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How to choose the right fly

Facts about the tackle

About the tackle Important techniques Fishing methods Lifecycles of relevant insects List of target fish Vocabulary


Original title: WĘDKARSTWO MUCHOWE Author: Adam Sikora © MULTICO Oficyna Wydawnicza, Warszawa, © for the English translation by Vision Group Oy, Finland








Adam Sikora A two-time world vice-champion in individual fly fishing competition. Three-time world champion in team competition. The laureate of the highest prizes in the Polish Championships, winner in the years 1982, 1988, 1992, 1993 and 1994. He was a member of the national team from 1988 until 1996. A known publicist in the fishing press and an author of cyclical TV programmes popularizing the artificial fly fishing. Trainer of the national team in 2006.



From the Author


What is fly fishing


Fishing tackle


|16| Fly rod |20| Fly line |28| Leader |35| Reel |39| Artificial flies |43| Accessories

|49| |50|

Life cycle of insects

|72| Mayflies |75| Sedges (Caddisflies) |76| Stone flies |77| Shrimps

|79| Fishing techniques |82| Dry-fly fishing |93| Nymphing |102| Wet-fly fishing |105| Streamer

Casting technique

|113| Artificial fly fish species

Overhead cast

|118| Vocabulary Text: Adam Sikora Photographs: Adam Sikora, Andrzej Kozieł, Wojciech Krasnopolski, Roman Pietrzak, Karol Zacharczyk, Fotolia Cover photograph: Rémy Masseglia (Fotolia)(book), Vision Group (eBook) Graphic design: Monika Zyła

Cover design: Marta Zieba Drawings: Adam Sikora and Anna Kulinska, based on drawings by Adam Sikora Publishing Director: Marek Zakrzewski Executive editor: Anetta Radziszewska

Proofreading: Anna Kozłowska Typesetting and paging: Elzbieta Pich Photo editing: Peter Parker Production: Jadwiga Szczesnowicz Print and cover: Eurodruk, Kraków 1st issue Translation(Polish->English): PBTRANSLATORIKA

ISBN: 978-83-7073-738-2 © Copyright by MULTICO Oficyna Wydawnicza Sp. z o.o., Warsaw 2010 All rights reserved



From the Author Year by year fly fishing has more and more fans. You may even say we have a specific fly-fishing Renaissance.


ecause of the fact that more and more anglers, including the beginners, are interested in this angling technique, very surprising is the small amount of literature on the subject. So far only several fly fishing books have been published in Poland – these can be counted on the fingers of one hand. The situation is a little better as it comes to angling magazines, since every issue has at least a column dedicated to this subject, and recently a new magazine has been released, dedicated in whole to the topic in question, called “Sztuka Łowienia” [“The Art of Angling”]. Fortunately, now we have this enormous source of knowledge – the Internet. One may find in there all the necessary information. Despite such universal tool, still I think that a more traditional form – a book – will also be of interest to the readers. I have described in here my own fly fishing techniques and included mainly the basic information for the beginners. However I do not want this guidebook to be considered as containing the only right truth on fly fishing. Because fishing means constant learning. My opinions also change – influenced even by technical novelties - and if I write another book, surely it will be different.



What is

fly fishing




ly fishing is different from other angling techniques mainly because completely different tackle is used. A thin monofilament is replaced by a heavy plastic fly line of ca. 2 mm. Someone surprised with that difference might ask why we make things complicated and don’t use the tested sinker or float and a live insect as a lure. Of course we may do that but instead of angling we would need to spend a lot of time searching for hardly available natural lures. Also, an angler running the meadows with an insect net might look ridiculous. Besides, the very delicate insects would fall from the hook every second cast. Using a float or a sinker and an artificial fly as a lure often hampers and sometimes prevents the motion that should imitate an insect. The fly line replaces the float and the sinker, allowing to cast the very light artificial fly for an appreciable distance.


he fly line is always ended with a leader made of a monofilament, ca. 2.5 m long, since – as commonly known – no fish would be attracted with a lure tied directly to a thick line. You cast not the artificial fly but the entire fly line, which flies above the head, forming impressive loops. During fishing, when you want to place the lure in a certain point, you usually don’t draw it to your feet (as it is with other techniques), but you pull out the entire fly line from the water and repeat the cast. As a lure you use the so called artificial flies. Most often these are imitations of insects and are made of feathers, wool, animal hair/fur, silk, yarn, leather, various fibres, synthetic materials and many other materials which make the lure light and allow it to gently drop on the water like a real insect. A huge advantage of this technique is that

the artificial flies – despite their name – may imitate practically all fish prey, such as aquatic and terrestrial insects and their larvas, crustacea, small fish or even mice and frogs. Thanks to this, with one rod and a well equipped box with lures, you may respond very fast to different feeding patterns of trout for example, or decide to change the fish species you pursue. So you don’t need to carry a bundle of rods and a rucksack full of extra equipment. Contrary to the common opinion, you may fly fish not only for salmonidae (eg. salmon trout, rainbow trout, bulltrout, salmon) and graylings, but almost for all fish species. Moreover, in some cases this technique may appear to be more efficient than a traditional float or spinning. If you want to learn fly fishing, you don’t necessarily need to search for waters abounding in trouts or


graylings. The fly fishing technique is perfect to fish for such species as: rudd, ide, chub, bleak, dace, roach, bulltrout, salmon, pike, perch, asp, zander or barbell. You may fly fish also for carp, sheat fish, tench, nase, vimba and other. In the last years the sea fly fishing has become more and more popular. In the Baltic Sea your catch, apart from the mentioned freshwater species, may be i.a. bulltrout, salmon, garfish and cod. Another advantage of fly fishing is that it is active, like spinning. You don’t entice fish, so you need to seek their location on your own, walking along rivers and streams. It is a specific combination of angling and hiking. All you need to do is put your waistcoat on, take a

fly rod, and you are ready to fish. At the beginning the most difficult task to master will be casting. There is a quite common opinion that fly fishing is a fishing technique very difficult to learn. At the beginning anything that is unknown seems extremely complicated. Even if I like spending my time by the water with float or spinning, still I think there is nothing more exciting than a distant line cast, ended with impressive bite of a fine trout. And finally a warning: fly fishing is addictive like a drug, and already with the first dose. There were many who thought that they may get away with trying and return to float fishing or spinning. It is not possible.


A long line enables casting the artificial fly for an appreciable distance



Fishing Tackle




f course skills and practice are more important than the equipment. Even the best fly rod will be of no use when you don’t know how to gain an insight into the fishing ground and lead the fly properly. However it can’t be said that all that counts is skills and that professional tackle is for snobs only.

Fly rod

T Fly rod

he fly pole is different from the rods used in other fishing techniques. Its action is most similar to those where not only the tip of

the rod, but also a part of the butt works. The most visible difference between the fly rod and other rods is the place of fixing the reel: at the end of the butt, below the cork handle. It allows for proper balancing of the pole and provides easy access to the fly line which you may easily hold during fishing, both with left hand and right hand fingers. Undoubtedly, a rod is the most important element of the fishing kit. So how to select the best one? If you are not familiar with the newest fishing tackle, ask your friends or go shopping with an experienced angler. He will suggest the best pole to suit the fishing grounds where you plan to start to learn fishing. However, from my own experience I know that sometimes it is difficult to find such person, so let me give you some advice on how to select a universal rod on your own. First of all you should buy a rod made of carbon fibre. It ensures lightness, flexibility and durability.



The first universal fly rod The best fly rod for a beginner should be 2.75 m long. The size is indicated usually right above the cork handle of the pole. Some companies indicate the feet length only, in which case it will be 9’. Apart from this, the fly rods have also numerical designations, from 1 to 12, which is the so called AFTM class. Each number designates certain weight, like with spinning poles on which a rod’s

casting force is indicated (i.e. optimal weight of the bait). However in here, instead of 10 g for example, you will find AFTM 6. It means that in order to ensure the best action of the fly pole it should be loaded with line number 6. So you should select a line and pole bearing the same AFTM number. You first fly rod should vary from 5 to 6. You should ask someone to keep the tip of the rod to check how the

Fishing rod parameters Exemplary descriptions for a similar fly rod, pole: 2.75 m (9 feet) long, class no. 6: 1. FLY 9’ 6 2. FLY 2.75 m 6 3. 906 – the two first digits (90) designate the length (9 feet), the last digit designates class (AFTM 6) 4. 3905 – three-piece fishing pole, 9 feet, fitted to line 5.

Description of class and length given on the fishing pole

Line guide with ceramic insert


Rod action


Wire guide – S-bend guide

pole bends. You will see that the rods of the same description have different action – one bends to the

handle, and in other rods only the tip bends. A selection of an appropriate rod depends on habits and temperament of the angler and the preferred fishing techniques. For a start it is best to choose a medium fast rod since it will be the best for learning the basic casts. It should not be too soft. With stiffer rod, the angler is free to make more mistakes. In the fly rods the line guides (guides) are usually made of bent wire (so called S-bend guides). Even renowned companies use wire S-bend guides in their products. They are lighter than the high-tech guides with super-hard inserts. Ceramic inserts may significantly change the rod action that is why they are no longer so commonly used.

More about fishing rods The most important feature of a fly-fishing rod is its correct action. A good fishing rod loaded by the line, throws it practically automatically, fishing becoming a true pleasure. It is because our hand propels the rod only slightly. By this movement and by loading it with the line, the rod cumulates the energy which is transferred to the line in the final stage of the

cast. At first sight it is not easy to rate the work of the rod. It can be verified only under water, after selection of an appropriate line. Another important feature of your rod is the AFTM class. It should be given as a numerical designation, from 1 to 12. Each number designates the weight of the fly line which should be used with a given rod. The higher the number,


the stronger the rod, intended for bigger fish and enabling casting bigger lure. So, for small fish of max. 1-2 kg you should use class 2-5 rod, for bigger fish, from 4 to 8 kg, rod number 6-9, and for the biggest fish, weighing a dozen or so - numbers 9-12. Depending on the fishing technique, manufacturers offer different rod sizes. Single-handed rods are from 1.5 to 3.6 m long, double-handed rods - from 3.2 to 6 m long. The length of the rod should match the fishing technique, kind of fish and the specifics of the fishing ground. There are no fully universal rods – no matter which you use, in extreme conditions it will be too short. The manufacturers usually indicate the length of the pole in feet and inches. So the indication 9’6” means that the rod is 9 feet and 6 inches long, i.e. 2.8975 m (a foot is 30.5 cm, and an inch is ca. 2.54 cm). For conversion please remember that it is not a decimal system: 1 foot is the equivalent of 12, not 10 inches. For example a rod marked 9’6” is nine and a half feet long. To sum up, if you want to have only one rod, the best one will be 2.75 m, class 5, 6. Two rods – the first one: 2.75, class 5, 6, the second one a little longer, up to 3 m, class 8, 9 – with them you may fish for most fish species in various fisher-

ies all over the world. Below you will find a list of the most preferred fishing rods, depending on the fishing technique and size of fish.

• • • •

• • • •

Dry fly fishing: rod 2.2-2.75 m, class 2-6, and for big trout (3-5 kg) - class 6-7. Wet fly, nymph: rod 2.75-3 m, class 4-6. Short nymph, mono nymphing technique: rod 2.75-3.7 m, class 2-6. Light streamer: rod 2.75-3.3 m, class 5-8, heavy streamer up to 10; longer rods for roll casts or casts on an overgrown bank. Such equipment is for various medium and large fish species. Sea trout: rod 2.75-2.9 m, class 6-9. Salmon, bulltrout, huchen, smaller rivers: rod 2.75-3.2 m, class 8-12. Salmon, bulltrout, huchen, larger rivers: double-handed rod 4-5 m in class 9-12. Lake, trout: rod 2.75-3.3 m, class 5-8, longer rods (3-3.3 m) for fishing with the use of flies streaking the water surface or with a dapping technique (fishing consisting in touching and raising the fly from the water surface).

Brand new fly rods, with a joint on a dowel inserted in the butt, will never fold completely. However it is not a defect or inaccurate manufacture but intentional activity of the producer. The carbon fibre, which is the material for the joint, abrases gradually during folding and unfolding the pole. After some time both parts will connect and the joint will become loose. In order to avoid it, you should rub the dowel with paraffin wax. It will prevent extensive or too fast abra-



The casting distance (for overhead cast) is not directly proportional to the length of the pole (for single-handed rod casting). On the contrary - as it comes to distant cast very long poles are more troublesome than helpful – a too long lever is formed. The best for distant casting will be rod from 2.75 to 3 m long. Stronger persons may use longer rods. For long casts you should use doublehanded rods.

Short nymph, mono nymphing technique Nymph fishing technique where the line is replaced with a monofilament (mono).



When you buy a fly rod you should check whether the tip is well and tightly fitted to the butt. When you fold the pole you should feel stronger and stronger resistance. A rod which folds easily and you feel the resistance only after the tip of the rod is completely inserted on the butt, may unfold during casting. Such slipping of the tip is dangerous and may damage the rod. If the connector knocks after folding, it means that is is wrongly fitted.

Exemplary descriptions of line parameters


sion of carbon, and therefore will prevent slipping of the tip. The paraffin wax should be applied on the joints in all types of fishing rods. The fishing rod should be well weighted, however there is a high tolerance and in practice seldom it needs to be weighted when you fit a reel of a proper size. Most

Fly line

The fly line is an element of the equipment characteristic for fly angler only. With such line you may cast a light fly to a desired distance and sink it to the appropriate depth. It replaces a sinker and a float. It is the line that makes fly-fishing so different from other angling techniques. The line is a strong braid of synthetic thread, coated with plastic mass for durability, appropriate weight and

frequently long rods, exceeding 3 m, are checked. If you use with the rod class 3, which is for example 3.5 m long, a reel fitting the line number 3, probably it will be too light. A centre of gravity of the rod – including a reel – and a line reeved through the guides (or an empty reel) – should be right above the cork handle or at its end.

slide in the guides. Currently you may find also the lines with a core made of nylon monofilament or without a core, made entirely of plastic. The latter are most often transparent.

A line for beginners The plastic coating covering the core of the line usually has a varied profile along its length. At both ends the line should taper gradually. It significantly improves casting and facilitates fishing: the energy is smoothly transmitted along the line, and then to a thinner leader, when the line is gradually straightened at casting. You should remember that the class of the rod that I recommended for beginners should be AFTM 5-6. If there is only one numerical designation on the pole, 5 or 6, then you may buy a line bearing the same designation or (better) one


number heavier. Contrary to other techniques, in fly fishing you don’t cast a heavy bait or sinkers gathered at the tip, but a line stretched through the guides. Therefore the load of the rod is variable and depends on the length of the fishing line. The construction of the fishing rod should stand both the very distant and the very close casts. Therefore in case of short casts it may seem underloaded what has a negative impact on its performance. Beginners don’t fish long distances so it is easier for them to use the fly rod with the heavier line correctly. It is better to learn the casts with the line even two numbers heavier than the weight indicated on the pole. Example 1. Rod description: Fly NO.5 275/9’, you should select line - WF 6F or DT 6F. Example 2. Rod description: Fly 9’0 5/6, you should select line WF 6F or WF 7F, or DT 6F or DT 7F. The bolded letters in the examples


above are the numbers of AFTM class shown on the fishing rod and the fly line. It is very important how the line behaves after it is placed on the water. The basic and most commonly used model - floats. These lines are usually bright (white, yellow, orange, green), so that they are well visible on the water. It doesn’t matter which one you choose (however you should not choose a completely transparent floating line). If the line floats, it is designated in its symbol with F (float) after the AFTM class, for example WF 7F or DT 7F. A beginner should first of all buy a bright floating line (F), designated shape (WF or DT), with its class matching the rod. It is a basic line which is far enough for the first excursions. Of course if the fly needs to go closer to the bottom, you should slightly load the fly or use special sinking leaders and lines, which I should describe in the following chapters.

What you must know about lines With the technical progress, it is more and more difficult to the angler to be familiarized with all novelties, particularly when manufacturers all the time launch new fly lines. The fly-fishing lines are divided according to their shape, weight and sinking speed (so a decisive element is a specific weight of the line material).

These features are described in the symbol of each line. Therefore such symbol includes three elements:

Different types of lines



Exemplary description of the WF 6 F fly line

WF Letters describing the shape of the line. Here: Weight Forward Taper

6 Number from 1 to 12 describes the weight of the line. Here: 10.4 g

Weight of the line Let me first describe the middle part of the line symbol, designating its weight. Because the lines have different lengths and shapes, what is usually taken into account is the weight of the first 30 feet (ca. 9.15 m), which is the most common casting length. The weigth of this section is marked with AFTM classes, from 1 to 12. It is an international designation, common for all tackle manufacturers. When you fish with a rod you may not freely change the lines of different AFTM class. When you change the line into a heavier or ligther one you must change the rod. Remember that the weight of the first 9 m of the line in one AFTM class is always the same, regardless of whether the line is slow sinking, fast-sinking or floating. Its Double taper line

Total length of the line (usually 28-30 m)

WF line - thickened head on the side of the leader, thin cylindrical part on the side of the reel (so called running line) Head (9-15 m)

running line

Total length of the line (usually 28-30 m)

F A letter describing whether the line floats or not. Here: F-floating

profile and diameter may change but its weight never changes. So only the weight of the first 9.15 m of the line is standardized. Lines of different types and different manufacturers, even if they have the same AFTM class, have different total weight (when you weigh for example the entire 27-metres long line or its first 12 m). So how heavy should the line be? First of all it depends on the size of fish, size of lure and the fishing technique. When fishing with small fly and thin leader it is better to use lighter lines since too heavy line might break the thin leader. Lighter lines go better also with dry-fly and for short-nymph fishing. On the other hand the heavier line is better to cast in strong wind and with bigger flies. Currently there is a visible trend among the line manufacturers, namely departure from AFTM class when selecting a line matching a rod. The basic parameter is not the weight of the first 9 m of the line but the weight of its whole head. The class is given only as a rough guide to designate which fishing rod matches the line. Such


marking system is applied for example with Viba lines. When you want to buy such equipment, you should better ask for advice someone more experienced.

