The 'Invisible' Micro-Drag
In another thread there was a comment about drag and I thought I'd open a toipic about a subtext within the subject of 'Drag'. This is about drag with dry flies so let's stick with that. Now there's 'drag' that is obvious to the sight. You know, you make the cast, the fly lands, the fly or the line gets grabbed by the current and you see the tippet and/or fly as it is pulled along creating the obvious 'drag'. You may describe it differently but you know what I mean.
Then there's the drag that's been and being called 'Micro-Drag' by some. As it has been explained in theory, this drag is supposedly invisible to the fisherman's eye but is nonetheless seen by the fish. Therefore, that micro-drag has a negative effect of the fly on that particular cast.
So, I ask you, is this a b.s. theory or what? Really, how are you to determine if micro-drag is there and correct it if you can't see it? I can just hear some fisherman as he/she is talking to a bunch of others about this. Conversation goes: "The water was clear and I could see that I was getting great floats over the rising trout but they ignored my offering(s). Good casts, good patterns and sizes that matched the several insects that I saw. The only thing I screwed up on was I must have had 'micro-drag' because of the slight current. I didn't see any but that must have been the problem."
My response might be, 'Maybe you were seeing the wrong insects and using the wrong pattern. As described by Swisher/Richards(?) there may have been a 'masking hatch'. Or maybe the fish were hitting emergers or subsurface nymphs that you couldn't see? Did you try to seine the water? Did you evaluate the type of rise? In other words - did you do the things you have some control over, or are you accepting a theory that relies on no possible observation and an excuse or mind game for failure?