Swimming BWO

Fun with fur and feathers

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Ron Mc
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Swimming BWO

Post by Ron Mc » Sat Oct 28, 2017 10:02 am

if you like fishing on the swing...

Here's my swimming BWO dropper, tied on a size 18 scud hook - killer fished on the swing in a BWO hatch - usually faster water - head of a pool coming off a riffle and/or chute, pocketwater

Fish as a dropper below a wet fly or woolly bugger attractor

the advantage of the scud hook is it ties like a 20 and hooks like a 16

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XS copper bead
8/0 rust or brown thread
tail - 2 pheasant tail fiber tips, longer than the body
body - twisted emerald green flashabou
collar - sparse brown fur dubbing
- if you only get one fly on the Guadalupe

a BWO nymph - those frog legs are for hanging onto rocks in fast water
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and a dun
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it's the eggs in the females that make them olive
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and a cloud of BWOs - there's a long riffle and fast chute just upriver (behind me) - swinging BWOs is always productive in the long run for as far as you can see
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here's a good sun-lit profile of a BWO in flight - you can see they're all tail
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speaking of pocketwater - most people would wade right over this
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Ron Mc

pjvanek
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Re: Swimming BWO

Post by pjvanek » Mon Oct 30, 2017 6:42 pm

Hey Ron,

I can attest to the effectiveness of your BWO. I ran across it a few year ago in some of your older posts, and it's served me well on the Guadalupe. It was responsible for my best ever day on the river. Thanks for sharing it.

In past posts, and in this one, you mentioned fishing this fly on the swing. What is your line / leader set up? Sink tip I am assuming? Short leader of the same diameter?

I usually fish this as a dropper below a small egg or larger nymph, and under an indicator. But, as you noted, it seemed to work best in riffle water.

Thanks!

PV

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Ron Mc
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Re: Swimming BWO

Post by Ron Mc » Mon Oct 30, 2017 9:45 pm

My favorite subsurface leader with a floating fly line is H&H braided butt fluoro leader - I buy both 4x and 5x, but with 4x usually you need to add 5x fluoro tippet to tie on this hook. These are knotted leaders with a braided butt.
http://store.hookhack.com/Braided-Butt- ... o/HHBFT94/
I'll slide my size 14 wet fly attractor up the 4x, and add 18" of 5x tippet to tie on the BWO dropper, letting the leader-to-tippet surgeon's knot bump-stop the attractor fly.
Altogether, I fish about 6' of fluoro leader/dropper beneath the braided butt. With 3x and 5x tippet, you can rebuild these leaders as needed, even at streamside.
I smear the braided butt with Mucilin (drag the butt through the tin with thumb over it a few times, then rub it in). Fishing a wet fly attractor with the BWO dropper, it's all the strike indicator I need. It also keeps the fly line tip from swamping. When the braided butt begins to swamp, I use a chamois to wring it out, just squeeze and slide it through the chamois. I carry my Mucilin in case I need more, but usually just wringing with the chamois is enough.

I tie a caddis soft hackle wet fly with an XS black tungsten cone head, or a sparkle nymph tied the same way (size 14 sproat), and that is all the weight I need - sorry, no photos of the fly. But the attractor is also my weight, eliminating the need for split shot, and makes the whole rig swing more naturally. The tungsten cone head attractors catch fish, too.
(A REALLY good hook for the wet fly is Kamsan B981 No 10 - Swedes have their hook sizes all messed up; Partridge makes a good size 14 sproat)

You can still add a strike indicator if you need to fish shallower, but it seems the most effective wet fly swings, especially in deeper water, is using the braided butt leader without an added indicator.
Nice about a Thingamabobber strike indicator is that you can add it and remove it anywhere on your leader.
I loop-to-loop everything, and if I go to dries, which we do have on the Guadalupe, I swap the whole leader for tapered monofilament nylon.

