Euro Nymphing and the Mono Rig

by | Jan 10, 2018 | 45 comments

** Note ** Revised and updated, January, 2020

Euro nymphing has created a buzz in the fly fishing world. It’s an extremely productive and enjoyable method of fishing because the rig and the tactics put the angler in excellent control. Euro nymphing is a contact system — designed to keep the angler in touch with a nymph while precisely dictating its course downstream. With so much control over the fly and the attached line, doing the right things with that contact can be challenging — but the rewards are there for anyone who dedicates the time and effort toward a method with endless opportunity for refinement.

Likewise, the Mono Rig is something I started writing about in 2015, here on Troutbitten. Euro nymphing is part of the Mono Rig, but the full Mono Rig system encompasses so much more than just nymphing on a tight line. The Mono Rig is a complete system for fly fishing, by substituting (relatively thick) mono for fly line. It includes fishing with streamers large and small, indicator nymphing, dry-dropper and even dry fly fishing. Why substitute mono for fly line? Because removing traditional fly line puts the angler in contact and control like nothing else. Importantly, effective fishing with a Mono Rig is not about lobbing and slinging flies. It takes excellent, refined fly casting skills to get twenty-pound monofilament to do a job normally reserved for the fly line. But when those skills are learned, the Mono Rig makes available to the angler a full contact system of fly fishing. It’s amazingly effective, and it’s fun. For most anglers, the Mono Rig is truly revolutionary.

Photo by Pat Burke

The fly fishing industry has rushed to create products that cater to anglers learning to euro nymph. Most of these rods and lines are excellent. But they are also limiting — because they’re specialized. And the marketing is confusing. Many anglers believe they need a ten foot or longer, three weight or lighter, fly rod to euro nymph. That simply isn’t true. And as I’ve detailed across many articles here on Troutbitten, a more general or versatile rod is a better tool for the complete angler. In short, competition fly fishing has driven the innovation of euro nymphing products. But if you aren’t bound by the FIPS rules of competition, then you might enjoy all the options and advantages that a Mono Rig system offers — and your best set of tools may be different. The truth is, you’ll do better without a euro line or a competition fly line. Opt instead for a long Mono Rig attached to a standard fly line, giving yourself more versatility. Likewise, an array of tactics is better complimented by a more versatile fly rod.

The terms euro nymphing, tight line nymphing, contact nymphing and Mono Rig are often intertwined. For certain, there is much crossover and overlap. But there are also major distinctions. This article is an attempt to clear up some of that confusion, and to reveal or highlight all that is truly possible with a contact system.

Photo by Bill Dell

This is Euro Nymphing

(Let’s start by flushing out the term and the tactic of euro nymphing. A look at the Mono Rig follows after the break.)

Language is complicated. The words we choose have enormous power to shape and communicate what we think about things. The particular words matter. Our chosen words carry an intended meaning, but they bring baggage with them too. Along with what we might really mean, our words are accompanied by restrictions, connotations and unintended relations. Those add-ons tend to get inside a term and shape the perception of a concept as soon as it’s presented in print or spoken aloud.

Such is the case with the term euro nymphing.

First, the term euro nymphing is inherently restrictive. And that’s unfortunate, because tight line rigs are excellent for throwing streamers too. Second, euro nymphing carries the baggage of being something “other,” something specific to a certain region of the world. And I dare say the term subtly adds to the (unfortunate) undertone of elitism in fly fishing.

READ: Troutbitten | The Mono Rig for Streamers

Lastly, the tactic known as euro nymphing comes with certain exclusions, namely the absence of split shot or a traditional indicator attached to the line. That’s bad too, because the basic euro rig is an excellent place to attach split shot and/or indicators that will (at the right times) out-fish a tight line presentation. Euro nymphing is a wonderful tactic that catches a lot of fish. I’m just saying that it has limitations that are, to me, unnecessary.

The term euro nymphing appeared on the fly fishing scene a little less than a decade ago, and interest in the tactic has spiked in the last few years.

Euro nymphing (the term and the tactic) grew from the competitive fly fishing circuit and is generally used to define a group of upstream and cross-stream nymphing tactics, mostly presented tightline, with leaders long enough to eliminate the influence of traditional fly line. The “euro” part is a reference to four specific varieties of nymphing: Polish, Czech, French, Spanish. Once thought of as separate techniques, the styles are all mashed together into the term euro nymphing. (You can learn more about the detailed differences here.)

