial institution, so I suspected that trout can be holding simply on my aspect of the heavy movement. The trick was getting a streamer to those fish, deep sufficient for them to see it and wish to chase.

Use patterns that sink rapidly and look good on the lifeless drift, similar to this Woolly Bugger and DDH Leech.

Beginning with a floating line, I tied a black Conehead Woolly Bugger to the top of a 9-foot 2X chief, after which connected 18 inches of 3X to the hook bend and added a brown DDH Leech–considered one of my favourite patterns. I selected each patterns as a result of they work nicely dead-drifted and swung, which helps if you’re using what I name the “sink-and-swing” presentation. It’s actually only a streamer model of the traditional Leisenring Carry, and I prefer it for 3 causes: It means that you can get your flies very deep, trout will typically eat through the drift, and it means that you can pinpoint the spot the place the flies begin to swing. Right here’s how I do it.

  1. Forged quartering upstream, dropping your flies instantly into the heaviest present.
  2. If attainable, “high-stick” the drift, conserving as a lot fly line off the water as you’ll be able to, till the tip of your line is instantly throughout from you. If you happen to’re too far-off to high-stick, proceed to #3.
  3. Begin throwing roll-cast mends instantly upstream of the tip of the fly line, to feed slack into the drift. This permits the flies to proceed sinking.
  4. When the tip of the fly line is 10 ft upstream of your goal, begin making quick strips to tug the flies off the underside and swing them by means of the lie.

There’s somewhat little bit of trial-and-error concerned on this presentation, as you determine how far upstream it’s worthwhile to solid to get your flies deep sufficient however not so deep that they grasp up on the underside. One of many issues I like concerning the sink-and-swing is that you may alter the second half of the presentation in myriad methods to make the flies dart throughout present, swing beneath rigidity, or something in between. I additionally change up the size and frequency of my strips to see what attracts a strike.

This trout clearly need that DDH Leech fairly badly.

On about my twentieth solid, simply because the flies swung out of the principle present, I felt an excellent thump. I got here tight to the fish and bought it on the reel, however I couldn’t but inform what I used to be related to. Then a brownish-yellow slab thrashed for a second on the floor, and I spotted it was a really good trout. Utilizing aspect stress, I used to be in a position to maneuver it out of the heaviest present and eventually landed it alongside a grassy financial institution. I didn’t measure the fish, nevertheless it was absolutely the largest brown I’d caught from the Battenkill in a number of years.

My two largest Battenkill browns have been caught with this sink-and-swing method, and I’ve used it to good impact on rivers in different components of the nation, as nicely. If a fish does eat on the dead-drift, it’s worthwhile to make use of a sweep set to your downstream aspect to make use of the road on the water to set the hook. So give it a strive the following time you think that your streamer presentation isn’t getting deep sufficient or if you happen to’re discovering it tough to place your flies proper the place you need them.

Phil Monahan is the editor of the Orvis Fly Fishing weblog. He was on the helm of American Angler journal from 1998 to 2008. 

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