Shape of the lines

The lines are available in three basic shapes, designated as follows: L - Level, cylindrical along its entire length; DT - Double Taper WF - Weight Forward Taper. Cylindrical lines (L) are not currently in use. The DT lines are also quite seldom in use. They have cylindrical centre of the same diameter and they taper at both ends. Their shape allows for good transmission of the energy from the line to the leader which enables precise cast. In these lines you should not cut the used fragment, otherwise you will get the L-type line. For the beginners the advantage of the DT line is that after one end is damaged you may reverse the line on the reel and fish, with the leader tied up to the

other end. It will significantly prolong its functionality. However the line with one end damaged cannot compete with a new one. Its remaining part, even if rarely used, also gets older. Affected by variable weather conditions and lapse of time, it loses its elasticity and is not so good to fish with. Moreover, these lines cannot be cast to larger distances. To eliminate this defect, the WF type lines are used. Their first 9-metres section is the same as in DT line. However, the next section of the WF line becomes thinner and cylindrical. You cast only the heavy head reeved through the tip guide. Because of its weight and inertia during the flight, the remaining thin and light section of the line (so called running line) is stretched. However the WF line also has some faults. It cannot be reversed, and after one end is damaged it is no longer of use. Their heads are often of diverse shape and they are not always cylindrical in their central part.

The most common length of the head 10-12 m

Different shapes of heads

Long belly head Short belly head Line overloaded at its beginning Head overloaded near the leader




Apart from more complicated constructions, most often they are thicker at one or the other end. The heavier and bigger head of the line near the leader is for casting big flies and it adds energy to the rod faster. It means that after you hugely draw the line, it is easier to start an overhead cast and quickly re-extend its range. However it is more difficult to nicely arrange the line and make a spey roll cast. This you may do with a line which gradually tapers towards the leader. It is easier to pull a longer section of such line out of the water, and the loop crossing the air will smoothly transmit the energy to its tapered diameter. It makes a nice and stylish cast with straight leader.

Types of lines according to sinking speed

Sinking speed The third classification category for the lines is their sinking speed. The floating lines are marked F (Floating), those sinking along their entire length - S (Sinking), sink-tip fly lines - F/S, and I (Intermediate) - very slow sinking fly lines. The Intermediate line should float under the water surface. It is usually underrated by the Polish anglers. There is a persistent opinion that it can be replaced with a floating line, which is not true. The difference is particularly visible when the water is calm. In such conditions, when you draw the line, you will see that the floating line will leave a trace on the water while intermediate will smoothly glide under its surface, not scaring the fish away. It is also important that in wet-fly fishing it is easier to strike a fish with the sinking lines.

Floating line

Slow-sinking line

S3: 3rd sinking rate

S6-S7: Very fast-sinking line (degree 6-7)


The S-type fly lines sink along their entire length. Some companies manufacture this type of lines only. However, most often the lines of different sinking speed are manufactured. The manufacturers designate the sinking rate in a textual form and mark it with a relevant numeral (Arabic or Roman). Scientific Anglers and Vision, apart from Intermediate lines, manufacture sinking lines with a sinking rate marked from I to VII. Roughly it corresponds to the sinking speed of the line produced by Cortland company (6th Cortland’s degree corresponds to the V degree of Scientific Anglers, Airflo and Vision). Often the sinking speed is described on a product in cm/s. With such a broad selection of fly lines you need to think what types you want to use and where. The use of particular lines would be very simple if not for one factor – the water current. The faster the current the more it throws the line out to the surface. The same is with standing water: the faster you pull the line the closer to the surface it sinks. What is also important is the time of free falling of the line right after casting and the casting distance. So as you can see, in certain conditions the slow sinking line will float for several metres under the water surface, while in other conditions it may

sink even 3 m down. The S-type (sinking) lines may be cast to a distance greater than the floating (F) or sink-tip (F/S) fly lines. It is because they are thin and therefore they put up smaller resistance in the rod guides and in the air. The fact that they sink along their entire length, is both pro and con. Pro, because you may sink the flies very deeply, and con – because the line moving through the bottom catches on obstacles on its way. It is difficult to pull it out of the water. It refers both to the section of the line with which you fish, and the loose coil below your left hand when you stand deep in the water. The sink-tip (F/S) lines are free from the above defects. The main line – the bright one, floats on the water surface, and only its tip – usually darker, sinks. The manufactured sink-tip lines are 3 m (i.e. ca. 10 feet) long. The sinking line tips have various sinking rates.


Difficulties with pulling the sinking line out of the water


Avoiding an obstacle in case of a sink-tip line, and similar situation in case of sinking line (sinking along its entire length)


They have the same designations of the sinking rate as the S-type lines. Despite the underwater obstacles, you may use such line to penetrate the pit and the space between it and the place where you stand. When you wade, the casting is easier because the loose coils of the line next to you do not sink. However the combination of the heavy tip and the light line interferes the smoothness of the

Arrangement of lines during sinking in the depths; the black one is a traditional sinking line; in the second line the black tip sinks very fast, red – moderately, and grey – very slowly. Consequently the line is straight

cast and the cast is much more difficult to make than with a regular line. However this is the case only with fast-sinking short tips. The F/S lines will also sink your flies much closer to the surface than the S-type lines. The sinking depth of the flies is conditioned by the length of the sinking part of the line and the fact that it is drifted by the water current. You should also remember that in the water the fly led by F/S line will behave differently than when the same is led by the S-type line. So as you can see the S and F/S lines complement one another. Very interesting are the sink-tip lines of ca. 9 m long, or these where even the entire head sinks. Practically they have all the advantages of the sinking lines, but they also eliminate the faults of the lines with short, fast-sinking tip. They ensure smooth and very distant casts. During the cast a long sinking head propels the line strongly, enabling it to reach significant distances. At the same time the running line does not sink, it is light, thin and easy to be pulled out through the guides of the fly rod by the heavy flying head. In the professional sinking lines, the tip of the line (closest to the fly) is fast-sinking, and its farther fragments (towards the rod tip) sink slower and slower. In the wa-


Different colours of lines

Optimal fishing kit ter such line forms a line, close to a straight line, and perfectly facilitates leading the flies. It also combines the advantages of the lines sinking along their entire length and the floating sink-tip lines, at the same time minimising their faults. Of course this is only when the casting distance is large. With shorter casts (several metres) the line behaves just like a regular sinking line. Still, if you may choose, I definitely recommed such line.

Colours of the lines The colour of the line usually suggests how the line behaves in the water. Floating lines are usually white because the water surface, when seen from the bottom, is bright. Therefore such lines are invisible to fish, still perfectly visible to the angler. Among the manufactured floating lines you may find also green, blue, red and orange ones.

According to my experience, in fishing for trout or grayling, the vivid colours of lines have no impact on the number of fish bites. Doesn’t the line scare the fish away with its vivid colours? It depends on the fish species and the specifics of the fishing ground. Sometimes a mere shadow or a delicate splash of a line falling down the water surface may cause a true underwater panic. In such conditions you should wisely choose the colours of the line and place it on the water very carefully. But usually an orange floating line does not frighten the fish away. A darker line sinks faster. It is because fish may see it against the background of the water or the bottom. Of course you should select a colour that would blend with the background and not frighten the fish away. Very slow-sinking lines are usually transparent or in different pastel colours; fast-sinking lines are usually black. The presently manufactured high-tech

After reading this information a beginning angler will be terrified with the necessity to buy so many, quite expensive, lines. You should not worry too much – in practice it is not so scary. When I started my fishing experience I had only one floating line, then I bought another one. For a start it is good to buy a floating line, and when you get some practice, you may buy another one – the sinking one. The optimal kit includes three lines: floating (F), Intermediate (I) and fast-sinking (S). The three lines allow for fishing in most fisheries. You may also have three sinking leaders.



End with higher buoyancy


Sinking end


It is clearly visible where the running line starts

Clearly indicated end of the head

Different colours designate particular line parameters



fly-fishing leader is a link between an artificial fly and a line. Most often it is made entirely of a nylon monofilament. To provoke the fish to attack the artificial fly must be tied to a thin, therefore hardly visible line of a diameter of e.g. 0.16 mm. If you used it to connect the lure and the line directly, then after casting the fly rod it would be difficult to straighten

Various tapered leaders

lines are multicolour. For example, in Vision lines the head has different colour than the running line. It is a very good solution since an angler may easily determine which piece of the line is stretched through the guides (the head only or the running line too), and this in turn significantly helps make a correct cast. Sometimes there are more colours and each of them is to inform the angler of the different properties of the line (different profile or type of material).

the leader in the water. Because it would fall down, rolled in one place. It is because the line, despite its tapered tip, is still much thicker than the monofilament. It should gradually go from the thick end to a thin tippet near the fly (similar stiffness of the monofilament and the end of the line), so that the energy can be smoothly transmitted from the line, along




0X 1X 2X 3X 4X 5X 6X 7X 8X

Approximate thickness of a tippet (mm)

O.28 O.25 O.23 O.20

the entire leader. In practice it means that the thickness of the monofilament near the line is ca. 0.45 to 0.30 mm, depending on its parameters. It is good to use the one which after reeled off, does not automatically coil up. With such profiles it is difficult, so I prefer soft and tensile monofilament lines. When you start learning how to fish, you will not avoid many technical mistakes, especially when it comes to casting. Each careless movement may end up with tangled fishing kit. In particular, numerous knots on the monofilament may contribute to it. To minimize such danger you should use a tapered leader. Fishing companies manufacture many different kinds of such leaders, in different diameters and different lengths. Depending on the country of manufacture, the length may be given in feet (1 foot is ca. 30 cm) and the diameter of the tippet may be given in symbols, from 0X to 8X. In the table below you will find profiles in milimetres corresponding to the said designations. The given sizes are rounded since they are not based on metric system. For a start it is best to use an original tapered leader, 9-feet, symbol 5X (diameter near the fly ca. 0.16





mm) or 4X. However I recommend that you alter it a bit before you tie it to the line, which means you should shorten its thick tip by ca. 20 cm, and attach a half-metre leader of 0.14 mm in diameter (for 4X – 0.16 mm) to the thinner end. With the so constructed leader you may fish for most fish species, for example with a dry fly. Of course, as you change the flies, the tippet becomes shorter and


Tapered leader

Ca. 2.5 m in total

Tapered leader made using progressively smaller-diameter lengths of monofilament tied together



shorter. After some time you will need to replace it with a new one. As a result, during fishing the tapered leader will become shorter and shorter, and in time you will fish with a leader with two or three thinner and thinner tippets at the end. Sometimes it even makes the fishing easier.

Exemplary knots to joint two monofilament lines

Knots that bind particular fragments of monofilament may differ a lot. Out of habit I apply a blood knot, very popular among anglers (see knot illustration). It has one defect – you should not use it to join the monofilament lines which differ in diameter by more than 25%.

Monofilament line Short fragment of a monofilament tied to the leader

Tighten by pulling all four ends at the same time

First you should pull the ends-1, Tighten by pulling the main monofilament lines - 2


Durability of monofilament and quality of leader For the leader it is best to use a soft monofilament, without shape memory and quite tensile. This last parameter is important in particular with thin monofilament (0.10 mm thick). The fly-fishing line is little tensile and heavy. With such features it is easy to break a delicate leader. A tensile monofilament functions here as an additional shock absorber. You also need to care about the quality of

knots. It is best when you tighten them wet, because it increases the slide of the monofilament and reduces the danger of its permanent damages which are the main cause of gradual loss of durability of the leader. When buying leader monofilament many anglers pay attention to durability and diameter specified by the producer. Both parameters are usually highly falsified.



In the fishing shops you may buy not only nylon monofilaments but also fluorocarbon monofilaments. They have different refractive indices and therefore they are less visible in the water, and besides they are heavy and sink fast. In some techniques these qualities help properly feature the flies in the water. Their only defect is high price.

Connecting the leader with the line Such connection can be made several ways. The easiest – by two loops. We apply the so called braided loop. It is made of braided monofilaments, resembling braided wire. You should put the tip of the line in the connector. To facilitate this operation you should first fuse the sticking ends of the monofilaments with a ligther on a needle, as shown on the illustration. The line should be inserted into the connector at least 5 cm

deep. When you try to pull it out, the monofilament mesh tightens on a soft coating of the line and prevents slipping of the loop. Just to be sure, you should put on such connection a PVC tube, closely fitting the line. The second tip of the connector is ended with a loop which enables connection with the leader. To ensure durability of the connection, you may place a drop of a quick-dry glue under the tube. The

Tip of the leader


Tube Minimum 5 cm

Fusing the end of the loop on a needle and placing it on the line

32 Connecting the leader and the loop on a line

Ending the line with a fixed loop

FISHING TACKLE Instead of a loop it is better to tie the monofilament with a fixed knot Leader


Mesh loop

easiest way is to make a loop at the tip of the tapered leader and, loop in loop, bind the two elements. The advantage of such binding is that you may freely replace different leaders. Unfortunately this is the only advantage. The loop, made on a thick monofilament, prevents more sophisticated fishing since it stiffens the connection and may result in tangled fishing kit. It is much better to tie the leader to the loop of the connector with a standard knot. Although it will get several centimetres shorter when you change it, still it will wear out and will need to be replaced with a new one from time to time. The braided loop at the tip of the line is comfortable and easy to use however it stiffens its end along several centimetres, in particular when you reinforce it with a quickdry glue. A very good solution is to end the line with a loop made of its core. If you have manual skills, you will easily make such operation on the line. If changing the leader is not necessary, it is better to apply a permanent connection. For this purpose you should puncture the

centre of the tip of the line with a needle and thread the monofilament through the hole. Next, with the same needle, you should make a loop at the tip of the line. But what to do when in the field conditions you need to bind a line and a leader and you have no additional connectors and tools? Then you should tie the monofilament to the end of the fly line with a knot used for a standard paddle hook. The nylon coils will stick into the soft plastic coating of the line and it will make a very strong connector, enabling effective fishing. Using different loops you should check from time to time if there is no abrasion or if they were not damaged.


It is a whole group of leaders which form an extension of the fly line and are made of the same material as the line. On one side these leaders are ended with a small loop and their diameter reduces gradually. They have a nylon monofilament (core of the leader) sticking out at the end, to which you tie the end fragments of the monofilament and the fly.

With a tightened monofilament you remove the plastic coating of the line, leaving its core Fly-fishing line


Put the core together to form a microloop, stick together and wrap a thread around it



Tying up the leader to the fly line with the use of a needle


Application of a micro-ring to the leader

Tapered leader polyleaders

As you can see, polyleader replaces the tapered leader and ensures smooth cast and proper presentation of the lure. The leaders of this type are manufactured in different lengths – usually from 1.5 to 3 m and vary from floating to super fast sinking version. However these leaders will not replace the sinking lines, and if un-

properly fitted may significantly hamper the casts. When you tie newer and newer monofilaments to the polyleader it is becoming shorter, therefore it is good to end it with a miniature ring. A metal micro-ring may be used also with a standard tapered nylon leader, so that it is not unnecessarily shortened.

Simple connection of line and leader



Shock absorbers Almost all waters visited by a large number of fly anglers are affected by overfishing. Fish which were hooked many times become vigilant and very suspicious about the fly. In such circumstances you are forced to use very thin monofilaments, e.g. 0.08 mm. Then it is very difficult to strike the fish without breaking the leader. That is why it is so important to use a leader made of tensile monofilament, absorbing the excessive force applied. However if you have too heavy hand, then such security

may not work. This is my problem too, so when I tie the superlight monofilaments I use additional rubber shock absorber. It is a short piece of rubber used in float fishing for long poles. For me the best are shock absorbers of ca. 20 cm long and a profile of 0.8-1.0 mm. The rubber should be placed between the line and the leader. Such shock absorber will significantly reduce the risk of breaking the monofilament, and at the same time it will eliminate many of our mistakes in hauling fish.


Miniature plastic roller which allows for bending the two monofilaments


An additional second fly tied to the short side leader above the main fly, so called leading fly.

