Heavy wind and soft rods

ive been fishing my pro square 320 6:4 alot lately and love it. problem is lately we have been having alot of windy days. which is nice cuz its already hot. however you know what it does for casting. im currently using rod length 3.5 fc line.

would 4-4.5 be better or drop down to 2.5-3?

i ask because this rod is so soft i dont want to overload it with heavy wind resistant line.

or should i switch to a rod that can handle wind resistant line better?

Winter before last I went to the park across the street every time it was windy for a couple months. My thinking was technique was likely a better solution than equipment. (I fish Zerosums at roughly rod length plus one meter max so I understand your thinking.)
After trying quite a few different lines I concluded that they really didn’t help that much. What I learned was practicing in the wind was the best path forward. Be creative! Look at the line in the air back and forth and try different paths, speeds, where to apply more line acceleration. Look at how to achieve accuracy with the wind quartering behind you, or completely 180° to your target.
If the wind is blowing downstream I fish downstream presentations, up stream then it’s upstream. Trying to power into the teeth of the wind calls for shortening your line, try a meter less than rod length with a half meter tippet.
Most people want to buy solutions… I prefer to add new things to my meager skills…

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I dont think lining up to a heavier line will overload your rod. Hard to say if the weight gain by increased diameter will overcome the wind resistence of the increased diameter.

In general I think I have heard some guys go to a faster action rod in wind.

I personally am in the camp with James. I will pay attention to conditions and pick spots to fish accordingly. There is always a spot that fishes fine or is the lee side. On windy days dig out the topo maps and pick a winner before you commit. Also as James notes work on building your skill in the wind.

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Wind use to bother me but by living in S. Idaho I have had to learn to use the strong wind. This is where I’ll use 53 Sawanobori rod and onto the line I’ll attach a blow line…a light, wide woven nylon line that can catch the breeze and makes the fly dance with the fluctuations of the wind speeds and direction. This dancing of the fly is effective in getting the trouts attention. I got mine through a UK online fly shop.

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In the 90’s and early 2000’s I was friendly with many people in the fly fishing business world. Steve Rajeff, then working as a rod designer for Sage Rods put together enough pieces of graphite rod to make an 18 foot rod, not too dissimilar from a cross between a Sieryu and Keiryu rod. I wanted it specifically to fish the far-side eddy of bridge abutments on the Madison River. I used 17 feet of unwaxed dental floss and a leader.

I got strikes but lifting the butt caused the tip to go downward and I could not retrain my instincts.

I think that the idea of just a portion of floss may just be one more good tool to use when appropriate.

I’m always looking for anything to help fight the wind.
I have been following the approach James recommends above with good results. I couldn’t manage 10mph wind in January and now I’m catching fish with the wind gusting to 30mph.

As Gressak mentions, finding water in the lee somewhere or a canyon perpendicular to the wind is a fun challenge. The free version of the Windy app is a great tool for finding the less windy pockets with an excellent graphic of the wind over terrain; also awesome tool to access and compare on one screen five of the main weather models for free.

While this may not apply to your situation if you aren’t Contact Nymphing, but I should add that I personally found the size 1.25 Tenjo line that Tenkara Bum sells to be the best line for throwing two weighted nymphs in a lot of wind this past winter as I learned to Contact Nymph. I feel like the thinner diameter gets blown around less and is easier to maintain contact with the flies. For that scenario, I have been having good success with 6’ of the 1.25 Tenjo line, 2’ 6x Sighter to a tippet ring, then 6’ish of 7x flourocarbon to my Point fly on a 4.4m rod, generally running a 3.5mm on the dropper and 4mm bead point.

As another point of reference, I fished the same stretch of stream the past two days with gusty wind conditions. I purposefully used a similar proportioned line equal to the rod length, then a tippet ring and 3’ of 7x tippet, mostly throwing an elk hair caddis or CDC caddis deal in size 18. I alternated between my Air Stage Fujiryu 330 5:5 and Oni Type 1 as the stream allowed. I personally found the Oni significantly easier to cast into the wind. I was able to cast the Fujiryu into the wind, but found that I wasn’t able to get the punch I was with the Oni. I think more practice will help…
Maybe this is the perfect excuse for you to order another rod for windy days :smile:

Harry

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I believe Blow-Line fly fishing was developed first in the UK. Gary La Fontaine probably did more to promote it in the US than any one else. The Blow Line is a length of flat Dental Floss and a tippet, usually with a highly wind resistant dry fly acting as a kite on the end of the line. The rod is held in a vertical position and lowered so that the fly Daps repeatedly on the water’s surface to attract a fish into striking. This is, primarily, a Stillwater fly fishing technique. But there is no reason it should not be applied to moving water under conditions right for Blow Line fishing use.

