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The Downstream Water Load

The Downstream Water Load
Wed 1st June, 2016

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The heavy showers and gusty winds of the last couple of days have put some anglers off.

We'd all prefer to fly fish on calm, still days. But that isn't always the case and we sometimes have to cast in a tricky downstream wind when we're upstream nymphing on the Tongariro.

Even if you swop to short line methods like Czech nymphing, a stiff downstream breeze can put so much bow in the leader you're unable to stay in touch with the nymphs and detect the takes.

But when it's like this and you're fishing the indicator, downstream water loading can be invaluable.

As with any water loading technique how you "set up" the cast is important.

If you're on the TRB and the flow and wind is coming at your left shoulder ... take a few steps out and lay a nice straight line downstream, slightly towards the bank your casting from.

I can't stress this bit enough ... the line must be straight before you commence the upstream draw.

The wind will actually help with this.

Don't try and wait for the current to straighten out the line. When you do this you risk the nymphs snagging up, which could result in a broken rod tip when you begin the forward cast.

So if its not straight ... re-lay it.

Let the flies settle for a second but not too long or they'll sink to the bottom.

I prefer to turn my wrist here so that the reel faces outwards and the rod is roughly parallel with the top of the water.

Now maintaining this flat casting arc draw the line upstream along the surface in a smooth progressive acceleration.

The friction caused by the water molecules trying to "hang on to" the fly line will load the rod. This is why its vital to eliminate any slack before you begin the cast. If you don't, you'll be halfway through the casting arc before the rod begins to load, during which time the flies will have continued to sink and you'll be unable to lift off smoothly.

Once you get this right, as you lift off, keep the rod tip low so that the line is propelled upstream under the wind.

If you happen to be on the TLB with the wind and current coming at your right shoulder ...lay the line downstream again slightly towards the bank you're fishing from. But this time if you're right handed the rod will be traveling across your body towards your left side when you do this.

Its a fairly easy cast to master and will keep you fishing when some give up.

Having said that an unexpected gust of wind can catch out even the most experienced angler and Steve Bodine from Michigan discovered a bomb up the nose was nothing to be sniffed at!

You can stop laughing now Jimmy.
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