At the first of the week, I promised to share with you one of my favorite fishing techniques, a fly and a bubble. For me, this method goes back to when I was about 8 years old, when my grandpa first introduced it to me after learning how to cast with an open faced rod on my own.
Growing up, my grandpa never used a fly rod much, in fact, I don't remember him owning one until I was about 9 or 10 years old (which he used mostly for floating the line while stream fishing). When it came to fly fishing for trout in the lakes on the Boulder Mountain of southern Utah, we used our spinning rods to get the job done with this set up. The advantages over a fly rod? Well, we didn't have float tubes, and seldom fished from a boat, so the weight of the water in the bubble allowed us to cast further. The shorter rod, and less room for casting meant we could more efficiently cast from the shores of many small lakes that had thick timber, bushes, or tall grasses on those shorelines.
The setup is very easy!
First, place your clear bubble on your main line, followed by tying a swivel to the end of the main line. I prefer to fill the bubble about half full of water. This is mainly for casting weight, so if you are wanting to get out in the water further, add a bit more. Too much however can be bad, causing the bubble to pull the fly further under the water. As far as what type of line, I prefer 8 pound line for everywhere I fish around here. Some argue 8 pound line is too much for around here, and many prefer 6 or even 4 pound. I find I get better distance, a smoother cast, and less "rats nests" in my reel with the frequent casting with the 8 pound line. However, I do use a lighter leader (6 or 4 pound).
Next comes the leader. Strip of 18-24" of leader (I prefer the 20-24" range) and tie a loop in the end. You will hook this loop onto your swivel, securing the clip on the swivel to hold the line.
The last step is to simply tie your fly onto the end of the leader. I suppose you could use a tipet, or tapered leader much as you would on a fly rod, but I have always just tied the fly to the leader and have had no trouble catching fish!
This of course will not work the best with dry flies, as the leader will tend to sink under the surface, bet with that being said, I have still had great success with my dry flies gliding along just under the surface. This is a perfect setup for a wet fly, and for added effect you can also clip on a small split shot weight to get a bit more depth.
I love this technique so much I have started to use it in my float tube as well, at times more than my fly rod. The benefit there is also being able to toss a spinner if they seem to be disinterested in flies for a while. On a lot of the lakes I fish, as the afternoon breeze comes up the fish stop hitting flies so well. This is usually when spinners become a plus, and now I can change without having to paddle the tube back to shore to change the fly rod for the spin rod.
As far as success, I can vividly remember trips to Boulder Mountain lakes where, at the end of the day, our flies are little more than ragged looking thread with most feathers missing from catching so many fish! One particular weekend my Grandpa and I found ourselves on a small lake on the north slope of the Boulder using a fly and a bubble, and man oh man, did we ever pick the right day! As always, the day turned into a competition to see who could catch the most fish. The day was short, as the drive was far, but in the end we found ourselves tied at 32 fish a piece! So, of course we had to try again the next day. And the results? another 32 fish day...64 fish in just 2 (short) days! They were all caught on this setup.
Give this simple setup a try, you will be glad you did! And be sure to send us some pictures of your outing to let us know how you did! All you have to do now is figure out what fly the fish want. Good luck!