New Booby Techniques
|Boobies Aren't Just for Sinkers...
|So you thought booby fishing consisted of chucking it out on a Hi-D and waiting.....
Colin Riach takes a new look at booby fishing.
Dougie G asked - "Could I suggest that you write a piece on the booby washing line technique? I have been in the boat whilst you have been using it, but I am unclear as to what line works best and whether this can be varied according to how high the fish are in the water."
The way we have been fishing it, it is more of a pulling minor tactic, and not strictly the "washing line" as it was conceived. For anyone not familiar with that, the idea is to use 2 boobies, on bob and tail, and to suspend one or 2 nymphs on droppers in between. These are either "hung out to dry" at the surface on a floating line (in which case you can probably dispense with the bob position booby), or sunk on a Hi-D. If Hi-D-ing, it is retrieved to the point where the buoyancy of the boobies gets the upper hand and slowly lifts the nymphs to the surface - the idea being to imitate nymphs or pupae that are ascending to hatch.
My experience with the method Dougie refers to started when I fished the national prelims at Menteith in 2001. The Lake fish were on top from the start, that year. It was a cracking day for dry fly and I thought I was set to show my boat partner, Stevie a thing or two about catching risers, as I could see he was rigged with a booby combo on a slime line. After about an hour of covering rising fish, I had one with no other chances and Stevie had 5 with at least a dozen other chances. What was he up to? He was covering rising fish and the instant the line landed was stripping like a mad thing for 3 or 4 pulls. Those 3 or 4 fast pulls caused the floating booby to cough, splutter and pop against the surface of the water, as it resisted the shallow angle pull of the line that was trying to drag it under. The commotion caused by the popping of the booby was getting the attention of the nearby fish that had been cast to. The fish would key-in and rush after the booby. The next job was to convert the follows into takes, and Stevie used an assortment of tactics, sometimes continuing to strip, sometimes changing to a figure-of-eight, sometimes stopping altogether.
Well, I wasn't going to sit with dries on while I got my bottom kicked, so I rigged up with what I thought was Stevie's set-up: a small booby on the bob and 2 nymphs - a Diawl Bach on the middle and a mini-damsel on the tail. That seemed the best arrangement to me, as I thought a fish keying-in on the booby but being too wary to take it, might, on falling off the pace, see the nymphs coming after and be more tempted to take one of them. And so it seemed to prove. I started to get loads of action, catching one or 2 on the booby, but actually more on the nymphs. In fact, I was doing even better than Stevie for a while. That's when we compared notes and I realised Stevie had his booby on the tail.
A couple of weeks later we were back at The Lake for our heat of the Scottish Club Championship and the same method worked a treat. I was finding that it was critical to get the balance right between the sink rate of the line and the buoyancy of the booby. I felt that the line didn't want to be faster sinking than a slow glass or a slow intermediate, or the booby got pulled under on the first pull. The booby, for its part, needed to have decent enough sized eyes to make a commotion, but not so large that it was still popping at the surface all the way back to the boat. That got plenty follows, but not many takes.
The method worked a treat for me on yet another occasion that year at Menteith. I think the only change to my rig the whole time was to try a change of booby between a coral size 10 or 12 to a cat's whisker on a 12 or 14 - that, and a change from the Diawl Bach on the middle to a claret buzzer. The 3 flies were, at all times, spaced at 5 ft / 5 ft / 5 ft, on 6 Ib fluorocarbon. I did go through a rough patch later in the season, when I was struggling with the method. I knew Jimmy M and Ian Mac had been continuing to get fish with it, and I asked them to describe the way they were using it...