What is Wafting
Waft Ltd

Introducing an exciting way to fly fish that blends traditional ‘Loch Style’ with dapping

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a brief explanation

‘Wafting’ is an elegant and enjoyable style of fly fishing that blends ‘Loch Style’ with Dapping and more. It requires a rod of 15 feet or longer and a very light fly line.

The long rod allows a team of flies to be worked more effectively, especially the top dropper. This is nothing new. ‘Loch style’ with long rods has been practiced on the Lochs and Loughs for more than a century, but there was a problem. The weight of rods (often more suited to salmon fishing) and the heavy lines made fishing arduous and unrefined.

‘Wafting’ is quite easy and an elegant way to fish the flies. The long rod and light line, typically a 2 or 3 weight, offers opportunities to artfully present a wide range of flies, regardless of wind strength. A 15’ ‘Wafter’ will let you start to dibble or dance a fly 12 feet further or more from the boat than a 9’ rod. It will also allow a sunken lure and a dry fly to be fished simultaneously! (great for those reservoir rainbows).

I started to think about wafting when fishing with a friend who is an expert at dapping. I was able to observe and experience the problems with dapping, like when the wind drops, and the inability to cover a rising fish or to change tactics effectively. I harkened back to the times I had tried using a 15’ #10 weight d/h salmon rod on the Lochs and how clumsy it was. I had to try something lighter, MUCH lighter.

‘Wafting’ is not just about a long rod though. The line, leaders, fly choices and configurations and techniques have to work in harmony. My four seasons of experimentation and testing have only touched on the many possibilities.

The long slim rod and light line is not intended for use at distance or for ‘casting’ as used in fly fishing terms. 10 yards or so is plenty and need not be that. In fact approximately 20 feet of main line out of the rod is preferred. A single sweep of the d/h rod is all that is needed to present the flies. This is what I term ‘wafting’ as opposed to conventional casting.

Forget tight loop casting…think wide loop ‘wafting’. The wide loop assists presentation and minimises tangles, especially in strong winds. Excellent presentation is easy.

Fishing the flies can be done by just raising the rod, as in stroking the water, or this can be combined with a retrieve of a few feet when the rod is at ~ 30 degrees, finishing at 80 degrees. Wind and drift conditions will play a large part in how the flies are fished. In a strong wind the flies may be dapped without using a blow line.

My plan at the outset was to fish a team of 3 flies with an ‘anchor’ fly on the point, an emerger or spent fly in the middle and a dry or dapping fly on the top. The possible combinations are endless. Keeping the main line off the surface was the target.

Stiff top dropper material is preferred so that the fly can be danced without twisting when the main line is lifted or blown above the surface. Even if the fish do not take the ‘danced’ daddy or skated sedge, they may be attracted and take one of the others. If the fish are only taking static flies the rod tip can be raised carefully to counter the boats’ drift, enabling the top dropper fly to sit on the water with no line or leader visible. My favourite set up is to use a single dropper and a longish tippet to a weighted point fly. I call this a ‘teaser’ rig. The point fly, typically a gold head damsel or lure will act as an anchor so that as the rod tip is raised, the dropper fly can be worked in or on the surface. Fish often follow or miss the fly then either return to take it properly or take the point fly. They’ve been teased!

Some may think that a 15 foot rod is a bit of a handful in a boat but this is not so. The ‘Wafter 15’ is designed around a high class, light and slender 3 piece blank with a soft tip and progressive action. The rod has proven to be tough and a good fish handler but even so it can absorb shock well and is fine with light tippets.

The ‘Wafter 15’ is intended to be held while at anything between 30 and 80 degrees from the waters’ surface. Fishing like this all day is comfortable due to the light slender rod and the light main line. ‘Wafting’ requires light fly lines, usually between #2 and #4 weight forward floater. The rod can also be used for dapping with floss in the traditional way using mono or braid as the running line. An extension to the handle is available to lengthen the rod for dapping. Thoughtfully selected and positioned standoff guides are fitted. This ensures that these light lines or braid run smoothly without sticking to the blank.

Fishing a team of nymphs works well, due to less and lighter main line being on the water. The fish take more confidently, feeling less resistance and takes can be seen easier.

The technique of ‘Wafting’ is still in its early years of development and this is what makes it so exciting. There is lots of scope for anglers to try out their own ideas with techniques and flies or even to have a go at dapping.

To summarise

When the fish are looking up ‘Wafting’ can be the most pleasurable method of boat fishing. You are always in touch with the flies and can see what is going on, even with a sunken point fly. The fish will grab the top dropper or even jump out for it. If they miss they may well take again, or go for one of the other flies. No need to strike. With the forgiving rod pointed up at an angle the turning fish will hook itself.

Here’s hoping that you will give ‘Wafting’ a try and let the breeze work for you.

Terry Coging WAFT Ltd. Weston, Stafford.

Email: waftertc@gmail.com