Dapping is a fly-fishing technique that allows only the fly (not the leader or tippet) to gently touch the surface of the water. It is considered to be one of the oldest forms of fly-fishing, first described in The Compleat Angler in 1653.
It is a skilful, effective and targetted method of catching trout, as it allows you to present the fly in an almost-perfect imitation of how flies naturally land on the surface of the water, often jumping off and landing again and again. It is often thought to be the ideal way to catch larger, smarter and warier brown trout. In Ireland, dapping is done primarily in lakeboats, with the boat set and allowed to drift along, kept in position with the oar. It is also a useful technique on rivers, over river pools and in conditions with thick cover or banks that make back casting difficult.
How to dapp successfully:
- Stay out of but close to the water and do your best to minimise your movements.
- Make sure your line is reeled in, with only a small section of your leader & tippet out.
- Slowly extend your rod, dangling it over the area you believe (or know) the fish are in.
- Keep observing, while you slowly lower your fly until it is barely touching the water surface.
- If there is no wind, lightly move your rod, so the fly gently bounces off the water.
- When the trout takes the fly, wait a moment before setting the hook.
What Tackle Do I Need?
Dapping can be done with any Dry Fly and Floatant, or indeed a real live fly on a a small hook (Size 8 would do very nicely). To know which fly you should use, simply observe what's buzzing around at the present time.
For lake dapping, you'll ideally need a specially-designed Dapping Rod - a long telescopic pole-type rod, usually around 5m in length. If dapping in a river area with overhanging trees and cover, you'll need a shorter rod so as not to tangle with the vegetation.
Any standard Trout Fly Reel will do the trick or you can even use a Spinning Reel.
Check out our Dapping Tackle Collection, where we have grouped together all the gear you will need to try out this technique.
And - like any angling method - Dapping takes time, patience and not a little practise, but it's a really great one to try.
Let us know how you get on!