Troutbitten Tight Line Indicators
Tips/Tactics

Tight Line Nymphing with an Indicator — A Mono Rig Variant

By on February 14, 2017

I dislike arbitrary limits. Placing restrictions on tackle and techniques, when they inhibit my ability to adapt to the fishing conditions, makes no sense to me. I’m bound by no set of rules other than my own. And my philosophy is — Do what works.

I guess that’s why I’ve grown into this fishing system. Most of the time I use what I refer to as the Mono Rig. It’s a very long leader that substitutes for fly line, and I’ve written about it extensively on Troutbitten. Tight line and euro nymphing principles are at the heart of the Mono Rig, but there are multiple variations that deviate from those standard set ups. Sometimes I use split shot rather than weighted flies. Sometimes I add suspenders to the rig. I even throw large, articulated streamers and strip aggressively with the Mono Rig. All of this works on the basic principle of substituting #20 monofilament for fly line.

Tight line nymphing is my default approach on most rivers. I like the control, the contact and the immediacy of strike detection. But sometimes adding a suspender (an indicator that suspends weight) just works better.

The competition scene understands the effectiveness of suspenders. “The Duo” (European fishermen’s term for dry/dropper) is widely popular because it’s a deadly variation of the standard tight line approach. But dry/dropper rigs have their issues. And choosing a Thingamabobber or a Dorsey Yarn Indicator for the suspender not only solves those issues but also includes extra benefits.

This isn’t about what method is better. Invariably, the answer to such questions in fishing is, “It depends.” Everything has its place. This is about how to use tight line principles with a suspender rig. I hate arbitrary limits. Do what works.

Chris Kehres brown trout

Photo by Chris Kehres

What’s wrong with bobbers?

The standard method of fishing suspenders has some major drawbacks. Using a nine foot leader, a bobber and fly line requires mending. That mending puts anglers out of touch with the nymphs, and it disturbs the water surface, potentially spooking the trout we’re trying to catch. Worse yet, we have less contact, less control and less strike detection.

But fishing suspenders on the Mono Rig eliminates most of those troubles.

By using tight line principles to fish with suspenders, we regain control, dramatically improving strike detection and virtually eliminating surface disturbance (especially with the Dorsey).

Here’s the setup

Mount a slidable suspender on the top of the tippet section, just below the sighter. Then make a cast that lands the nymphs upstream of the suspender and in the same current seam. Keep the leader off the water and stay tight to the suspender. The suspender stays tight to the nymph.

Troutbitten Mono Rig and Suspender, Indicator

Mount the suspender on the tippet section of the Mono Rig. Slide it up and down to adjust for depth.

What’s the Difference?

First, compared to tight line nymphing, this setup takes the lead point from the rod tip to the suspender.

Without a suspension device the nymphs are guided by what we do with the rod tip (I wrote about this here). By adding a Thingamabobber (or Dorsey, or dry fly, etc.), and keeping the leader off the water, the nymphs are largely controlled by the suspender. The nymphs are on a leash, and the suspender is boss.

Keep the leader off the water — stay tight to the suspender.

Second, the amount of tippet under the water is fixed in a suspender rig. Maximum depth is set by sliding the suspender up or down, not by raising or lowering the rod tip, as in tight line nymphing. That’s more predictable and perhaps more consistent for all but the most expert tight liners. This is especially true in slower water.

There are many reasons to switch to a suspended drift. Wind is perhaps the most common obstacle to tight lining, and it’s easily tackled by adding a suspender. Whatever the reason, there are times when trout respond to nymphs drifted under a suspender over tight lined nymphs.

Who knows why? Sometimes it’s best to let the fish decide.

Photo by Chris Kehres

Here’s what a suspender does better than floating the sighter …

… It actually suspends things. Mono sighters laying on the water surface can only support a few grains (about a #16 tungsten beadhead nymph). While floating the sighter, it starts sinking when the load of the flies reaches the tip. Suspenders, though, can float as much weight as you want.

