On the Swift, really, smaller is better. At least if midges are the fly of choice. Believe it or not, I caught 90% of my Swift trout without using fly smaller than size 24, but just last year I began experimenting with 28-32 sized flies.
And I wish I had done it earlier, because I caught a lot of fish on them.
Now I do still think it’s a misconception that you need to use flies that small to consistently catch fish there. For most of my trips to the Swift, I caught plenty of fish without them. Streamers, terrestrials, worms, eggs… all produced for me. Even just size 20-24 zebra midges. (Thing was, I used the lightest line I could find with these (equivalent of 9.5x), and I didn’t seem to need to go to a smaller fly. Personal preference; I’d rather fish light tippet than a tiny fly.)
But there’s no denying that the size 30 flies work. What I liked most about them is that it made it possible to consistently catch fish on top at the Y-Pool. That combined with the ultra thin tippet I used led to some good times.
But what I want to talk about is getting flies this small. No fly shops around MA, or any fly shop I’ve been to, really has any flies smaller than size 24. So there’s really 2 options… tie or buy. But even these options are limited.
The only place I know you can buy size 32s is Tenkara Bum. Hooks this small are pretty pricey compared to what you probably usually use, so use them wisely.
You can also buy tied midges from Fly Shack. These are very cheap for flies, and I don’t believe shipping is that much. I’m not a big fan of these online, overseas fly shops, that produce flies for extremely low costs (for a number of reasons… quality being the biggest), but I make an exception for Fly Shack. While they don’t have size 32, they have a few flies down to size 30, which is pretty good.
I’ve been saying for quite a while now, if someone started a website/blog selling just Swift flies down to size 32, they would be in the money!
2 thoughts on “32s”
Troy, this is a great post.
Also, I use 30s and 32s as a "last measure" resort, as it's tough for me to see such a small fly, particularly in the afternoon glare. Any advice?
Well, dry flies aren't too bad to keep track of, even at such small sizes. I use a pretty slow cast, almost a lob, as it lets me track the fly better. I would say this also gets better with time… throw a ton of size 32 dries for an entire season and your eyes will get sharp at picking out the tiny dot amoungst the water.
For nymphs, there's really nothing you can do. I have good vision and can pick out a tiny dry with no problems, but if you asked me to spot a size 32 nymph that just landed I couldn't do it. Really the best I think you can do is fish it behind another fly that doesn't sink too fast, and use that fly as an indicator. Like behind a weightless bigger hare's ear, and just watch for pausess in the hare's ear's drifts.
The most effective way for me to keep track of them was to not even try. I'm sure after a few casts you have an idea of where the fly is. Like the general vicinity. Then I just watch the general area where the fly should be driftng, but I'm keying in on the trout. if a trout darts to the side, or opens its mouth (or both!), I set. Sometimes there's a fish, sometimes there's not. But I've always been a fan of the saying, "hook sets are free". Besides, setting when there is no fish doesn't actually do much, as 8x tippet and a size 32 cause almost no water displacement, etc.