The Swang

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

  1. sothereiwas

    sothereiwas Member

    The biggest hurdle in the winter is water temperature. The fish just wont move as far. Depth of your offering is critical, as well as the speed of the swing. You dont have to pounding the stones but it needs to be close.
  2. TallFlyGuy

    TallFlyGuy Adipossessed!

    Curve smurve. It's still under tension. Swinging a floater.... your saying there is no "curve" or no tension? If fishing greased line, It's all slack and mends to present the fly in a horizontal fashion right?
  3. TallFlyGuy

    TallFlyGuy Adipossessed!

    In all honesty, I admire your passion for the fish William. At least we are getting some participation on this damn board!
  4. inland

    inland Active Member


    What? You lost me. The trick to the dryline (Bill's deep wet fly swing) in winter is to use as little weight as possible (25 grains or less-or a heavy hook and no attached weight) and still get the fly deep enough, long enough, to interest a winter steelhead. Accomplished, as you pointed out, through line manipulation. This IS NOT a dead drift presentation. Once depth is gained the line is kept tight through a very controlled swing. Throwing a starlight leech is a jig. Those big lead eyes take most of the skill out of the method.

    Winter fish grabbing on a dryline, using only the hook for weight, with Bill's methods is as cool as it gets. Way more fun, for me, then getting summer fish on a dry. I don't have the patience to always fish this way. Maybe 25% of the time. Nonetheless it has really 'dulled' getting winter fish on a sink tip. Created the internal quandry of always wondering if I could have hooked that fish on a dryline. Now that I get 3 times as many winter steelheading days using sink tips are numbered. I don't care if it 'costs' me 2/3's of my yearly hookups. It's worth it.

    Westside summer steelhead rise to flies too. Sorry. They just do. Sure it may 'cost' you some fish. Sometimes a bunch. But in the end you will still get your fish.

  5. sothereiwas

    sothereiwas Member

    First of all who said anything about a greased line. Greased line technique is something used instead of tips to fish a fly at depth. I dont use that technique. Second tension and slack are not the same thing.
  6. TallFlyGuy

    TallFlyGuy Adipossessed!

    Ok, in your first post you say there is a slight curve in your line when using a tip. I'm saying there is also a slight curve in your line when you are fishing a floating line. So a grab will be felt the same way. Are you saying you can fish a floater 100% of the time with no curve and a perfectly straight line?:rolleyes:

    Slack has everything to do with how a grab is felt. IF there is slack, then you won't feel anything, because you can't feel anything until the line comes tight.

    Yea, I know tension and slack are not the same thing....they are the opposite of each other.
  7. Coach Duff

    Coach Duff Banned or Parked

    The "slack" you are talking about was manipulated by a pile cast with shitloads of slack piled on top of the fly which in turn was a 6-0 Winters Hope designed just for this application. The waters this technique you talk about (Bill McMillans dryline technique in winter) are smaller as the Wahougal and other rivers. I just talked with Kerry Burkheimer at length about this technique and how why and where less than two months ago at his house. Now you are applying general applications to a very specialized and localized technique. I am talking about using mends to sink a weighted fly. As far as west side fish taking a dry, sure they will in the right temps, times and ways. (Fall being your best shot). But to try to compare them to fish that swim for 800 miles in rivers and have to maintain some kind of body weight and strength and mass (and how revert back to trout eating habits and trout behavior, including rising feely to surface presentations) is something I disagree strongly with. Most races of steelhead who travel far in fresh water to reach their spawning waters are far more prone to surface presentations than coastal fish who arrive chrome bright with sea lice dripping off of them. You will never hook as many fish in one month dry fly fishing the west side for steel as you will on the east side. No matter who you are. That's my opinion and thats an opinion from years of fishing for both all the way up to Skeena with every tactic and technique imaginable, except nymphing which I don't do and never will. Of course it's the deadliest, but if I did this just for numbers I'd still be shooting plugs and bait divers.
  8. sothereiwas

    sothereiwas Member

    I dont know how I can make it any more clear. I am speaking form personal experience. You have made it very obvious you know very little about fishing a floating line. The technique I use 90% of the time is a tight line, unless I'm fishing pockets. There is no belly, curve, slack, in the line other than very brief moments when making line adjustments during the swing. Unless you only fish runs that the current speed is even from where your fly hits the water to your feet you have slack, belly, curve, with a tip that will absorb some of the feel when a fish grabs. :thumb:
  9. SSPey

    SSPey Member

    Coach, rest assured that steelhead will absolutely clobber surface flies within sniffing distance of saltwater (< 10 miles) ... including flies actively stripped across frog-water pools ... hatchery and wild fish alike.

