That Post-Mayfly Lull - How To Tackle It

Small Fly Strategies

(and a box designed to hold them)

Now that the Mayfly season is starting to peter out (well at least in southern parts). I wanted to try and get us ready for the more challenging part of the season - the post-Mayfly lull.

This part of the season usually sees the fish quite languid - full of Mayfly and very lethargic (at least for a couple of weeks).

In this missive, I'm going to give you what is, hopefully, a good grounding on how to approach these conditions, and that is by using - small flies.

Also, we have a superb fly box, ideal for small flies - and they make unique Father's Day presents!

P.S. This email is going to be quite long, so you might want to grab a brew before you start reading!

I've no doubt that we've all seen swarms of midges above the surface of the water - especially when there are sunlit pools. Low water levels and spooky fish means utilising the smaller flies in our boxes.

Some rivers are not as full of nutrients as others, it’s these rivers which tend to fish better using smaller flies, due in part to the fact the river cannot sustain the production of the larger species.

In these rivers trout can still flourish, they just alter the way they feed. Instead of selectively taking insects as and when they please (as insects are in abundance on the more nutrient-rich rivers), the trout in less rich rivers are opportunistic feeders.

This is where the small, imitative fly is king.

In essence:

small flies = light tippet longer leaders = softer rods

The remainder of this email will take the above and hopefully shed a little light on each.

Small Flies

When you encounter low water it's time to turn to the smaller flies in your box - when I say small, I am referring to flies which are size 18 and smaller.

It is the one piece of tackle that the fish sees and makes their decision on to eat or not. The most important part of a fly is without doubt the hook, even more so when we are using very small hooks. It is important when choosing small flies to look at the gape of the hook (i.e., the distance between the hook point and the body of the hook), make sure that the tied fly still has plenty of room between the body and the hook point, if there is hardly any room between the body of the fly and the point it will make it very difficult to hook a fish. Generally, the hooks which are sized at 18 and smaller all are ‘wide gape’.

Often, the reason small flies are dismissed by anglers is that they have trouble seeing them, there are a few remedies for this:

  • Pre-Tie Your Flies: Tie up some short leader lengths at home with the small flies already attached. This way it's easy to attach them when on the water, rather than fiddling around trying to tie them on in dwindling light.
  • Make An Educated Gues: For most dry fly angling it is not a necessity to actually see the fly, generally you will have a rough idea of where the fly is, if you see a rise, just lift into it – 9 times out of 10 it will be to your fly!
  • Use An Indicator: If you do want to know where your fly is, either use a small fly with a hi-vis sighter post, or use the ‘Double Dry’ technique, where you use a visible dry fly and then tie a smaller dry fly from the eye of the hook on a long dropper – just like the klink n dink method, but using 2 dry flies.

Having a selection of small flies (both nymphs and dries) is essential when fishing through the latter part of June and into early August.

It just so happens that we have you covered with something new to us - a fly box which is tailor-made for storing small flies and a selection of small (but perfectly formed) flies for you to fill it with:

Our Wynd Small Fly Selection includes the stunning Wynd Bynder fly box - ideally suited for fishing small & micro flies as it contains a separate foam leaf in the centre of the box which is perfect for storing leader lengths. This allows you to pre-tie up your leader lengths and store them inside the fly box along with your flies.

As well as the Wynd box, we've also plundered our smallest flies and put them together in a set, specifically designed for fishing on those more challenging summer days.

Our Selection includes 18 flies:

  • CdC F-Fly: Size 18 - 3 of each
  • No See Um: Sizes 18 and 24 - 3 of each
  • Sparkle Greenfly: Size 24 - 3 of each
  • Micro Parachute Aphid: Size 24 - 3 of each
  • Micro Parachute Adams: Size 24 - 3 of each

Please Note: I've tied up the small flies above using coloured 7X tippets - just so you can see them and get the idea of pre-tying your leaders before you set out on the water!\

In total we're supplying 18 small and micro flies with the Wynd fly box for only £39.99 which includes FREE delivery - that's roughly a 25% discount on buying them all individually.

Alternatively, if you would just like just the set of flies on their own - we've got you covered:

Or, if you just like the look of the box, we now have stock of those - here are some box images to whet your appetite (click any image to view the box on our site) - they make ideal Father's Day presents!:

We also have these boxes (minus the flies) available to buy for only £26.99 - which includes FREE delivery.

Ok, so you've got the flies and the box, but what next ...

Lighter Tippet

Because these hooks are really small - with small eyes, your standard tippet might not thread through the eye - you will need something that is around 0.12mm in diameter. But don't worry, we have you covered - with a SPECIAL 50% DISCOUNT OFFER ON 7X & 8X TIPPET - UNTIL MIDNIGHT TONIGHT:

Add any of our RIO Powerflex or Suppleflex tippet to your Wynd Small Fly Selection, in either 7X or 8X, and we will automatically deduct 50% from the price of the tippet - how's that for amazing value!

TOP TIP: When trying to thread your tippet to a small fly, try cutting the tippet at a 45-degree angle, it makes it much easier to get the tippet through the eye of the hook.

Longer Leaders

If you downloaded our copy of the Small Fly Manifesto (which we emailed you yesterday), then you will have already seen the leader recipes for various long & light setups to tie yourself. Here's the best one for fishing really small flies:

To the 6X at the end of the above, just add in a few feet of the 7X or 8X tippet and you're good to go.

However you decide to create your leader, the one thing above anything else which will increase your catch rate is the length! When fishing small flies, on low rivers you need to make your leader as long as you can possibly get away with. This is what has given rise to the new style Front-Heavy Tapered leaders in the longer lengths – 11ft to 16ft. It is not uncommon for hardly any fly line to be outside of the rod tip and just the leader is cast.

Softer Actioned Rods

When fishing with light tippet, you need a rod which has a much softer action than your regular carbon rod, this is how you can land much bigger fish on really light tippet. You need to ensure that your whole system - fly, tippet, line & rod - work in harmony. Just try landing a small fish on a medium-fast carbon rod with a thin tippet (anything smaller than 7X) and you will appreciate the finesse of a softer actioned rod.  

You need a rod which will cushion every movement of the fish and protect your light tippet. This is where glass rods come into their own, especially on the small to medium-sized rivers where you are not casting to the horizon. One of the best in the business is the Redington Butterstick: