I sat. And I laid the fly rod across my knees like a hunter’s rifle. I waited and watched. I scanned the river and sank deeper into the mossy earth until my breathing evened out. My heartbeat slowed and recovered its normal pace, having accelerated on the walk in. I was warm and content. I sat with a stillness reserved for moments like these and watched only with my eyes. The silence calmed me until I could feel the blood pulsing beneath my skin. I sat, alive and aware, eager and anticipating, serene and satisfied all at once.
Fly fishing is full of it — full of anglers who take themselves too seriously, and full of others who support it. Everyone knows everything.
So as fly fishing churns out newish concepts like articulated streamers and euro nymphing, it’s no wonder there’s some resistance to it all. No wonder at every turn we find guys with arms folded, shaking their heads and saying, “Nah, I’ve been doing that forever. . ."
The best nymphing leaders incorporate a key principle -- limit the diameters of leader material under the surface. But sometimes, two is better than one.
Here's how and why it's done . . .
John crossed the bridge with his head down. He watched each wading boot meet a railroad tie before picking up his other foot for the next step. Cautiously, he walked the odd and narrow gait required when walking the tracks. And with nothing but air between each massive railroad tie, he could see the river below.
I’ve never known anyone to fall on a railroad bridge. I suppose you couldn’t fall through. But you’d surely break a leg or twist an ankle with one wrong step on that slick wood.
So I stood by the “No Trespassing” sign, next to the edge of the bridge, and watched my friend slowly make his way toward me. He looked disappointed. And when gravel filled in the gaps between ties, when John was back on solid ground, his head stayed down.
“Did you catch a Namer?” I asked with feigned enthusiasm.
“Ha! Nope, I surely didn’t do that,” John said, waving his hand and brushing off my next question.”
So you hate split shot, right? I’ve never had anyone tell me that they like using it. But for me, split shot is a convenient and useful tool in my vest, and I think it's underrated. It does things for me that can’t be done any other way, and I like it. Yes, I like split shot. Sure, I prefer weighted flies over having shot crimped to the line. (My nymph box is full of tungsten beaded flies.) But I also carry a selection of unweighted patterns that get a regular workout while using split shot for the weight.
Here are some thoughts about all that . . .
A simple piece of colored monofilament might be the most important element in a tight line nymphing rig. The sighter, placed just above the tippet section of the leader, shows us everything about the drift. When fished well, a Mono Rig or a euro nymphing setup provides the angler with amazing control over the course of the flies. So it’s important to use it to our advantage.
Reading the sighter is an unending education. Like so many interesting pursuits in life, tight lining is something you can refine to no end.
Everything we read from the sighter follows from first gaining contact. Learning to make that contact happen, and learning to see whether we are in touch with the flies, is the primary skill. Everything else follows from there.
In a future article, I’ll break down all the elements of reading a sighter, but for now, let’s focus on just one important aspect — keeping the sighter stable . . .
One of the more irritating trends in the fly rod market these days is the absence of a hook keeper above the cork. Plenty of us think it’s an oversight. And I’m tired of the worn out excuse that there’s a hook keeper at every guide. Rod guides aren’t the same. Give me that thin little u-shaped hook keeper just above my cork, please.
Even with a hook keeper for the point fly, those of us who use tags for a second fly are often frustrated by the tangling tag while walking to the next honey hole.
Solution: mini rubber bands.
Here are a few tricks to get it just right . . .
We don't target spawning trout, but is it okay to fish during the spawn? And if you choose to stay off the water, do you know what to look for when you return?
Here's an in-depth look at trout spawning habits and some opinion about fishing around the spawning season. If you plan to fish during or after the spawn, there's a key point to understand . . .