    = joy
  10. Will Atlas

    Will Atlas Guest

    fishing is a hobby, its about gaining personal satisfaction from the pursuit of fish. Techniques are ultimately semantics. Imagine if people spent as much time working on behalf of wild fish as they do blowing up their own egos on internet forums. We'd all be alot happier and we'd have a heck of a lot more fish to catch. I don't care if you fish only a dryline, or fish corkies and jigs. As long as you respect the resource, release wild fish and aren't an arrogant ass you are ok by me.

    Personally I prefer to fish a dryline swing in water temps above 46-48 degrees. The fish are willing to come a long way to take a dry, or lightly dressed wet under those conditions and personally I find it extremely gratifying and enjoyable. Around the end of october I switch over to tips which I use until the start of July typically. Both techniques are effective, but by the time July rolls around I'm ready to cast and fish a dryline. There are times when I feel strongly that taking a fish on a skated fly is the apex of my own sporting experience, however there is not a single fish in freshwater that can compare to a chrome winter steelhead. I appreciate both and at different times of the find myself yearning for what I cannot have, anticipation is half the fun.

  11. HauntedByWaters

    HauntedByWaters Active Member

    Man this thread has me thinking about dry fly fishing again......

    Never caught any big steelhead on a dryline but I have only fished the westside with the exception of the Methow.
  12. inland

    inland Active Member


    Um...Bill's methods work brilliantly throughout the winter steelhead's range. It certainly isn't limited to SW Washington. My best friend most certainly is the first to adapt Bill's methods to the modern graphite two hand rod. That alone helped open up the big rivers to the method. This guy is pure magic in motion. The only caveat is you are going to have to further limit your productive water. Some guys relish the challenge. Others don't. Neither are right. Nor wrong.

    Day in and day out you aren't going to catch as many summer fish on the westside...because there are only a fraction the fish. Using any swung fly method. I firmly hold this being the biggest difference. High fishing pressure over fewer fish does seem to toughen things up. As does the summer heat. So does the hatchery strain being used. Spring, summer, and fall westside fish come up.


    Your point about chrome winters is a GREAT one. Having to work a wild CW B (multiple riser) is close. But I do agree. A wild winter run is a special treat. Never gets old. The only thing I have found to raise it a notch, for me, is using the dryline. Pure nirvana. Either way I hope everybody finds many of them this year. That our runs will somehow rebound. Even a bit would be nice.

  13. TallFlyGuy

    TallFlyGuy Adipossessed!

    I'll have to see how you do that. I think it is impossible to fish a perfectly straight line without some sort of curve/"J" in it. Perhaps in the right run, with the right current, but again, I think it would be impossible to do it 90% of the time. We are all fishing tight to the fly once the fly starts to swing. Are you saying by using a tip we are not always tight to the fly, and by using a floater you are always tight to the fly?

    Your quote...

    Unless you only fish runs that the current speed is even from where your fly hits the water to your feet you have slack, belly, curve, with a tip that will absorb some of the feel when a fish grabs.

    Yeah the same thing happens with a floater. Maybe even more cuz the top currents could wreak havoc on the floater.

    I can lend you my video of Hazel fishing a floating line and you will see as he swings, there is a curve in his line as well. He calls it the "J" or upside down "J". Something like that. He goes on to say that "curve" or "J" is good to have whether on a tip or a floater. Trying to fish a perfectly straight line without a "J" or curve in it is near impossible all the time.
  14. sothereiwas

    sothereiwas Member

    I give up, If your just going to regurgitate things people have said there is no point. Bottom line is you are telling me that my personal experience is wrong based on what you have been told. Your steelheading experience is limited to one technique on very few rivers. But you pipe up like you have it all figured out which is far from the case.
  15. inland

    inland Active Member


    From the top-o-me-head I THINK more winter fish, in general, have a longer 'lag' time once they are hooked before turning to do something. The last summer steelhead I have caught on a sink tip was October of 1999 from the Sustut. Maybe I just don't remember but this 'feel' seems more common with winter runs. The grab is pretty much the same. It's after the grab. Some of this perceived 'lag' might be attributed to 'slack' between the tip and floating section of your line. The tip is often a bit behind the floating section(s). The tip is running in different current speeds. Along with vertical differences- where the floating section might be pulled down before full tension applied. Maybe yes. Maybe no. I know a few guys running full sunk lines. They both report the same takes you get on a dryline while fishing just under the surface. However I have no personal experience (until this coming winter) with full sinkers so I can't really comment beyond second hand. IMO the biggest difference, if any, is how far the fish is moving off it's lie to take your offering. And how quickly it turns. Maybe yes. Maybe no. Dunno. Maybe there is something to the 'slack' idea from the tip running in different current speeds and 'planes'. It's still splitting hairs. Splitting hairs over a split second of something my mind really isn't focused on anyway.