Floating the sighter is an excellent and versatile technique, often used without the intention of suspending the nymphs below. However, when I do want to hang nymphs underneath something on the surface, I usually opt for a suspender.

Why? Because it can support all the weight that I need it to. And because when I stay tight to the suspender — when I keep the leader off the water and in the air — I have just one point of contact on the water. In most situations that amounts to less drag than having my whole sighter on the surface.

Impossible lead angles

This one is important.

With a suspender rig, you can get lead angles not possible with tight line nymphing. You can fish below your position and still have the flies tracking behind the suspender on a dead drift.

I cast up and across, carefully landing my nymphs in the same seam as the suspender. The nymphs gain contact with the suspension device within a few feet, and with a high rod angle, I keep all of the leader off the water that I possibly can. I’m in touch with the bobber but not affecting its course. As long as I don’t bump the bobber, the position of the nymph tracking behind the suspender remains the same. It’s the same when it passes across from me, and it remains the same below my position. For as long as I can stretch the drift downstream without bumping or dragging, the nymphs continue to track behind the suspender.

A suspender on the leader effectively extends the range of a tight line drift. Here, the cast was started with an up and across presentation, and the drift is finishing at a down and across angle. Importantly, the nymph is still tracking directly behind the suspender. Such angles are impossible without the suspender.

I’d love to be able to wade into position and tight line every great spot on my favorite big rivers, but too frequently that cannot be done. However, by casting and drifting with a suspender rig, I get very long drifts at great distances. I cover more water with every cast. My effective reach and fishing radius is dramatically extended. Less casting. More drifting.

These kinds of suspension drifts are possible with the standard leader and fly line approach, but the Mono Rig offers the substantial advantages of control, contact, improved strike detection and stealth.

Short Range

When fish approval ratings are lower than expected with tight line tactics (i.e., I’m not convincing trout like I think I should), my first adaptation is to attach a suspender to the top of my tippet section.

I make it a habit to fish as close as possible to the trout. And I’m commonly within a fifteen foot range. Even at distances right under my rod tip, I often find success by just adding a suspender.

At short range, very little about the casting stroke needs adjustment. Simply add the suspender and keep slinging it.

Long Range

After dialing in the short range game, you’ll inevitably want to go further.

For many years, if I needed to cast a suspender with nymphs more than about 20-25 feet, I swapped out the Mono Rig and fished with a more standard approach — using fly line to push the rig to the target. But one September float trip with Pat Burke convinced me that I was wasting my time changing leaders.

Pat and I had been discussing the differences in both approaches for months; once I saw it first hand, I was thoroughly convinced.

From my seat at the oars, I watched Burke attach a Thingamabobber to the tippet section of his Mono Rig. Then he started launching long, deadly accurate casts — one after the other. All the leader was held off the water, and the bobber performed insanely long drifts parallel to the boat. There was no fly line on the water to mend, and the bobber bounced along, untouched, in one perfect current seam, nymphs trailing behind.

The next day, I waded into position near the top of a large, deep hole. Instead of swapping out to a standard leader, I stuck with the Mono Rig to fish the long range water that I couldn’t wade. In a couple hours, I learned the necessary casting adjustments to sling suspender rigs at significant distances.

It takes swift, forceful motions. Slight double hauls and open loops help. But it’s not hard. Water hauls can also be helpful (using the tension of the rig stretched out on the water downstream to load the rod and then cast upstream). Generally, if you start at short range and graduate to long range, the transition is intuitive.

The long range suspender rig can be heavy, especially with a Thingamabobber and a pair of weighted flies suited for deep water. This is one of the reasons I prefer 4 and 5 weight rods for the Mono Rig rather than 2 or 3 weight euro nymphing rods.

Differences: Dorsey | Thingamabobber | Dry fly

I use three types of suspenders: Thingamabobbers, Dorsey yarn indicators, and dry flies. I’ve used everything else too. Honest. Everything. I’m a tireless tester. But I also know when I’ve found what I’m looking for, and I don’t carry much excess in my vest.

