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Byline: Silver Wilkie

IN the rivers of Russia, Iceland and Canada, Atlantic salmon can be taken on flies deliberately skated across the surface, and also with floating "bomber" dry flies.

These techniques produce the most exciting top-of-thewater takes you will see. I've got a remarkable video of an Icelandic salmon actually grabbing a fly in the air.

Why then are Scottish salmon not caught using the same methods? Possibly the answer is that not a lot of us are prepared to try them.

Two or three times in my fishing life I've accidentally got a half hitch on a single hook salmon fly and, to my amazement, seen a fish attempt to grab it. I suppose the nearest thing to a skating fly in Scottish terms is "dibbling". This technique is practised on rocky Highland rivers where the angler, sometimes perched on a rock above the top of a fast run, dibbles his fly on the surface to induce a take.

Salmon will also chase fast-stripped flies, like Monkeys, and boil at them on the surface.

On trout lochs, anglers do the same sort of thing with a team of wet flies, skating the top dropper on the surface before re-casting.

And as this week's Fish of the Week proves, another form of surface fly-fishing, dapping, can also produce some heartstopping moments. I was first taught to dap by the late Bill McEwan, who for years was the doyen of anglers on Loch Lomond. It's an exciting and non-demanding way of fishing because you don't actually cast, but let your dapping floss billow out in front of you to dance a dapping fly on the surface.

First of all, you will need a special telescopic dapping rod about 14, 15 or 16ft-long. You can buy one for less than pounds 50.

In addition to the rod, you will require a spool of dapping floss, which is made up of gossamer strands of nylon. To your backing, attach 25ft of floss knotted every foot with a half hitch to prevent fraying.

The cast need only be a 3ft length of 10lb breaking strain nylon, armed with a bushy dapping fly, which should have been sprayed with flotant the night before and allowed to dry in a tin with other similarly dosed dapping flies.

You can only dap when there is a good wind and wave. Let the wind billow the floss out in front of you and try to dance the fly on the waves without getting it waterlogged.

Sometimes you will see fish streaking after your fly with their dorsal fins and tails showing. On other occasions, the water will erupt as a fish comes to try to grab your fly.

Another take involves a fish slashing at the fly to drown it, before returning to grab it.

While the takes are exciting, you will get many more than successful hook-ups.

Another form of dapping is with live insects. Two or three daddy-longlegs on a hook make a great dapping bait.
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Publication:Daily Record (Glasgow, Scotland)
Date:Aug 31, 2012
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