Don’t Miss a Thing, Just Let it Swing! – How to Finish a Drift


by Ron Pecore, professional 5280 Angler guide

Have you ever been standing mid-stream talking to your fishing buddy while letting you line dangle downstream, only to have a sudden tug on the end of your line? That strike wasn’t an accident, the trout was taking emerging insects and your fly was the perfect imitation! Read on to find out more about how to fish the swing.

During guide trips I  often notice clients with a tendency to shortchange their drift. Meaning, at about two-thirds through the full presentation, these clients raise their rod high, sweeping the fly out of the zone as they move to recast back upstream. Sure, they will still catch a few trout with these shortened presentations. However, once I teach them how to allow their nymph rigs to fully swing out at the end of their drift, they have much better odds of putting more trout in the net! It’s really just a matter of maximizing trout fishing coloradopercentages and number of casts/drifts in connection with trout feeding behavior.

When out on the river and teaching, I describe the key to this maximized presentation as the swing set.

The point, when the river permits, is to allow your nymphs to start swinging in the current and naturally rise upwards at the end of your drift. About halfway through this swing I’ll do a quick but short downstream set.  I can’t tell you how many trout I have caught doing this. I believe the fish may think your flies are rising or getting away, they may have been tracking your flies for several feet and this upward swinging action triggers them to strike.

Here’s a quick story that illustrates my point. I was out on the river with a pair of lady anglers. One had a lot of fly fishing experience, but as I watched her I noticed that common tendency to cut the drift off early. She would barely let her rig drift past her before recasting. Just downstream from her wading position  were two large boulders in the river offering perfect trout structure. This environment offered the perfect opportunity to teach her the swing set.

During her next drift, She made a upstream cast and through one solid mend. As the drift cleared her position, I could tell she was ready to pick up and recast. At this moment, I told her not to and to allow her rig to swing in front of the two boulders. Half way thru this Swing I told her to set downstream with a short quick tug.  To both of our amazement she hooked a huge trout. The three of us experienced a epic battle that ended with a 28 inch hen rainbow in the net. Needless to say, this lady practiced the swing set the rest of the day and out-fished many of the other anglers on the group trip.

Learning and practicing the Swing Set will do 4 things to improve your trout game:
You will catch fish.
It sets up your next cast.
It slows you down.
It makes you efficient on each cast.

Add the swing set to your presentation-repertoire and watch your fish catch numbers increase! Quite possibly, you might land the biggest trout of your life.

Tight lines!

Ed’s Note: If you want to fish the swing with Ron Pecore  or any of the professional 5280 Angler guides, contact us today!


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