I like dry flies for suspenders during a hatch and when fish are likely to come to the surface. It’s a really fun way to fish dries, and trout take both the suspended nymph and the dry. But dry flies as suspenders aren’t slidable (I’m working on it). They also require more maintenance to keep them floating, so I often find it more efficient to fish a yarn indicator.

“The Dorsey”

The Dorsey yarn indicator is not the standard yarn indy that’s crafted with rubber O-rings and wound thread. It’s altogether different — just macrame yarn and a small orthodontic rubber band. Nothing more. It’s infinitely adaptive: just use more or less yarn. It easily slides when you want to adjust for depth, but it stays in place while casting. The Dorsey is extremely sensitive, it lands like a feather and doesn’t spook fish. Nothing could be lighter, and the hydrophobic yarn sheds water on the backcast. Yes, the Dorsey is nearly perfect.

The trouble with both yarn and dry flies is the air resistance. With the Mono Rig at long range, the resistance of yarn and hackle can be too much to push through the air — especially when the nymph payload is light. When that happens I switch to a Thingamabobber.

Troutbitten Thingamabobber Hack

Bobber mounted with the Troutbitten Slidable Thingamabobber hack

The weight of the Thingamabobber helps to chuck the rig out there at distance. Ummm … yeah, just like a bobber. The medium Thingamabobber weighs in at about ten grains. That’s just a little more than my #10 tungsten beadhead stoneflies. Kinda hard to be believe, I know. Sure, that weight makes the Thingamabobber less sensitive, but the extra weight on the line helps the Mono Rig carry the nymphs to some pretty long range destinations.

The Thingamabobber also sticks into the water surface better than yarn or dry flies. That’s good and bad. Because of this feature, I use it for the super long drifts that extend below me. It’s not so easily knocked off course by a little drag.

For years I worked on a way to make the Thingamabobber easily slidable on tippet sections but still quickly attachable. Finally, I got it. I pre-rig all my Thingamabobbers with a short stem of DMC embroidery floss, and I mount them with the same rubber bands used for the Dorsey.

Troutbitten Thingamabobber Hack

The Troutbitten Slidable Thingamabobber hack

A couple more tips for suspenders with the Mono Rig

— Balance the suspender type and size with the weight of the flies: e.g., small Dorseys with light nymphs. They’re more sensitive that way.

— Use the smallest suspender you can. They’re more responsive to strikes and cause less surface drag. The little things matter.

— At long range, some of the Mono Rig will have to lay on the water for the first few feet of the drift. That’s fine. And don’t forget that you can mend the Mono Rig on the water. Use a reach mend. Grease the sighter and some butt section with green Mucilin.

— It’s easy to give the flies just a bit of slack by pausing, mending, or holding back the suspender.

— Adjust for depth! Slide the suspender and/or add weight. When conditions change, so must your rig.

The New Zealand Strike Indicator system is a great alternative to the Dorsey. But it’s not as adjustable. The small rubber tube in the system limits the size of yarn to be used. You can use both smaller and larger chunks of yarn with the Dorsey. The New Zealand strike indicator is also a bit heavier, but not by much.

— When casting up and across, use a push mend to line up the suspender and flies in one current. Stop the rod tip high and forcefully. Then push the rod just a little further forward. With luck and practice, the suspender will kick ahead of the flies, landing both in the same current seam. This is easiest with a Thingamabobber.

Chris Kehres Troutbitten Waterfall

Photo by Chris Kehres

Or … just go back to the fly line

Fishing suspenders with the Mono rig is easy, up to about thirty feet. It may take some practice to get into the forty foot range, and fifty feet is really pushing it. It’s all about the weight at the end of your rig, the rod length, how tall you are, and how deep of water you’re standing. From a boat, you can achieve far greater distances than when you’re waist-deep in the river.

