The Swang

Discussion in 'Spey Clave' started by Mark Bové, Nov 12, 2008.

  1. I have been pondering the last few days about the swing. Mainly my thoughts have turned to line control and presentation. It seems, I have more confidence fishing behind people who dont seem to manipulate their drifts in order to produce a nice swing, one that makes the fly seem alive. The swing really doesnt have to be slow in my book, heck I dont even mend on some swings if the water sets up right. I am really currious how many of you guys enjoy success when simply casting at a 90 degree or higher up stream and tight lining the fly through a distant lie while the fly slowly goes downstream then slowly swings across the current. So how do you swing? Do you change it up for winters? Or is it based purely on the water you fish?
  2. Purely on the water being fished. I do better slowing it down for winter fish.

  3. In summer, I let it swim. Much depends on the nature of the run. In some fast tailouts on an eastern washington river the unhitched wet fly is swinging so fast it's leaving a wake on the surface. The takes on those types of water are electric.

    Lower water temps make me want to hang the fly in front of lethargic fish as long as possible. It might mean back-mending to slow the swing or just using the length of the spey rod to keep a consistent light tension on the fly in slower moving pools (lifting/dropping tip as necessary).
  4. floating line or sink tip, I almost always cast slightly upstream. I like the ability to prep my swing. It is nice when have water where you don't have to do a thing:) keeping the mellow J is the art.
  5. What do you mean by this Pan?

    For me it all depends on:

    1. Getting the fly to the bottom and swinging it or swinging it on the top; depending on temps and conditions. I should say though I don't skate a lot, right on the bottom is the norm for me. Skating is for special times and special places where a lot of factors align.

    2. In the winter I do my best to slow the swing and in the summer I do my best to speed up the swing.

    If you need to cast upstream and do super mends or whatever to get the fly down than so be it.

    That is about it.

    The most important thing I see a lot of swinger fisherman not doing is keeping the line near to them off of the slack/slow water. It is popular to just hold the rod straight out, horizontally, low and to the side (least effort/most comfortable) but a lot of times that will mess up your swing. Depending on the water it won't but a lot of runs it does unless you are waded out too deep. I like to swing the fly all the way into the seem between the flow and the slack water and strip it in.

    Unlike most guys I see swinging, I keep the rod tip high most of the time and carefully work the line trying to keep as much of it as I can in the flow and as little as possible in the slack. If you have enough line out with a Skagit type line it will act as a counter weight and you should be able to lift all the running line off the near water and get a very free drift/swing.

    You can also lower the line into the slack to trigger a swing after a free drift/sink. This is useful in the summer a lot of the time to get the fly down and than swing it fast.
  6. I was always casting at 90 degrees or higher, but after working with Mike Kinney recently and a few others, I agree that you need to consider your angle based on the water you're fishing and and where you want your fly.

    Mike also got me to move down stream, just after I complete my cast when the line is slack and you haven't gotten your fly to swing yet.

    You can hold the rod up high to avoid currents that would affect the line as you get into position and to allow the fly to sink faster. Once the fly starts to swing, I hold the rod tip just above the water.. you guys probably know that.

    If you start at a lower angle, you'll just start the swing sooner and for some water that's what works best.

    I finally got to feel some solid hits on my spey (tap, tap, tap) fishing for dollies, but kept trying to set the hook like a BASS pro! :eek: Now I just have to work on the next step, and have the rivers drop back into shape of course. Can't wait for that, hopefully early next week!

    Bill :cool:
  7. I think a big part of success in fishing the swing is recognizing instinctively how to manipulate the line/fly for a given piece of water. I strive for a moderate paced presentation without a belly in the line. Sink tips usually slow things down a bit for winter. During summer I cast probably 50-60 degrees typically, sometimes as low as 45. In winter I am right around 90 degrees, I take a big mend (or not depending on the water) and let the fly sink and then tighten. I like to count the fly down depending on the sink rate of my tip.
  8. I have begun to mend less and caught more fish the last few winters. I still have a rather low sample size though so I don't want to read too much into it.
    I used to always try to have the line appear straight but I have found that a slight bend is acceptable and sometimes required.
    Sometimes for winter fish I think none of it makes a differrence. All you really need to do is find a fish in fishable water and it will likely hit.

    Pedrioa for MVP,
  9. You are right, you have to get the fly within the range of the fish's vision and reach depending on clarifty and temperature.

    Oh...and nets aren't strung across the river near where you are fishing.
  10. That's not funny. My buddy and I were fishing the lower Hoh last year. We had worked this gorgeous long run hard and not a damn thing. We got down and rounded the bend, only to find two nets perfectly placed. Thank goodness we had some Maker's to calm our nerves.