For my money, none of those specifics matters a lick. I don’t care where the tactics came from or how far across the river I need be fishing to call what I’m doing Spanish nymphing or anything else. I just want to use whatever leaders and techniques give me the most control, precision and accuracy to catch more fish. And I think a lot of anglers share that same sentiment.

The eternal jockeying for who-came-up-with-what-first is silly to me. Fishing is like songwriting — it’s all been done, and there’s nothing left to do but rearrange chords and lines into something no one has heard or seen for a while. Therein lies another weakness of the term euro nymphing. “Euro” is a regional attribution for a technique that has probably been used since 1938, anywhere fishermen had access to monofilament and long rods.

I won’t attempt to cover euro nymphing, tight line nymphing, or Mono Rig techniques here, because I’ve already done that in a long, ongoing series here on Troutbitten:

READ: Troutbitten | The Mono Rig

I will, however, mention again that euro nymphing (and euro rigs), by definition, are restricted to weighted flies, no split shot, and no indicators. And that’s too bad, because a broader usage of contact rigs opens up a whole new world to the curious and ambitious angler.

That brings me to a more liberated term and fishing method — the Mono Rig.

 

Photo by Pat Burke

This is the Mono Rig

While euro rigs are restricted to weighted flies and tightlining without traditional indicators, the Mono Rig is not.

READ: Troutbitten | The Full Mono Rig System — All the variations, with formulas and adjustments

Over time, I’ve found the benefits of the Mono Rig to be beneficial for almost every river fishing situation. I use a Mono Rig about ninety percent of the time. And I know other guides and good anglers who’ve come to the same realization — that the Mono Rig is extremely versatile. It opens up the fly fishing game to a world of possibilities.

I use the Mono Rig to tight line nymph and to fish nymphs with indicators. I use it to throw big and small streamers, to strip and dead drift them. I also use it to cast wet flies and surface flies at night, for dry-dropper, and occasionally, for single dry flies.

The Mono Rig encompasses everything — all techniques in one leader. No limitations. Streamers, indicators, split shot, dry-dropper — nothing is off the table. With the freedom to fish whatever works best, there are no restrictions. Do whatever you enjoy at any time. Fish what the trout ask for. The Mono Rig is much more than a standard euro rig.

However, the term Mono Rig has its own baggage. “Mono Rig” sounds like we’re not fly fishing anymore, right? We must be knuckle-dragging, just slinging and lobbing weighted rigs around with long rods. Surely a Mono Rig can’t cast like a fly line, right? And how can a Mono Rig still be fly fishing? The truth is, we use the Mono Rig as a fly line substitute. The casting approach is very much like casting a fly line, only now the added weight, the sag and drag of fly line, is defeated. This is not lobbing, and it takes refined fly casting skills to fish a Mono Rig to its potential.

READ: Troutbitten | Fly Fishing the Mono Rig — It’s Casting, not Lobbing

So I use the term Mono Rig. And I learned the tactic from Joe Humphreys. In his 1981 book, Trout Tactics, Humphreys writes this:

. . . Actually, my ace line system for deep nymphing and line sensitivity is monofilament. . . . nymphing with monofilament is a very effective way of fishing deep, fast water — about the most effective there is. When you want to shoot for distance and get your nymph down to the bottom, I feel monofilament is the answer.

. . . Any technique employed for nymphing with a fly line can be aptly accomplished with flat monofilament. The tuck cast, the tuck and mend, and the conventional cast can all be done with monofilament.

. . . The advantages of monofilament for nymphing (and for fishing streamers) are many. But, above all, the diameter of the line is small, so there is minimal air and water resistance, which means less drag. And that means better sensitivity to the fly.

. . . When weighted nymphs or additional weight is adjusted properly on the leader, and the line is tight from rod tip to fly, you can feel almost every rock and pebble on the stream bottom through the monofilament, even at distances beyond thirty feet.

— Joe Humphreys, Trout Tactics, 1981

— — — — — —

I read those words about a decade after Humphreys wrote them. And long before the introduction of the term euro nymphing, Humphreys introduced the effectiveness of the Mono Rig to a generation of fly fishers.

Humphreys, famously, does not use indicators. But I do. Using a Mono Rig with an indicator is a tactic I will never be without. Importantly, the key tight line principles are carried over to an indy style. It’s an altogether different method of fishing indicators than most anglers have seen.