Personally, I don’t push it much past thirty-five feet. At that distance, I’d rather swap out the Mono Rig for a standard leader and let the fly line do its job.

Everything has a useful purpose. Do what works.

 

Enjoy the day.
Domenick Swentosky
T R O U T B I T T E N
domenick@troutbitten.com

 

More Troutbitten articles on nymphing

The Mono Rig and Why Fly Line Sucks
Tight Line Nymph Rig
Sighters: Seven Separate Tools
Learn the Nymph
Tags and Trailers
The Backing Barrel
Take Five
The Add-On Line
One Great Nymphing Trick
The Trouble With Tenkara — And Why You Don’t Need It
It’s a Suspender — Not Just an Indicator
Stop the Split Shot Slide
Trail This — Don’t Trail That
For Tight Line Nymphing and the Mono Rig, What’s a Good Fly Rod?
Depth, Angle, Drop: Three Elements of a Nymphing Rig
Over or Under? Your best bet on weight
Modern Nymphing, the Mono Rig, and Euro Nymphing
Resources for Tight Line and Euro Nymphing
Split Shot vs Weighted Flies
Tight Line Nymphing With an Indicator — A Mono Rig Variant

Photo by Chris Kehres

Chris Kehres Ice Troutbitten

Photo by Chris Kehres

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37 Comments
  1. Reply

    Bruce

    February 15, 2017

    Hi Domenick,
    Your mono-nymph rig could also be called an European rig, correct? I’m going to fish it as soon as the water goes down enough to get on the water. Has the mono-nymph rig leader formula changed from what you have posted here? I have some indicator tippet I’d like to incorporate into the leader. Would a 2-foot piece of indicator leader as the last section work? I would attach my 2mm tippet ring to the end of that. thanks

    • Reply

      Domenick Swentosky

      February 15, 2017

      Hey Bruce,

      No, you couldn’t fairly call the Mono Rig a Euro nymphing rig. The leader is about the same, yes. But when you start adding in the suspenders, occasional split shot, trailer flies, and big streamers the Mono Rig goes further than euro nymphing principles would allow.

      Yeah, my leader is still very similar to the ones I’ve posted before. Remember, the most important part is to replace the standard fly line with something much lighter. I like #20 Chameleon, but you could also use a competition fly line (though you won’t have the versatility to switch out to a standard leader and fish regular fly line).

      Right now, I’m using some Rio Bi-Color material for my sighter instead of Amnesia and Gold Stren. In my opinion, it makes very little difference. So yeah, after your long butt section, I’d add a 2 foot transition piece, maybe another step down piece and then your indicator mono.

      Good luck!

  2. Reply

    Alex Argyros

    February 15, 2017

    Great article, Dom. Thanks.

    Although I have, and use, both Dorsey and Thingamabobber indicators, here are two more ideas.

    Corqs are very easily removed and moved up and down the leader. And Floatmasters slide up and down a leader very easily. And both stay put, even when attached to 4 or 5X tippet material.

    Both Corqs and Floatmasters are heaver, and float lower in the water, than Thingamabobbers, but I’m not sure if that’s a bad thing. One feature of Corqs is that the bottom is a natural cork color (the whole thing can be that color if you wish), so they don’t look like a threatening object to fish.

    • Reply

      Domenick Swentosky

      February 15, 2017

      What’s up, Alex?

      I’ve used Corqs and Floatmasters a lot. I like Floatmasters a little better. But I like neither as much as the Thingamabobbers. Both Corqs and Floatmasters are MUCH heavier than Thingamabobbers. Since the TB is just air inside, you get the most flotation possible for the size.

      Weight is very important to me in a suspender. The heavier it is, the less sensitive I find it to be. That’s why my first option is usually a dry fly or a Dorsey.

      I don’t have a problem with the color of the Thingamabobbers. I use white ones and yellow ones. But I don’t think it’s the color that spooks them. It’s the splash. But again, if I’m in a situation where the fish are spooky, I use the Dorsey.

