So, on yesterday’s Techy Thursday we discussed the benefits of slow intermediate fly lines for fishing only just subsurface, or for crawling nymphs across weed beds and through the shallows. Today we check out a couple of my favourite flies for retrieving on a ‘slow, slower, slowest’ style retrieve. Much of the time we are simply maintaining contact as our flies slowly suspend beneath the film, or softly sink through the column, or retrieving them at the slowest pace in keeping with the naturals. Bear that in mind: many of the bugs these patterns represent are not fast swimmers, or swimmers at all.
Black & Peacock
This was one of the first flies I learnt to tie and fish effectively above the weed beds of Dunedin’s Southern Reservoir, and the slower margins and backwaters of the Upper Taieri river. Imitating a freshwater snail, they detach from the weed beds to hover just subsurface where fish cruise sedately and pick them off. I usually fish the Black & Peacock via an ‘ambush’ style method to sighted cruisers, simply twitching it as the fish approaches. If a floating snail is called for, it’s hard to beat Wilson’s Snail-Trail (that’s what she said).
A more active creature, waterboatmen / corixa swim in short, jerky movements and are often found in huge numbers in the shallowest of backwaters and bays. I often fish these in tandem in a series of short, figure 8 style retrieves or the shortest of pulls.
Robs Redhead Midge
Chan’s PT Chironomid
Rowleys Clearwater Pupa
Robs Redhead Bloodworm
My advice is to use them all, employ them in teams of two or three off short droppers and switch them about often. You can fish these on a slow inter through to a Di 7 if you please, however my preferred tactic is to send them on an intermediate line and slowly figure 8 them back to the paddle board / boat / bank, pausing often to let them free fall under contact. It pays to keep a close eye out for movements around the flies / swirls etc, as takes near the surface will often be seen before they’re felt.
Soft Hackle Hares Ear
This is an all-round, go-to for me really. Either as a summertime trailer when nymphing, or fishing still waters. Slim, sparse and with a couple of turns of soft hackle and fish catching body, what trout can refuse?