READ: Troutbitten | Tight Line Nymphing with an Indicator — A Mono Rig Variant

Every fly fisher draws his own lines in the sand regarding how he chooses to fish. For me, I draw no line that might separate me from whatever is most effective, provided I can safely catch and release trout without harm.

The Mono Rig works because the traditional fly line is replaced with a long leader. Because, for most underwater presentations, fly line is simply not the best tool. That’s it. And by adding in a sighter and limiting the diameters of tippet under the water, a deadly-effective contact system is created for fishing any type of fly.

Or . . . Whatever

Call things what you will. Can you add split shot to a euro nymphing rig? Can you add a Thingamambobber to a euro nymphing rig? Can you fish streamers on the same rig? Of course, but by the common understanding of the term, that makes things pretty confusing. Therefore, I refer to all of these tactics (and more) as the Mono Rig system.

And as the general understanding of these fly fishing techniques grows, it’s probably helpful to consider the terms we use to describe them.

Lastly, by exploring all that is possible with a contact system — by learning every facet of the Mono Rig — you will be equipped to meet trout on their own terms, wherever they are found and however they want to eat.

In the end, I hope all the stuff here on Troubitten helps you fool more trout.

Fish hard, friends.

What are your thoughts? I invite you to share in the comments section below.

 

** Find all Troutbitten articles about the Mono Rig here **

 

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

 

 

 

 

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Domenick Swentosky

Central Pennsylvania

Hi. I’m a father of two young boys, a husband, author, fly fishing guide and a musician. I 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.

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45 Comments

  1. Great entry, Dom. Thank you.
    I often hear about one specific line in the sand: using indicators or going without them. I know what people mean by that: by “indicator,” they mean a thingamabobber or some other kind of bobber or suspension device. But, if you take the word “indicator” literally, all fishermen use an indicator, even the most orthodox practitioners of Euro-nymphing. After all, something has to indicate a take. The indicator may be the end of the fly line (a la Humphreys), a sighter, or the line on your fingers (if you’re fishing by touch). It can even be your eyes if you’re sight fishing. But, unless one is randomly striking hoping to find a fish at the end of one’s leader, there is always an indicator.

    Reply
  2. When I talk about fishing a mono rig to some of the older guys they often roll there eyes and mention something about it not being “fly fishing”. My response is often, do you think Joe Humphreys knows what “fly fishing” is? If so, you aught to read trout tactics and realize that the god of pennsylvania nymph fishing fished a mono rig way before the popularization of euro nymphing in todays fly fishing culture. The mono rig isnt a fad, its the direct result of real problem solving. Its just common sense, the guys who look the other way aught to atleast TRY it if there serious about nymph fishing.

    Reply
    • “. . .its the direct result of real problem solving.” Right on, Ryan.

      Yeah, I get the same looks that you do sometimes. Occasionally, people are closed minded, but these days I mostly find that anglers who are really into fishing are up for learning anything new — learning about it at least.

      I’ve often mentioned that Humphreys wrote about the mono rig in Trout Tactics, and that he was using mono to solve nymphing problems for many years. But I decided to finally lift those quotes into a blog post to really try and make the point. There’s a lot more in Trout Tactics too.

      Cheers, Ryan.

      Reply
  3. To me, if it is legal, ethical, and doesn’t harm the resource, then do it if you want to. If you want to place angling limitations on yourself, that’s fine too. Just have an open mind to those whose self-imposed limitations are different than your own.

    I started reading about “euro nymphing” and lengthening my leaders maybe 5 years ago. But even with a 15′ leader, I often found the fly line/leader connection catching in guides or tip of rod and also realized that fly line sag between guides causes a loss of sensitivity. As you put it: “fly line sucks” a lot of the time. Transitioning to the mono rig once I read about it on your blog just made sense and I’ve discovered that it is really a liberating way to fish as I can do most things better with the mono rig than I could fly line up through the guides. Like you, it’s how I fish nymphs, streamers, wets day and night, and I also use it to throw streamers and mice at night. I still go back to a shorter leader and the fly line for dry flies though, but I’m planning to try some dry dropper fishing with the mono rig as hatch season heats up.

    So thank you Dom for keeping the great information flowing on your blog. It’s been a fantastic resource as I’ve learned the mono-rig approach.