  3. Reply

    Alex Argyros

    February 15, 2017

    One more thing that needs to be mentioned. With a Euro rig, the flies can, in principle, flow with the speed of the current along the stream bottom. A bobber will pull the nymphs along faster than the bottom current because the current at the surface is usually aster than the current at the bottom.

    One way to compensate for this is to suspend the nymphs below the bobber (i.e., use enough tippet so that the nymph are just above the steam bottom, but not bouncing on it) and fish downstream. The advantage of fishing this way is that you get an instant tuck cast, a pretty natural drift, and you’re doing something no one else does. The disadvantages are that it’s tricky to get the proper depth and you’re striking fish that are downstream of you.

    • Reply

      Domenick Swentosky

      February 15, 2017

      Alex, you said: “…A bobber will pull the nymphs along faster than the bottom current.”

      I understand why you say this, and it’s an important consideration, but I disagree with it.

      The suspender CAN pull the nymph along at the surface speed if things aren’t set up right. But when the rig is balanced and the cast is set up well, you will frequently see the suspender slow down once it is in touch with the nymph. A light suspender will float at the bottom speed, slower than the surface current.

      To your other point, I prefer to avoid nymphing downstream whenever possible. It’s just not in my game very often.

      • Reply

        Alex Argyros

        February 16, 2017

        Great point, Dom. In fact, if you get the balance right, the nymphs (or split shot) can slow down the indicator so that it’s flowing at the same speed as the water at the bottom. In fact, you can frequently see the little “tick-ticks”s at the indicator that are caused by the weight at the end of the leader (nymphs or shot) bouncing along the bottom.

        I frequently fish like that and like it. There is nice tension between the indicator and the nymphs, making a strike easy to see. My only problem with this method is that it involves a balancing act between the bobber and the nymphs. If you get it right, (if the bobber is the right size and you can the appropriate amount of weight on) the nymphs move pretty naturally. If not, they move too fast or too slow. Do you have a rule of thumb or some other method to find this balance?

        BTW, thanks for wonderful article. There’s more useful information here than in most books.

        • Reply

          Domenick Swentosky

          February 16, 2017

          Thanks for the compliment, Alex.

          About the rule of thumb on the balance: I guess it’s just kind of experience and experimentation. Honestly, I don’t find it that fine of a line. I think a lot of different weights will work in a particular situation.

          I think of what’s going on under the water as Depth, Angle and Drop. I wrote about that a while back.
          https://troutbitten.com/2016/10/25/depth-angle-drop-three-elements-of-a-nymphing-rig/

          I approach it very much like tight line nymphing to start. My first priority is to get the nymph and the suspender to land in the same current seam, with the nymph upstream of the suspender.

          I feel like if there’s sufficient weight and enough depth the suspender usually slows (once it’s in touch with the nymphs) to meet the speed of the nymphs. Granted, there is some push and pull there.

          I’d rather start with a little too much weight, see that that my rig is hitting the bottom too often, and then dial back the weight. I like that method more than starting too light and then having to go heavier … usually.

  4. Reply

    Alex Argyros

    February 15, 2017

    Needless to say, another disadvantage of a downstream presentation is the likelihood of spooking trout. Ways to minimize that possibility are fishing downstream but casting across stream (preferably with a long rod) and fishing pocket water.

  5. Reply

    JP

    February 15, 2017

    Good article. Thingamabobbers, NZ Strike Indicator & Dorsey’s Indicator are my favorites as well. I’ve tried Airlock Indicators but they are heavier than Thingas, don’t roll cast as well, and still can dent your leader or tippet (even thought they say it doesn’t). Anyway, one tip I read about for Thingas is to take a pair of needle-nose pliers and carefully pull out the metal grommet–it’s the metal that kinks your leader badly. I’ve found the kinks are not nearly as severe with just plastic–they should just manufacture them w/o the grommet. I’ll have to try the Dorsey style way of attaching a Thinga…

    • Reply

      Domenick Swentosky

      February 15, 2017

      JP,

      Nice. I agree with removing the grommet. I used to do that before I started attaching the TBs with the hack. I found that they still slid around on tippet too much, and still caused some line damage. I also had some trouble with the line really digging into the plastic too much, making a tiny trench that pinched the line too much when I did want to slide it. Does that happen to you?

