The tuck cast presents a fly-first entry, from very steep and vertical with extra slack, to almost flat, with immediate contact. That’s how flexible the tuck cast is. It’s useful. In fact, it’s critical to how I present nymphs and streamers.
The sinking line does a few presentations very well. And a tight line streamer rig can do many things well. While the sinking line approach gains me more distance and longer retrieves, the tight line system is great for a targeted approach, with more casting and shorter retrieves.
Tight line systems provide direct contact and direct control, where sinking line systems put a weighted fly line in between me and the streamer. Two different styles.
There are many things to consider, but start with this: What is the water type? And what are your goals?
Can we truly drift nymphs without any influence over them? No. And while I agree that too much contact or too much influence over the nymph can look unnatural, I disagree that being out of contact is the best approach . . .
The George Harvey Dry Fly leader is a slackline leader built for dead drifting. With intentional casting, with the right stroke, the Harvey lands with slack in all the right places, with curves and swirls through the entire leader and not just in the tippet section. The Harvey is a masterful tool built for the art of presenting a dry fly on a dead drift. But success begins by understanding how the Harvey is different, and why it works.
A dead drift is the most common goal for a nymph, but there are three distinct ways to achieve it: bottom bouncing, strike zone rides and tracking the flies.
Each of these tactics simulates something that a trout sees every day. And each can fairly be described as a dead drift. But often, just one of these presentations is the most agreeable approach to the trout. All of them can look like a natural dead drift . . .
Some anglers seem resigned to the notion that more flies, split shot or drop shot inevitably bring more tangles. But multiple nymphs on one rig won’t tangle if the cast is right and the rigging is solid.
There are three questions that lead you to solving all your nymphing problems. If you’re struggling, if you’re wondering if the empty net is your fault, ask yourself these questions and answer them honestly.
Is everything in one seam? Do I have to be this far away? Is my fly deep enough for long enough?
Assuming that a dead drift is the goal for your nymph, answering these three questions leads you to correcting your own mistakes . . .
If there’s one thing in nymph fishing that gets far too much credit, it’s the induced take, in all forms. From Frank Sawyer’s slight movement up and out of a pure dead drift, to the Leisenring lift, nymphing anglers everywhere are enamored with ways to twitch, jig, swing and lift the nymph.
An excellent dead drift is your baseline presentation. The induced take is a variation. And do not forget that a good induced take begins with a great dead drift. That is what is so often missed . . .