Tenkara Presentations: Swinging the Fly

This month we’ll review one of my favorite tenkara presentations, the Swing. It’s my go-to on several sections of my home water, the Poudre River, where there are some nice wide bends and undercuts banks, and the current is gentle and steady. It’s a very easy presentation and one that is often a high producer. So how does it work?
It’s very similar to the Downstream Drift and essentially starts out the same. You’re upstream from the fish and cast out into the current, perpendicular from where you are on the shore. Keep your rod tip up in an effort to get a pure, drag-free drift but as you come to the end of your drift, instead of picking up the fly and recasting it up at the top again, gently and slowly guide it inwards and towards the shore line. Not only do you get movement out of the fly hackle from the water crossing over it as you pull against the current, but you’re now drawing the fly in close to the bank where fish are often planted.
The bank offers protection and fish will often sit along it, then move out into the open water and stronger current, to feed. When they do this, they often move in a pattern of out, then up, then fall back again to the safety of the bank. So the swing offers three strike location opportunities.
As you slowly swing your fly inward at the end of your drift, pause there a moment, before slowly lifting the fly out of the water to recast it back up and perpendicular from where you are on the shore. This final movement before recasting often produces a hit.
In general, the Swing is productive because it allows you to cover a lot of water with a single cast and target fish in various feeding positions in the river. If you’re only doing a Drift and not using the Swing, try it. You’ll be surprised at how many more hits you get and how much more water you can cover. Even a small, simple modification can create some big results.
Tight lines and Happy fishing!

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