The fly-fishing technique allows for using two, and outside Poland even three, flies. Such flies are tied to a side leader, called a strap. A two-fly fishing technique has many advantages, but also one significant defect: the side leader often gets tangled and twists around the main monofilament. In order to avoid it, the anglers use various solutions and techniques for binding the side leader. To make it the easiest way, when you tie the monofilament you should leave its one end sticking out of the knot and attach the fly to it. However in such case it is easy to twist around the two fragments of the leader. Other solution is to make a loop

on the side leader and thread it around the main monofilament so that it leans on one of the knots of the leader. To a limited extent the loop may revolve around the leader, what slightly reduces the risk of tangling. So as you can see, if you want to use two flies, the leader must be composed of at least two parts, otherwise the side leader will not have a support. The best way to solve this problem is to use a miniature plastic roller. It is a very small roller with a hole inside of it (233 mm) and a notched groove. You should thread the main monofilament through the hole and tie the side leader in the groove. The entire roller is movable, it is supported by the bottom



knot and perfectly protects the kit from tangling. You just need to check from time to time whether the roller is free from any dirt. Because it would hamper the work of the device. If the roller shifting on the monofilament disturbs you, you may block it with a stopping knot, identical with the one used in the float fishing technique for blocking the float in a match rod. Tip of the jumper’s monofilament sticking out of the knot and kit tangling

Reel W

hy in the fly-fishing technique the reels with a revolving spool are used? It is because instead of a monofilament you use a thick line. If, during casting, it was falling in loose coils from a transversal, fixed spool, after several seconds it would twist and make fishing impossible. On the other hand, with a traditional reel, the line is reeled and unreeled in accordance with the arrangement of its natural coils. Moreover, in the float fishing and spinning technique you cast a bait which pulls out the monofilament line directly from the reel spool. This is never the case with fly-fishing since the line parameters and the different fishing technique make it difficult. Here you first pull an ap-

Attaching the side leader monofilament on a loop

propriate part of the line out of the spool, and only then you let it get through the rod guides.

Reels with revolving spool



Characteristics of a fly-fishing reel

Change of force necessary to unreel the line, with full and empty spool

Each reel should be equipped with a slide or a crosspiece to prevent the loose fly line coils from falling aside, and a break which prevents too fast and too loose spool rotation during pulling the line out. If not for the latter, a sudden attack by a fish or jerking the line with your hand would end up in formation of a so called beard (if the spool revolves faster than you pull out the line it will tangle and form a difficult to untangle “beard”) and consequently it would totally block the reel. Of course the break is necessary also for fish hauling but in the fly-fishing it is of less importance than in other fishing techniques. In comparison to a monofilament, a fishing line puts up a much stronger resistance on the guides and the resistance is variable depending on how strong you pull and how much you bend the pole. Moreover, unreeling already several meters of a thick (ca. 2 mm in diameter) fly line causes sudden reduction of the spool diameter. Therefore, in accordance with the rule of operation of the

reel (one of the simple machines) the force required for it to be gradually pulled out must be bigger and bigger. Because of all these factors, in the fly-fishing a precise setting of the break adapted to the resistance of the leader’s tippet is far less important than in other fishing techniques. So how to haul bigger fish? It is best to control the reel rotation, pushing the upper part of the spool which should stick out of the casing. Hauling smaller fish may be controlled by keeping a line in hand, between fingers. The break in the reel should be regulated and work one way only which means that the spool, while unreeling the line, should revolve with a resistance, and while reeling – easily. However you should not worry when your reel is not equipped with a regulated break – it will also be suitable for all fishing techniques. In particular when you pursue small and medium fish.


Large Arbor Fly Reel Currently the traditional fly reels with narrow spools and small diameter are used more and more seldom. Their defect is that the fly line reeled tightly on a small reel deforms and makes a spiral. Therefore, before fishing you need to straighten the line by stretching it with your hands. Moreover it is difficult to set the break and it may happen that a bigger fish, after it swims away to a very large distance, will break loose when it feels the suddenly increasing resistance. So the popularity of other type of reels, large arbour reels, in which the line is reeled from the beginning on a large diameter spool, is not surprising. The break may be set more precisely, because even when you pull out some 30 m of

Large arbor fly reel

the line, still it will not be visible on the reel. It is also easier to fit a larger piece of the backing. The spool of the reel must revolve easily, with no jams. It should be fitted to the body well enough to prevent the line from getting into the slot between the casing. Each time when it happens, it will end up with damaging the line.

Fitting the reel and reeling the line The size of the reel should fit the rod and the line. Usually the producers designate it on the reel to which line it fits. Some models may be used with two or three types of lines, e.g. 5-6,7-9 etc.. It means that the spool should hold the sinking line (the thickest in a given class) and minimum 50 m of a so called backing. The reel should hold enough metres of the backing, so that the


Reels with reeled line



A thick monofilament or a thin braid, reeled on a spool before you reel the line. It allows fish to swim to a larger distance during hauling. The fly line itself very seldom exceeds 30 m.

Fixing the backing on an empty reel spool with the use of two simple knots

Reeling the line


reeled line fills almost the whole spool, with some space left in case that its coils are arranged irregularly during fishing. The reel backing may be fixed with the use of self-tightening loops or it may simply be tied to the crosspiece or an opening in the spool with a standard knot. After unpacking the new line, you should disassemble the spool on which the line is reeled into two parts and look for its tip. The one to which the backing should be tied is placed on the external coils and should have a small sticker affixed, reading “too reel�. With WF lines, be careful not to confuse these tips. When there is no clear designation, check on the packaging whether the tips of the line have the same colours. Ultimately you may look for a

long, cylindrical fragment, keeping in mind that the leader should be tied to the thicker head. The next step is to tie the backing to the fly line. You may use a mesh loop, normally used for leaders (glued). Also a knot, tightened on the line coating will work well (see leader fitting description). Just to be sure, you can also make a single stopping knot on the line. With this last connection you should not cut too short the tip of the line sticking out of the loop. The very short, sticking tip of several millimetres, is stiff and it may be easily blocked on the guides. It should be several centimetres long because then it will easily bend and will not move. You may also soak 8 cm of the line in the nitro solvent and then remove a plastic coating and tie up the soft core and the


backing as if you were tying two leader monofilaments. Now take the line placed on the half of the original spool and carefully take off the clasps and put the second


half of the spool, and bind them together. Then stick a rod in the central opening and slowly reel the line.

Artificial flies G

enerally speaking, artificial flies are imitations of various aquatic and terrestrial organisms, such as invertebrates, therefore insects, crustacea, leech, or even small fish, spawn, mice and frog, which is everything you can find in water and what is fish prey. They are made on single or double hooks or special anchors of such materials as: feathers, animal hair,

leather, wool, silk, tinsel, plastics, metals and other materials. The list may be very long. In the last years the natural materials are more often replaced by synthetics. However when you are visiting a fishing ground, you should carefully study the valid fishing regulations since interpretations of the artificial fly definition may vary a lot.

Types of flies Generally speaking, flies may be dry or wet. The first ones float on the water surface, the second ones – under water. Dry flies are those floating on the water or those with a small fragment sticking out above the water surface. Usually these are imitations of insects liv-

ing in the aquatic or terrestrial environment or terrestrial organisms which can be found in a pond or river. This group does not include imitations of fish, mice, frogs or other large lures floating on the water surface.

Dry flies



Wet flies can be classified into: traditional wet flies, nymphs and streamers. A traditional wet fly imitates various small organisms. These can include aquatic or terrestrial insects in different stages of development, as well as small fish. Traditional wet flies



Nymphs are usually imitations of aquatic insect larvas and various crustacea. Streamers most often imitate various small fish, as well as leeches, amphibians, reptiles, crustacea and some larger insects.


As you can see, this classification in connected with fishing techniques, still it is not completely rigid. It is not possible to make a clear distinction between particular groups. There are many groups difficult to be classified. Often a decisive factor is a detail, like a hook or a size of the fly. For example, the Alexandra fly will be considered a traditional wet fly if it is made on a standard hook no. 10, or a streamer with extended handle and hook no. 6. It is also dif-


ficult to make a clear distinction between traditional wet flies and bulltrout flies, and to find significant differences between a wingless wet fly and a simple nymph with a hackle. However, most flies can be easily assigned to one of the groups. The photographs above show the most characteristic flies so that the reader may see the main differences between them and knows how to recognize them.

Tying the flies to a leader The illustrations below present several popular techniques for tying an artificial fly. The knots linking the fly and the leader may limit its free running in the water (it applies to wet flies). It is because the monofilament is quite stiff and strangles the lateral movements of the lure. In order to eliminate this you may tie up the hook with a

small monofilament loop. There are miniature safety-pins for artificial flies available, however I don’t recommend them. They are not suitable for tiny hooks and dry flies. Besides it is not comfortable to pin them from one hook to another so I definitely prefer to make a new knot. Tying a fly to a leader


The most frequent knot used with artificial flies

Moving the knot tightened strongly on the eye

So called rapala knot that ties a fly on a tiny loop


A knot tied on the head of the fly



Accessories A

fly angler is usually very active, wading through the water even several kilometres a day. Therefore his tackle needs to be packed in such a manner so that

Fly fishing vest Currently the fly fishing vests with many pockets are very popular and not only anglers wear them. Usually they are sandy in colour because when you fish in an open space and in large rivers, fish can see you against the sky. The vest must have a lot of pockets so that an angler may hold there all the necessary equipment. It is good when each pocket is intended for different items, so that you can easily find what you need. The fly fishing vest is a necessary equipment of the fly angler

it is easily accessible at any time. Any rucksacks and haversacks do not perform well in such conditions. It is best to keep the necessary accessories in the fishing waistcoat.

The fly fishing vest should have many pockets

Note! What is important is the length of the waistcoat. If you fish wearing waders only, it can reach the hips. However if you want to go deeper in the water, it must be much shorter and should not reach your waist. Then you don’t need to be afraid you will wet the bottom pockets and boxes with flies which, if not dried on time, will get rusty. If you have wide waders you may put the too long waistcoat inside what will enable wading very deeply in the water.




Boots with nonskid vibram sole and wolfram spikes

Every fly angler must be equipped with appropriate wading clothes. The freedom of movement is best ensured with waders reaching your chest. They are made of rubber, plastics, neoprene foam or breathable materials. Water resistant and “breathable” material ensures the highest comfort to the fisher, especially during heat. Unortunately such boots are most expensive. Despite that, I strongly recommend them. You go out of the water far less tired and you will not be terrified with the perspective of walking several kilometres to the fishing ground. The neoprene waders are very warm and perform best in the low temperatures. Unfortunately during heat they are like a steam bath. All waders are made with rubber boots or as stocking-foot waders, which are water resistant trousers perma-

What to wear under the waders?

Waders will perform well only with a “breathable” underwear or clothing made of different synthetic, fleece-like fabrics. You should not use cotton clothes. Much better will be a regular fleece. Synthetic clothes perform better also with cheaper waders, made of rubber or PVC. The water steam will settle on their internal surface, leaving the underwear dry.


An angler not experienced in walking through rapid waters and rocks should first of all get accustomed to the depth and the type of the bottom. When you fall down, what is particularly dangerous is the air remaining in the boots and the trouser-legs. The trousers will act like a baloon and you will float with your legs up and your head near the bottom.

nently connected with soft socks made usually of neoprene. On the socks you put a strong, laced boot. Even if water gets inside, your leg in neoprene sock and trousers will remain dry. To prevent gravel and sand, which may damage the neoprene, from getting into the boot, it is recommended to use extra guards or socks. Of course it is best when such guards (gravel guards) are permanently connected with trousers. The waders connected with rubber boots have one advantage only: they are easy on and easy off. Much better are the stocking-foot waders with special boots. They fit tightly to the ankles and greatly facilitate movement in a difficult area. What is also important are the boot soles. They are lined with hardened felt and are suitable for rocky ground. They suction to

Rubber trousers fall out of use


even surface and therefore ensure good adhesion. They do not perform so well on wet grass. They may also be problematic on wet snow. With the snow sticking to the sole after a while you will walk on several centimetres’ high snow wedges. With the snow falling out and sticking to the sole, walking becomes very difficult. A good combination are soles made partly of felt and a regular protector. When the felt starts to slide, the rubber protector will allow you to keep the balance. A good solution are also soles made of special rubber - Amphibia or Vibram. They have the qualities of felt, and are free from its defects. For very slippery surface it is worth buying the shoes with special wolfram spikes.


Shoes with different soles

Water gets into the boots but the feet in waterproof socks remain dry

Neoprene foam works well in very cold water With the foam and breathable trousers standing deep in the water is not terrifying



Fly boxes

Black foam with cuts, into which you stick the hooks

Combs - clips

There are several types of fly boxes: with compartments, clips, foam for sticking and pressing the flies into it (into special cuts). The boxes with square compartments are for dry hackle flies only. If the single compartments have separate closings your flies will not be blown off by the wind. The second type boxes are usually metal and have appropriately curved sticking clips. A hook pinned underneath is pushed to the side wall. They are used for keeping streamers, nymphs and wet flies. I don’t recommend them for keeping the so called plume flies – delicate fluff gets between the springs, shredding the fly. Very popular and comfortable in use are various foam boxes. These are suitable for keeping practically

all kinds of flies, maybe except large dry flies. It is good when the foam is cut to form notches or corrugated line; it facilitates sticking the flies in and out. The foam box is very practical however the flies on barb-free hooks may fall out of it. It refers in particular to larger loaded nymphs. For the latter you should select boxes with a foam with special cuts. The flies are not pressed in it, but pushed between the grooves with the bow of the hook.

Cheap box with nonsoaking foam

Floatants for flies and fly lines A fly angler should be equipped with liquids or floatants of hydrophobic properties, particularly to drip dry flies so that they do not soak and stay on the water surface. Usually they are based on silicone oil, diluted in different solvents. Very good preparations are those including the extract of sebaceous glands of aquatic birds. They are particularly useful for flies made of CDC feathers – fluffy, perfectly

floating feathers of duck sebaceous gland. They are manufactured in a form of liquids, gel and floatants. Gel floatant, sometimes applied directly to the fly but usually you should first rub it between you fingers



Some accessories to make fishing easier • Paraffin wax for smearing the • •

• • • •

fly rod connectors. Whetstone for wheting hooks. Clipper for monofilament, with a needle on one end, used to pin the lacquered hook eyes of artificial flies. Tweezers with long, thin ends to unhook the fish or to squash the hook’s barb. The tongs should be flat, not notched, not to damage the flies while you unhook the fish and to make it easier to squash the hook’s barb. Hat (or cap) protecting eyes from the blinding sun. Landing net. Leader monofilament of different length. Eye-protective polarized glasses, enabling better watching of the river bottom.

For comfort, carry the landing net on your back

A basket for carrying the line to prevent it from sanding

Fishing tweezers


Handly monofilament dispenser



Casting technique




ome anglers are discouraged by a difficult casting technique in fly fishing. Indeed, it is more difficult than in other techniques, however not as complicated as commonly thought. It is best when you learn under supervision of a fly-fishing veteran who will correct your mistakes. It is worth starting your fly-fishing adventure with a course in a fly-fishing school. An experienced instructor will not allow the student to get into bad habits which might then be hard to get rid of.

Overhead cast

I It is best to start learning with an instructor

t is a basic and most common flyfishing cast. When you master it you will be able to fish effectively in most Polish fishing grounds. However, after you get some prac-

tice in using the fly rod it is good to learn other casting techniques. Each beginner should know that without a good cast there is no good fly fishing.



Selection of a place The nicest place to learn is by the water, where you always have a chance to catch a fish or at least admire the nature. However you should start learning on a small meadow. In such location you will be focused completely on the correct casting. It is best to dedicate several days to the dry training, an hour or so per day. It will help you get proper habits with no risk of “overtraining”. By the water you will not need to think of the correct cast, just focus on the very technique of leading the flies.

You should train on a small, lowgrass meadow, and not on a gravelled yard or other hard ground, otherwise you will destroy the line immediately. The place must be open, with no bushes or trees within a distance of 15 metres in front of you or behind you. If you decide to train by the water, it is best to choose a gentle bank, from where you can walk several steps into the water. Do not start your learning in a strong wind and do not choose a place with a high bank or pier (several metres above the water level).

Preparations At the beginning do not tie any fly to the tip of the leader. Thanks to this your fishing kit will not catch on the grass and the leader and the line will not tangle up. The monofilament leader should be minimum 1.5 m long. For cast learning it can be made of any monofilament. It does need to be tapered. Ultimately, after and hour or so, it will be all knotted, with a splitted tip. To better understand what should be the position of the tip of the rod at different stages of the cast, imagine that you are standing in the centre of a clock face. Vertically above your head it is 12 o’clock, horizontally to the front it is 9 o’clock, and 3 o’clock to the back. In between there are

other o’clock points. If you assume that the rod tip is set at 12 o’clock, it will mean that it is directed vertically up. Before you start learning how to cast you should pay attention to how you should hold the rod handle.

Hypothetical clock with marked trajectory (dashed line) of the tip of the rod


Stiffening wristband


There are several ways to put your fingers on the cork, however for learning I recommend that you have your index finger straight and placed on the upper part of the handle. It will help you stiffen the wrist and form a tight loop in the air. To stiffen your wrist it is good to use a band which fastens the end of the rod to your hand, right above the palm (see illustration above). Those who already have some fly-fishing experience but have

doubts as regards correctness of their casting technique, should use this invention which will improve not just their technique but will also help get rid of bad habits. During the learning process please remember that the line should be grabbed strongly under the fingers of the hand in which you hold the rod or the other hand. The most important is the proper motion of the entire hand. It means a trajectory of the hand and the dynamics of the motion.

Trajectory The casting technique may be most difficult to master to persons who have practiced spinning or float fishing for a long time. They must overcome old habits because the hand and palm motion is completely different in this technique. Even if I described the hypothetical clock, your rod does not copy the motion of the clock’s hands. You must not make circular swings.