    Reply
    • Hi Bill,

      I share your thoughts.

      …As an aside, I reluctantly gave Tenkara a shot two summers ago and now fish both Tenkara and ‘western’ style fly fishing. Dom is not a fan of Tenkara – just as many aren’t fans of euro nymphing – but I was surprised how much I quickly got enamored with Tenkara and I am having a ball with it!

      Chris Stewart and his http://TenkaraBum.com site have a wealth of information on Tenkara and other forms of fixed line fishing. If you’re curious, check out his site.

      Best,

      Charlie

      Reply
      • I love Chris Stewart’s site! Great ideas on there. I just take the ideas and use them on a long fly rod and reel. 🙂

        Reply
  4. Thanks for the excellent commentary and advice. I recently tied up a mono rig and have fished it three times: once on the Little J and twice in the Cumberland Valley. All three times have really surprised me as to its effectiveness. I think the difference-makers for me are that I can nymph runs that used to be too distant and getting that extra distance has allowed me to catch more trout that are easily spooked.

    Two out of three outings I did find that the 20# chameleon got snagged up in my reel. Twice, inexplicably, the mono even has gotten so tangled I’ve had to take off my spool. Is that something you’ve experienced? If so, what have you done to keep that from happening? Perhaps it’s just getting a better feel for how to manage a line with different properties. The mono certainly has a memory that fly line does not.

    Even if some extra tangles are a drawback of the mono rig, I’m going to stick with it. I’ve been focusing on using it with nymphs, but I really do need to heed your advice to get more versatile and overcome laziness out there. It’s really not hard to snip off above the sighter, tie on some 3x and send out the sculpins.

    Reply
    • Hey Jay,

      I’m glad it’s working for you.

      Couple things:

      About the mono pull through on the reel. You can prevent it. I wrote about that here:
      https://troutbitten.com/2017/07/19/tight-line-tips-stop-mono-pull-fly-reel/

      Second, though, no need to clip off that sighter when going to streamers on the Mono Rig. I like having the sighter on there for all the same reasons I like it for nymphs.

      Make sense?

      Good luck out there.


      Dom

      Reply
      • Thanks again! I’m glad to find that I’m not the only one that has suffered the “pull-through.” I’ll try those tactics from the post you linked next time I get out…hopefully tomorrow!

        About leaving the sighter on for streamer fishing, how long do you tie your tippet from sighter to fly? I always figured it was best to remove the sighter because when it’s underwater the fish might see it. Do you use more than 3-4 feet of tippet to your streamer? It does make a lot of sense to use the sighter to register strikes just like with nymphing. I’m excited to try it.

        Reply
  5. Don’t you miss the fun of fly casting when lobbing or flipping a Mon-Euro rig?

    Reply
    • Hey Rick,

      We aren’t just flipping and lobbing the Mono Rig. That’s a misconception about euro nymphing and the Mono Rig both. It is much more than just lobbing weight around. For example, watching a guy cast a pair of light nymphs from a distance, it may look very much like he’s casting fly line. I keep stressing this point: it is a fly line substitute. And to actually use the Mono Rig well, the casting stroke needs to be tight. Truth is, yes, anyone can fish at ten feet of fifteen feet with a Mono Rig by just lobbing it upstream over and over, but to cast any further out, the casting stroke needs to be good and tight.

      Make sense?


      Dom

      Reply
      • Makes sense to me, thanks for clarifying. Do you have any video?

        Reply
        • There’s a Troutbitten youtube channel with a few videos. I plan for more in the future.

          Reply
          • A compromise between the mono rig and a traditional set up would be to use what I call the George Daniel rig, which is a 9′ 0x tapered leader, to sighter, to tippet. The end result is a leader anywhere from 15-18′, not the best for nymphing, not the best for dry flies, but it can do both with very little leader change. You also cast a bit of fly line when targeting fish further away, I used this set up when I first started (and still use it on days I plan on throwing dries and nymphs both equally) and its a great way to get used to longer leader set ups. Just a tip for guys looking to step into euro style nymphing but dont want to jump in head first.