Typical BWO spot, there's a riffle and chute above this run.
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Getting downriver to this spot, there is a long wide shallow flagstone run that is often good sight-fishing. This same rig is perfect for down-and-across casts presenting to visible shallow fish.
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I can think of one deep gravel bar slope and tail-out where I rig first with a Teeny BS-100 (5-wt or less) or T-130 (6-wt) sinking line to swing wet flies. I fish these lines with 4' Teeny tapered leaders (zap-spliced) and 18" tippet.
The same rig works well moving downriver from here - and of course you may end up stripping the sinking line to keep it off the bottom - bottom bouncing can be a really good tactic.
You don't do a whole lot of tight-line drifting before your swing with this set-up - you just make down-and-across casts and let it swing.
Here I use an unweighted wet fly attractor and the BWO dropper.
This is really good caddis water, and there's a hatch every afternoon on the gravel-bar tailout you can see under the bend in my rod.
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you can see my soft-hackle in her mouth
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As with most wet-fly swings, there's not much question when you get a strike, and this rig is entirely by feel.

Making a swing - generally you drop the rod as the rig is drifting past you, then slowly lift the rod when the current is dragging and your fly is in the target zone, causing it to rise like a swimming caddis or BWO. And it's just about as fun as fishing can get.

Up to now, what I've mostly been talking about is fishing the drop below a riffle/chute.
You mentioned fishing riffles. For riffles, I tie a Unibobber parachute dry for a strike indicator, and add a BWO dropper, and will split fish between the dry/bobber and dropper.
I'm pretty sure this November fish is a wild-spawned Guadalupe male with my BWO in his mouth, and caught a half-dozen siblings that day (split between the top and bottom)
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This probably isn't a TIC fish, since the TIC trout are all females.

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This rig is for tight-line nymphing, usually the slower water, but the fish below is from a deep, fast chute.
I fish Otter's milking eggs with a thread midge dropper. I learned this from Frank Smethurst, who said when you absolutely positively need to catch a fish right now.
I use a quilting needle to put the egg up the end of the leader, slide up a bare size 12 sproat hook (a 1x-long wide-gap hook), tie on 18" tippet to bump-stop the bare hook and egg, and add the midge. I always fish this with split shot and an indicator. When I add split shot, I put a square-knot loop in the leader, close the split shot on the loop, and tighten the square-knot. It stays put and I can stack more split shot above if needed.
Here's a trout that took the egg - the fish is on the bare hook and the egg has slid up to the split shot
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You can see the size 22 thread midge dropper at the bottom center of the photo
When I'm done with this rig at the end of the day, I'll clip above the split shot and add a surgeons loop, wrap the whole rig up in a leader wallet, and add it loop-to-loop to my leader next time.
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size 22 thread midges

Earlier the same day, this buck took the size 22 midge
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and if you want to see more of him, we're gonna need a bigger net
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Ron Mc

Zack Evans
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Re: Swimming BWO

Post by Zack Evans » Tue Oct 31, 2017 8:11 am

Ron, thank you for another very informative post. I will have to try your BWO the next time I'm swinging soft hackles. Swinging soft hackles is one of my favorite techniques on the Guadalupe. I can usually catch a lot more fish nymphing but the vicious strikes while swinging soft hackles is hard to beat.

Last year I sight fished a nice 17-18 inch rainbow sipping emergers just below the surface. I swung a soft hackle pheasant tail high in the water column. I spotted a gentle rise followed by my line immediately becoming tight. That is the closest I've ever come to dry fly fishing on the Guadalupe, and it was one of my most memorable experiences.

pjvanek
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Re: Swimming BWO

Post by pjvanek » Wed Nov 01, 2017 9:24 am

Ron, thanks for the reply. Couple more questions if you don't mind please.

The furled leader is 9'. How much tippet are your running between the ring and the soft hackle? Just wondering how long the whole thing is from leader to dropper fly. So 9' leader plus ? tippet to soft hackle plus 18" to dropper?

Also, anything special on your caddis pattern? I have seen the sparkle nymph you tie and caught one of my bigger guad trout on it swinging it to a rising fish.

Thanks!

PV

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Ron Mc
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Re: Swimming BWO

Post by Ron Mc » Wed Nov 01, 2017 10:54 am

pjvanek wrote:
Wed Nov 01, 2017 9:24 am
Ron, thanks for the reply. Couple more questions if you don't mind please.

