Fly fishing is fantastic because you have virtually limitless options and can switch things up when the fish aren’t biting. Fast, portable, and thrilling describe it! Success depends on knowing which technique to apply and when. The distinction between a dry fly and a wet fly is one question that a novice fly angler has. Historically, a fly that was fished below the water’s surface was considered wet, and a fly that floated was considered dry. Read this article to find out more about both the dry fly and the wet fly.
What Is A Wet Fly
A hackled or winged fly that is intended to be cast in or just below the water’s surface film is referred to as a wet fly. Typically, wet flies mimic tiny invertebrates, most frequently newly emerging aquatic insects.
There are times when a wet fly will mimic tiny fry or minnows. Wet flies frequently have a strong impressionistic quality and can vaguely resemble a variety of different foods. The Picket Pin, for instance, might resemble a small black nose dace or trout fry, a swimming stonefly, mayfly, or nymph.
Types of Wet Flies:
- Hackled Wets
- Winged Wets
- Salmon Wets
What Is A Dry Fly
A dry fly is a fly tied to float on the surface film and imitate an aquatic or terrestrial insect, or sporadically an organic food item like a berry. A dry fly’s ability to float may come from stiff hackles, CDC, deer or elk hair, floating yarn, or foam.
Some dry flies, such as the Atlantic Salmon Bomber, are more alluring and less mimicry, and they are given some action to catch the attention of fish.
Poppers and gurglers, which are large flies that float but are intended to be fished on the retrieve and are given a lot of action, are typically not regarded as dry flies even though they are fished on the surface.
Types of Dry Flies:
- Catskill Style
- CDC Wing
- Hair Wing Caddis
- Mayfly Spinners
How To Tell A Dry Fly From A Wet Fly
Looking at the hackle is the best way to differentiate between a dry fly pattern and a wet fly pattern. Hackles used to tie dry flies are frequently stiffer, fuller-fibered hackles. Hackles on wet flies are typically softer and sparser.
Hen hackles, partridge, pheasant, and starling are examples of typical wet fly hackles. Hackles used for dry flies are typically rooster capes or neck hackles.
It is usually still possible to tell a dry fly apart from a wet fly even when the latter has a stiffer hackle. Usually, the hackles on wet flies are palmered or wrapped in a way that causes the fibers to bend back toward the fly’s tail. With a dry fly, this is typically not the case.
When To Use Dry Flies
When there is an insect hatch on the water, dry fly fishing is the most effective. The most well-known dry flies are caddis, mayflies, and stoneflies, and you can find them on almost any river in the world. Naturally, the telltale rise of the fish is a dead giveaway that they are consuming dry flies.
This occurs when a fish rises to the surface of the water to eat a fly off of it, leaving a dimple in the water that resembles throwing a small stone into it.
When fish are consuming bugs caught in the water’s surface film, dry flies are another option. These are frequently newly emerging insects or insects that have recently passed away.
They are known as emergers or spinners, respectively, and fishing them is one of the best ways to have an amazing day on the water, even during a significant dun hatch. Most fly fishermen never venture out of the house without a variety of dry flies in their fly boxes at any time of the year.
When To Use Wet Flies
However, you can catch plenty of fish on wet flies at any time of the day. Wet flies are best used at the beginning of a dry fly hatch. A few inches below the water’s surface, wet flies can be used to catch fish by imitating insects that are about to hatch. When trout notice the bugs acting in this way, they begin to eat them carelessly.
The slightly different rise forms that appear when trout are feeding just below the surface are the result of this. For wet flies, trout typically don’t come completely out of the water, instead making a splashy, large rise similar to how they do for dry flies.
Only the trout’s nose, back, and tail poke slightly above the surface when it consumes a wet fly, in that order.
Consider tying on a wet fly if you’re getting fish to notice your dry fly despite seeing a lot of rises. The likelihood that the trout are actually focused on wet flies rather than dries is very high.
How To Use A Dry Fly Vs Wet Fly
How a wet fly and a dry fly are fished is the main difference between them. There is some overlap, but the location in the water column at which the fly is cast differs the most.
The Dead Drift
Both wet and dry flies can now use the dead drift technique, but dry flies are the more common type to use it with. Dead drift casting a dry fly allows you to cast it up, across, or downstream. Regardless of the casting director, it’s important to make sure the fly is drifting along with the current.
In order to maintain a dead drift, mends, or fly line adjustments with the rod, are frequently used. The most typical technique for catching actively rising trout in rivers involves dead drifting dry flies. It can also be applied to still waters and to other species.
Fishing on the swing is possible with both wet and dry flies, but wet flies are most frequently presented. A swing is cast down and across current, occasionally straight across or slightly up and across. Mends are used to slow the flies’ movement and place them deeper in the water column.
The fly rod tip is frequently pointed in the direction of the fisher’s flies, which are then followed through the swing. The flies ride the currents as they swing down and across, rising in the water column. They can be retrieved, twitched, or immediately recast after the cast.
Both wet and dry fly presentations that use a twitch can frequently be effective strike triggers. After all, aquatic insects frequently do some active pursuits.
The best way to twitch a fly is to move the rod with a swift wrist motion. Be careful not to be overly aggressive. Sometimes a dry fly can be drowned by an aggressive twitch.
The Riffle Hitch
This technique is a hybrid of wet flies and dry flies. It’s a technique for fishing on the surface that’s typically used with wet flies. It takes place in riffles and other broken moving water, as the name suggests.
A straightforward hitch knot is tied directly behind the hook eye in order to fish a wet fly with a riffle hitch. By doing this, the line’s pulling pattern while it is swinging changes. A wet fly tied in a rifle hitch will glide across the water’s surface while swinging. For aggressive Atlantic salmon, this is a fantastic technique.
Drowning Dry Flies
Just as it is sometimes appropriate to fish a wet fly on the surface with a riffle hitch, there are times when it is appropriate to fish a dry fly as a wet. Casting downstream is frequently an effective method for fishing a dry fly subsurface. Allow the fly to drift dead before flicking the rod to sink it and swing it back upstream or retrieve it.
An angler can use this technique to cover both surface and subsurface presentations with a single cast and one fly. You might want to switch to only fishing the fly dry if fish are only taking it on the surface. It’s probably time to switch to a wet fly if the fish are only consuming it drowned.
The Figure-eight Retrieve
In still waters and large, slow pools, this technique is frequently applied with wet flies. It is cast over promising water with a wet fly or a team of wet flies. The angler then slowly retrieves the flies by creating figure-eight loops with their fingers to gather the line. As a result, the fly or flies move slowly and steadily.
Both sinking and floating lines can be used for the figure-eight retrieve. When damselflies or swimming mayflies hatch in still waters, it’s wonderful. It works well for trout, but it also attracts bass, panfish, and even carp when wet fly fishing lakes or ponds.
The differences and similarities between dry and wet flies are hopefully made clearer by this article. The two are essentially equivalent in some situations. No matter where or when you go fishing, you’ll be successful if you can figure out whether fish prefer to eat dry or wet flies and how to fish with both types of flies.