During the summer months, fishing dries is often the most favourable method. However, we can face some challenging days during the summer months with bright sunshine, soaring temperatures and high pressure. 2018 was a prime example of this, we experienced one of the hottest summers in a long time, it has definitely made us reconsider our surface fishing tactics.

trout on the blob

At this time of year we enjoy chatting to our customers about our past conquests and how much we enjoy fishing dries. It’s the visual aspect that appeals the most. It’s just so satisfying to see a huge fish sip down your dry fly before the battle ensues. Then spending time admiring these magnificent creatures in prime condition. That’s what it’s all about – superb sport.

Conditions seem right on certain days, overcast with a light wind, but there’s something wrong. Everywhere is quiet, almost lifeless. The water temperatures are extremely high and the constant high pressure seems to have had an effect. Reports from anglers clarify this, the surface is completely devoid of moving fish.

It’s easy to continue flogging away because you’re in love with the technique and you want to see it succeed. Many anglers will work the method to death in the hope that the fish will eventually come round to their way of thinking, but during these times you need to rethink your tactics.

Assess the situation

It’s time to take stock and evaluate your situation in moments like these. There’s nothing moving on the surface or just under it, so fish must be much deeper. The bright sunlight and high pressure are probably the main causes of this.

Choosing a line like a Di-3 line with a blob or booby on point and two darker flies such as Black Cormorants spaced six feet apart will give you the ability to count down and search the depths easily. When fishing multiple flies like this we recommend 8lb line as a minimum. Most water’s have a bit colour to them due to algae blooms blossoming in these warmer conditions. When conditions are difficult, we recommend a bright blob or booby followed by darker coloured droppers to cover all bases. Black certainly stands out in coloured water so these flies are the right shade to get noticed.

Blob dropper

Counting the flies down before retrieving with a slowish figure of eight, to try and entice these inactive fish is key. Be prepared to count down deep, reports have informed us that fish have been extremely deep for this time of year. It won’t be long until you find that magical depth, when you have found the perfect depth, we recommend changing to a line that will get you down to the desired depth quicker and keep you in the feeding zone longer. This will allow you to fish more efficiently.

Daphnia feeders

Spooning your catch will probably reveal daphnia at this time of the year, with the extreme temperatures and lack of oxygen in the water, it becomes the perfect habitat for algae. This is one of the main sources of food for Daphnia. It’s the complete opposite of what we usually expect for fishing this time of the year but it always pays to have a plan B.

spooning trout

Daphnia is a high source of protein. They’re basically water fleas that hang around in such vast numbers that they resemble a kind of green or orange soup at times. Fish simply cruise along hoovering the stuff up. It’s an easy way for trout to stock up on protein-rich food.

Depth and food is key

It’s important to find the feeding depth and you’ll be “quids in”. You find the food and you’ll find the fish. It’s as simple as that.

Keep the retrieve pretty slow and not to pull the flies too fast. The trout aren’t in a chasing mood and why would they be with such an abundant food source so easy to scoop up. It always pay to cover all scenarios and this summer is a perfect example of this.

A change in fly line

It’s true what they say; depth is critical. We’ve all fished next to anglers who are catching like crazy and the only difference has been fly line choice. The same flies fished at a different depth won’t catch. But the wrong flies fished at the right depth will catch, or at least stand a very good chance of taking fish.

figure of 8

Some anglers are slow to spot this, often waiting until their boat partner is on eight fish before deciding to change fly line. I’ll change if my partner catches just three because that’s enough to suggest that they’ve got the depth bang on.

So the message is, we must be prepared for the unexpected whenever we venture out fishing. What if you’d left your sinking lines at home?

Daphnia Patterns

Blob’s aren’t for everyone but no one can claim that they’re not successful. They are an incredibly versatile stillwater pattern that can be fished on any fly line and with any retrieve. And they’re not just ‘stockie takers’, Blobs catch plenty of overwintered fish at our reservoirs too. So why the dislike by some anglers? Perhaps it’s got something to do with the name.

blob variety

Orangle Blob

Orange catches, it’s as simple as that, but it also resembles daphnia in that orange clouds of these water fleas can be seen just a few feet down at times. Then, later in the day, the same cloud has maybe moved 10 feet down, which warrants a change of fly line. We’ve caught daphnia feeders on a floating line and two Blobs on a morning then catching them with the same flies 10 feet down in the afternoon on a Di-7. They move slowly up and down the water column.

Black Blob

When clouds of daphnia become so dense or the water is just very coloured, then black seldom fails. It’s also very productive when fish have maybe got used to brightly-coloured lures and prefer something more drab. Black is one of the best all-round fly colours available, with almost every pattern ever tied having a black version in some way or another.

Olive Blob

We recommend using this colour on a Blob when the fish are feeding on olive-coloured daphnia. It seems to work well in these situations but there are so many other better colours to use on all other occasions, so Olive Blobs tend to stay in the box.

We hope this article has provided you the artillery to tackle those tough summer days. For any more advice on summer fly fishing, please don’t hesitate to contact us. We are always happy to help.

This article was brought to you in association with Trout Fisherman Magazine.