    BB soon.

  11. MMMMMMMMMMM... Boundary Bay.

  12. I think the mellow J Pan speaks of is the idea of a sideways presentation for as long as you can until the line is down below you more, as in the later half of the swing. I have heard it said,"why would you want to tie a 20 dollar fly and only show them the ass end of it?" The slight J is going to present the fly sideways longer, a good thing in a slow winter swing IMHO.

  13. Holding all else constant (namely water speed), how does one keep a "slow winter swing" and induce a mellow J? I guess a mellow J wouldn't increase speed all that much, but the more mellow the less of the positive "sideways" effect.

    Must be a fine balance between J--and thus "sideways--and speed.
  14. Yes, the J is the angle of the swing. Turn that J upside down and you are looking at a good swinging presentaion, as opposed to a straight swing. The misconception of swinging is that any bone head can do it. Yes, anyone can do it, but very few actually know what they're doing. It is amazing the difference between what you think is happening subsurface and what is actually happening. Good swingers actually have control of the swing and are accurate in their understanding of what the fly is doing underwater. Knowing this allows you to make the proper changes to the presentation. Being able to swing with that mellow slight J and move the fly through the water column without forcing it or dead drifting it is very difficult and can only be achieved through experience (the touch).
  15. If all you had were nets strung below you, that's par for the course!

    I was fishing the lowest run on the Hoh a few years back in mid Feb. We get in at first light and had crossed in the tailout and quietly taken up station on the other side. As we began fishing, a native in a jon boat sets up a net in the riffle below us (where we'd just crossed).

    OK, fine . . . he's got the right to net. But then he runs his boat up into the pool we're fishing and starts banging his oars on the side of his boat to drive the fish back into his net in the riffle below. UNBELIEVABLE!

    We later 'liberated' some wild steelhead caught in nets we discovered further upstream in a somewhat symbolic gesture. ;) Still amazed at what happened.
  16. I know a lot of fishermen that "slow fish" the fly by mending and manipulating the line constantly througout the swing. This really works for them. The most important thing when swinging the fly is the type of water that you are fishing. I know I am just repeating what everyone else has already said, but there are times when little to no mending is required and times when more mending is required.

    MOST of the time I cast out just below 90 give it a good size mend....then just as the fly starts to swing and the line tightens I will give it a little mend to produce what I think is an effective swing. That is for most situations....if there is some structure a lot of times I will throw a mend out just to pause the fly a little longer in the bucket or the in front of the rock etc...

    I like to have a semi-sideways (angled) profile for the fish to see. I like this better than a fly facing straight up-stream. The sideways/angled profile, in my mind, triggers more strikes.

    But WTF to I know, I live in N. Idaho. There are no steelhead here.

    I am going to start drinking now.

  17. iagree particularly with the last line, it's 5 o'clock somewhere.
  18. 1) Don't get me started.

    2) Awesome.

    Back on topic. I was out fishing with this couple. So, I feel I've gotten to know them well enough. At the end of the day, we hit the run by the Saloon in Fall City (I love that place).

    Joe's a good guy. He's swinging this fly through the run and I look at him and said, "So Joe, ya' think you'd ever get Debby swinging". The picture of him smiling was priceless.

  19. Calvin, is the keg tapped? If so, I'll see ya in a few and we can talk about living some place where steelhead exist. :beer2:
  20. ". . . the swing's the thing!" Still applies. I'd not follow others through a drift if I had my druthers, regardless of how they're fishing it. At best, they're a distraction; at worst they're fish vacuum cleaners meaning I get nothing more than casting practice. I fish the swing differently for summer runs than I do winters, with deep and slow being requisites for the latter.

    I tight line a cast made at 90* or more upstream if, and only if, the current is set up to make such a cast fish right. That situation occurs, but it's far from the most common. I mend a little, or a lot, far, or short, or not at all depending entirely on how the current is working in the place where I'm presently casting and fishing. I fish my line from fairly straight to a slight downstream bow to the mellow "J" all according to the current in the run. I like my fly swimming in a cross current presentation, or close to it, to maximize the visual stimulus to a waiting fish.

    With depth being less of an issue in the summer, I'm more likely to make an angled cast downstream providing I can cast far enough to cover all available holding water. Otherwise I'll cast straight across river at 90*. In the winter I usually cast about 90* or slightly upstream unless the combination of depth, current speed, and sinking rate of my tip indicates a more downstream cast.


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