Bamboo Fly Rods on the Upper Sac Make Getting the Drift Right Easier
Fishing bamboo fly rods on the Upper Sac makes catching fish easier. The fuller flex allows for easier mends, and easier roll casts. Getting the drift right is more important than the selection of the fly in many cases. Freestoners, such as the Upper Sac, have complex currents. Many times the fly fisher has to cross three or more currents to get a drift down the far side of the river. Being able to put mend after mend in the fly line is important. The bamboo fly rod is perfect for doing this.
The Upper Sac has canopy on both sides of the river. More often than not, a quick roll cast is the best way to get your bug to the other side of the river. The self-loading properties of the bamboo rod make this exercise easy! Unlike today’s composites, the bamboo fly rod has enough weight to it so that the fly fisher gets some feedback from the rod with little line outside the tiptop of the rod. How much more weight? Just enough. Hollow built bamboo rods are light in the hand, easy to mend, and do a great job when fighting fish.
Often times the difference between catching fish on the Upper Sac and just fishing the Upper Sac is a good drift.
I don’t mean a drag-free drift. I mean a good drift. A good presentation is fly-first. That way the fly has a chance to dance on the water for a short time before the downstream belly in your fly line needs to be addressed. And fly-first, with an upstream aerial mend is even better. The bamboo fly rod gives the fly fisher the time and opportunity to do this. Feedback from composite rods is lacking due to their lack of mass. The bamboo rod with its great feedback allows the caster to feel what his line is doing as he tries to manipulate it for the best drift.
While we are at it, lets talk about your line and leader on your bamboo rod. There is a debate that occurs constantly concerning bamboo rods and whether the fly fisher should use a double taper fly line or a weight forward fly line. The Upper Sac is a smaller river, and in most instances, a 40 foot cast will put you across the river and high up on the far bank. The first 30′ of a DT 5 weighs the same as the first 30′ of a WF line. The front taper of the two different style fly lines may be slightly different, and of course, at 40′ there is no rear taper on the DT line, but other than that, at shorter distances, where you don’t have the running line of the WF line outside the tiptop, the differences are slight. I think there are more important things to worry about.
For the fly fisher with a bamboo rod, the level tip end of the fly line is something that should be dealt with. The level tip should be rather short in order to carry the energy from the fly line to the butt of the leader. Many times I cut 6 to 8 inches or more of the fly line. And tapered leaders? Forget it for the Upper Sac and bamboo. The butt sections of most packaged leaders are far to thick and heavy for bamboo. Stiff butts on leaders trap the energy coming from the fly line and don’t allow it to travel to the tippet.
Using the rule of 3 or the rule of 4 is important as well. Matching the tippet to the size of the fly being cast is important too. These principles were always important “back in the day” and are just as important to today’s bamboo fly rod fisher. Divide the size of your fly by 3 or 4. That will give you the correct size tippet for making the best presentation for the bug you are casting.
These are the important details when fishing bamboo with dry flies on the Upper Sac.
Next: It’s the Tie, Not the Fly on the Upper Sac