Once upon a time I was once told that the only way to catch Garrick on fly was to strip as fast as possible with a Flipper.
I can’t argue that this is not an effective method of catching Garrick. It works and has worked for me many times in the past. However, experience has shown me that there are other ways to tempt a Garrick to eat your fly. And sometimes these methods can improve your hookup rate.
A trick learned from lure fishing is to create the right with a fly. In lure circles guys talk about ‘walking’ the fly. This is normally done whilst using floating lipless rapalas and ‘stickbait’ type lures. By using silicone, high-density foam and the correct weighting, it is not difficult to create similar movement in your flies.
The idea is very simple. A wounded baitfish moves erratically and often in very short movements. Sometimes they simply swim tail down with their nose in the surface film. These fish get eaten.
Casting these flies can be challenging; they tend to be bulky and therefore wind resistant. But I also feel we should can all be better casters so use the repetitive nature of Garrick fishing to hone your art. Work on those loops.
To fish these flies effectively one needs to use a short strip followed immediately by a quick rod tip flick. This wristy action creates a moment of slack during the ‘rebound’ – when you move the rod back into the stripping position – which allows the correct fly to ‘walk’ (turn back on itself).
The shape of the head of the fly creates this ‘walk’. Simply turning a Gurgler popping head around, much like the Spongebob, most easily creates it. Heads can also be shaped using deer hair (think Dahlberg diver) or through the use of any floating material. Essentially one is working with style of fly that fits into the category of a slider.
The important difference however is the weight placed right at the back of the shank, right onto the bend of the hook. The weight causes the fly to ride at approximately 45degrees with its head in the surface film. The amount of weight you use will depend on the amount and type of material you have used to create the body of the fly and how big the floating head is.
While quick conversion like two above work, the best is to tied a fly specifically for this use. Once my hand is out of the cast I’ll get an SBS done.
Below is a short video demonstrating the idea with a topwater lure. I will get on the water once my hand is healed to get some footage of this action working
with a fly.