Inorrect action of the hand during the cast – wrist action. The rod makes circular motion only – like a windscreen wiper

I introduced the clock only to determine the directions and the height of the rod during particular stages of the cast. The rod may not move on a circle around your head. The trajectory of the tip of the fly pole should be similar to a straight line, just like the hand motion. Your entire hand should work gently and freely: both the arm and the forearm, with stiffened wrist – the palm should behave like an engine piston.



Hand and arm motion in correct cast – the tip of the rod close to the straight line


During the cast your hand gives the rod an appropriate dynamics, and thanks to its elasticity the rod transfers the energy to the fly line. During the motion, the blank of the rod accumulates the energy which is transferred to the line after the former stops. It is an accelerated motion. It can be trained with a pole only, without the line threaded through the guides. You should waive in such a manner so as to clearly hear the swish and feel the air resistance bending the tip of the rod. As if you wanted to cut the roadside weeds with a piece of withe. If you do it too slowly, the gentle stems will only dodge a blow. You can cut it only with a strong swing. The same is with the fly cast. If you don’t accelerate the rod properly, its tip will not have

enough energy to throw the line. On the other hand stopping the rod in front and behind you should be such so that its tip quivers as little as possible. At the same time the transition from static position to motion must be smooth, with slowly increasing speed. The most difficult is to keep an appropriate balance between the dynamics of the motion and its smoothness.

Dynamic cast



Force applied to the rod

The drawing shows the force you should apply to the rod during the front cast. The black line designates correct hand action, the red line – incorrect rod action (broken cast)

Forward motion of the tip (in metres)

Start point

Rod stop point

Basic cast You need to turn back your head to watch the line straightening behind

You will get to know the basic cast, step by step, thanks to the photographs and illustrations on the next two pages. For a start, I recommend that you turn your head behind your shoulder to be able to watch the whole action. Later it will become your second nature and you will automatically feel the moment when the line straightens during various distance casts. During the swings it will be best if you slightly pull the rod back so that the line flies outside the right side of the pole (for right-handed persons). You need to make several casts as described above to get accustomed to the new equipment and adjust your hand, and then you will modify the technique a bit. Do not let the line fall on the grass. Stop the rod at 11 o’clock and wait

until the line straightens in front of you in the air. Then you should immediately cast it backwards. Now it should fly above your head (parallel to the ground), without touching the grass. After several casts you may allow the line to fall again on the grass, take a severalsecond break and repeat the cast series. During casting try to keep a certain rhythm. The time needed to straighten the line at the back and at the front should be like ticking of a clock or a metronome: tick – break – tick – break, etc. Where each “tick” is the beginning of a new movement of the fly rod. Many anglers were learning to cast to such metronome ticking. You can see this in a movie by Robert Redford, A River Runs Through It, which perfectly depicts the spirit of fly fishing.



Basic cast – step by step

Picking up the line

Throwing the rod backwards

Wait until the line flies behind your back

Line straightening

Pull the pole to the front

Line straightening in the air, high above the water



Casting – step by step

Begin casting. Pull ca. 7 m of the line out of the reel and tighten the break so that the line cannot easily fall out, or hold it down with your fingers. Hold the rod handle and keep it in a horizontal position.

From the 9 o’clock position, pick up the line with one continuous motion of the rod. The motion must be strong however not impetous but gradually accelerating. The rod bends more and more, loaded by the line. 01.00 o’clock

Keep the fly rod (with no spurts) at 1 o’clock position

01.00 o’clock

01.00 o’clock

After you stop the line at 01.00 o’clock, keep it still. The bent tip of the rod straightens gradually, drawing the line behind. Wait until it flies backwards, forming the initially expanding and then diminishing loop. 01.00 o’clock

At the same time the tip of the rod bends the other side, loaded by the line. Wait for the line to straighten completely in the air behind your back.


01.00 o’clock

11.00 o’clock

The next step is to throw the rod forward, just like before, without strong impetus but with an accelerating movement which thanks to the elasticity of the tip of the rod will give the line the energy necessary to cast it forward. 11.00 o’clock 01.00 o’clock

Now, just like before, wait for the line to go forward, forming a loop

11.00 o’clock

11.00 o’clock

57 01.00 o’clock

Again, stop the pole, this time between 10. and 11 o’clock

11.00 o’clock

01.00 o’clock

and to straighten in the air

01.00 o’clock

Now let it fall on the grass and repeat the operation all over again.

Only when the line is straight (very important) and it starts to fall on the ground, bend the pole parallel to the ground



Mistakes If the cast is correct, the line flying above your head should be parallel to the ground, the narrow loop should put up a small resistance in the air and the line should straighten completely and only then fall down to the ground. Of course, at first not everything will go perfect and you will make a lot of mistakes. When you are already at the fishing ground, you should stand in the water and make several dozen casts, without a tied fly, just for recollection.

the line. Such action causes opposite results: the is arranged worse and worse in the air and on the grass. A correct fly cast is more about technique not the force. So, instead of panicking, better stop casting, analyze the mistakes and repeat the efforts, while constantly watching the line. The cause of a “dead cast” is that the line received too little energy which is not sufficient for it to straighten completely. Below I have described several possible causes of that.

The line and the leader do Mistake I – incorrect application not straighten up

“Dead cast”

Often, when you want to place the line on the grass it falls in loose coils right in front of you, not reaching the maximum distance. It is common among the anglers to call it a dead cast – which means that the fly line did not reach an appropriate distance and coiled in one place. Instinctively, every angler tries to swing the rod stronger and wider to apply more force to

of force It may be a not enough dynamic action of a palm or of the entire hand. The fly cast is not waving a flag in which the motion is smooth and continuous. After each forward and backward swing the hand must clearly stop. The hand holding the rod definitely cannot have the same speed all the time. During the forward (or backward) motion the speed increases linearly from zero to a certain point and again very quickly returns to a zero level. The cast must be clearly divided into several stages: application of force, stop, application of force, stop, etc. If you watch the experienced anglers you may have a wrong impression that they do not make such stops and oper-


“Dead cast”

ate very smoothly. It is not true, it is simply more difficult to see this. Their technique is so good that they apply to the rod the minimum required force, besides a bit of calmness and smoothness is always advisable. A good rod not only transmits the energy from your palm to the line but it even multiplies it. However, incorrect dynamics of the pole’s motion may repress it. Now I will describe other causes of incorrect arrangement of the line on the grass. Mistake II – the line does not straighten behind the back of the angler This mistake may happen also when you don’t wait long enough for the line to straighten behind your back. Before it unfolds completely, you start the forward mo-

tion of the rod. Most often an angler speeds up the cast because he is afraid that the line will not stay in the air and will fall on the grass behind him. Of course it causes even more trouble. Two loops are formed which go opposite directions, their speeds sum up and there is a shot which consumes most of the energy. Consequently, the forward motion of the rod is little effective and the tip of the rod doesn’t have enough force to cast


Two loops forming

Formation of two loops often results in crack whip


When the wrist is bent too much the rod will incorrectly bend backwards

Too wide hand swing


the line. When you want to save the situation, usually unintentionally you speed up another casts. As a result, after several such swings you get first a double and then a triple loop and the line falls coiled at your feet, often tangled with the rod. To avoid this mistake you should stand with your side to the casting plane (as I have already described it), turn your head to follow the flying line and watch when it straightens completely – only then push the pole forward. You can feel this moment on the rod. The line straightening behind suddenly bends the tip a little more to the back. It feels like hitting the rod’s blank – and this is exactly the moment when you start the cast. However this is not the case with all rods. When the

line does not straighten and the forward cast is too fast, it may end up with crack whip. If a fly was tied at the tip of the leader, in 50 out of 100 cases it will be “shot away” in the air. If you cast only the leader, without a lure, after several such shots the monofilament will finally fray oraz even divide into layers. Another cause of the crack whip may be a too short monofilament leader (it should be minimum 1.5 m). Even an experienced angler, when casting for example the line only, will not avoid a loud clap in the air. The monofilament, and the fly even more, significantly disperses the harmful energy. Mistake III – too wide swing A beginner usually has an impression that the wider the swing (longer than the trajectory of the rod’s tip ), the stronger you may cast the fly line. It is true in case of other fishing techniques, but not in the fly-fishing technique (of course it refers to the overhead cast to medium distances described in here). On the contrary – quite short swing forward and backwards allows for more economical use of the applied force. The tip of the rod is optimally loaded when it moves within 10.00 to 1.00 o’clock position. If you bend it backwards too much, you will make another mistake. With such position of the rod, even if you correctly estimate



Too wide swing

the moment when the line should straighten, you will not be able to make a correct cast. When the position of the rod is at 1.00 or 2.00 o’clock, the bent tip of the rod, directly connected with the strained line is able to immediately push it forward. When the rod is bent backwards to much, you don’t have this comfort. The horizontally arranged rod straightens, and before you bend it and push forward you will lose several precious split seconds. The forward rod motion, from 3.00 to 1.00 o’clock, is unproductive. You lose smoothness of the cast and most of the energy. Just like in the previous case, the line will fall down in loose coils, either not straighneted or previously pulled up close to the ground and will catch the grass behind your back. It is difficult to eliminate this mistake because the hand almost automatically bends the pole backwards. It is

often because of incorrect bend of the wrist. However we may easily stiffen it. You should use the wristband described above. If you don’t have it, you may simply put the end of the rod inside your jacket sleeve and strongly tighten the puller. You may also use a several centimetres long Velcro tape. You should fold it unevenly and use it to attach the end of the rod to the hand, right below the wrist. Mistake IV – late swing Another cause of the coiling line and leader is a too late forward cast of the rod. In such case the

Too late forward swing. 1. This is the last moment for the correct cast. 2. With the straight tip of the rod and the loose falling line the correct cast will no longer be possible; the pole will start to act only in position 3., which is 11 o’clock position. As a result there will be not enough space to apply the force to the line, sufficient to straighten it in front of you on the water.


Late forward swing and the line falling down on the water


line straightens and then starts to loosely fall on the grass, and the tip of the rod stops bending. This mistake is very costly since if you swing the fly rod at this moment it will be far less effective. The line must again strain and bend the end of the rod. It is a huge waste of time and energy, difficult to be make up for. As a result, the line does not have enough power to fly over the head and straighten in front of you. The cast “dies� and Dashed lines indicate trajectory of the tip of the rod

Wide and narrow loop

the whole fly line together with a leader falls down, coiled in one place. Mistake V – extended loop Other popular mistake is an extended loop which is formed during forward and backward line casts. The line forming an extended curve puts up a very strong resistance in the air. That is why in this case the fly casting distance will be smaller


than if you formed a narrow loop. It can be best experienced during upwind casts. Consequently, the force required to straighten it may be insufficient and it will fall down, coiled in one place. Such situation will occur when the tip of the rod goes a wrong trajectory. As long as it moves along a straight line, the loop of the line will be narrow. It will extend when in the final phase the pole circles even slightly towards the ground. The palm bending the rod downwards will pull the line too, and will extend the loop while its tip is still flying horizontally or a bit upwards above the water. Some of the energy directed originally forward will be lost for an additional line cast which, now extended, will need to fight much stronger air resistance.

Line and fly hitting the water surface During fishing you should try to avoid unnecessary hits of the line and the fly against the water surface. Although it doesn’t always frighten the fish away, still it does not help fishing. Moreover, such hitting in some fishing techniques will make it impossible to lead the kit properly and it will prove that our casting technique is far from perfect.


Too wide loop

Line splashing the water, too extensive loop


Line splashing the water, very extensive loop

The line and the fly hitting the water as a result of too steep trajectory - acceptable (black) and too steep trajectory (red)


Just like with the line straightening incorrectly, the most frequent cause of this mistake is a very extensive loop. If during the forward swing the rod makes a visible circle, then the middle part of the line will be first to touch the water, and its farther fragments will one by one fall on the water making loud splash. Consequently, the fly will also strongly hit the water and will surely sink. Of course it is not acceptable in the technique where the lure is supposed to float.

Mistake VI – line’s trajectory in the air When the fly and the line hit the water it may be caused by incorrect casting plane. The line’s trajectory should be parallel to the ground, and not diagonal. It is a relatively insignificant mistake and easy to be corrected. You should stand with your side to the casting line and turning your head watch the flight of the line, adjusting the motion of your hand and the rod’s tip. The line hitting the watter or placed on the water before the fly may also be the consequence of the four abovementioned mistakes (from I to IV). However it happens more seldom and is far less visible than with mistakes III, V and VI.


Fly broken off in the air or tangled fishing kit The most frequent mistake made by the anglers, resulting in breaking the fly off, is the previously described crack whip (mistake II). Another reason of such situation may be the fly catching on the plants behind your back or hitting the riparian stones. When the fly catches on the grass, usually you can feel it on the rod, but you will never notice when it hits the stones. Only the unnaturally whistling line with the leader will be the sign that you fish with a monofilament only. Usually the reason are mistakes V and VI.

The line catching on the pole

Mistake VII – extended loop behind an angler A wide loop which is formed behind an angler is another fishing mistake. It is usually caused by a circular motion of the fly rod which strikes the line and the fly down,


behind your back. Very often, when the riverbank behind the angler is a little higher, the angler, trying not to catch it, automatically makes more forcible casts. So he makes a wider swing which becomes more and more circular. Of course the result is contrary to the intended one – each and every time the fly catches on the grass or the stones. Raising the hand with the rod very high will not help. Unnatural position of the arm and the forearm will make the cast more difficult, instead of facilitating it. Mistake VIII The reason why the fly catches on the grass may be a diagonal casting plane: too high at the front and too low at the back of an angler. Mistake IX – hitting the pole It is easy to break off the fly or tangle up the fishing kit when it hits the rod’s blank during casting. It happens when the loop is formed

A loop above the rod’s tip and the line hitting the blank



A point where the leader with the fly and the line interwines

Rear view: 1. An area where the line should stretch, 2. If it stretches in this area, it may easily catch on the pole

Fly catching on the line and kit tangling

not above but under the rod’s tip. Of course when you place the line in such position it is not a mistake. However, when the loops are formed in the same plane as the moving rod, it will always result in breaking off or tangling the fly. To avoid it, it is best to bend the rod a bit aside and cast the line forward and backwards beyond the

Loop closing

fly pole. Even if a loop is formed below the tip of the rod, still it will fly next to the rod, without catching on the blank. Mistake X – “stairs” and breaking the cast The most frequent cause of the tangled fishing kit is when the fly hits the rod, not the line. It hap-

Stairs on the line


Stairs on the line caused by uncontrolled motion of the tip of the rod

pens when the line, flying forward above the head, does not form a parallel loop. It is best shown on the illustration. What may seem strange is that almost always it happens in front of an angler and not behind his back. With such position of the line, the kit simply must tangle up, and it may be very difficult to untangle it. It is caused by too nervous motion at the time when the line straightens behind your back. At the same time the tip of the rod and your hand must remain firm. They may not stop during straightening, then move a little forward, then move back again, move a little forward and only then forcefully throw the line in front of the angler. Each such break immediately transmits to the line, forming a kind of stairs on it. Because of it the tip of the line moving forward will catch on the middle of the loop and will tangle up. Apart from the quivering tip, the main cause of closing the loop is overloading the

fly rod at the very beginning of the swing. After you wait for the line to straighten up behind your back (the tip of the rod stays still in the air), you start to move the rod forward. At the beginning the motion should be smooth, you slowly accelerate to achieve the maximum speed only right in front of you, until it stops at 10 o’clock position. You absolutely cannot start with a sudden spurt, with whipping a rod’s tip. Each such motion automatically changes the line trajectory and the line catches on the fly.

Further training

If you have already mastered the cast, the next step is to experiment with its length. Pull out an additional one or two metres of the line and train the new skills. Step by step, when you extend and shorten the casting distance, you should adjust the wait time needed for the line to straighten in front of you and behind you. The longer the distance, the more you


Closing the loop

68 Keeping the line in the left hand and its excess on the ground

at your feet. Do not reel it (in the water it will often loosely float below your feet).

Longer cast

Releasing the line when you exceed the casting distance and the final fragment of the cast; horizontal position of the rod reduced the line’s resistance in the guides and consequently the cast is even longer

need to wait. You need to train for so long as needed to get rid of all problems associated with incorrect situation of flies in case of different lengths of the line. The next step is to get used to keeping the line in the left hand or under the middle finger of the right hand. It is very common during fishing. Now, during casting, you should by turns change the hand keeping the line, right to left hand and vice versa, so that the line is always under control and it does not slide unexpectedly through the glides when you change the hold. At the same time you change the distance, placing the excess of the line in loose coils

As you acquire new skills, the casting distance will be longer and longer. However you may reach bigger distance faster. You simply need to pull out more line than before and place its excess at your feet (illustration 1). Now you start the cast, slowly extending its distance. With each swing, when the line flies forward, you should release its short fragment (1-2 m) through the slightly loosened fingers of your left hand (ilustration 2). It cannot fall out. Also, you should not let it out of your hand during the backcast. Try to pull out so much line to completely control it in the air. It cannot be the maximum distance at which you can cast, but several metres shorter. You make a strong cast forward, releasing the line from your left hand, and placing the pole parallel to the ground (ilustration 3 and 4). The line gets through the guides like in the spinning cast, pulling the excess at your feet. If you follow all the above instructions and still the casting is difficult and the line fails to go forward, you should equip yourself with a line which is one or two numbers heavier than the one recommended in the tackle selection chapter. It applies in particular to fast-taper action rods.





