Most of what we do on the river comes down to a few key principles. And for effective, convincing underwater presentations of flies to a trout, the tight line advantage is the cornerstone concept. Nothing else is more important.
Because a river is composed of changing and moving seams. Complex currents are present, even in the slowest and softest sections. Everything that touches the surface drags unnaturally, and we can easily observe this on our dry fly. In fact, defeating that drag is the dry fly angler’s continuing battle. And then, with nymphs and streamers, everything that goes under the water drags even more. As soon as our flies travel under the surface, they are subject to a three-dimensional world of currents that cross, merge, split and slide together. Defeating that unwanted drag is the nymph angler’s ongoing battle, and it’s even more challenging than surface drag.
Many early resources for nymph fishing made the mistake of taking dry fly fishing principles under the surface to the nymph. And because fly fishing clings to tradition, many modern anglers are still making the same mistake. While we should provide slack to the dry fly to aid the drag free drift, slack to the nymph causes even more drag and a dramatic loss of strike detection. Adding slack to the system is not the path to a great underwater presentation.
The solution? Use the tight line advantage. Our ability to be tight to the fly provides full control over the course of that fly, offering our best chance at both a drag free drift and good strike detection.
The popularity of tight line tactics, of euro nymphing, jigging streamers and even Tenkara are all based on the success that control provides the angler — the control of a tight line advantage.
Anglers have been doing this for decades. And what we call the Mono Rig is a hybrid leader that takes that tight line advantage even further. We fish a tight line style not only to the nymphs, but to streamers, to an indicator with nymphs underneath and to a dry-dropper style of fishing.
I’ve written about this on Troutbitten since 2014, and I’ve expanded the concepts through the hundreds of articles found in the Mono Rig category page:
Almost two years ago, I also published a widely shared article about the tight line advantage across multiple fly fishing styles:
But seeing is believing. So I started a Troutbitten video series, titled Fly Fishing the Mono Rig. And in this sixth installment of that series, I demonstrate what this tight line advantage looks like across these styles.
Watch this video. And then continue below to read a few of the key details about the tight line advantage.
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The tight line advantage takes all the benefits of a fly fishing cast and combines that with a powerful and long leader.
So we eliminate line sag for underwater presentations and take tight line strategies to nymphing — with and without an indicator. We also take that advantage to a dry dropper style and to streamers.
Keep It Up
As you can see in the video above, keeping the sighter up and out of the water is critical. In fact, keeping all of the tippet that is not needed under the water is just as important. Getting close to this goal is not good enough.
Keep it up. All of it. From the the beginning — and the tight line advantage will work for you. Laying any line on the water removes that advantage and takes away what makes all of this work in the first place
Anything other than a pure tight line presentation is a compromise. So go tight line to the indy, to the streamer, to the dry or to the nymph. Be disciplined about this strategy, and you will absolutely put more trout in the net.
Remember, there are many resources to learn more about all of this here on Troutbitten.
Fish hard, friends.
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Enjoy the day.
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