  16. TallFlyGuy

    TallFlyGuy Adipossessed!

    I agree with you William. The difference is very little if any. Just because one IS using a floating line doesn't mean every take is gonna be a "HOLY CHIT" experience. There are nips plucks boils etc on floaters, just like on tips, except the boils.

    You haven't used a tip since 1999? Wow. You are totally missing out! :)
  17. Coach Duff

    Coach Duff Banned or Parked

    Bill McMillian the ace rod you keep referring to fishes the dry line exclusively during the springer months on the Skagit (where he has a house) and Sauk. He fishes every day all season. He averages a couple fish a season. Is that becasue of a lack of numbers or because Bill doesn't understand fishing the dry line quite like you? Clue me in on that one with our free rising surface hitting coastal winter/spring stock. Duff
  18. KerryS

    KerryS Ignored Member

    No he doesn't. The last couple of times I seen Bill on the Skagit he was fishing a tip.

    One thing all you guys should keep in mind here is there are no absolutes when fishing for steel. As an example I hear you guys talking about fish that get lots of pressure don't rise. I watched over a dozen guys go thru the old Lyman run one day. I looked at my partner and said a guy might as well fish a floater after all that dredging. He laugh and said do it. Not having a floater I put on an intermediate tip and followed every one down the run. My fly likely was less than a foot under the surface. I was the only one that hooked a fish.

    Throw it out whether it is a floater or a tip throw a mend or two in it and check out the scenery. You might just hook something.
  19. James Waggoner

    James Waggoner Active Member

    First of all swinging muddlers in the surface film is not the only way I fish...but I do enjoy it. It's my personal experience that takes in the film or on top are much different than when swung deep. For the record I've landed 16 steelhead in the last three years on a certain SW Washington river with this technique alone.
    Most takes on a fly swung deep, come tight, increased pressure, hook set and the fight is on! Compare this to the typical floating line swung fly in the surface film take: fish takes the fly on top, fight is on! My reasoning is this: when a steelhead hits a surface fly he is coming from cover, the bottom, takes the fly and books it back to cover. When a steelhead takes a deeply swung fly, he's comfortable, he doesn't feel the urge to bolt once he has eaten something, he's safely already at the bottom. Also, when a fish hits a fly on top, the line comes tight 95% out of the shock absorbing water.

    As far as Swings go, i'll swing fast once through and then slow it down a second time through on water I know is holding, or should be holding, fish.

  20. Coach Duff

    Coach Duff Banned or Parked

    Lets quit jacking around and throw some actual numbers around here boys. I think Wes Drain, Sandy Bacon, Ralph Wahl, Frank Headrick, Enos Bradner, George and Ken McCloud and the boys (Les and Preston are two more) were all pretty decent anglers. And at one time they didn't have sink tips. At least not to the degree we have now. They tried for years with no success on the Western Washington rivers in winter with dry lines and techniques. During that same time period they had success on eastern Washington, and Idaho rivers with dry line techniques and lines. It wasn't until the introduction of shooting heads and sink tips (3M) that the winter fish or the OP and Western Washington were caught with any regularity. I have no fucking doubt that there are individual fish in Western Washington that are wild that will look up in winter/spring and hit a dry or skater. But on average to say all steelhead races are equally surface orientated is not true. The dry line steelhead season in Western Washington officially didn't start until July 4th weekend boys. Which race was that? The Deer Creek race. Free rising, trouty, smallish and they loved dries. Each steelhead race is different in many ways and carries different attributes. I really believe that. I also believe a fish that has traveled 800 miles in a river will act more like a trout at the end of that journey that a 16 pound hen main river spawner who has just entered the system and is ripe and ready to drop her eggs ASAP. She is in no mood to chase caddis around. She has a job to do and do it now. I think you guys need to look at things a bit broader and understand what I am saying. Duff

    We all have a story about a big trout and size 22 trico, a steelie in a deep run on a light tip or floater, or a bonefish that chased a pattern in deep water and hit it 5 feet off the bottom. These are not regular occurances. But in our world of flyfishing we love to make shit like sound more common than it really is don't we? I just try to keep things real, honest, and fun. Simple as that.