Life cycle of insects


Attractor (fancy) flies

Fish often attack the lure as an aggresive impulse what somehow explains the effectiveness of attractor flies, pink or orange. In the natural environment such insects do not exist, but despite that such vivid flies may be extremely effective.



very fly angler should know what insects are imitated by the flies he uses at the fishing ground. Of course you don’t need to know the whole systematics of insects, it is enough when you learn the basics and know how to find the difference between the most important fly types. In general, the imitations used by the fly anglers are classified into: terrestrial, i.e. those which got into the aquatic environment by accident, and aquatic, whose entire life or most of its part is connected with the aquatic environment. The first one are not so important, because seldom they are fish prey. On the other hand, the second group is the basic food source of all fish.




rom the ova laid on the bottom the larvas, so called nymphs, hatch. They live in aquatic environment for several months up to three years, however they are not an easy catch for fish.They hide themselves under stones, in sludge or among the underwater plants. Growing mayflies go through subsequent moulting

processes. After some time the naiads go out of the water to transform into a flying insect. Most often they swim to the water surface and they go out through the cut in the back part of the moult (exuvia). In this process mayflies transform into an immature insect (Latin subimago), and after that, already on the ground, one again

Mayfly nymphs taken out of the water


Transformation of nymph into dun on the water surface

A mayfly which has just went out of the water



they go through metamorphosis to reach the stage of an adult insect (Latin imago). Mayflies, depending on the species, have different sizes and colours. Their size is usually described by comparison to the number of hooks on which a given imitation was made. The biggest one may be 5 cm long, but often you may find also miniature ones, several milemetres long. Particular species may be in different colours, there are vivid yellow mayflies, spotted, olive, pearl grey, brown mayflies, etc. Their flights start around calendar spring

and last until late autumn. From March till June more often you may find bigger specimens while near winter there are more and more small mayflies, matching hooks no. 16-22. You may expect the mayfly flights during different times of the day, depending on the season and weather conditions. At dawn there are not many of them. Most often you can meet single mayflies only. From spring until the beginning of the summer and on cloudy rainy days, intense mayfly flight are most often between 11 a.m. and 4 p.m.

It is a nuptial flight, and not – as many anglers think – transformation of naiad into a winged insect. However, among the anglers, it is common to say swarming, not flights.


Quickly fly away to a safe place



Although the insects going out of the water are well visible, still it is difficult to spot laying the ova. It is difficult because of the gathering darkness, delicate construc-

tion of the insects (transparent wings) and finally the fact that the process may last very short and in one place only.


Life cycle of a mayfly – from the ovum to an adult insect Dun

Empty exuvia


Yellow dun mayfly

Imitation of spent mayfly

Imitation of mayfly nymph

Trout is soon to attack


Sedges / caddis flies


t is the second group of insects which are important food source for salmonidae. Their reproductive cycle is similar to this of mayflies. The difference between the mayflies and sedges is the appearance of an adult insect and a nymph and the fact that sedges have no intermediate stage - subimago. The sedge nymphs rather walk the bottom than swim. They protect their delicate trunks by building shelters, so called cases. The cases are made of rocks, gravel, sand, plant remains etc.; each sedge species uses only one type of building material. Unless it is not present in a given water area. The sedge nymphs stay in these cases for almost their entire life. The nymphs can be green, yellow, orange, beige or cream, however the colours are usually invisible from below the case. Their pro-

truding heads and legs are usually black. Ready for the final transformation, they leave the case and paddling their legs they swim to the surface. Only here, adult and winged specimens go out of a thin exuvia. The anglers call the sedges swimming out of the water pupa. After coming out to the surface the adult insects (imago) flow on it, and then they fly away to the thicket. During flowing, they paddle their legs and leave on the water a characteristic, delicate trace. The flights take place usually since morning until afternoon, in the evening and at night, from the end of May until early autumn. In June they can stay on the water for the whole day, and in the next months – only in the evening and before the afternoon.


Free-living caddis flies

Only two types of caddis flies (Rhyacophila and Hydropsyche) do not build cases. However they make nests which catch the food carried by a water current. For sure not once you have seen quasi cobwebs resembling a calyx, affixed to the underwater plants. These are the nests of these insects. Both of the free-living caddis fly species are light-green and olive.


Imitation of sedge

Nymph in a case - a, pupa flowing out- b, adult insect - c

Initation of sedge nymph



Stone flies


hey are one of the bigger invertebrates (up to several centimetres long) colonizing the clear and rapid waters. So they should be an important food source for salmonidae however quite seldom you can find them in the fish stomach. Maybe their life style makes them quite difficult to catch. Despite that, they are quite

1, 2, 3 –Stone fly 4 – Stone fly, imitation of nymph 5, 6 – Stone fly, imitation of an adult insect

good trout lure. Trouts may attack it even from a huge distance. Therefore it is good to use this fly, both wet and dry. There are many species and types of stone flies of various sizes and flight periods - from the end of winter until autumn. The most popular among Polish anglers is a large stone fly, present by the water from May till June.




rustacea are important and common fish food ingredient. They spend their whole life in the aquatic environment. You may find the biggest amounts of shrimps in the fish stomachs during winter and spring, however also during summer there are quite many of them. You may see them in the clear river sections, below the dams on the San River or Wag River. Fish caught

Shrimps in shallow water



there during summer were literally stuffed with shrimps. These crustacea are several or a dozen or so millimetres long. Their colours imitate the ground, so they may be grey, beige, a little rusty or olive. Shrimps are quite good swimmers and often migrate upstream. The procreation takes place in spring, however in colder streams it may last until the beginning of summer. In very favourable conditions it may last all year long. Imitation of shrimp



Fishing techniques




any anglers fish one technique only, completely forgetting about the others while it is a true pleasure to fish for trout and grayling in different conditions and using different flies. Moreover, fishing in different waters and during different seasons of the year requires high flexibility and adaptation to the demands of picky fish.

Water circle

Circular waves on the water surface, in a place where a fish catches an insect.


he fishing techniques and the artificial flies are divided into similar corresponding groups. In each of them the most important is the best possible imitation of the selected part of the fish menu. It is best explained on the illustration and in the descriptions below. Dry fly In a dry fly fishing the lure floats on the water surface or goes partly above it. It may be just a piece of wings. It usually imitates insects floating on the water. You use it when you see fish feeding on the surface (characteristic rings or splashes called water circles). In practice we use this technique in

all standing and flowing waters, from spring until late autumn. Dry fly is best for fishing: grayling, trout, bleak, dace, chub, rudd and ide. This technique does not work well when there are no insects above the water, and there are no feeding traces (water circles) on the surface. Wet traditional fly You lead a wet fly in the water depths, slowing down its free drift or even dragging it upstream. This type of fly imitates different organisms: from insects to baby fish hatch. However with this technique you may fish practically for most fish species in our country.

Dry fly

Wet fly Wet traditional flies

Dry and wet fly


However it is not equally effective with all fish. It is best for fish which react to a moving lure, e.g.: trout, asp, chub, or perch. When you lead it more delicately, it is also perfect for grayling, ide, bleak and dace. It is the oldest artificial fly fishing technique.

closer to the surface. This technique is effective during the whole season, also during winter. It may be applied in fishing for: grayling, trout, dace, chub, ide, barbell, nase, rudd, perch, huchen, roach, bream, white bream, and even carp.

Nymph Nymph is a fly imitating many different invertebrates living in the aquatic environment only and larvas and pupas of those species which are bi-environmental. They include for example the larvas of: mayflies, sedges, stone flies, dipterans, dragonflies, ground beetles, as well as shrimps. Such fly is usually freely drifted near the bottom. That is why it is often additionally loaded with a lead wire. When the insects swim to the surface, your fly may float much

Streamer In this technique you use quite big flies (often on hooks with extended handle), which are to imitate bigger, well floating organisms, usually small fish or leeches. It is effective all year long. Most often you lead the streamer in such a manner so as to make it move, sometimes even very fast. This fishing technique has a lot in common with spinning, and the fish pursued are all predatory fish: pike, zander, perch, trout, huchen, sheat fish, asp, as well as chub.




Streamer and nymph



Dry-fly fishing

When to use a dry fly

Most often when you can see fish feeding on the water surface. When they catch the insects, traces appear on the water surface, resembling a round wave. Anglers call such traces which show where the fish feeds and stays, a water circle. So when you can see water circles, for sure such fly will be effective.


ry fly imitates insects floating on the water surface. The basic advantage is that feeding – passing the fly and the moment of biting – is happening in front of your eyes. This rare phenomena makes this technique very spectacular

and emotional. Many consider it a sports technique and this is the only technique they practice. I recommend the beginners to start learning fishing with this fly, that is why I describe it in the first place.

Dry-fly fishing tackle The rod should not be too long. Frequent overhead swings to dry the fly require short rods. Long rod is too heavy for the palm and the wrist and will quickly exhaust the hand. It is best to use the fly rod from 2.2 to 2.75 m long, class: AFTM 2-7. In Poland, the most frequently used tackle is class 4-5 and this I recommend to the beginners.

Location You may start learning the dry-fly fishing between April and October. The best fishing ground will be such not exceeding 2 m in depth. But if the fish swim close to the surface, then the depth will have no meaning. If you start your learning process on the flowing water, it should not be a brook, but a river, at least 7 metres wide. It would be best if the fishing ground had the following fish species: trout, grayling, chub, dace, rudd (roach), ide, bleak. You should choose a river or a lake with quite clear water, with visible bottom. If the water has

The line must be floating and the best one will be bright. The length of the leader usually should not exceed the length of your rod, however sometimes I use very long leaders, even 4-metres long. The thickness of the end fragment of the leader depends on the size of the fly and the type of water. The smaller the fly and calmer the water, the thinner should be the monofilament. no clarity (then the anglers call it coffee), then fly fishing makes no sense. The water should be clear enough so that fish have a chance to see the insect floating on the surface. Now you need to find a fish feeding ground. Walking along the bank you should seek the so called water circles. However it is not so important whether the water is “boiling” as the fish gather the insects, or only from time to time you can see a single fish going out the water to catch the floating fly.


Approaching the fishing ground When fishing on a calm, smooth water (glide), you should keep certain precautions. You should know that in such place you are well visible to fish. It may happen that only because you come into the water (particularly carelessly, quickly, with loud splash) the fish will be scared away. That is why you should wade rather slowly so that waves that you make be as little as possible. When you fish from the bank you also need to be very careful because you will be even better visible to fish since you stand high above the water table. Sometimes it is good to kneel or squat down and start fishing

only from this position. Fish skittishness may vary in different fishing grounds, even among the same species. Generally speaking the least skittish is grayling, the most – large chub. As regards skittishness, other species are somewhere in between the two. However I had a chance to visit the fisheries where graylings stopped to make water circles when I was approaching them (glide) at the distance of ca. 40 m. To approach them I had to crawl the grassy bank. However, often quite big graylings were going out within a distance on 3 m only (Dunajec).

Pre-selection of a fly Remember that all the time when you approach, move through the river, fish or even take a break for a meal, you should carefully watch the water and the air. Goddard Sedge

You should watch insects that fly and float on the water. The situation may change every several seconds and you need to respond to it and replace the artificial flies appropriately. If you see small erect sails on the water, most probably these are mayflies. In such case you should install a dry fly with erect wings of a similar size and colour. When you see small romping moths which fly to the water surface and hit it, and the water circles are a little louder (even



If the river has a section of plain, calm water, this is the so called glide and it is worth watching. In such place, already from a large distance you may spot feeding fish. It can be spotted because of the visible circles on the water surface. If you see it, choose a location where you have enough space to cast the line in the air. When you start learning the dry-fly fishing it is best to stand in the river bed so that you make the casts across the current.



clear splashes), then most probably these are sedges. Then you should tie up a fly with wings laid flat on their body, dark grey to light brown (coffe with milk). What to do when no insects can be seen

Fly impregnation

After you tie the fly to the leader you need to smear it with a substance that will protect it form extensive water absorption. It may be liquid, gel or grease. You need to be careful not to overdo and not to stick together the delicate wings and the hackle (ruffled “feathers�) of the fly. It refers in particular to gels and greases that you first rub between your thumb and index finger and only then you smear the fly. You can use the liquids the

First dry-fly casts

The most comfortable position is to stand with your face to the river and fish perpendicularly to the water current. Pull out 2 m of the line through the tip guide and start casting. Do not let the line fall on the water but slowly, with consecutive casts, extend the distance by pulling more and more fly line out of the reel (with your left hand). Remember that the line should go through the guides only when it goes forward, never when it goes backwards. If the flies turn back in the air, above the fish making water circles, it means that the line

on the glide, and despite that the fish make water circles? You need to experiment a bit and for a start choose a small fly on 1820 hook.

similar way or apply it to the lure with the use of an atomizer. In fact you may also dip the fly in the liquid, provided that it is properly diluted. However in this last case the bottle with the substance will be empty very fast, that is why a better solution will be a small pencil permanently fixed to the cap. Remeber not to put the impregnation agent on a wet fly. It will not improve its buoyancy.

is long enough. So you should not make another backcast but let the line with straightened leader fall on the water. You should fish, keeping the unreeling line in the left hand. Cast the flies across the current and let them drift freely. When the fly starts to muddle the water, repeat the action. You should ensure that it floats on the water like a natural insect. The tip of the rod should follow the flowing line. Any slacks and loose line (beyond the rod tip) are inadvisable because they hamper fast striking of a fish.







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Leading the fly during cross cast and a fly muddling the water

It is important how the line and the leader lay down on the water right after the cast. Depending on the water currents it should be arranged a bit diagonally, downstream. It is not easy to place the line diagonally to the water current in a proper way. To achieve the expected results, when you straighten the line in the air in front of you, you bend the rod’s tip to the left or to the right (depending on which side of the river you stand), to give it the proper direction even before it falls on the water. You can’t do it later, when it lies on the water, be-

cause the line dragged on the water will sink the flies. Consequently, after the cast you will have the line directed downstream, the leader and your fly placed on the water, and the fly will be the first to fall on the point where the fish stays. You should remember that in the initial phase of leading a fly (right after the cast), the rod

The line arranged diagonally, downstream

Incorrect, maximum distant cast and correct cast with lifted rod

An excess of the line will allow for long leading of the fly



should be lifted up. When you lead the fly you may slowly lower the tip, with your rod and entire hand following the flowing fishing kit. A cast to the maximum distance will be a mistake. In such case you will not be able to follow the flowing line and therefore the fly will start

to immediately muddle the water. Despite the use of the floatants and specialized materials, the fly, because of its contact with water, will start to sink after several casts. To avoid it you should swing it in the air so that it is dried.

A few remarks An artificial fly must float on the surface in such a way as if it was a real fly. Of course there are some exceptions. There are so many of them that in fact you may doubt there is any regularity. You should follow it, but only when you want the fly to float unnaturally you should provoke such motion. Each unnatural motion of the fly on the water surface should be provoked intentionally. A live insect, e.g. mayfly or sedge, after swarming, goes up to the water surface which has such tension that the fly slides it as if it was a hard plane. The artificial fly floats a bit different because it is partly immersed. Watching the flies

If you want to strike the fish properly you always need to watch the fly on the water. It is not a problem on calm glides. It is much more difficult to spot small flies in the rough water on the current and on the water which reflects the sunlight and creates a blinding glow on the surface. The way you see flies on the water does not depend on your sight only. It is a skill you may master. You just need to predict where the fly is to fall and look for it right there, and it is not easy in the wind. You also need to know how to spot it on the water and distinguish it from the real flies.

A natural fly will leave a much more delicate trace on the water than the artificial fly since the latter “cuts” the water and does not slide its surface. If you spot a water circle, you should place the fly a little higher and direct the fly there. If the fish do not bite, let the fly float outside the fish’s stand and repeat the cast. Fish feed various ways. If you can see the water circle always in the same place, remember to pass the fly very precisely, so that it floats right in this place. It is often necessary, otherwise grayling will not be interested. Sometimes it may

Fly muddling the water


happen that the fish feeds very intensively and jumps to the flies, swimming in circles within a range of even 2 m. In case of graylings it is difficult to figure out whether it is just one fish or a whole group. In case of salmonidae such feeding is always limited to a quite small


field, and the fish most often pick the flies which float right above them. It is because these fish are stationary and do not swim to search for food but stay in one position waiting for the food floating the water.

Biting and striking When the fish bites the fly, it may have various forms. Sometimes it is a slow suction of the fly, leaving a clear and large circle on the water surface. It may happen that fish bite very delicately or extremely fast, keeping the fly in their mouth only for a split second. It is difficult to say what is the decisive factor. For sure the number of anglers matters. In the fishing grounds visited by masses of anglers the fish are surely more careful and suspicious. Try to strike a fish by sliding the line on the water instead of pulling the entire line out of the water. Large inertia and the

weight of the line sliding the water will facilitate sticking the hook in the fish’s mouth. If despite that you still break the flies off, you should use thicker monofilament or slightly lift the entire hand instead of turning the wrist at striking. The track of the tip will be far shorter so the striking will be more delicate too. An instant striking is not always necessary. When the fly disappears from the water surface it doesn’t need to mean that it is already in the fish’s mouth. Many times you will need to keep calm because only a delayed strike will end up successfully. Correct and too extensive rod motion during striking the fly



Hauling and landing the fish How to properly release the fish

If you wade during fishing, try to go through the whole hauling process in the water. In particular when you intend to release the fish or you suspect that its size non-regular. It looks a bit pathetic when a fly angler drags the grayling through the stones to check whether it is big enough. Of course when you want to kill a regular fish it doesn’t matter anymore. The fish you intend to release should be fished with the use of a non-barb hook and it is best to unhook it in the water. Catch the hook only and take it from the fish’s mouth without touching the fish. Release the fish and remember to do it upstream.

