Accuracy. It’s an elementary casting principle, but it’s the hardest thing to deliver. Wild trout are unforgiving. So the errant cast that lands ten inches to the right of a shade line passes without interest. As river anglers, our task is a complicated one, because we must be accurate not only with the fly to the target, but also with the tippet. Wherever the leader lands, the fly follows. Accuracy holds a complexity that is not for the faint of heart. But here’s one tip that guarantees immediate improvement right away.
Articles in the Category Nymphing
Part Two: What you’re missing by following FIPS competition rules — Leader Restrictions
Leader length restrictions unnecessarily limit the common angler from taking full advantage of tight line systems. Such rules force the angler to compensate with different lines, rods and tactics. And none of it is as efficient as a long, pure Mono Rig that’s attached to a standard fly line on the reel. Here’s a deep dive on the limitations of using shorter leaders and comp or euro lines.
Euro Nymphing: What you’re missing by following FIPS competition rules — Part One
Using competition fishing standards for the average angler is extremely limiting. And following FIPS Mouche rules makes little sense for most dedicated fly fishers. (FIPS is the governing body for international competition.) Comp rules strip away too much of the versatility and efficiency offered by long leader systems in the first place . . .
Feed ‘Em Fur
Every once in a while, the mainstay beadhead nymphs in my box see a drop in productivity. Sometimes, it takes hours or even days of denial for me to accept the message. First, I try going smaller, into the #18 and #20 range, focusing on black beads and duller finishes that have mixed, mostly subpar results. Then eventually, I flip over a leaf in my fly box, where, on the backside, I have rows of natural nymphs. They carry no bead and have minimal lead wraps on the shank for weight. These are subtle, unassuming flies, and their main attraction is an inherent motion, providing a lifelike representation of the leggy critters that trout eat.
The flies are fur nymphs. And they’re the perfect change up when trout are tired of your beadheads.
When trout are sick of seeing flashbacks, sparkly dubbing, gaudy colors or rubber legs, feed ‘em fur . . .
Stabilize the Fly Rod and the Sighter with Your Forearm
A steady and balanced sighter is important from the beginning, because effective tight line drifts are short. But there’s one overlooked way to stabilize the sighter immediately — tuck the rod butt into the forearm.
Here’s how and why . . .
Tight Line Nymphing — Strike Detection is Visual
Smith set up over my right shoulder and watched for a while, quietly examining my backhand drifts and spitting sunflower seed shells on the water. I landed two trout and missed another . . .
“Did you feel those strikes, or did you set the hook because the sighter twitched?” Smith asked . . .
“They rarely hit hard enough to feel it,” I told him. “And if you’re waiting for some some kind of tug or tap, you’re missing a lot of strikes.”
Nymphing: The Top Down Approach
The biggest misconception in nymphing is that our flies should bump along the bottom. Get it down where the trout are, they say. Bounce the nymph along the riverbed, because that’s the only way to catch trout. We’re told to feel the nymph tick, tick, tick across the rocks, and then set the hook when a trout eats. With apologies to all who have uttered these sentiments and given them useless ink, that is pure bullshit.
Here’s how and why to avoid the bottom, fish more effectively and catch more trout with a top down approach . . .
Stick the Landing While Tight Lining
. . . Think of it like this: Tight line anglers should stick the landing at the end of the cast. Only the line that must enter the water should go under, while everything else remains above the surface and in the air. The leader should be tight, from the water’s surface to the rod tip, in a leading angle almost immediately. Stick the landing! Learn what angle the sighter eventually takes through the drift, and that’s the angle you should start with . . .
Nymphing: A two diameter solution to a one diameter problem
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 . . .
Tight Line Nymphing: Drift with a Stable Sighter
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 . . .
The Full Mono Rig System — All the variations, with formulas and adjustments
There are at least seven different styles for fishing a Mono Rig. Here are all the adjustments and leader formulas for each method, all in one place.
These are the variations: Euro Nymphing, Tight Line Nymphing, Tight Line to the Indicator, Tight Line Dry Dropper, Crossover Technique, Streamer fishing on the Mono Rig, Dry Flies on the Mono Rig.
The base leader remains the same, and each of these variations require adjustments — mostly minor — to tippet or sighter sections. Let’s get to it . . .