This is the ultimate tenkara Wind Line. It cuts through wind like a Hot Knife cuts Through Butter but also Sinks Like A Stone, so their are trade offs that have to be delt with that not everyone will like:

[Tenkara Titanium Line - Esoteric Tackle](https://esoterictackle.co.uk/lines/119-tenkara-titanium-line.html?yoReviewsPage

I have cast a 3m Ti-Line on a 3.9 m, 8 penny, rod that it would have been impossible to cast with any other line. And for reference, the use of Ti-Lines was first developed in Japan but has never become popular there and elsewhere.

Dapping flies

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I believe that in general, keeping my fly in the water where it can actually catch fish works better than the time and effort required for changing flies, lines, etc. So I tend to use tactics in an ascending order of time and effort required to use them.

  • For many - many years I have used line speed and sidearm casts with a western fly rod to punch though the wind or get under the wind with fairly good results. The first thing I try with a T-rod is a cast Discover Tenkara describes for casting under overhanging branches using a sidearm cast and raising the rod in a sweeping to complete the cast to a high rod position has worked.
  • Since a strong steady wind is unusual the next thing I try is waiting for lulls in the wind.
  • Next I try positioning myself with the wind to use “line sailing” as described by Discover Tenkara. That has worked very well in pocket water to extend my reach and steer my fly around obstacles or anchor my fly over likely lies.
  • If I don’t have to skip over a lot of good looking water to do it I will position myself in a lee to get out of the wind.
  • Finally I try a heavier line in windy conditions.
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I’m going to try some dapping in a small creek this year to target larger fish lying in undercut banks.
I’ve seen examples of “dapping fly” dressings that have hackle of proportions similar to standard dry flies.
I am curious about what appears as greatly oversized hackle on your flies.
How does that characteristic affect the presentation? (wind resistance or kiting?)

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These flies help catch the wind and with the help from the blow line really makes the flies dance. You could just use skaters, large hackle variants or spiders without the blow line to imitate the Green Drakes, moths, Crane flies, damsels, etc.
There is actually quite a bit written on this subject. Here are two books that gave me some new ideas on this approach.



Robert H. Boyle is the founder of Riverkeeper and the Hudson River Foundation and Audubon named him one of 100 Champions of Conversation for the Twentieth Century. This is a good book and can be bought cheap used.
Dapping Don uses a 20’ fly fishing rod and daps for big fish. His book is more about how to locate very large trout. I like both books.
This fishing technique (dapping) is thought to have been a popular approach used by Izaak Walton and used for the last couple of thousands of years

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Dapping has an inherent disadvantage for anglers: You need to have the wind coming from behind you for shore bound fishermen. Fishing from a water craft provides a lot more latitude on this regard. One thing that is often over looked is that most of the fish food accumulates on the windward side of lakes and streams, hence a boat’s added utility.

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13 ft of level line held off the water does too, but I am guessing not as well as your blow line does though. Is a blow line what the Brits and Scots call dapping floss?

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I’m really digging this thread. I had no idea that everyone had found such creative adaptions to wind.

For what it’s worth, here’s my experience:
The prairies of Colorado are windy places. And I fished those places with a long and soft rod. I worked with the wind when I could, and if I couldn’t then I kept walking.

If the wind was at my back then I would let my line blow over the river and then I would try to dip the fly onto the water’s sticky surface. A nymph will drop through the wind more easily.

When the wind was blowing towards me I would wait for a gap in the gusts to make a cast into the wind. I would use the next gust to skip my fly back across the surface of the water. This skipping technique caught many fish.

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I’ve not seen this fact discussed much, but here’s an interesting bit of math for why thicker lines seem to cut through wind better.