When you finally succeed to strike a fish, you should skilfully haul it. Smaller fish of maximum 35-40 cm should be hauled up by pulling the line with the fingers of both hands, and sometimes also with the use of mouth. Of course it is not a general rule and you may also use a reel. However if there are a lot of fish then reeling the excessive line lying in the water is a waste of time. In fly fishing the biting sometimes lasts several minutes only and you should not lose a single second. The reel on the other hand should be used in hauling larger fish. As I have already mentioned, the break should be set in quite loose position, to avoid for-

mation of a “beard” on the spool when the line is unreeled rapidly. You should break by pushing the edge of the spool of the reel with your left hand. Try to haul the fish a little above the place where your stand. Only then you should let it swim down, right to the landing net or a palm. It is a serious mistake when you shorten the line too much during the last phase of hauling. Because of this you will not be able to reach the fish with your hand and if you do it with a longer landing net, after it is taken out of the water, there is a risk you will break the rod because the too short leader monofilament will badly bend the tip of the fly rod.

Drying the fly After you unhook the fish and release it back to the water, the fly is completely wet and even a bit covered with mucus. It doesn’t disturb further fishing and you don’t need to install a new fly. However it should be regenerated a bit. Firts you should hit the fly against the water to wash out the mucus. Then you should make several overhead swings to dry the fly. The term “drying” is quite confusing. The water does not exactly evaporate, but it is spinned from the fly by a centrifugal force during return. So

the casts must be energetic and strong and cannot be made too fast. As I have already described it in the previous chapters, the line needs time to straighten up. The casting energy must be several times higher than required by the length of the line, and the casting pace should be precisely adjusted to the line (the line must straighten up, in front and at the back). Only then the centrifugal force during return will be optimal and will remove all the water drops from the fly - just like a spin-


dryer. You don’t need to apply the impregnation agent again. A fly, greased once, should easily stand hauling a dozen or more fish. If you make the drying cast properly, usually it is enough to make one every 2-3 working casts. However when you see that the flies start to sink, you may cast several times. Each impregnation agent after some time loses its properties so you should again apply it on the fly. However you must not do

it when the fly is wet and cannot be dried anymore. In such case you should replace it with another fly from the fly box (identical but dry).It is good to pin the old one in a special fur or foam attached to the angling waistcoat. In the wind it will dry quickly and will be ready for another replacement. You may also use a special amadou or a regular tissue which perfectly absorbs water.


Amadou for drying flies

Downstream fishing If you see grayling show up below the place where you stand, you should turn, with your face directed downstream and make a cast. Just like in the previous case, you do not cast for the maximum distance. If you let the straightened line fall down on the water and place the rod in horizontal position above its surface, the way of free drifting of the fly would be very short. Therefore, when the line straightens in the air, you should lift the rod to the vertical position. The line and the fly pulled up this way will fall down close enough to enable their long flow without streaking the water. When leading the fly you should slowly lower the pole, until it reaches horizontal position. There are two mistakes you cannot make. Firts of all, after the cast, when you draw the line,

the rod may not bend backwards more then to the vertical position. Otherwise, if the fish bites after the cast, striking the fish may end up with breaking the rod. Second of all, you may not lower the rod’s tip too much when the flies flow downstream. Too high speed and loose line will hamper or event prevent correct striking. Downstream fishing



Upstream fishing Note!

Remember that in upstream fishing you should constantly pull the loose line. If you do it too slowly, the forming loop will hamper the correct strike. Of course on the other hand you should not draw the line too fast since it will cause streaking.

Fishing ground with rapid current near Polanki

If you see fish show up to bite the fly (this time above the place where you stand), you don’t need to change your place to catch them. Stand with your face directed upriver and make an upstream cast. Just like in the previously described techniques, the line and the leader should fall down on the water, straightened. However, during the last phase of the cast you should stop the rod in the horizontal position or you may even bend it gently so that the tip of the rod can almost touch the water. Simply make as distant cast as you can. However it is not about a distance in metres but about placing the line, which is for example 10 m long, as far on the water as possible. The fly and the line will start to flow in your direction. During flowing, you should keep a contact with the fly by constantly pulling

the loose line with your left hand through a little loosened index finger of your right hand which holds the rod. Then you tighten it, and your left hand should release the line and change the grip just below the cork handle. Then you repeat everything. The most important thing is not to lose contact with the line at no point during pulling. Release the pulled line in loose coils on the water. If a fish bites, hold the line with your right index finger; strike the fish, by lifting the rod vigorously to the vertical position. The upstream fishing technique may be very useful. Because there are places where this is the only allowable fishing technique; besides when you move upstream you are practically invisible to fish. You approach the fish from behind so the fish has limited visibility.

Rapid current grounds A glide is a good place to start learning to fish, however it is not always the best place to actually catch a fish. Besides, when you fish with artificial fly you should change places and search for new stands. If no actively feeding fish can be seen on a calm water, you should change your location and walk to the water with more varied

flow. On rapid streams it is much more difficult to spot the water circles made by the feeding fish. So, if you don’t see any water circle after several minutes’ observation still it will not mean that fish do not feed on dry fly. With more rapid current fishing is more difficult. First of all it is not easy to see the fly among waves and ripples.


Upstream fishing in a water plait between two stones. The entire line is lying in one current and flows steadily with a fly

However in this case watching the lure is far more important. When a fish comes to the fly it may be so delicate that no water circle will be visible on a wavy water. So if you cannot see the fly you should cast much closer or select a different fly, better visible against the background. However in such places you may approach the fish much closer – rough water hampers observation of grayling but also the grayling itself can see the angler much worse. It becomes complicated when there are underwater obstacles in the river. The current becomes variable, there are many whirls, areas of calm or rapid water, sometimes backcurrents. If you cast the fly in such place on a completely straigt leader and line, the current will immediately wash the leader and the fly away, causing unnatural motion of the latter. In such circumstances the fly taken by the current and the stopping monofilament will not provoke a fish to attack. To solve this problem you should place the fly on the water

in a special way. Then you must form an excess of the line (leader) which, affected by the current, will straighten up on the longest possible distance and the fly will have enough time to flow freely. Particularly difficult to fish in are calmer currents, separated from you with a line of rapid current. You should stand above such place and lay the line downstream at the smallest possible angle. You may have the biggest problems to make a correct cast and to arrange the leader. The leader should fall down, coiled in one place. For this purpose you should transmit only such amount of power to the line so that the line straightens itWind


A line and a fly during fishing in difficult current

This is probably one of the most difficult obstacles which a fly angler must face, especially a beginner. In the strong wind it is not easy to make a well aimed cast to the detected water circle because the line usually does not fly where we want it to. And if it hits the rod or the leader, you will spend your time untangling the line. The most difficult is to place the fly precisely just in front of the water circle. Sudden gusts flow away the leader flying straight to the fish’s stand. However you should not take the easy option and hit the line against the water. You should make a cast with a very narrow loop which will stretch right above the water (literally several centimetres above its surface) and in a place which is within some distance from your target. You should predict the force of the wind and make an upwind cast so that after the leader it straightened up, the wind blows the fly to a desired point. It is not easy, in particular in the changing wind.



self and so that it is not sufficient to unfold the leader. The line, dragged by different currents and the flowing fly, will straighten the leader. As long as the leader does not straighten up completely, the fly flows correctly. It is different when you want to lay the fly on a faster current with quite calm water. Here the situation is contrary – try to cast diagonally upwards and to


Do not leave your stand one hour before a complete dusk. Because intense feeding may start much later. You should also remember that on our waters it is usually not allowed to fish longer than one hour after sunset. If there is no such limitation in the fishing ground it is good to try night fishing. You may have a chance to witness very intense feeding. In such case the best will be wet fly or a streamer. You may also try, even if it’s difficult, to fish with dry fly, watching the water in the moonlight.

straighten the leader to the maximum. At first the water will lift the flies which may flow freely on a distance of at least two lengths of the leader. That is why when fishing you may sometimes use very long and thin leaders. In such case it is not important to perfectly lay down the straightened line but to form its excess enabling free drift of the fly.

Dusk The gathering dusk is favourable to dry fly fishing. By the water you will find legions of different insect species. Even if dusk is the best time for fishing, you should come by the water (in particular the unknown water) a bit earlier to spot the best places. You also need to prepare your tackle. Fish come to the flies very quickly and you can’t waste your time for fighting with the leader or searching for a monofilament kept in your waistcoat. It is also good to have a new leader, in case the old one got tangled, and a torch which will be useful when you tie up the flies. In

the gathering dusk it is difficult to observe an artificial fly. A dark lure is best visible against a shining silver water surface, while a bright lure – against a dark background. In the complete darkness, when you can no longer see the fly – you strike guided by what you ears. If you hear a splash or see a suspicious movement from where you have placed the fly, lift the rod. It may seem difficult but the late evening is the time when you have a chance to catch the most cautious and large fish, and the number of fish bites will surely make up to you all the difficulties. Fishing at dusk



Nymphing N

ymphs should be led freely downstream. Generally it is best to proceed like with a dry fly and try to lead the flies as naturally as possible, and only if this is

not effective, to propel them appropriately. Remember the basic rule - each too fast and too rapid motion may cause more damage than unhampered leading of a fly.

Short nymph The basic principle of the short nymph technique is fishing almost right below the rod tip. A short distance between the tip of the rod and the fly makes leading the nymph easier. Won’t the fish be scared away when you approach them so closely? Surely they will, however not all of them to the same extent. Contrary to the common opinion the least skittish is grayling, more skittish is trout and the most cautious fish are some white fish, mainly chubs. This technique is best for fishing for grayling. It also works well in the conditions where fish have limited possibility to see what stays above Long rod fishing

the water or when they feel quite safe in their place which is slightly muddy water, in deep channels and of course in the currents. It is where you use short nymph most often because variable currents are a better camouflage for any imperfectness of its motion. On the other hand, the more shallow and calmer the water the less effective and the more difficult is the technique.


If you plan to fish below the rod’s tip and at the same time make the longest possible casts (not to scare the fish away), your pole

For short nymph fishing, use a floating line


Different water velocity at flat bottom and behind an obstacle


should be of appropriate length. In practice the poles that perform best are 2.75-3.35 m long. In the last years the technological progress allowed for production of light fly rods, with good parameters and ca. 3.6 m long, suitable for short nymph fishing. For short nymph fishing you use a floating line. What to do to have the best contact with floating nymphs, and at the same time to lead them in a natural way ? You should fish close and use the best (the most sensitive) connection between the flies and the fragment of the line or the leader which is visible on the water. Therefore you should abandon thick monofilament lines in the bottom part of the leader which might have a tendency to permamenent deformation and which put up too much resistance in the water and instead use the thinner ones, e.g. from 0.12 to 0.18 mm. When leading the flies, the leader should be straightened. Properly loaded flies will be helpful. In short nymph fishing you always

use two flies. In such case you may use lighter and smaller nymphs. Because the monofilament is arranged on the water a bit diagonally, the leader should be longer than the depth of the water. A short distance and lifting the line above the water, apart from a good contact with flies, has one more advantage – a small resistance of a thin monofilament which allows for more freedom in leading the flies. You simply may pull them slower than the surface speed of the water. Nymphs used by Polish anglers are loaded with a lead tinsel and are not complicated. Usually they don’t have a hackle. Some of them are so called Polish pheasant tail nymphs, which are flies with the body made of pheasant’s tail. Leading the nymphs When you have already prepared your tackle, stand with your face towards the water current and pull the line through the guidess so that it hangs not more than 0.5-1.5 m beyong the rod’s tip. Cast the kit a little above the place where you stand (diagonally upstream) and lay the line on the water. Let the nymphs fall to the bottom. Next, lift the rod so that the tip of the line is lifted above the water. The hight to which you lift the line will depend of the depth you want to fish and on the length of your


leader. Now you should lead the nymphs downstream, while constantly keeping the contact with them through the straightened leader. You cannot pull them too fast. In fact you use a rod’s tip and a loosened monofilament only. The speed of the tip of the line is usually a bit lower than the speed of the flowing water. You may check it by watching the tip of the line and the remains of the plants floating on the water or white froth. Leading the nymphs at the right pace is a half-success. When the line is a little below you, you should make a blind strike and repeat all over again. You should strike in such a manner so as not to allow your nymphs go out of the water. When you drag the heavier flies rapidly in the air, usually it will end up in a hit and uncontrolled

return which most often will result in tangling the kit. When leading the nymphs, you should carefully watch the tip of the line, and each time it trembles, you strike. In the last phase of the leading you may gently hold the flies and lift them to the water surface. The cast itself is different from the classic one also because of a short fly line. It includes striking and casting the flies upstream. From a distance it may look like a type of roll cast. That is why this technique is called Roll Nymph. Recently the short nymph is called worldwide the Czech Nymph. It is because the Chechs who intercepted our technique were more efficient in propagating it in the world. The body position of an angler is different than in other techniques. You hold a rod in a straight

Short nymph, leading the kit



When you fish with short nymph, you penetrate the water only in your direct vicinity. If you want to penetrate a larger area you should change the place often. You can do it by moving downstream and upstream. You walk along the current and at first you fish in a shallow water. After you walk through a given section, go back and penetrate it again, but now you go several steps deeper. That way you go through the same place several times until you fish it completely. Instead of going back you may zigzag the water.


hand at the level of your shoulder. Such body position facilitates rapid casting and allows to fish longer distances. The most frequent mistakes anglers make while using this technique include: 1. too distant casts and not leading the nymphs below the rod which results in side drift; 2. leading the nymphs too fast; 3. leading the nymphs too long in the water; 4. little energetic and little dynamic fishing pace; 5. rod quivering during leading (which immediately transmits to the nymphs) and results in unnatural flow of flies.

Types of short nymph When you lead the flies, it is sometimes good to make a provocation. When you lift and lower the line, you may cause additional motion of the flies so that they go up and down. Such taking of the flies of the bottom is very attractive to


fish. However you should be careful not to overdo because instead of increased fish biting you will have no biting at all. The most effective technique is to raise the rod only several centimetres high. When fish are quite active and feed well you may try to lead the nymphs a bit higher, not necessarily above the bottom. Sometimes it may be effective to lead a nymph right below the water surface. You may simply lift your flies in the depths or tie the jumper much higher, near the tip of the line. What do do when water is too deep or when fish panic and you cannot approach them? Then you need to fish longer distance so that a fragment of the line lies on the water. If the line already lies on the water it means that you are close to a so called long nymphing.

Mono nymphing In short nymphing the line in fact disturbs the proper leading of the flies. Therefore instead of it you may use a nylon monofilament – between the leader described above (consisting of two thin fragments of a monofilament) and the tip of the fly

line you should insert a several metres’ monofilament, ca. 0.25 mm thick, ended with a piece of fluorescent monofilament ca. 0.40 mm thick. This will be your bite indicator. Thinner line is much better for leading the flies and it increases the sensitivity of the kit,

Tip of the line under water and pulling the nymphs, also called provocation fishing




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Multicolor bite indicator made of short colour monofilaments. To ensure their good visibility, they should have bigger diameter than other monofilaments – e.g. 0.40 mm The thinner the monofilament, the more sensitive the kit





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but the thicker one is much better to cast with. Thanks to the application of the monofilament you eliminate the defects of the heavy line. Firts of all you don’t need to cast upstream only. The monofilament is very light and its weight does not draw the flies across the water. Therefore the fishing area will be much bigger. Second of all it will allow for more distant casts, so you will not need to approach the fish very close. This significantly increases not just your effectiveness but also the sensitivity of the method. You will have a chance to watch the delicate bites by even small fish and you will feel the flies touching the underwater stones. Moreover, when you hold the monofilament in your left hand, your fingers will feel perfectly well the bites which are invisible at the end of the monofilament. At the same time the kit is far less wind-sensitive. The thin monofilament puts up less resistance in the air than the thick tip of the line and the wind does not pull the nymphs out of the water so intensively. With the so constructed kit you may lead the nymphs in

the water different ways. Apart from free drifting, the mono nymphing technique enables various variants of lifting and lowering the flies in the water depth. You may provoke fish with very precisely led lures. You may fish the same way as with short nymphing but this minimizes the possibilities of the technique. It is much better to make standard overhead casts, treating the monofilament as a superlight fly line. After you get some practice you may fish even several metres distance. In fact, the correct casting is the most difficult thing to master. You have to wait for the monofilament to straighten up completely in the air behind you. You will feel this moment clearly on the pole. Also you should not change the casting direction too much with one swing. The classic fly rod is a very long and fast taper action. It enables immediate response to each delicate bite. Therefore professional anglers use the rods which are 3.2-3.6 m long.