          • Thanks Ryan,

            My main trouble with that rig and others like it is the lack of versatility. (Ironic, because it’s supposed to be versatile). It’s fine at close distances but a poor performer at mid-range. When casting anywhere beyond twenty feet, you are suddenly trying to work with both fly line and a longer leader. I don’t like that. (I also hate the leader to fly line connection in my guides at any distance.) The butt section diameters are also much thicker than the twenty pound Chameleon that I prefer for the Mono Rig, so the manufactured and tapered leader sags a lot more.

            Basically, that type of leader, to me, is a compromise. It’s like a dipping your toe in the pool rather than jumping in.

            Those are my own opinions. Your mileage may vary.

            Cheers.

            Dom

  6. So I was inspired and built a rig as described and have attached it to a fly reel with just mono running line. As I’m sure most of the PA and NY readers realize this is how many people “fly fish” the Salmon River in NY for lake run steelhead and salmon. I discovered this years ago but at the time just thought it was reserved for short line “snagging” something that was so prevalent on the only occasion I visited the river I never returned. I never thought that maybe it was also a legitimate technique used by anglers who were not snagging fish. I also know that fishing mono rigs off of mono lines was popular when I was a kid (a half century ago) in Maine on the lakes where the bait was live frogs and the target was smallies. So after reading several of your posts I have decided to drop my bias and try nymphing this way. I will probably go out next week here in Oregon. I was going to wait to post until after I tried it but I’m sure it will work well as my current nymphing method has evolved from 9 to 11 ft. leaders with indicators and weight to 14 to 16 foot leaders with indicators and weight (that weight being either a fly or putty) and often I hook up close just on the leader with no line out of the reel. So a short version of what Dom described. My question to all of you converts is this. Forget dry fly fishing as you will have to tear my fly line and braided leaders out of my cold dead hand. I assume Dom fishes the Delaware as did I for years when I lived in PA. It was actually the only river I fished in PA for the past 25 years. This river is full of Jerkules trout but most of them have PhDs when it comes to inspecting flys on long thin leaders in slow water. My experience is you have one chance with these fish and presentations are critical ofter 50 to 60 ft- most of the time there are no second chances. I get how the long mono could help with my drift on these fish but I am very confused how I push a number 18 BWO 60′ with nothing but mono? I’m not being snarky I’m asking a question. Same with mouse patterns. How can I cast a mouse 70 feet in the dark without fly line? I get weighted streamers and nymphs being all you need and I get that the mono is line and can be cast. I’m just missing the part where you have to cast 60 ft. Am I underestimating the distance I can cast with just mono? Anyway great articles and thanks for convincing me to try something that I have been meaning to try ever since Joe wrote his book. Keep up the good work Dom!

    Reply
    • Hi Lindsey, thanks for the comment.

      I don’t think I’ve suggested anywhere to try to throw drf flies 70 feet with a Mono Rig. I agree with you — that’s not at all practical, or even fun to try. I like the Mono Rig up to about 50 feet (and that’s pushing it). You need good, tight casting form, enough weight, and/or flies with little wind resistance to cast Mono Rigs much past 30 feet.

      Keep reading through the Mono Rig articles here on Troutbitten, and you’ll find a lot more about the specifics. It’s not a silver bullet. The Mono Rig is not a solution to all problems. But it does solve a lot of them.

      Feel free to email me if you need more specifics.

      Cheers.

      Reply
  7. They turn their noses up at you till you start sticking the most and biggest fish from every run.

    Reply
  8. Curious to know how you stretch the 20# mono to take the memory out, especially in the winter. Thanks.

    Reply
    • Hi Mark.

      It’s honestly very easy. First, be sure you’re using the right butt section. Some low quality mono never really flattens out. Second, simply stretch the whole leader in three foot sections between your hands. I do this before I start fishing. Doesn’t take much effort. Just stretch it to its max, and it will stay that way.

      Much more info here:

      https://troutbitten.com/2017/07/19/tight-line-tips-stop-mono-pull-fly-reel/

      Cheers.

      Dom

      Reply
    • Thanks Dom,

      That’s what I do with my leaders now, thought you might have another way. Glad I read the article didn’t think about pull through on the reel.

      Tight lines

      Reply
  9. Thanks, again, Dom, for all your ideas and insights. Here’s a suggestion for an article: specifically, when do you use a bobber instead of a sighter? What kind of water, and what kinds of situations, lend themselves, in your view, to the use of a strike indicator?

    I know that you’ve already answered this question in previous articles, but it would be nice to have your current thoughts on the matter.