Drag is proportional to cross sectional area (x²). Weight is proportional to volume (x³). This means that as line diameter increases, weight will overtake drag, regardless of the materials density (weight/drag ≈ x³/x² = x).

This kind of helps explain why thin level line struggles to “cut” through the wind like you’d expect. Meanwhile, thick PVC shooting line cuts wind like a champ, despite being less dense than level line.

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I really like it when things can be discussed quantitatively – I think drag (in flies and line) is rarely discussed this way.

It seems like a double-edged sword – casting is one thing, clearly important.
But from a presentation standpoint, many tenkara friendly techniques do well with the wind. But strong upstream/downstream wind can be a real impediment to both getting good drifts and detecting good strikes when fishing subsurface with small nymphs. I’ve found both the higher diameter lines as well as rods that are thicker can become very noticeable in the wind.

I’m not going to say that there’s an obvious tipping point for me when the lesser of evils comes into play, but I’m settling on mid-light lines (2.5-3.5) as the most versatile for me (for purely nymphing, 1.5 can be pretty sweet, though).

Lance, on the quantity side of things, Esoteric’s Titanium Line has a diameter of: 0.007”, which is about the same diameter as 4X tippet material. Obviously, with the T-line’s stiffness and metal weight, it casts like a bullet. Of course that is an exaggeration made to make a point, relatively speaking. But the T-Lines are so powerful that tippet/leader type modifications have to be made in order to make gentle presentations. Esoteric Tackle also offers Tenkara Indicarors in various colors that tippet is added to for the Ti Lines to solve the visibility and hard presentation problems the T-Lines Have. These indicators have a Beaded appearance to make them even more visible. I chose to go with 24” of 2.5 Sanyo Valcan Stealth FC, 18” of 8 Lb. FC, and 36” of 5X FC Tippet, which has worked out well for me in Stillwater Tenkara fishing. So far, I have not tried a Ti Line for stream fishing. The Stealth Line is a pale milky-green in color and slightly opaque that is pretty visible in the air and under water. Unfortunately, it is no longer being produced but some sellers may still have unsold stock.

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Thanks for the information, Karl – I haven’t done any deep dives into this stuff. I have tried to look up some of the recommended lines I’ve seen over the last couple of years and found some (like you mention) to be made of pure unobtanium. I had forgotten about the Esoteric stuff. Nice to have a niche within a niche within a niche!

I find it helpful to try and optimize things for one particular technique (at least to the point where it seems to make a significant difference), but more often than not, I revert back to something nudged one way or the other centered on a basic setup. I don’t enjoy changing setups much, but I try to make it a habit to have raw materials with me on the creek so if I want to try and solve a problem, I can create or modify a line right then. 95% of the time, I’ll leave a rod rigged with the same line for months, but the benefit of that is that it becomes very noticeable (pro or con!) if a change is made.

I primarily fish a pretty small creek (30-200 CFS depending on where and when). It is pretty rare I fish water deeper than 3-4 feet and many wooded sections make it challenging (especially in wind) to get drifts near structure. There are a couple of bridge/culvert type areas that are virtual wind tunnels where I sometimes work on my “wind” game. I I can’t really imagine the stillwater aspect – other than fishing fairly big flies/nymphs/streamers – anything small would be a real challenge for the drift/detection side of things.

@Lance_Lascari

If you do not fish futsu style flies, try them in wind. In general, I find them the most versatile. They will anchor in water far better than a bead. I will either keep slack in my tippet or will lay my running line on the water, just enough so that the wind does not have a way with my presentation. I use the spiderwire, which absorbs water and sort of floats so it grips the surface well. The spiderwire is white so very visible and I use it as an indicator even at distance or with glare on the water. Really I cannot fish without the stuff these days. Not seeing the casting line is like fishing blind.

The thing that I find about instruction like DT, other Facebook, or forum instruction is that it is often biased to mob opinion or misleading. Like the idea that we should never lay line on the water. There is a time to break all of the rules and also prove them incomplete.

In general, I am in the camp where I do not tinker with my rigs much. I did when I started but now. I barely ever change rods lines or flies. This season I have only been fishing one fly. Part because I am lazy and part because I really dont care and I still catch enough fish that it does not justify fussing over much.

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