  6. Reply

    Tony

    February 15, 2017

    Could you please provide instructions regarding the adjustable thingamabobber setup?

    • Reply

      Domenick Swentosky

      February 15, 2017

      Hi Tony,

      Yeah, I will do that in the near future. It needs it’s own separate post.

      It’s just a DMC embroidery floss tag, looped into the hole of the TB. Then I tie a stopper knot at the end. I attach the rubber band to the line the same as Pat Dorsey does in that video. Then, instead of inserting some yarn, I insert the embroidery floss tag. I pull it tight. You can feel a little “pop” when the line straightens out like it should under there. Then it’s on right.

      Materials are linked in the post above.

      It can be a little fiddly. But once you get used to it, it works very well.

      If it doesn’t slide easily, just don’t force it because you’ll burn the line and damage the rubber band. Just redo the attachment of the band and get it right.

      For forceful casters, the medium and larger TBs will tend to slide down a bit over time. I always have a Backing Barrel on the top of my tippet section, so I just use that as a stopper next to the TB if it wants to slide.

      https://troutbitten.com/2014/11/05/the-backing-barrel/

      Make sense?

  7. Reply

    Tony

    February 15, 2017

    Yes, thanks for the explanation.

  8. Reply

    Bruce

    February 15, 2017

    Hey Domenick,
    You mean connect the #20 Chameleon as my butt section to the fly line, correct?

    • Reply

      Domenick Swentosky

      February 15, 2017

      Bruce,

      Kinda.

      Permanently attached to my fly line with a needle nail knot is a six inch piece of 20# Maxima Chameleon and then a clinch knot to a tippet ring. That six inches coming off my fly and the tippet ring is permanent. I then swap out leaders (mono rig or standard leader) with a three turn clinch knot to that tippet ring. I can swap out my mono rig leader for a dry fly leader in about a minute.

      There are pictures and more explanations in my article here:
      https://troutbitten.com/2015/07/28/efficiency-part-2-leadertippet-changes/

      The needle nail knot I didn’t include in the pictures there, but I should have. Look that knot up. A nail knot is good, but the needle nail knot is cleaner .. the leader comes right out of the fly line.

      The three turn clinch knots on both sides of the tippet ring end up being no more cumbersome going through the guides than a blood knot. Keep the tippet ring small. I use 1.5mm. Maybe even go with the oval rings. The tippet rings end up being smaller than the knots. You can see that in the picture.

      I should note that my other leader (the one I use for dry flies) also has a butt section of #20 Chameleon.

      Does this make sense?

  9. Reply

    brucerlcox

    February 15, 2017

    Good to see this in print. I played around with a bobber sighter last season doing some short upstream tight lining with good results. In faster water I felt I could control the depth easier than by lifting the rod top or pulling in line with my non dominant hand. I will try the angle rig this year and see. Good post. Thanks

    • Reply

      Domenick Swentosky

      February 15, 2017

      Nice. Glad it connects with you. Stay in touch.

  10. Reply

    Feather Chucker

    February 16, 2017

    This is awesome info and I wish I could take it all in. Many times I just get overwhelmed and it starts to sound too complicated. I try to fish mostly leader now when nymphing keeping as much fly line off the water as possible. If I do make a long cast and need some line on the water I have to watch the fly line like a hawk for any irregular movement. I’ve gotten pretty good a predicting when strikes are going to happen. I don’t really think you can teach fish intuition. It’s just something that comes with experience. I do like how bobbers some times help you get a drift right when there’s a bunch of different currents. If you plop the bobber in the right spot it will act like your rod tip, tight lining the fly over the strike zone.