    And, when you do use a strike indicator, do you rig your flies differently, or do you simply affix one to your typical leader.

    Reply
    • Great stuff, Alex.

      I do have in my plans for 2020 a full series on indy fishing on a tight line. I’m looking forward to that.

      Cheers.

      Dom

      Reply
  10. Hi Domenick,

    I enjoyed the read and it helps demystify & simplify the euro nymphing for me.
    May I ask one question that I’m still trying to figure out. (it’s in relation to sighter positioning)

    This is the scenario;
    Say my tippet length is 4 feet below the sighter. and I am drifting thru a run that is roughly 2 feet in depth, & has a moderate current speed & an even lenear bottom.
    After I allow my nymphs to sink to the bottom , throughout the drift should my sighter be
    1) maintained close to the surface and angled horizontially or
    1) elevated say between 1 & 1 feet above the surface of the water?

    As I see , under both options , I’m still ‘managing’ the drift by moving the nymphs along , but I’m not sure which approach creates a more natural ‘dead drift’?

    Stephen.

    Reply
    • Nice! I love that question.

      Like anything else in fishing, the first answer kind of has to be . . . it depends. If you are fishing further away, for example, than you are forces into more horizontal sighter angles for the beginning of the drift. When you are closer, you can use more vertical sighter angles.

      As you understand, you can achieve the same depth with both options that you presented. My preference is your second option, with the more vertical angler, because it keep more line out of the water.

      Always remember this: Anything that touches the water drags; and anything that goes under the water drags even more.

      That is a guiding principle for me. So in your scenario, I’d prefer to have the sighter more vertical and have more line out of the water.

      Make sense?

      Dom

      Reply
      • Hi Dom,

        Just reflecting on your latest article , I figure my dilemma really boils down to being a ‘confidence’ issue. My local waters mostly fit into the ‘small stream’ category , so my casts & drifts are mostly short in shallow water.
        The drift is over before you know it.
        I don’t have the time for decision making.
        I am striving for a natural, seamless & effective drift.

        However , during the drift , voices are popping up in my head saying
        ‘Are your flies in the strike zone?’how can you be sure?’
        ‘Is the angle of your sighter correct? what does ‘correct’ actually mean?’
        ‘Have you a dead drift? are you pulling your nymphs?’
        ‘You are wasting your time , you might as well pack up and go home!!’

        On a short drift , I don’t have ‘confidence’ , time & skill in elevating the sighter , attaining a vertical angle and being able to ward off my internal critic!
        What actually happens is , I allow nymph to sink and then I quickly attain contact & whether that is with a vertical or angled sighter , I’m not sure, as I’m not living the moment and I’ve missed all the fun because I was distracted & not feeling confident !

        Should I sell the rods & take up golf!

        Stephen.

        Reply
  11. Language is always a nightmare… I never really know how I should best refer to or describe the technique, so generally use a catch all ‘euro/tightline/mono’ description. Interestingly, I think the ‘euro’ term is more common in the US… many still refer to “French leader” over this side of the pond, which could mean anything from 6-12 m of nylon, used for dry, nymph and indicator… which once again doesn’t quite mirror the original development and intended use of the leader in France… phew, it’s all way to complicated, at it’s core it doesn’t really matter… tis all fly fishing 🙂

    Reply
    • Exactly. It’s all fishing. And the terms or titles tend to limit the tactics too much.

      Cheers, Matt.

      Dom

      Reply
  12. Great article as I remember your detailed description of the mono rig at the white clay fly fishers meeting in 2019. It gets the mind swirling but also requires a change in the way you even think about going out to the stream. I want to add the mono rig into my approach when I am going out. Doing it before bugs are hatching is a great time not to get tempted to cut it all off, go to 6x tippet and look for trout on top again.
    I had a situation yesterday I thought you might find interesting.. snakeheads eating my flies off an indicator rig. Pats rubber legs, green weenies and stuff with beads all fell victim. I have not read all of your variations but could steel wire be added to the mono rig? Maybe… might be worth a shot.

    Reply
    • Hi JP,

      Yes, a bite wire could be used. It will obviously add weight. That takes some of the finesse out of the system, but you do what you gotta do.

      Cheers.

      Dom

      Reply
  13. I like the name Devin and Lance gave it: Modern nymphing.

    Reply
    • Hi Paul,

      Good stuff. So I like the terms modern nymphing and dynamic nymphing as well. I think they better represent these styles of nymphing more than the term euro nymphing does.

