Welcome to A Look Back… From time to time, we will be taking a look at some of the great CFFCM Castabout articles of years gone by.
100 Years Ago from Outing Magazine 1913
By Samuel Camp
How to Fish the Floating Fly
In general, dry-fly fishing as done in America naturally divides into fishing the water and fishing the rise. The dry-fly caster, when fishing all the water, should proceed much after the manner of the wet-fly fisherman: the angler who has been accustomed to fish upstream with the wet fly need not essentially alter his general methods in the least save as regards floating the fly and avoiding drag. As a rule it is best to follow or wade along the left bank, looking upstream, as this will give you an unobstructed right-handed horizontal cast.
As the dry-fly man works upstream, and the trout habitually lie facing the current, the careful and quiet angler seldom needs to cast a long line—provided, of course, he is casting practically straight up and actually stalking the fish from behind. But when casting diagonally up and across from either bank, in which manner it may happen that a great deal of the water may be most advantageously worked, the familiar fact that “keeping out of sight” is half the battle in trout fishing must never be forgotten. This time-honored rule of the trout fisherman is, it would seem, quite frequently neglected by even the most experienced anglers, its non-observance often constituting the “inexplicable” reason for failure when casting to a rising fish or when fishing a good pool.
But to successfully fish close-up the angler’s progress must be slow, careful and quiet, and the rod must be kept down low. Overhead motion, more than anything else, alarms the fish. You have only to pass your hand over a can of fingerling trout fresh from the hatchery to verify this and to appreciate the instinctive alarm of trout at anything moving in the air above them. Avoid quick motions—in fact, dry-fly fishing is a game which simply cannot be successfully played in a hurry.
Keep an eye out for rising fish and observe closely the natural insects, if any, about and on the water. Cover all the water thoroughly, floating your fly not once but several times over the best places. If the water is equally good from bank to bank, let each cast be not more than two feet to the right of the preceding one, beginning under your own bank (generally the left facing upstream) and working across the stream. Then move up slowly and proceed to cover the un-fished water above in a similar manner. Pools should be fished in the same way—covered thoroughly from foot to head.