Difference in leading the kit in the mono nymphing technique and traditional short nymph



For recreational fishing a standard fly rod will be sufficient. Not to overexert yourself and not to carry two rods, for this technique you may use a standard, 3-metres long fly rod matching line no. 5 or, when necessary, a shorter, 9-feet. You may achieve very interesting results when you use light undersurface nymphs on a jumper. The second nymph functions here practically as an anchor, even if sometimes fish bite it too. As a jumper you may use a dry fly.

If the fly gently touches the water surface, it will allow to eliminate the mono lying on the water and visible to fish, and to efficiently imitate the gentle motion of the insect above the water. This technique is similar to wet fly fishing with a jumper (next chapter) where the flies kept in the water go across the current and are better to imitate a sedge. Here they can imitate also mayflies.

Long nymph

Upstream long nymph fishing

This term is neither unequivocal nor precise since the fishing distance will not always be so big as the name might suggest. Also other nymphing techniques may be included in this category. The term “long nymph� is used here to distinguish it from the short nymph technique described in the previous chapter. The long nymph technique means fishing for a distance of several metres. The most important in this technique is a line lying on the water. Of course if the lying fragment is several centimetres long, then fishing is not much different from the short nymph technique. Because it is difficult to make a clear distinction between the two techniques.


When you place a floating line on the water you have too watch its tip, because it shows when a fish bites. The line will flow downstream, followed by the nymphs. There is practically nothing you can do to make the line, arranged parallel to the water current, float slower than the upper layers of the water. All you can do is to speed up its motion. Therefore the heavier flies flowing above the bottom may be pulled down a bit. You fish with your face directed upriver, as it is the case with upstream dry fly fishing. You have to ensure that the line and the leader are straightened. So you should watch the tip of the line and strike each time when it stops or pulls.


Long nymphing upstream

This technique has some defects. The bigger the distance of the cast, the more of the line lies on the water. So it results in decreased sensitivity and worse and worse visible fish bites. When instead of heavy flies you use the light ones, flowing right below the water surface, then their speed will be almost the same as the speed of the line and the line will not pull them down. You just need to make sure that the leader is straight all the time. It will ensure good contact between the flies and the tip of the line on which you will be able to notice the bites. What will bring good results are small nymphettes tied on small hooks 16-18. Polish anglers call the technique of long nymph fishing with tiny nymphs a “nymphette”. In this case striking the fish means just rasing the rod a little. If you speed up pulling a bit (a little faster than the natural water flow), so that you only feel the contact with the flies, the fish will strike themselves. In this case you may use sinkig lines. You need to select an appropriate sinking line, which sinks with an appropriate speed (floating line will be fine too) and the flies which during leading will not catch on the bottom constantly. You cast upstream

or a little diagonally upriver. Now slowly pull the line with your left hand so that the nymphs move a little faster than the watter current. Fish often strike themselves because of the weight of the line, but if necessary you may strike them too, pulling the line rapidly with your left hand.

Fishing across current (S)

The upstream nymph technique allows for fishing only the places situated above the place where you stand. You can’t cast the line too much across the current. If you do it, the middle part of the line on the current will be exposed to water pressure. Consequently the nymphs will move faster and faster and will flow out to the surface diagonally to the current, pulled down by the line and the water pressure. You should limit the water pressure on the middle part of the line so that the latter does not pull down the leader and does not cause unnatural motion of the nymphs. Now throw the middle part of the line upstream to form letter S. Now you have an excessive bulge, slowly eliminated by the water current. Your nymphs will flow quite freely until the line

Nymphs pulled down by the water current pressing the line



The line forms letter S during long nymph fishing across the stream


To improve the visibility of a usually sunk tip of the line you use indicators, meaning bite indicators. Most often it is a piece of foam soaked in glue on one side (like a sticker). A good indicator will also be a bunch of synthetic, non-soaking wool, placed on a short joint between the line and the leader. Recently you may buy also an indicator made of plastic mass, which can be shaped like plasticine. You paste a ball of this floating substance around the monofilament.

straightens under the pressure of the water current. You should fish with your face directed upstream. Cast the flies across river. Now you should throw the line up to form letter S. You should lead the fly line with the flies for so long as the current bulges the line downstream. You should precisely sense the moment when the line starts to pull the flies. The flies will come off the bottom and go up. The start of this motion is very

Indicator with nonsoaking wool and the method of its installation on a monofilament

attractive to fish. This is when fish often bite. It may be barely visible so you should always finish the leading with a blind strike. During fishing it is good to smear from time to time the last 2 m of the line with a floatant increasing its buoyancy. You should also adjust the weight of the nymphs to the type of water. If they sink the line and constantly catch on the bottom, you should install the lighter ones. You fish upstream or across the stream, just like in case

Dry fly as an indicator

Water current


Nymph tied to the arch of a dry fly, i.e. indicator


Fly as an indicator For an indicator you may also use a dry fly. Tie the monofilament on which you want to install the nymph directly to the eye of the dry fly or to the arch of the hook on which it is made. Its length should be less than the depth of the water.

of dry fly. A sudden, very fast strike is far more important than with the dry fly fishing. When the fly (indicator) disappears from the water surface, it means that a while before the nymph got into the mouth of the fish. In dry fly fishing it means that the fish has attacked. It is a very significant difference. A monofilament between the dry fly and the nymph should be as thin as possible. The less resistance it puts up in the water the more sensitive is the kit and the easier it is to to sink the nymphs to the desired depth.

Aggresive nymph You don’t always lead the nymphs in such a manner so that they flow naturally downstream. Sometimes the effective nymphs will be those held back or even pulled down across the water. With such leading it is not important whether you can see the tip of the line because you will feel the bite on the line and fish will often strike themselves. For such leading you may use sinking lines.

Feather indicator and light nymph




Wet fly fishing F

or wet-fly fishing you may well use 2.6-3,3 m long rods. The length of the pole is not so important and you may use a rod which best suits your palm. However for certain techniques of leading the flies longer rods, even 3.6 n long, will be better. In this technique you usually use sinking lines. Most often it will be I-type line, more seldom a fast sinking line. If you don’t care

Leading the flies and arrangement of the rod during wet fly fishing. In this method you cannot strike by suddenly lifting the pole

The other way to arrange the rod and the line in wet fly fishing. Here you can correct the strike with you hand motion

about leading the flies deep, you may use a floating line. The most frequent fly leading technique is a slightly diagonal cast, at the angle of 45 degrees, downstream. After you cast the kit, hold the line in such a manner so that its length is the same at all times. It will allow the flies to flow along a slight curve below you, across the current. If you lead the kit correctly, fish will usually strike


themselves. When you lead it incorrectly, you will feel all the bites just as weaker or stronger tugs. You should keep the rod horizontally right above the water so that the angle between the rod and the line is 180 degrees. Of course with such position of the rod you may not strike with it, you may only pull the line with your left hand. The same rule applies to fishing for salmon and bulltrout. Sometimes you may use an alternative fishing technique. Keep the pole raised high, almost vertically, and at the same time try to ensure that the line be as little tense as possible. You need to have contact

with the flies through the leader, tightened by the water current. If you bend the rod, lifting it above the water only slightly, or tighten the line, it will be more difficult to successfuly strike the fish. Of course, it doesn’t mean that the line should lie in loose coils on the water; on the contrary, it must be straightened. Because of the weight of the led line fish should strike themselves. In the last stage of leading, when the flies are below you, gently pull the line with your left hand, and raise the pole at the same time. The upward and upstream motion of the flies will be particularly alluring (mainly


Throwing the line



Fly flowing downstrem

Water current

Pulling the flies downstream

to trout). Flies held in the current behave a bit unnaturally. A real insect would flow rather freely, downstream. That is why often practiced is the third technique of leading wet flies, ensuring their natural flow downstream. However you should remember that you should gently hold the line to slightly hamper their flow. In order to prevent lateral drifting, throw

the line upstream, so that the line is placed parallel to the current. Thanks to this the flies will freely flow down. You pull the kit with the tip of the rod, releasing at the same time the line held in the left hand. If a proper angle is formed between the line and the rod, respond to each suspicious underwater motion with a normal strike. Wet fly fishing





n Poland streamers are considered any wet flies of slightly bigger sizes. These include various crinolines, matukas, muddlers,


For streamer fishing more useful will be equipment which is stronger than this used for fly fishing for trout – with dry or wet fly or the nymph. The most popular rods are 2.75-3.2 m long, AFTM class: 5-9. Longer rods will perform better on larger rivers as well as in the waters with banks overgrown with high grass or low bushes and in the places where you need to make long roll casts. With such rod it is easier to pull a fast sinking line from the water. However you should remember not to overdo with the length of the rod and adjust it to your skills and specifics of the fishing ground. A too long rod will quickly exhaust your hand

plume flies, imitations of small fish, leeches and other organisma of similar sizes.

and in fact will not increase your casting distance. Therefore, if it is not necessary, it is good to use the rods which are 2,75-2,9 m long. I myself use a leader made of two monofilament lines, 0.30 and 0.25 mm thick. With smaller streamers made on hooks no. 8 and 10, it is good to tie an add one more line, 0.20 mm (0.18) in diameter. Even if in case of streamers you may fish with floating line (F) only, it is good to choose sinking lines (S) or sink-tip lines (F/S); they facilitate correct striking of fish. Instead of the floating line it is much better to use Intermediate (I) line. However in certain conditions floating line facilitates fishing.


The length of the leader depends on what lines you use, and therefore – at what depth you lead the flies. The deeper they are supposed to sink the shorter will be the leader. It should be 0.5-3 m long.

Selection of a fly

The biggest problem of the anglers is to select a lure. Because of the fact that streamer fishing is similar to spinning, practically everything is possible and each rule has so many exceptions that it is very difficult to formulate it. So in here I will describe several best, in my opinion, fly designs. However you have to experiment and replace one fly with another from time to time. Exemplary flies



When to add some weight on a fly

Sometimes I use very big flies, on a hook no. 2, with 5 times longer arm (5 x long). Often I use not loaded streamers since they perform better in the water. However I load them in several cases. Most often when the material used to construct the line is light so the line floats forward and backwards. If I don’t want my fly to float diagonally, I load its front or its back (I add a bit of lead right below the head of a muddle so that it floats horizontally). When I want it to dive to the bottom, I load the hook next to the eye of the fly. With this the pull and release motion of the fly is very interesting and alluring to fish. I use loaded flies also when I fish in more difficult places. Such places include deep holes near a water obstacle which may be a wall, steep slope, dam or water circle surrounded by aquatic flora – so in all the places where before the line sinks and drags the fly under the water, it will be already thrown away from a given place by a water current, and the type of the place does not alow to lead the kit in a different way.

Fly leading technique

Leading a fly in the water

You make a distant cast so that the fly lands right next to the opposite bank, a little below the place where you stand, so you place the line diagonally downstream. Bend the rod towards the water surface so that the line pulling out of the tip guide makes its extension. Now, with short and keen tugs draw the line with your left hand, controlling its movement under the middle finger of your right hand holding the rod handle. The finger loosens and tightens at the same rhythm as the line so that you have contact with the flies all the time. If you release the line loosely you will not be able to strike a fish. All the time you should make sure that the line and the fly rod make a straight line, by leading the tip after the flowing kit. The streamer will jump, imitating a little weakened fish crossing the current. This is called aggressive leading of the fly and it ap-

plies also to wet fly and a nymph. You lead the fly through the most interesting trout sites and repeat the cast. Because fishing consists in pulling the lure, you will have more and more line coils at your feet. If you are standing in the water it will flow downstream below the place where you stand. It does not disturb an angler; on the contrary - it is necessary. Standing in the same place you can make 2-3 more casts. It is best when you make it at a bit different angle, so that a fly is presented differently to the trouts. So you may place the flies above your stand so that they flow a little diagonally downstream, pull them completely across the water or throw them down and pull up. Streamers can be led across the current, upstream or downstream. It depends mainly on the character of the fishing ground. After two, three casts you should



Different tracks of leading the streamer

take one step down the river and repeat all over again. Usually it makes no sense to stay longer in one place. It is better to sweep the bigger fragment of the water. You should also experiment with the line’s pulling speed. During winter and at the beginning of spring trouts are drowsy and react slowly. The fly should not move very fast. As the temperatures rise you may lead the flies faster. Important are the motions of the left hand pulling the line. They can be steady and calm or sharp, jerky. Remember that the line lying on the water strangles these motions, so the streamer moves more calmly. When you pull up the line sluggishly, the flies, instead of jumping (very attractive to trouts) will

flow almost steadily. You are the one to decide how to pull the flies. The leading pace should be adjusted to the character of the water. On a slow water (glide) you may lead the flies both slowly and quickly. If you fish with a line floating in a deep water, you may not speed up too much because the trout will not have time to react and lift from the bottom to the running streamer. The same phenomena occurs on a rapid current when you penetrate a fragment of a calmer water, outside the riffle. If you add the velocity of the current to the pulling speed of the fly, the fly will show up before the trout like a lightning, leaving the trout no time for reaction.



Striking If you ensure that the line and the rod are arranged properly to make a straight line, the trout will strike itself. You must never strike a fish by raising the tip of the rod. With such motion of the rod it is not possible to hook the fish properly. This firm rule applies to all fishing techniques in which the line and the pole make a straight line. The only thing you can do it to pull the line stronger with your left hand as an additional strike. When you strike a trout it is very important that you immediately raise the rod and start a regular haul. When you Incorrect Incorrect and correct striking in streamer fishing

wait to long the line and the leader will tighten and you will lose the fish. The hauling itself is the same as with dry fly fishing. In the water the fly line is never perfectly straight. It always bends, even under pressure of the current and puts up a big resistance to the water. To straighten it you need force and time. Therefore in case of hard strike it is the line that performs as a shock absorber. Before it tightens threatening to break the leader, the trout is already hooked, and the rod raised for hauling.




Sinking the streamer and the line How deep should you lead the streamer? The response is simple: at such depth where a trout still feels like leaving his place and attacking. It depends first of all on the fish activity and water clearance. When the trouts bite well they may come to the fly (led under the surface when the water is clear) even from the depth of 1.8 m. In such conditions it makes no sense to sink the lure very deep. However in case of slight water turbidity, low activity of fish, win-

ter fishing or big depth you should place the streamer closer to the fish. When you fish for floating line, the dept will depend mainly on the weight of flies and to some extent the way they are led. When you fish for sinking line you may also load the flies however it will be the line that will sink them. Therefore when you want to lead the streamer deeper, you should use shorter leaders, opposite like with floating line. They may be 0.5-2 m long.

On the fishing ground where the water is a bit muddy, place the streamer close to the place where the fish stay


Casting and leading the flies on the fishing ground of varied depth


In one place, ca. 1.5 m deep, you may lead the flies (with the same sinking line) next to the bottom or close to the water surface. It depends mainly on the arrangement of the line on the water, pulling spped and the current. If you arrange the line diagonally downwards and start pulling the line right away, the current will push the line upwars and the streamer will flow close to the surface. When you cast the line more perpendicularly across the current and after the line falls down you throw it a bit more upstream, you will give it a while for a free flow. At the same moment the loose line, while sinking, will pull the fly behind. Only after it flows several metres you will feel that it starts to put up

resistance in the water and you will have a chance to pull it up but it will be moving already half a distance to the bottom. If you want to fish even deeper, you need to extend the time of free fall of the line after the cast.Therefore you need to place the flies even higher upriver and throw the line stronger. Then the streamer and the line can be sunken for a longer time and when pulled out they will catch on the river bottom. You may sink the line deeper if you place the tip of the rod below the water surface. Such arrangement of the fly pole additionally facilitates proper striking of trout. How deep you will lead the flies depends also on the sinking speed of your line. If you want to lead the flies near the bottom, the table below will help you select an appropriate line.

Sinking the



Acerage depth

ca. 0.5 m

ca. 1m


ca. 2m

ca. 3m

Slow current

Floating line F

Floating line F, intermediate line I – very slow sinking

Sinking line, S-I-III

Fast-sinking line, S-IV-VII

Rapid current

Slow-skinking line, S-I-II

Medium-sinking line, S-III

Fast-sinking line, S-VI

Fast-sinking line, S VII, with special sinking also with the rod tip under water



Important fish species for fly fishermen








Average weight: 500 g Maximum length: 80 cm Trout feeds on small aquatic organisms; various insects, crustacea and fish. In its stomach you may sometimes find frogs or even mice and moles.

On overwintering areas, which are calm, deeper places and in a rapid current, in small pits and holes where the water is calmer. When the water temperature is high, trouts search for cooler places – rapid currents, underground spring areas, cold stream estuaries.

Trouts may feed at different times during the day. Beginning of the season (early spring, until March): they feed usually in the evening. March/April: intensive feeding. May/ June: dawn and dusk. July and August: the last fishing season (before the closed season for trout in the Polish rivers). Hot days, except dawn and dusk, are not good for fishing. The best are cloudy and rainy days. You may perform well during night fishing however this is allowed on sereval rivers only.


Average weight: 400 g Maximum length: 55 cm A fish which only customarily is classified as salmonidae, in fact makes a separate family – thymallidae. Grayling is not a predatory fish, it feeds mainly on small organisms (insects, fish).