    • Reply

      Domenick Swentosky

      February 16, 2017

      Right on. Good stuff.

      Also, I know that was a dense article. A lot of these technical ones end up that way. I thought about breaking it up into two parts just because of the length but decided it was best to keep it all together. I could have easily been ten times as long, too. LOL.

  11. Reply

    Alex Argyros

    February 16, 2017

    Here’s an idea: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QZTjpSMKmYY

    • Reply

      Bruce

      February 17, 2017

      Hi Alex, why make the simple thingamabobbers so difficult to use? That would be very hard to do with cold fingers. I use them, and to me, they are easy to put on, re-position, and take off, just the way they are. Just my opinion. No disrespect intended. To each his own. As long as you like it, that’s all that matters. As they say, there are no absolutes in fly fishing.

    • Reply

      Domenick Swentosky

      February 18, 2017

      Thanks for the link, Alex. A few years ago, I did exactly this for a couple outings. It works, but I found it too time consuming to take on and off the line. I found it especially tough to take off. Do you have trouble with that?

      TheThingamabobber hack that I listed above really works pretty slick, and it’s very quick. I guess I’m used to it too, so I like it better.

      • Reply

        Alex Argyros

        February 18, 2017

        I’m going to take the idea in the link fishing tomorrow and I’ll report. But, I played around with at home and it’s very hard to take off. So, I’m just taking a bunch of pre-banded Things with me and if I want to switch from bobber to Euro nymphing I plan on just cutting the band off. I have a million orthodontist bands because my daughter’s orthodontist gives them away like free samples at Costco, so that’s not a concern.

  12. Reply

    Bruce

    February 17, 2017

    I hear ya’ Domenick. I always keep an 18-24 inch piece of red amnesia butt section nail-knotted to my fly line. I used to use a perfection loop-to-loop connection between my butt section and leader, but those loops aggravated me by always getting hung up in the guides. I figure your rig with the long butt section will eliminate that.

    • Reply

      Domenick Swentosky

      February 18, 2017

      Yeah, it will help to take those loop connections out of there. Basically, you are replacing the loops with a tippet ring. Keep the tippet ring small. And those clinch knot wraps are just as clean as a blood knot.

      https://troutbitten.com/2015/07/28/efficiency-part-2-leadertippet-changes/

      So yeah I go real long with the butt section so the connection is hardly ever off my spool, but when it is off the spool and in the guides, that connection is about as clean as it can be. It’s not bad at all.

  13. Reply

    Jim

    February 19, 2017

    Don,
    Thank you for your content. You and Devin are my favorite for technical gear posts. These posts are great and they must take quite a bit of time. I just want to tell you that you are much appropriated!
    Tight lines buddy!
    Jim

    • Reply

      Domenick Swentosky

      February 21, 2017

      Thanks, Jim!!

  14. Reply

    guidewayneo

    February 19, 2017

    I am definitely going to be trying this out very soon. I didn’t read all the comments as I need to get to bed but have you tried Air Lock indicators? I switched to them last year and love them. They are very similar to thingamabobbers but don’t kink your leader and are simple to slide.

    • Reply

      Domenick Swentosky

      February 21, 2017

      Hi there.

      Yeah, I’ve tried the Airlocks, but I feel the same as what some others have posted: they are a little heavier, and it’s easy to lose that thumb screw.

      Overall, for me, they just don’t adjust as quickly as the TB hack I listed above, and they aren’t as sensitive.

      I think it’s a really individual decision, though, and the AirLock indicators can be a great choice. The important thing, in my opinion, is to have something you can mount on the tippet sections and adjust very quickly for the conditions.

      • Reply

        guidewayneo

        February 21, 2017

        I can’t agree with that. I am going to try your hack for the TB as I have a lot of them left from when I switched to airlock. Thanks for all the great articles.