      However, then we’re limited to nymphing again. And what a lot of us do on the Mono Rig is much more than just nymphing. That’s why I’ve always gone for the descriptor that defines the rig and not necessarily what we plan to do with it.

      Know what I mean?

      Cheers.

      Dom

      Reply
  14. I got into the Euro style a few years ago and was immediately impressed with its effectiveness. It even took a season or two to remember that there are other ways to catch trout. I’ve gotten away from it lately, especially on the smaller creeks where I live in SE PA because I don’t feel like the trout have a retreat. In our congested waters, it doesn’t seem like the trout get a break with the conveyor of fishermen working the holes and flossing rigs through their hideouts. I think on the bigger waters, go for it, but if on streams where there is essentially a solo feeding lane, I feel like it’s changing the behavior of the fish and not really giving them a chance! Thanks for all the time you put into the articles, Dom.

    Reply
  15. At first I was so confused with all the different combinations of Mono Rig. I experimented with a bunch of different combinations, and have converted to straight 12 pound stiff Maxima Chameleon for the fly line connected with tippet ring to 4X tippet with 5X tags. Since the weight of a drop shot carries the line anyway, the thinner the fly line the farther it casts. I often use a single No 1 split shot to load my 2 wt 10′ Syndicate rod. The combination allows me to cast up to 45+ feet because I find it much easier to use the current to load the rod. With this method I never need to false cast, and I achieve precision by overpowering the line to the target and then stop it with my fingers. I never thought about it, but after reading your columns on tuck casts, I might start trying to achieve a tuck cast as well. I’m not sure with this length of line out there, I might end up with tangles.

    Reply
    • Right on. I think you’ll love the tuck cast if you get used to it. I will mention that I don’t care to tuck cast much when I use a water haul/load. I actually don’t use a water haul much at all. I don’t like to fish the cast out below me because the dead drift is over once the fly is past my position. So all my work happens upstream. Anyway, the tuck cast will work best if you set it up with a good, crisp backcast. All that said, it sounds like you are good at finding your own way. I love that.

      Cheers.

      Dom

      Reply
  16. I like to keep things simple so…mono- A prefix that means “one, only, single,”
    One rig is enough for me, thank you so much for sharing your wealth of knowledge.

    Reply
    • You know, Paul, I actually never thought of the word mono in that way, in this context. Ever. But that’s a really, really excellent point.

      Thanks for that.

      Dom

      Reply
  17. I have started using green stick-on indicators just below my tippet ring whenever I get to a spot where part of the run has overhanging brush. I tightline when I have room, and let the line droop a bit when I don’t. Works amazingly. I particularly like the stick-on because it seems to have minimal influence on the drift speed of my heavy nymphs.

    Also, I arrived at a tailwater last weekend that was supposed to have decent flow, only to find lake-like conditions. I tied a big woolly bugger on my mono rig, and was amazed at how productive I was. The ability to use the sighter to see strikes as the streamer was sinking or the line was slack was a welcome surprise.

    These are only two examples of how your articles have inspired me to constantly think and tinker while on the water. I truly appreciate it!

    Reply
  18. When the fish start rising and you want to switch to a dry (no dropper) do you keep using the mono-rig, untie it, or just carry an extra spool with conventional fly line?

    Reply
    • Hi Peter. Good question. I certainly like versatility. I believe that if you don’t make things easy for yourself, you won’t make the switch. So changing spools is simply unrealistic. No one wants to do that on a regular basis. I have my leaders and system set up so I can change leaders in about one minute. I take the Mono Rig off and tie a Harvey style dry leader to the fly line on the spool. That’s why it’s so important to me to keep regular fly line on my spool. Not a comp line. Not all backing or anything else. Fly line. Because I like to use it sometimes.

      Check out this article for more thoughts on that.

      https://troutbitten.com/2017/03/21/get-me-back-to-my-fly-connecting-and-disconnecting-the-mono-rig/

      And be sure to read through all the Mono Rig articles, found at the page up in the menu under series > the Mono Rig.

      You’ll find your own preferences too. But those are mine.

      Cheers.

      Dom

      Reply

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Domenick Swentosky

Central Pennsylvania

Hi. I’m a father of two young boys, a husband, author, fly fishing guide and a musician. I 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.

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