First of all it is a pelagic fish. It does not need natural shelthers under the stones or near a bank. Theferore it may be found in bigger watercourses. In the rivers it lives near the currents. Most often they can be found at the end of the glide, right before a prominence, glide intake near the crown and not too deep rapids. The typical grayling sites are not very deep areas with medium fast currents flowing from the prominence. It nests on a stone, both sides, on a water plait or next to it. If the grayling population is very high in a given river, it can be found practically everywhere. If it’s not so numerous, it will stay only in certain places, leaving even large water areas uninhabited.

Beginning of the year: fish bite very well, in particular in quiet, deeper holes but you should check also the currents. June: intensive feeding all day long. Summer heat: graylings in cold mountain rivers may feed very intensively. Autumn: the best season for graylings.





The most effective at the beginning of the season are wet flies: streamer, nymph or traditional wet fly. Streamers should be in subdued colours: black, other dark colours or white. You should use slow sinking or intermediate lines. During the spring water rise you may use bright green larvas of a free-living caddis fly (nymph). Dry fly will be more and more effective. April and May: use imitations of the biggest mayflies on hooks no. 10, traditional wet fly led in different water layers. Beginning of June: mayfly (yellow), sedge nymphs (pupas), dry flies. Pupas will be most effective until July, dry sedges – even until late autumn

During winter and early spring streamers and wet flies cannot be led too fast and aggressively – they should slowly appear to the trout, as close to its mouth as possible to provoke it to attack. The best will be fast sinking lines. The nymphs should float right above the bottom. When fish bite well, leading the lures right below the surface is more effective than sinking the flies deep. However the water must be clear, and the depth of the fishing ground should not exceed 2 m. Then you may use more vivid flies. During feeding, the trouts use their sight, and often it is the movement of a prey that provokes them to attack. That is why they attack artificial fly which moves in the water and attracts attention. However, when the insects are not very active and only drift on the water, trouts may be very picky and each unnatural movement of a fly will increase their vigilance instead of provoking them.

Dry and wet fly and nymph. You need to have a broad selection of small dry and wet flies and several on bigger hooks. When you fish with heavier nymphs you should keep in your fly box both the smallest and the bigger flies on no. 6 or bigger hook. The graylings fishing tackle should be delicate because they are usually 30-40 cm long, and graylings exceeding 45 cm are very rare. Moreover, when you use small fish you should use thin monofilament. The most often used tackle is AFTM class no. 3-7. Beginning of the year: heavy nymph. June: imitations of sedge (dry, wet and pupa). Summer: imitations of dry sedges; end of summer: small flies (hooks no. 20,18,16) –mayflies in different colours; no-hackle flies made of CDC or Red Tags. Autumn: small mayflies (hooks no. 14-20), nymph – heavy and light – led right below the water surface

Grayling is a gregarious fish; when you catch one, you should check the same area again. Usually one shoal includes specimen of the same year. The basic condition to be successful in grayling fishing is to follow the rule according to which flies should float downstream as naturally as possible. They should not make any other move.

116 NAME




Average weight: 200 g Maximum length: 70 cm Typical predator hunting smaller fish: roach, bleak, ruffe, gudgeon.


Average weight: 3 kg Maximum length: 1,4 m Pike is a predator, it feeds on fish, even 20-30 cm long. Pikes are cannibals – they eat smaller fish of its own species.


Average weight: 2 kg Maximum length: 1 m Incubated fish and fry feeds on plankton, then the bottom fauna, and when they reach the length of 5-10 cm they become predatory fish. They feed on: dragonfly and sedge larvas, frogs and earthworms. Adult zander feeds on smelts and bleaks, sometimes small breams and carps



All types of Polish waters: rivers, standing waters (dam reservoirs, gravel pits, ponds).

Autumn and winter: fish bite very intensively. Summer: the most intensive feeding in the morning

Overgrown lakes, flowing and standing waters, coastal areas of the Baltic Sea.

May: the beginning of the pike fishing season. Pike feeds all year long. Autumn: fish bite most intensively. Summer: the best feeding time is dawn and late evening.

Middle and lower sections of large lowland rivers, lakes, dam reservoirs, coastal areas of the Baltic Sea.

June: beginning of the season, intensive feeding after spawning. Summer: feeding in particular early in the morning and at dusk. Autumn: intensive feeding.





Nymph, wet fly and small streamers. To avoid catching tiny fish, use the flies one or two numbers bigger. The rod should not be too long and hard. The best will be a standard grayling or trout rod, 2.6-2.7 m long, AFTM class 4-6. Flies: aggressive colours, often with fluorescent accessories; flies which are active in the water, like small plume flies. They usually have hooks no. 8-14. The perch nymphs are not different from grayling or trout nymphs. Their colours may be more intense.

In the flowing water you should apply short nymph technique, however you should propel the lure a bit. It is good to lead the lines on a longer line, diagonally to the stream, delicately holding and releasing the line. You should tie two flies to the leader. Two lures will facilitate their faster testing and selection of a proper one, in the best colour and shade. Perches feed in shoals and doublets are not so rare. When perches feed very actively the type of fly is not so important. Practically any lure will be interesting to them. Then more important is the motion, not the colour. When fish bite gently, you should lead the flies more carefully and more slowly. Then you should use flies with shorter tails because fish catch the very end. You may also try to fish with a smaller fly.

Rod: 2.80-3.20 m long, line: class 8-10; light doublehanded rods. Depending on the depth of the fishing ground you should use different fly lines, most often slow sinking or floating. For the pike you may use practically all streamers – from the smallest to very big, even 20 cm long. Most often you should use the flies which are 5 to 25 cm long. Usually the most effective flies have their wings and tail made of soft, shining materials which will wave in the water to lure the fish more. These flies should not be extra loaded however some materials have a tendency to float (roe deer hair, rabbit skin with hair) and these should be loaded a bit with lead. A perfect lure for pike are all floating flies, the so called popper flies. In particular when you fish in shallow, overgrown lakes.

Pikes stay mainly in the aquatic flora and this significantly hampers leading the fly. Therefore you should use special antiobstacle flies. You should tie a loop made of thick monofilament to an elbow bend of the hook and a head of the fly. Such lure will smoothly slide on plant stems and other catches. If during fishing you can feel that the fly is stopped a bit, and there is are no plant remains hanging on the hook, it can mean that pikes gently pluck the tip of the lure. In such case it is good to use tandem streamers, made on two hooks. It happens quite seldom. Most often fish bite very strongly. That is why you should not be prejudiced against flies with long tails. Usually, despite their small size, they are swallowed very deeply. Usually the hook catches on the gills. That is why you should squash the barb. It may be surprising that smaller streamers usually stick in the mouth only. You should remember that pikes can strike themselves but you can also strike them by pulling the line with your left hand.

Usually streamers, flies made of materials active in the water, including various plume flies or flies with longer, softer feathers, twisters, jigs. A standard trout rod of longer fly rods, heavier lines and most frequently sinking lines with the sinking rate depending on the depth of the fishing ground. Leader: 1.5-4 m long (depending on the water transparency). Flies: identical with pike flies, however not so big.

Zander likes hard bottom however if it stays below 6 m it is practically unavailable to a fly angler. It is difficult to strike it, in particular when it does not feed intensively and the bitings are very delicate. You should avoid longer stops and lead the fly quite aggressively. The zander is often provoked to attack by the movement of the lure, falling and raising from the bottom of a reservoir. To propel the fly you may load their heads with a lead tinsel or lead eyes. It is even better to use a sink-tip line and loaded flies. Then you need to wait until the fly falls to the bottom and drag the line in such a way so that the fly goes up and down the bottom. If you don’t have a sink-tip line or the tip sinks too slowly, you may tie a sinking leader to the line.


Vocabulary Aggressive colours - vivid, fluorescent colours of the lure. Artificial fly- imitation of various terrestrial and aquatic insects in different stages of their development, crustacea, small fish and leech and many other fish prey, made of , feathers, thread, foil. etc. Backing – monofilament or synthetic line (thin string) reeled on a reel as the extension of a fly line. Back current – a place in the river outside the main current (most often on the bend or behind an obstacle), where the water runs opposite direction. Bamboo split cane rod – rod made of several long pieces of bamboo. Band – a construction made of fascine, stones or concrete to enforce the river banks, usually parallel to the main current. Barb – a small element on the edge of a hook which to prevent the hook fall out from the fish mouth. Considered redundant by many professional anglers since it unnecessarily hurts fish and significantly hampers unhooking. Barb-free hook - a hook without a barb or with a bent barb; absence of the barb facilitates both striking and unhooking the fish. Beard – if the spool revolves faster than you take out the line, it will tangle up, forming a difficult to untangle “beard” . Biting, other: hitting, whacking, beating, knocking, smacking, snapping – contact of fish with a lure, signalled by some element of the rod. Blank – a rod without accessories – without handle, reel holder and guides. Bottom area – ground area of the water. Boulders – oval stones shaped by the river, numerous in the mountain and submontane river sections.

Butt – the bottom, thickest fragment of the rod. Cast fishing – a sports discipline consisting in aiming at the target or distance casting with a special weight or artificial fly, with the use of a rod and a reel. “Catch and release”, i.e. “no kill” a principle in the modern angling which means releasing the caught fish back into the water. CDC – fluffy, perfectly floating feathers of duck sebaceous gland. Channel – elongated hollow in the river bottom, washed by the water, usually with visible water flow. Composite – a construction material, a conglomerate of various materials; the composite rod blanks are made usually of glass fibres and carbon fibres. Crown - see spur. Cut – unhooking of the fish during hauling. Dapping – fishing consisting in touching and raising the fly from the water surface. Dry fly – an artificial fly constructed in such a way so that it floats on the water surface. Dubbing – loose synthetic fibres or mixed animal hair/fur, attached to and twisted with a thread, and then winded on the body of a fly. Ecology - the scientific study of the relations that living organisms have with respect to each other and their natural environment. Currently the term „ecology” is often used as a synonyme of the term “protection of environment”. Edge – steep bank section. Fascine – bundles of wicker or sprout wired and sunk in layers after they are loaded with sand, gravel or stones; they are used to build wing dams or protect the river banks and bottom against washing out. Fastening a fish – hooking the fish after striking.

Fast pole – taper action pole. Fast rod – fast-taper action rod. Fish floating – fish flowing out to the surface, sometimes jumping above the water; in is connected with fish feeding or weather changes (usually changes of atmospheric pressure). Fishing ground – a fishing place. Fishing ground – a fishing place, e.g. river, lake, gravel pit. Fishing rod (rod kit) – fishing equipment consisting of a lure with a hook or anchor, monofilament and a rod, and other elements, if any. Fish landing – the last part of hauling when the catch is put ashore. Fixed-spool reel – a reel in which the spool does not revolve while reeling the monofilament. Flowing – a single flow of the kit in the flowing water. Flow capacity – water flow force; water current. Fluorestent lure (fluo) - artificial lure coated with fluorescent (reflective ) paint. Fly angler – an angler who uses fly fishing technique. Fly rod - 1) see fly Technique; 2) fly fishing rod. Fly technique – an angling technique (usually for grayling and trout) in which imitations of flies and various insect larvas are used together with special rods, reels and fly lines. Fly tying – making an artificial fly. Forcible haul – fast hauling of the fish with the use of string tackle, used e.g. when you need to drag the fish from the nearby hiding places. Free rod see soft rod. Glide – an area of calm, often quite deep water behind a riffle crest crossing the water current; the term is used usually with reference to submontane rivers.

Guides – circle rings attached to the rod through which a monofilament is stretched. Haul (Hauling) – careful drag of a hooked (striked) fish to the angler’s site in such a manner so as not to damage the rod or break the monofilament. Hauling a big fish with delicate tackle may take even several dozen minutes. Head - a terminal, thickened part of the fly line. Hole – a visible hollow in the bottom of the fishing ground. Indirect action – the way the rod bends when loaded; indirect action means that the rod significantly deforms more less in its central part and that it is neither soft nor stiff. Insect flights, swarming – swarming is a nuptial fligh and flights are transformation of a nymph into a winged insects on the water surface. However it is common among the anglers to call it swarming, not flights. Jumper – additional second fly tied to a side short leader above the main, so called leading, fly. Kilo monofilament (two kilos monofilament, etc. ) – a monofilament with a breaking resistance of 1 kg (2 kg etc.). Kit – rod accessories; monofilament with other elements necessary in a certain fishing technique. Landing net – a net on a stiff hoop (round, triangle or other) with a handle, used for fish landing. Leader – here: a section of one or several monofilaments between the fly line and an artificial fly. Lead tape – a lead strap. Lead tinsel – a lead in a form of wire. Low water – exceptionally low water level in the river. Lure’s own work – the way the lure moves when pulled up by an angler at a steady pace (with no additional rod motion, i.e. jerking).


Meat hunter – a contemptuous term for an angler who fishes mainly to get the fish meat and takes all the caught fish. Mono nymphing technique – the nymph fishing technique where a line is replaced by a thick monofilament. Murowanie – a method of fight of a large fish during hauling, consisting in persistent heading towards the bottom. Neoprenes – see waders. Non-predatory fish (white fish) – fish that feed on small animal organisms or plants. Some whitefish sometimes prey on other fish, i.a. chub, ide, rudd, barbell, grayling. Non-regular fish – a fish whose size is lower than the take able size specified in the laws applicable in the fishing ground. Nymph – flies and a fishing technique where the lure imitates larvas of aquatic insects, crustacean, etc. Obstacle – an item, plant or element of the river bottom (sunk tree, stone) on which a lure (hook) catches. Overwintering area – a place where fish stay in large groups during winter. Parabolic rod action - the way the rod bends when loaded; the parabolic rod action means that the rod is quite flexible along its entire length; it is soft. Penetrate – to penetrate the fishing ground. Pit – a pit, not very large hollow in the bottom. Plume fly – artificial fly lure made of fluffy feathers. Pole – colloquial term for the rod. Predatory fish – fish which feed on other fish; these include i.a. pike, zander, perch, sheat fish, asp, trout, bulltrout, salmon, huchen. Presentation of the lure – passing, showing the lure to the fish.

PZW – Polish Angling Association. Reef – stone or rocky shallowing in the river bed. Retractor – a device used to retract the jaws of predatory fish for easy and fast unhooking. Revolving spool reel – a reel in which the monofilament is reeled on a revolving spool. Riffle (weir) – a shallow area in the river (usually stone or gravel) with rapid current and rough water flow. Rod – a fishing pole. Rod action – the way the rod bends/flexes when slightly loaded, e.g.: • fast action, i.e. taper action, means that only the upper part of the rod bends (stiff rod); • slow action, i.e. middle action, means that more than a half of the rod bends (soft rod). Running Line – a thin cylindrical fragment of the WF fly line. Safety-pin – a small wire element used to attach the monofilament to the artificial lure. Facilitates quick replacement of a lure. Salmonidae – a salmonidae fish family, including i.a. salmon trout, rainbow trout, bulltrout, salmon. Set – the maximum number of fish allowed to be taken by an angler from the fishing ground during 24 hours. Shallowing – an area of a very shallow water. Short nymph – the technique when you fish practically right below the tip of the pole, with the line slightly sticking above the tip guide. Side leader – a fragment of the monofilament tied to the main monofilament on which you attach a lure.

Side line - a line visible on both sides of fish, including numerous points and constituting a sensory organ, thanks to which a fish may feel any water vibrations and may easily detect each moving object also an artificial lure. Silt – spur slope, riffle, stone reef, shallow areas in the river on the side of the flowing water; usually it is a good fishing ground. Slope – more or less steep fall of the bottom. Slow pole – parabolic action pole. Smalls – small fish. Smuggler rod – a rod with a large number of components, which folds to very small size. Soft rod – parabolic action rod. Spawning – fish nuptial period, including laying and insemination of ova. Spawning ground – the fish spawning place. Specimen – particularly big fish of a given species. Spey roll casts – the whole group of casting techniques where the line does not fly above the rod and does not straighten up behind in the air, but forms the loops below; the cast used in the locations where there are obstacles behing the angler: trees, rock, etc. Spur (colloquially: crown) – a construction made of fascine, stones or concrete in a form of a dam leading towards the centre of the river, perpendicularly or at a lower angle to the main current. Stiff rod – taper action rod, usually strong. Streamer – artificial fly imitating small fish and other organisma of similar size. Striking – a rod movement aiming at hooking the fish biting the lure Surface dry-fly fishing – fishing technique where the lure floats on the water surface.

Telescopic rod – a rod consisting of several parts designed to slip into each other. The fortier, the fiftier etc. – a fish, 40 cm, 50 cm long etc. Tip – the end, upper part of the rod. Trait – a belt of rough, swirling flow between the current and the calm water or within a current, behind an obstacle. Transportation length of the rod - the length of the rod folded for transportation. Trolling – fishing technique for predatory fish consisting in pulling the lure behind a boat. Twelve, fourteen etc. – thickness of a monofilament (0.12 mm; 0.14 mm etc.) or the size of a hook (12,14 etc.). Twilight – a time between the day and night (when it it grey). Two-digit fish – a fish weighing more than 10 kg. Unhooking – taking the hook out of the fish mouth. Waders – hip-high, water-resistant boots; the term waders often refers to waist-high or armpit-high. Water circle – circular waves on the water surface, in a place where a fish catches an insect. Weir – see riffle. Wet fly – a traditional angling technique with the use of tiny fish floating under the water surface or the water depth. Whitefish – non-predatory fish. Wire rope – metal leader.

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