Articles in the Category Nymphing

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 . . .

Troutbitten Shop Spring Sale ’24 — Leaders, Hats, New Trail Merch, Stickers and More

The Troutbitten Spring Sale ’24 is here, with all leaders, hats and stickers back in the Troutbitten Shop. With this round, we have a few special items to offer, from the Troutbitten and New Trail Brewing company collaboration. There’s a Fish Hard / Drink Beer hat, sticker and t-shirt. The Troutbitten Shop is fully stocked. Hats, leaders, stickers, shirts, hoodies and more are ready to go.

PODCAST: Critical Nymphing Concepts #7 — Animating the Nymph — S10, Ep7

We spend so much time refining presentations and trying to achieve perfectly natural dead drifts that moving the nymph a bit, animating the fly, is liberating. It’s fun.

A Simple Slidable Foam Pinch-On Indy

A Simple Slidable Foam Pinch-On Indy

One of the joys of fly fishing is problem solving. There are so many tools available, with seemingly infinite tactics to discover, it seems like any difficult situation on the water can be solved. Perhaps it can. For those anglers who search for answers in tough moments, the prospect of solving a puzzle builds lasting hope into every cast. And after seasons on the water, the game becomes not how many trout we can catch, but how many ways those trout can be caught. Then, when presented with conditions that chase fair-weather fishers off the water, we rise to the moment with a tested solution, perfectly adapted and suited for the variables at hand.

There is not one way. There are a hundred ways. And the best anglers are prepared with all of them.

One of them is the slidable foam pinch on indy . . .

Tight Line and Euro Nymphing: How to Lead the Flies

Tight Line and Euro Nymphing: How to Lead the Flies

Leading does not mean we are dragging the flies downstream. In fact, no matter what method we choose (leading, tracking or guiding), our job is to simply recover the slack that is given to us. We tuck the flies upstream and the river sends them back. It may seem like there is just one way to recover that slack. But there are at least two distinct methods — leading and tracking.

Let’s talk more about leading . . .

Tight Line and Euro Nymphing: Leading vs Tracking vs Guiding

Tight Line and Euro Nymphing: Leading vs Tracking vs Guiding

Eventually, after decades of drifting things for trout, I discovered other ways of fishing dead drifts.

And now, I try to be out of contact as much as in contact. I ride the line between leading the flies and tracking them — choosing sometimes one and sometimes the other. And I’ve come to think of that mix of both styles as guiding the flies.

Think about these concepts the next time you are on the water with a pair of nymphs in hand. What is your standard approach? What are the strengths of leading the flies? What are the deficiencies? When does tracking the flies stand out as the best tactic? And when does it fail?

Why do we miss trout on a nymph?

Why do we miss trout on a nymph?

Late hook sets are a problem, as is guessing about whether we should set the hook in the first place. But I believe, more times than not, when we miss a trout, the fish actually misses the fly. However, that doesn’t let us off the hook either. It’s probably still our fault. And here’s why . . .

Loss of contact, refusals and bad drifts. All of these things and more add into missing trout on nymphs. So how do we improve the hookup ratio?

Three Styles of Dry Dropper: #2 — Light Dry Dropper

Three Styles of Dry Dropper: #2 — Light Dry Dropper

Fishing a nymph under a dry is not as simple as looping on a nymph and casting. And some forethought into what your objectives truly are, measured against your options for rigging and fly selection, goes a long way toward filling the net with trout.

Do you want to fish the nymph or the dry? That’s the first question to ask. Of course, each style allows the opportunity to catch trout on both flies, but only the light dry dropper style is tuned in for good drifts on the dry.

While bobber dry dropper and tight line dry dropper are great for fishing the nymph first, light dry dropper is perfect for offering the dry as a primary choice. And sometimes, the frequency of takes on the nymph is stunning . . .

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Fly Fishing Tips — Nymphing: Set On Anything Unusual

Fly Fishing Tips — Nymphing: Set On Anything Unusual

On a first drift through the lane, you may very well set on anything. But maybe that line hesitation was just the flies ticking the top of a rock. Good. Now you know.

Don’t set on anything. And don’t wait for a sixth sense to kick in and grant you the superpower of sensing trout takes. Instead, pick a lane and learn it. Use the nymph as a probe to draw a mental map of a specific lane. Refine the drift. And all the while, set on anything unusual. Let’s break it down real quick . . .

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Three Styles of Dry Dropper: #1 — Standard (Bobber) Dry Dropper

Three Styles of Dry Dropper: #1 — Standard (Bobber) Dry Dropper

Commonly, we find trout feeding on multiple stages of a hatching insect. And we easily adapt to this behavior with multi-fly rigs. A pair of nymphs or a brace of wets covers two or three zones under the water, reaching interested trout through the water column. And when both flies are under the surface, the rigging, casting and drifting is straightforward.

But mixing fly styles — fishing both a dry fly and nymph on the same line — requires a different mindset . . .

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Fly Fishing Strategies — The Tuck Cast

Fly Fishing Strategies — The Tuck Cast

The tuck cast is a fly fishing essential. It’s a fundamental component of good nymph fishing, and it’s useful on streamers and wets. Even dry flies get some necessary slack by completing the same motion of a tuck cast on a dry leader. It’s a vital fly fishing tool, not a specialized cast for rare moments. The tuck cast is an elemental part of the fly angler’s casting approach.

The tuck cast shines brightest given a tight line nymphing method. So let’s start there before branching out.

A good tuck cast forces the nymph into the water before the attached leader follows. Understand that first. This simple concept is the tuck cast. And from this idea, endless variations abound . . .

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Is a soft sighter best? Not always

Is a soft sighter best? Not always

My first experience with modern sighter material was an opaque line from a Czech company. I paid more in shipping than I paid for the line, and I waited a couple weeks, wondering if the package would ever arrive.

It did. And I immediately noticed how different it was. The material was extremely limp when compared to the same diameter of the Gold Stren and Amnesia that I favored. And at the tying desk, where I’d opened the package and inspected the line, I loved how visible the new bi-color was — it was opaque, not translucent. So I was eager to fish with the new line, assuming it would become my new favorite sighter material.

It didn’t. Instead, just a few casts in, I realized what I’d given up by using the new material — turnover.

For better or worse, modern sighter material is all quite similar in design to that first line I bought from the Czechs. It’s opaque (great). And it’s limp (great only sometimes.) . . .

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Tight Line Nymphing — The Check Set

Tight Line Nymphing — The Check Set

How do you know when to set the hook? Should you set on any twitch, pause or hesitation of the line and sighter? Yeah, sometimes. If the trout eats the nymph fast and hard, those twitches and pauses are unmistakable. Aggressive takes are obvious, but most eats on a nymph are subtle. And the angler has a choice: set on anything, or make guesses about every twitch, pause and hesitation. It’s a rough life. But there’s a third option too . . .
The check set is a very short and powerful hook set that moves the nymph just a few inches. Drift, drift, bump, check set. Nope, not a trout. Then let the nymph fall back into the drift and watch for the next take.

That sounds much easier than it really is. And in fact, the check set simply does not work under some conditions. But in the right situation, it’s a deadly tactic. Let’s get to that . . .

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