When I first started fly fishing over 30 years ago I caught my first trout on a pheasant tail nymph: having read everything I could lay my hands on. Fly fishing in New Zealand was taking on an American look about it, fast action rods and with nymphs taking over wet flies in the trays in tackle shops. With what I had read of fishing in England with two or three wet flies to a cast they took many a trout and still fish that way today.
I start my fishing season in small streams fishing the wet fly. I normally fish with a Sage RP11 this being a very powerful rod and great for rivers and lakes. Later I had a loan of a Scott fly rod which had recently arrived from America. This rod is a little softer in action but still has enough power to cast a long line, the rod is a 9ft 4 piece 6wt.
To fish the wet fly I carefully enter the stream and cast across and mend the line upstream, then hold the line in my left hand following the line with my rod tip as the line swings down below and begins to slow, slowly raise the rod to make the fly rise to the surface. The take can happen anywhere from 45 degrees to when you raise the fly.
This type of fishing calls for a great touch. It is more demanding than the dry fly. Some fish take real quick and some just stop the fly in its tracks. Don't strike too hard or one of two things will happen - (a) you'll break off or (b) you'll pull the hook out because you're pulling the hook towards you away from the fish.
I tried the Scott rod just before Christmas one year on the South Branch of the Waimakariri River, there was a slight southerly wind but not cold. There was a hatch of both caddis and mayflies that night. On the first run down the pool, I had two touches. I changed to a Twilight Beauty size 12 and on the first cast a brownie of two pounds took close in and rose immediately and went airborne. The rod handled brilliantly and I soon had the fish in the shallows to release him for next time.
I caught two more fish that night, just after dark your senses seem to be more alert; you don't have to see the fly. The wet fly isn't hard to tie. The ones I have shown here I have had the most success with.
Tie in a few whisks as a tail then build up a body of black thread making the shape. Tie in a longish hackle and tie back. Take a starling wing feather for the wing and tie back as in finished fly. By changing the body and adding a rib with different wing-like mallard wings or a soft partridge hackle you can create many emerging flies. These flies can be used all season but my best results have been early in the season.