Articles in the Category Nymphing

Q&A: How does weight choice change with tight line nymphing vs indicator?

There is no good argument for exclusively using split shot under an indicator. There’s also no good argument for exclusively using weighted flies on a tight line rig. I simply fish whatever weight suits the moment. Here’s why . . .

VIDEO: The Dorsey Yarn Indicator — Our Best and Most Versatile Indy Choice — Building It and Fishing It

For over a decade, my Troutbitten friends and I have fished a small yarn indicator that weighs nothing, is extremely sensitive, versatile, cheap, doesn’t affect the cast, and flat out catches more trout than any other indicator we’ve ever used. What we call “the Dorsey” is a daily-use tool that is integral to our nymphing system. We mount it on a tight line rig or a traditional leader with fly line. It floats like crazy. It signals takes and information about the drift like no other indy we’ve ever used, and it’s an unstoppable fish catcher.

PODCAST: Feed Drop — Troutbitten On The Untangled Podcast

I was happy to be a guest on the Untangled Podcast with Spencer Durrant. We talked mostly about Nymphing tactics for beginners. We also talked a little about a fishing life and the fly fishing industry. You can listen to that full episode in the Troubitten Podcast feed . . .

Patagonia Nymphing

I don’t know another time when I approached a slot with so much confidence. Better. Slower. This was it. At the end of the fishless drift, my certainly wasn’t questioned, it was simply re-informed. “Need more weight,” I said. It was an unforgettable, prove-it kind of moment . . .

Nymphing — Free Fall and the Drift

Nymphing — Free Fall and the Drift

After the nymph falls into position, we want it to spend some time there. But if we constantly set at the end of the fall, the nymph never has the chance to drift, and the trout don’t get an opportunity to eat on anything but the drop.

A good drift should follow the drop. The free fall and the drift are a successful pair. And they work best together . . .

Fly Casting — Acquire Your Target Before the Pickup

Fly Casting — Acquire Your Target Before the Pickup

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.

Part Two: What you’re missing by following FIPS competition rules — Leader Restrictions

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.

Feed ‘Em Fur

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 . . .

Tight Line Nymphing: Drift with a Stable Sighter

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 . . .

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The Full Mono Rig System — All the variations, with formulas and adjustments

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 . . .

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Troutbitten Confidence Flies: Seventeen Nymphs

Troutbitten Confidence Flies: Seventeen Nymphs

All long term anglers find a set of files to believe in. We attach a confidence to these patterns that carries over from the moment we form the knot to the hook eye. We fish better with these flies. We make them work. With more focus, we refine each drift with our best patterns. But there’s also something special about a great fly to begin with . . .

The set of flies below are built and carried as a system. There is very little overlap. Each fly does a specific job or offers the trout a certain look. I could tie a Hare’s Ear in five different colors, but I don’t. Instead, I see the flies in my box as pieces of a puzzle that lock together and fill out a whole . . .

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Three Styles of Dry Dropper: #3 — Tight Line Dry Dropper

Three Styles of Dry Dropper: #3 — Tight Line Dry Dropper

It’s the effectiveness of a nymphing rig and the excitement of a dry fly rig, with boosted catch rates.

In this four part series covering dry dropper styles, I’ve saved the best for last.

I prefer methods that lend excellent control to the angler. And tight line rigs, with direct contact as the primary feature, are built for just that. Add a dry fly to the rig and tight line dry dropper is the best of all possible worlds . . .

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Forget the Bottom — Glide Nymphs Through the Strike Zone

Forget the Bottom — Glide Nymphs Through the Strike Zone

Put the nymphs on the bottom. I heard it from everyone I talked with and everything I read, so that’s what I did. I added weight to get the nymphs down — to touch the river bottom with my flies. And on most days, the experience was something between frustrating and maddening. It was a long series of snags, hangups and breakoffs, mixed in with the occasional burst of fish catching — when I somehow got the drift just right.

Twenty years ago, this is how I learned to nymph. I thought snagging up a bunch was just part of the nymphing game. I dealt with it because I caught trout. And I learned to tie knots and put up with lost flies. But, I would argue, this is one of the main reasons many anglers don’t enjoy nymphing. We want to fish. We don’t want to re-rig tippet sections and tie on new flies all day.

One foggy fall morning on my favorite limestoner changed all that. In a couple hours of fast pocket water action, I stumbled upon one of the most important lessons in nymphing: The nymphs do not need to be on the bottom. In fact, gliding through the strike zone and staying off the bottom results in far more trout to the net . . .

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