        • Reply

          Domenick Swentosky

          February 21, 2017

          That’s OK! Definitely a personal preference. That’s probably why there are so many types of indicators out there.

          • guidewayneo

            February 21, 2017

            That was supposed to say can not can’t. I should proof read comments.

  15. Reply

    Alex Argyros

    February 20, 2017

    I tried the rubber band idea for attaching a Thingamabobber yesterday and it worked great (as opposed to the fishing, which was, well, somewhat less than stellar). I was attaching it to 3X tippet and it stayed in place pretty well (when it slipped, it slipped just a little, and that was stopped by my backing barrel. Furthermore, it was really easy to put on and not hard at all to take off, as long as I remembered the direction in which I had rotated it to install it). All in all, very successful. I’ll try your hack next time I go out.

    • Reply

      Domenick Swentosky

      March 7, 2017

      Nice. In the next couple weeks I’ll do a dedicated post to the Thingamabobber hack.

  16. Reply

    olysteve

    March 4, 2017

    Great article! Here is another link that might be a little easier to see to learn how to use the Dorsey indicator. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hJKBaNaEL9A

    • Reply

      Domenick Swentosky

      March 7, 2017

      Very nice, Thanks, man. Good link!

Leave a Reply

Domenick Swentosky
BELLEFONTE, PA

Hi. I'm a father of two young boys, a husband, writer, musician and fisherman. I fly fish for wild brown trout in the cool limestone waters of Central Pennsylvania year round. This is my home, and I love it. Friends. Family. And the river.

INSTAGRAM
  • "Get me back to my fly line" -- Connecting and disconnecting the Mono Rig. Blog post up. Don't let the leader change hold you back. You can go from tight lining nymphs with a long leader to dry flies on a standard leader in one minute. Nymph fisher, streamer junkie, wet fly swinger, or dry fly guy — you can be anything you want to be in this long life. #troutbitten #flyfishing #americannymphing #nymphingainteasy #fishhard #flyfishpa #getafterit #beversatile #change #dryfly #catchandrelease #pennsylvania #findyourwater #fishingsavesyoursoul
  • Blog post up: Add 146 PA Streams to the Class-A Wild Trout and Wild Trout Streams Lists. Hey Pennsylvania anglers, now's your chance to ask the fish commission to add these streams to the Class A Wild trout list. The online comment form at PFBC makes it super easy, and your support matters. The deadline is in a few days. The Class A Wild Trout designation is a vital stepping stone for protecting our favorite rivers, for keeping clean and cold water flowing, and ultimately improving the quality of fishing. If you doubt the importance of these designations, just ask Bill Anderson of the Little Juniata River Association what they have meant to his work on the Little J. This two-page fact sheet from the Pennsylvania Council of Trout Unlimited (included in the article) provides an excellent explanation of what is at stake, why it matters and what you can do. If you've ever smiled while releasing a wild trout, please take five minutes to fill out the online form. #troutbitten #conservation #cleanwater #wildtrout #catchandrelease #pennsylvania #flyfishPA #flyfishing
  • Aiden. Snow. Bridge. #troutbitten #snow #getoutside #forgettheforecast #boy #kids
  • No Fishing.
  • I love podcasts, and the last two from @renoflyshop are one long, entertaining and candid conservation with Kelly Galloup. Great stuff. A few highlights … — Why Galloup agrees that a lot of fly guys are assholes. — Galloup’s take on competition fly fishing. — Galloup says, “Stalk more. Cast less,” and “Hunt it, don’t hope it.” — Question: Do big articulated streamers allow you to catch bigger fish? Galloup: “No.” — Why Galloup says real fish always, always, always eat the head first. The podcasts at Reno Fly Shop’s website.
  • Cleaned my tying desk and became more productive all the sudden. @lanceeganflyfishing Iron Lotus and Rainbow Warrior. Two of my staples for many years.