PERFECTING DRY FLY PRESENTATION.
Leonard Wright was the author of 11 books, but it was his first, Fishing the Dry Fly as a Living Insect — in which he articulated his “three tumbler lock” theory — for which he will be remembered. It goes like this: when a fly drifts into the trout’s window of vision, it will notice a familiar shape, size, and perhaps even the colour — it looks different to the inanimate twigs, leaves and other debris. The first tumbler clicks into position. You now have the trout’s attention and it watches more closely, identifying certain recognisable features such as the profile, wings, legs or tail — tumbler number two clicks into place. Twitch the fly and the third tumbler clicks into place.
The trout is fooled into believing that it’s a living insect. The next response needs no explanation except to say that it’s what we set out to do in the first place — deceive the trout. I recall an incident a few years ago on the iNgwangwane River in the southern Drakensberg. It was a hot, clear sky day – the trout had their mouths shut tight. The run was long, deep and slow. I cast a small Ed’s Hopper onto the edge of the current seam near where the water cascaded in. The fly drifted downstream, then, in ghostly fashion, a decent trout appeared out of the depths and hung a few feet below the surface, focus clearly fixed on the fly. It had recognised what it thought was something familiar, but was still uncertain. I carefully drew in the slack line and twitched the rod tip. The imitation rippled the surface, the rubber legs kicked against the resistance of water tension. The trout’s response was instantaneous — in a split second it rose, sucked in the fly, turned and disappeared back into the depths. I felt the weight and the rod bent in response, a beautiful 16-inch rainbow. The third tumbler, had clicked into place – movement – an irresistible trigger
Leonard Wright also wrote about fishing his beloved Neversink River in New York State, when he noticed that the egg-carrying female caddis would land on the river surface and then scoot upstream with a sudden dart, probably using the force of the current to help release the eggs. He called this movement “the sudden inch” and it was the trigger that prompted slashing strikes. The caddis that drifted downstream without this movement were often ignored.
Succinctly summed it up in this context, “movement is life”.
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