We all know that since trout feed 90% below the surface, that nymphing is a great technique. However, for the 10% of feeding trout on the surface, well…the excitement of seeing a fish take a fly is something many people live for. I, on the other hand, dread when fish are obviously feeding on the surface. Why? I mean, who doesn’t love throwing a fly upstream and watching a fish take it. The primary goal to dry fly fishing is the ability to see the fly, and then see the take. When fishing anything smaller than a #20 Parachute Adams or Griffiths Gnat, I honestly can’t see the fly! And dark colored dry flies? Forget it! I pass because I can’t see!
I’ve tried using Palsa Indicators in front of the fly to use as a strike indicator and that sometimes works. I’ve done the High Viz flies with a little pink or orange to stand out. I still can’t see. I’ll try to trick the trout and throw bigger bugs that I can see, but seeing the bug doesn’t mean you’ll catch the fish if they are selectively taking small flies. So, honestly, I hate hatches and dry fly fishing.
This past Saturday, I did something different, and it was a "dry fly game changer". I saw a fish along the side of the bank. I couldn’t see what it was taking but I thought I would try a little Elk Hair Caddis. Normally, I can’t see those flies either and I go for the big bushy ones, but this time, I had a trick. I have been euro nymphing for the past year. Sight is important in euro nymphing because there is no strike indicator. I discovered this new product called Skafars Neon Wax that is used to help detect strikes while Euro Nymphing. DiscountFlies.com now carries it. For euro nymphing, you can apply the wax to your leader or tippet, which acts like a sighter:
But Here is the Real Magic! It Can Be Used Effectively For Dry Fly Fishing!
You take some of the wax, which comes in a tube, and apply it to the leader about 12 inches in front of your fly. I used Orange and it stood out well on the water. I ran about 2 inches of line through the wax, which made it easy to see the position of the coated line. Since I could see the colored line, I could easily locate the tiny dry fly. Two casts later, I landed a nice 16-inch rainbow. Best part? The trout never spooked from a Palsa Indicator splatting in front of them!
So, now I’m thinking I’ll pick up some of the smaller dries and dark colored dry flies that I normally pass on because I can use the Skafars Neon Wax to see the flies. It comes off the line after a bit, so plan on re-applying it periodically.