The furled leader is 9'. How much tippet are your running between the ring and the soft hackle? Just wondering how long the whole thing is from leader to dropper fly. So 9' leader plus ? tippet to soft hackle plus 18" to dropper?

Also, anything special on your caddis pattern? I have seen the sparkle nymph you tie and caught one of my bigger guad trout on it swinging it to a rising fish.

Thanks!

PV
hey bro, The Beartooth braided butt leader (not furled) is 9', the braided butt is 3' so I may be fishing 7-1/2' below the butt with a new leader.
Since these are knotted leaders, it's nothing to keep them repaired from tippet spools - 1x, 3x, 5x. I've had leaders last me years. Come to think of it, I repair the leader to a fathom reach from the end of the braid to the leader tip, so I'm probably always dropping 7-1/2'. Fluoro.

I've tried thread furled leaders for dries, and just don't get them - they have no use for me. I use nylon mono furled leaders for the skinniest salt fishing, and love them. They stay out of the grass - loop on fluoro tippet, which drops your fly.

The bulldog caddis is beautiful - sorry I don't have a photo or time to set one up. Tail (which is actually the abdomen of the caddis) is burned-end insect green microchenille - light it and roll it to a point (then tie it in) - the tail is short - less than the body length. You can use red microchenille as well. Thorax is a tight peacock herl wrap. Soft hackle collar (behind the cone).
Of course the first thing is slide the XS black cone head up the hook and a base thread wrap to hold it.
Again, hook is a size 14 Partridge sproat, or better, the Kamsan Swede size 10 if you can find it.
When I showed this fly and rig to Frank Smethurst, he loved it.

The chute at L&L is just one great place to drift and swing this rig - cast into the chute and follow it down.
Last edited by Ron Mc on Wed Nov 01, 2017 12:36 pm, edited 3 times in total.
Ron Mc

pjvanek
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Re: Swimming BWO

Post by pjvanek » Wed Nov 01, 2017 11:11 am

Got it! I was thinking the entire braided section was 9'. Thanks for the description on your caddis. Sounds kind of similar to a Fox's poopah, except of course that fly does not have a soft hackle wrap or tungsten cone. Appreciate your help!

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Ron Mc
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Re: Swimming BWO

Post by Ron Mc » Wed Nov 01, 2017 11:12 am

pjvanek wrote:
Wed Nov 01, 2017 11:11 am
Got it! I was thinking the entire braided section was 9'. Thanks for the description on your caddis. Sounds kind of similar to a Fox's poopah, except of course that fly does not have a soft hackle wrap or tungsten cone. Appreciate your help!
fun stuff!
Ron Mc

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Ron Mc
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Re: Swimming BWO

Post by Ron Mc » Wed Nov 01, 2017 11:24 am

I do have a photo of this simple dropper pattern, which works wonders on the Guadalupe.
This is Dave Hughes' Serendipity, which doesn't really look like anything except generic food.
I have some friends who don't fish any other fly on the Guadalupe.
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Size 18 scud hook, 8/0 thread.
I use a yellow glass XS bead.
Beneath the base thread wrap, antron fibers (half the thickness of the antron yarn) - long enough to handle - last thing you do is clip them.
Body wrap is insect green or red midge lace.

another simple dropper idea, also on the size 18 scud hook
trailing shuck midge - first thing you tie in is a strand of krystal flash
copper wire, and thread body
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again my favorite-hooking hook, this time a brassie
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my favorite scud hook is Tiemco 2457 - I always pinch the barb before it goes on the vise

If you're fishing a dropper behind a woolly bugger (or a big hex dry, which is effective early season in slower water), instead of sliding the leader through the hook eye and bump-stopping on the tippet knot, tie your dropper tippet to the hook bend with a clinch knot.
Ron Mc

mickmcco
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Re: Swimming BWO

Post by mickmcco » Mon Nov 13, 2017 2:54 pm

One of my faves. Also a go-to fly for our late president and guide Bill Higdon. When nothing else worked, he'd tie one of these on for his clients, with frequent success.
Mickfly
Fish Friendly - Life's too short not to enjoy every minute on the river.

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