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Keep a bouncer up your sleeve

Using the duo on a river gives you an opportunity to animate a dry fly in an irresistible way

Trying the bouncing dry can bring about a surprising result.
Trying the bouncing dry can bring about a surprising result.

When people say to me “There’s nothing new in fly fishing”, I shake my head. I think it’s a phrase reiterated by some lazy folk who desperately DON’T want anything else discovering in fly fishing. For me, the new tactics, flies and even disciplines (pike fly fishing, mullet on fly) keep rolling in. I reckon I’ve been fly fishing for the best part of 45 years and towards the end of last season something new and really quite significant cropped up.

I was fishing my local river and a trickle of olives were keeping me busy. Dry fly fishing was OK, but the sport was hottest on one particular, deeper, slower bend. I staked out the pool and took three nice fish on dries here, all from difficult lies in the current before I moved on downstream.

Further downstream, I came across some pocket water, so popped a small leaded nymph to create a ‘duo’ approach, still using my Parachute Olive as the dry. I took one other fish on the nymph, but by then everything had slowed down. It was late in the season, the sun was sinking down, and it looked like the olives (and the trout) had called it day. I hiked back upstream, but couldn’t resist a few more casts on the previously productive bend, especially when I saw a fish dimple on the far bank. I waded out and started to work on it with a few casts with the duo, but it wasn’t amused. Then, as the fly swung onto the dangle, I lifted the rod tip and the Parachute fly skated, skipped and dipped in the river. Before I knew what was happening, a nose appeared and sucked down the dry. I landed this bonus fish and then began to think. I’d just been working on a piece from Howard Croston earlier in the week, where he’d described using a duo system to ‘bounce’ the tethered dry across the surface. He’d intimated that it sometimes proved irresistible to trout, and now I’d accidentally used it to catch a fish that I didn’t even know was there.

So… I started bouncing my Parachute Olive up, across and down the flow to cover the pool, which I’d already covered and taken three fish from about an hour earlier. In a matter of just a few hectic minutes I rose five more trout, and hooked and landed three of them – all on the Parachute Olive. The weighted Nymph acted as an ‘anchor’ and by simply keeping my rod-tip high and raising and lowering the rod-tip I could ‘bounce’ the Olive anywhere in the stream. The effect was almost magnetic. The trout seemed to find it irresistible. My only problem was that that was my last outing of the trout season; it closed the next week.

“I must remember that for next season”, I pondered as I walked back to my car. And, do you know, I haven’t! Thanks, Howard.

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