Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Coming To Terms With The Dropper

I hate to rig them, hate to cast them, hate to get them snagged in trees, hate to lose them (Oh yeah! Four bucks worth of flies down the drain instead of only two!) and hate to constantly pick them out of the Gordian knots my shitty, unschooled, unpolished, self-taught (i.e. completely wrong) casting gets them in, but damn it, eight times out of ten when I catch a fish, I end up catching it on the cursed dropper.

So I mutter, swear under my breath (and often above it...) and go right on rigging up the evil little bastards, eyestrain, wallet drain and anger-induced high blood pressure be damned. I'm getting better at it. Much better. Almost - but not quite - comfortable, even.

But one of these days, I fear I'm going to experience the snarl that breaks the trout's back, and when that happens I swear I'm gonna say to hell with it, fling the whole sorry mess into whatever river I happen to be fishing and stomp back to my baitcasting, bass-fishing Okie birthright. Because sometimes you just want to chunk a big-ass spinnerbait.


  1. Haha it gets easier. The trick is to cast less, cast shorter, and cast efficiently. The more that rig is whipping through the air the more it's gonna roll up on itself.

    It gets really tricky when you fish a Happy Meal - Hopper-Nymph-soft hackle.. which is only pulled out in searching/desperation situations.

    I threw a panther martin on my switch rod and slayed it a few years ago, and this is the first time I've said it out loud.

    I know guys in the PNW that fish two-handers with big ass spin fishing spoons for coho cause they usually don't eat anything else.

  2. Also, what's your email? I wanted to spin some things off of you.
    Hit me up at Lmckurtis at g mail.

  3. I know the feeling Chad; seems like I always start off with something romantic like a dry, move to something practical like a wooly bugger, and then finally end up with a Prince nymph hanging off a Dave's Hopper when none of that other stuff works :-(!

  4. I think we have all been there. Usually I get a great looking mess once I start getting a little too comfortable and cocky! Keep at it, it works!

  5. Think slow, tweedy, English casting. ;)

  6. Chad- you might try a slightly different rig- to the end of your leader, attach 16" of tippet of the same size, leaving a 4" tag end. To that tag, tie your dropper (dry fly) so that the tag is no more than 3" long. Tie on your dropper and clip the tag off the leader. It will give you a little more separation and maybe reduce some tangles (though nothing helps when leader intersects rod). I've always had a hard time with droppers on small streams, too. Chas has it right- open loops will get you in there.

  7. Thank for all the advice, guys. Larry, I'll shoot you my e-mail (been away from the computer the past few days). Mdmnm, I'll try that method. I've just been trying a length of tippet to the bend of the dry's hook, then tying the nymph to that. Didn't know if that's the normal way or not, but it's my uneducated Okie way...

    1. Lots of people tie to the dry fly's hook, and sometimes it works.

  8. I tie to the bend of the point fly myself many times, especially when I'm adding an emerger as dropper during a hatch because the fish don't like my dry. With 5x or a little stouter tippet the separation provided by tying as described above might reduce a tangle or two. The downside is that I find myself more likely to lose both flies at the surgeon's knot when I hook that spruce or alder that leans over the creek just so than when tying the dropper directly to the dry.