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Driven by irrational exuberance.
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
When I was growing up reading Outside Life and Field and Stream in the 60's and 70s, there were always articles on the advantages of fishing wet flies for trout. They explained that trout feed 80% of the time subsurface so you were better off fishing wet most of the time. And they weren't talking about indicator nymphing either. They were talking about swinging the classic patterns with a paired duck wing section tied swept back and a soft hackle collar or throat, e.g. the lead wing coachman. It seems like the only wets that have survived from that era are the soft hackles. It seems like diving caddis patterns are a newer idea that resemble the classic wets. Perhaps the classic wets were imitating the diving caddis life stage.
 

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dUMB aRKiE
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I have had very good luck with wet flies expecially soft hackle either fished as nymphs or swung cast quartering upstream, then let it sit downstream, and stripped back up stream real slow, I like em. they are my goto fly, esp.with a pinch of microshot about 6 to 8 inches up the leader!
 

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Nymphing with indicators stormed onto the scene, that is a large part of what happened to the popularity of fishing wet flies. Wets are still an effective way to fish for trout. Nymphing is trendy and when you pick up the newest(last 10 years) of fly fishing litterature it is nymphing heavy. Trends come and go and rumor has it that wets are again picking up in popularity. Here's a couple links.

http://www.askaboutflyfishing.com/speakers/davy-wotton/davy-wotton.cfm
http://www.askaboutflyfishing.com/speakers/bill/bill.cfm
 

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Formerly tbc1415
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Classic wets are still alive and well. They don't get much press in the popular media nor are they in most shops so except for a few softhackles, you won't find them on this forum.
People who like to use and tie them are gathered in various forums and sites around the net. It's not hard to find them, use your Google finger.
If you want to know how to tie them search for Don Bastian. He put out a good video titled 'Tying Classic Wet Flys'

Here are a couple. There are more out there.
http://www.flymphforum.com
http://globalflyfisher.com/patterns/bergman/

TC
 

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I use and tie various colors of soft hackle flies instead of the more traditional "wet fly". The soft hackles seem to be as effective as the more "traditional" wet fly. I have always kept a few peacock grey and peacock brown as wet flies in my fly box, can't go with out them.

Keith
 

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I still tie & use an improvised version of the "Pott's Fly" patterns popular in western Montana when I was a kid back in the 50s & 60s. They're still productive . . .
 

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Driven by irrational exuberance.
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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
For example, I looked at Hill's Discount Flies, and the only winged wet fly I found was the lead wing coachman filed under nymphs.

I suppose I could have askied the same thing about the feather winged streamers. The old bucktails are just about all replaced by clousers. The only bucktail I used at 16 that I still use today is the Micky Finn.

I'm starting to become Carvey's Grumpy Old Man:
 

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It's a good thing trout don't care what's popular and what's not. Most of the flies in my boxes aren't the latest but the trout tell me they are still perfectly acceptable. I don't have a problem catching my share of the fish. One of my joys of flyfishing are the different forms (methods) and the flies that have been designed around those methods. I'd hate to be confined to just one style of flyfishing. Learning and using different methods of presenting our flies makes all the difference in catching fish almost everytime I hit the water.
What's popular has much to do with what sells at the retail level. No worries, the fish aren't buying that!
 

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A s far as I'm concerned, they haven't gone anywhere. I swing soft hackles as much as I do anything else, and its my favorite tactic. I think i might prefer the pull of a big fish in the film over a surface take. Swinging softies also provide me with the opportunity to use my switch.
 

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I use wets a lot, especially for SRC's. The Spruce fly is my fave. I am temporarily exiled in Houston, and have to get my fly tying supplies online. It's become difficult to find badger hackle (used for the wings of Spruce Flies) online. I contacted Kaufmann's, and the person with whom I spoke said that once upon a time they had full supplies in several grades of badger hackle, but now the only special-order it!
 

