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A breezy day on the loch will often mean that standard dry flies, emergers and the like are all that are need to tempt surface feeding fish, however when the wind drops, and it does more often than you might think out here in the Hebrides the going can get tough. Flat calm conditions are often described as hopeless, still quiet pools on rivers also have a hard to crack tag. But with the right approach, tackle and flies fish can be winckled out, often with some difficulty but more pleasing because of that.

The following approach is also effective when trying to trick larger fish as well.

Calm water is best tackled with fine tackle, short casts and some stealth from the flyfisher.

First the tackle. This is not wack it out and pull it back flyfishing so the outfit suited to this style a fishing is a 9ft
AFTM 5 rod with a fine tip that bends, a floating Double taper 4 or 5 weight line, a 12 to 15 ft leader with a
2 to 3 lb tippet.

I prefer a double taper line because whatever distance is cast the line in your hand  is thick, which is much easier to handle than the thin running line of a weight forward. Double Taper lines also travel at a slower speeds through the air. This means they land on the water with less disturbance than weight forward, DT lines can be picked up off the water to cover moving fish, at the end of the day it is down to your own choice many prefer WF profiles.

The tippet and extension on the 9ft Tapered leader  are made from Sylcast or any standard perlon nylon,
apply some sinking compound to it before casting onto that calm water.

Stealth - Calm water means the fish see you better so dull clothing and keeping low are essential. This was knocked home when fishing a clear water gravel loch one sunny day. I had stopped fishing to replace a too shortened leader,
  I sat on a dry rock for ten minutes or so, then hunger hit so the rock was home for twenty minutes plus.
The water was well rested is the first point to make, the second is my low relatively still profile.
Because of these actions fish started rising, at one point feet from the bank, completely oblivious to my presence.

That has bought back a memory, back in Yorkshire an old customer got more big fish from his local reservoir than most by not casting. The fashion of casting out and pulling back had bypassed Mr Stanyer, he sat on the rock and only cast when a fish swam by, betraying its presence by rising, he saved his energy and in the process avoiding scaring fish by excessive casting.

Back to the rock, new leader tied thus:

_____________  _______________________________________  ___________  _______________
Fly line             Needle knot              9ft Tapered leader 3/4x             3ft 4lb nylon            4 ft tippet  2.5

Remember to treat treat the tippet with sinking compound and tie on a size 16 LONG LEGGED BLACK GNAT apply some gink or leave untreated so the fly sits in the film..

Casting along the bank to feeding fish is often the best bet, if several fish are feeding cast to the edge of the activity. Use as few false casts as possible,  gently break the forward cast with the left hand before the line lands, if the cast is not to your pleasure leave it anyway, the aim is to get the fly on the water with a little disturbance as possible. If the leader lands in a bit of a pile, leave it, if the cast is not as accurate as you would like still leave it, the fish may well cruise the right way anyhow. Re cast the line as few times as possible, find a rock, stop fishing watch for cruising fish.

The aim is to make as few casts as possible (so we avoid disturbing the flat calm) and to cover fish with each one that is made. Fish this fly static and expect the fish to simply suck the Midge in. Long casts are tempting especially if a larger trout is well out but be aware that the minute you start on this campaign you can easily scare more fish than you catch! Remember these are calm water rules, a ripple covers many sins!

I tie these on  fine wire medium shank hooks, this gives you a larger fly than you might think, it lands on the water like thistle down and looks very natural. The longer shank hook means unhooking fish is easy, good for catch and release. What does it imitate? A whole variety of aquatic midges as well as land born black leggy things. We get small Daddies hatching in the Hebrides as early as April and this pattern is deadly when these are about.

Hook: Fulling Mill lightweight (the strongest lightest hook I have come across) size 14,16,18
or a shortshank size 20 dryfly hook.
Silk: Uni Thread 8/0 Black, there is no need for ultra thin threads, 8/0 is pretty thin.
Wing: CDC feather tied flat over the body
Hackle: Long fibred black genetic cock, 2 turns, possibly three.

Although stronger than you might think fine wire hooks will not stand abuse, if you snag and damage the hook do not expect it to stand up to a hard fighting wild trout.

Long Legged Black Gnat #14  -  3 flies for £1.40 

Long Legged Black Gnat -  #16 - 3 flies for £1.40 

Long Legged Black Gnat - #18  -  3 flies for £1.40 

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