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When I started fly fishing about 15 years ago the only trout fishing i did in the rivers was swinging wets for SRC. The first few times I fished the rivers over in Montana and Idaho, I used the same technique because it was all I knew. Didn't have too many problems catching fish then. Over time I found the technical benefits of nymphing got me into lot more fish, particularly in high pressure areas. Like others have said, wet flies still have their place and soft hackle wets can be deadly at times.

A lot of my SRC fishing is still done on a classic wet fly.
 

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As has already been said, classic wet flies are making a comeback on rivers and lakes. I like swinging some winged wets for trouts. Usually though my go-to flies are the soft ahckled spider patterns from the border area. Cast upstream and dead drifted, then allowed to swing to a tight line oon the dangle. A single cast covers a lot of water that way. Upstream takes are a bit subtle, but those on the downstream side are immediate and solid.
 

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Eyes to the sky...
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As has already been said, classic wet flies are making a comeback on rivers and lakes. I like swinging some winged wets for trouts. Usually though my go-to flies are the soft ahckled spider patterns from the border area. Cast upstream and dead drifted, then allowed to swing to a tight line oon the dangle. A single cast covers a lot of water that way. Upstream takes are a bit subtle, but those on the downstream side are immediate and solid.
The soft hackles that you gave me at the first meeting I went to have gotten me a few trout. I fished them exactly the way you told me and they worked like a champ. Thanks again, Ron!:thumb:
Jason
 

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Formerly FlyCatcherman, formerly Don_The_Fly
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A wet fly (emergers and soft hackles) fished just under the film can be deadly. I have fished them for years and didn't know they were out of fashion. Probably one of the reasons I still catch fish after all these years!
 

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What ever happened to trout wet flies? Potts Pix

Haven't tied any in a few years . . . here are a few old Sandy Mites. Tied with horse tail & rod-wrapping thread. Weave the belly, leave the front third of the shank bare, spin the horsehair "hackle" (tips pointing forward), then double hair back and overwrap forming a compact head. Think I used badger hair for hackle on the largest of these . . . the "go-to" fly of my youth in the Big Hole valley. The originals were tied with a specially-woven ox hair strip, proprietary secret type thing. A genuine old Montana Mountain Man named Jack Kallas showed me how to tie these way back in the late 50s.

 

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I can't claim the venerable status of old timer yet, but I have fished for quite a few years. The only "wet fly" per say that I tie and fish consistently is a stripped peacock quill with a squirrel thorax and a grizzly hen cape feather. It is a killer pattern that has caught me a lot of fish. I grease the line and fish it in the film with some success. The greatest success on that fly, by far however, is fishing it in tandem with a nymph under a big bushy poly indicator with split shot. I catch 10 fish with the later method for every one on the former (even though it is awesome to see the take in the film).

There seems to be a lot of "push back" to using indicators (on moving and stillwater) from some folks who like the "old days" or traditional flies and methods. It doesn't make any difference to me. If one doesn't like fishing a certain way then don't do it. Fly Fishing is about having fun and doing what you want (without bait or barbs of course).

Using heavy nymphs and indicators has accounted for a HUGE number of huge fish for me and past success makes a lot of sense. I make my own floats for stillwater, and polys with o-rings for moving water because I've become a picky snob about flies and gear and how it works.

It seems like if you "want to catch fish" you somehow become a substandard fly angler. We all love the asthetics of the setting, the rhythm of the cast and the technical mechanics of presentation, and we all love to catch fish. I like the idea of swinging soft hackles and moving trout. I've done it some and it is fun. But I'm one of those guys some anglers seem to hate who starts out with a big fluffed white poly indicator soaked in industrial strength home-mixed floatant swingin from my line while I walk to the holes.

I think there is a lot to be learned from folks who swing soft hackle flies, but I don't think nymphs and nymphing are going anywhere; on the stream, in the literature, or at the bench because they work really well.
 
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