Articles With the Tag . . . fishing tips

Fly Fishing Strategies: Tags and Trailers

Sometimes trout are feeding so aggressively that the particular intricacies of how nymphs are attached to the line seem like a trivial waste of time. Those are rare, memorable days with wet hands that never dry out between fish releases. More often than not, though, trout make us work to catch them. And those same particulars about where and how the flies are attached can make all the difference in delivering a convincing presentation to a lazy trout.

Two nymphs can double your chances of fooling a trout. But there are downsides. Here are some strategies for rigging and getting the most from two fly rigs.

Cover Water — Catch Trout

John crossed the bridge with his head down. He watched each wading boot meet a railroad tie before picking up his other foot for the next step. Cautiously, he walked the odd and narrow gait required when walking the tracks. And with nothing but air between each massive railroad tie, he could see the river below.

I’ve never known anyone to fall on a railroad bridge. I suppose you couldn’t fall through. But you’d surely break a leg or twist an ankle with one wrong step on that slick wood.

So I stood by the “No Trespassing” sign, next to the edge of the bridge, and watched my friend slowly make his way toward me. He looked disappointed. And when gravel filled in the gaps between ties, when John was back on solid ground, his head stayed down.

“Did you catch a Namer?” I asked with feigned enthusiasm.

“Ha! Nope, I surely didn’t do that,” John said, waving his hand and brushing off my next question.”

Get a good drift, then move on

Cover more water and catch more trout. It’s a common theme running through these Troutbitten pages and one that surely puts more fish in the net — if you’re committed to it. And while there’s certainly a danger of taking this concept of constant motion to counterproductive extremes, the core philosophy of showing your flies to more trout is hard to argue against.

There are a host of variables to consider, though. And walking upstream spraying casts in every direction is not the way to get things done.

Let’s talk about it . . .

You don’t have to match the hatch

Long days on the water are best finished with some leisure time back at the truck. So as the guys trickled in, one by one after dusk, my waterlogged waders were already rolled up. I’d just broken the rod down and popped the top on a Troegs IPA when Smith walked through the fading light with his wading boots crunching over the gravel. I handed him a beer and asked the requisite questions: How many? And on what flies?

“Great day!” Smith said. “All nymphs and nothing up top. Mostly Beadhead Pheasant Tails. Fourteens and some sixteens. Silver beads were the best.”

“Nice,” I nodded. “For me it was stonefly nymphs. Copper bead. Took a couple on small trailers, but all the good fish ate the stones. Fun times!”

Smith agreed, and we clinked brown glass bottles. Then we leaned back on the tailgate and watched the darkening path, waiting for our friends to return from the water.

One by one they came back to the gravel lot, all of them pleasantly water-weary and uniquely satisfied. Each had caught lots of trout — that part of the story was the same. But the hot flies were all different. Trout had come to dries, streamers and a variety of nymphs. All of the Troutbitten crew had found success, but each had come to it in a different way.

“So much for matching the Sulfur hatch,” Smith chuckled . . .

PSA – It’s Hot Out There

PSA – It’s Hot Out There

As I backed into my driveway the other night, I glanced at the outside temperature reading on the rearview mirror. 81 degrees Fahrenheit. It was 11:45 pm. Yikes. For trout streams, perhaps the worst part of a heat wave is the high overnight temperatures. When the...

Fifty Fly Fishing Tips: #1 – Fish More

Fifty Fly Fishing Tips: #1 – Fish More

You should fish more. No, really. You should fish a lot more. Yeah, I know that family, work and the unfortunate surprises of life keep us away from the rivers we love. When I meet young people, full of ambition and new excitement for the fly rod, I marvel at their...

A Slidable Dry Dropper System

A Slidable Dry Dropper System

A friend of mine once described a truly slidable, easily movable, dry dropper as the Holy Grail of fly fishing. I suppose it depends on where your goals and interests lie, but if you like fishing nymphs under a dry, then you’ve surely wished the dry fly was easily...

High Light — Low Light

High Light — Low Light

My article, "High Light -- Low Light," is over at Hatch Magazine. Here are a few excerpts..... -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- ... Finding the shady cracks that harbor resting and wary trout is a good challenge on bright days. Offering the flies to them in those small...

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Tight Line Nymphing with an Indicator — A Mono Rig Variant

Tight Line Nymphing with an Indicator — A Mono Rig Variant

I dislike arbitrary limits. Placing restrictions on tackle and techniques, when they inhibit my ability to adapt to the fishing conditions, makes no sense to me. I’m bound by no set of rules other than my own. And my philosophy is — Do what works.

I guess that’s why I’ve grown into this fishing system. Most of the time I use what I refer to as the Mono Rig. It’s a very long leader that substitutes for fly line, and I’ve written about it extensively on Troutbitten. Tight line and euro nymphing principles are at the heart of the Mono Rig, but there are multiple variations that deviate from those standard setups. Sometimes I use split shot rather than weighted flies. Sometimes I add suspenders to the rig. I even throw large, articulated streamers and strip aggressively with the Mono Rig. All of this works on the basic principle of substituting #20 monofilament for fly line.

Tight line nymphing is my default approach on most rivers. I like the control, the contact and the immediacy of strike detection. But sometimes adding a suspender (an indicator that suspends weight) just works better.

Often, I add a dry fly to my tight line nymphing rig. “The Duo” (European fishermen’s term for dry/dropper) is widely popular because it’s a deadly variation of the standard tight line approach. But dry/dropper rigs have their issues. And choosing a Thingamabobber or a Dorsey Yarn Indicator for the suspender not only solves those issues but also includes extra benefits.

This isn’t about which method is better. Invariably, the answer to such questions in fishing is, “It depends.” Everything has its place. This is about how to use tight line principles with a suspender rig. I hate arbitrary limits. Do what works.

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Split Shot vs Weighted Flies

Split Shot vs Weighted Flies

So you hate split shot, right? I’ve never had anyone tell me that they like using it. But for me, split shot is a convenient and useful tool in my vest, and I think it’s underrated. It does things for me that can’t be done any other way, and I like it. Yes, I like split shot. Sure, I prefer weighted flies over having shot crimped to the line. (My nymph box is full of tungsten beaded flies.) But I also carry a selection of unweighted patterns that get a regular workout while using split shot for the weight.

Here are some thoughts about all that . . .

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Resources for Tight Line and Euro Nymphing

Resources for Tight Line and Euro Nymphing

[There’s no doubt we are in the golden age of information — for fly fishing too. Never before has it been so easy to open a browser and click a couple links to learn where the trout are and how to catch more of them. A third of what I know about fishing came from...

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Modern Nymphing, the Mono Rig, and Euro Nymphing

Modern Nymphing, the Mono Rig, and Euro Nymphing

Devin Olsen and Lance Egan recently released their video, Modern Nymphing. And it’s good. In fact, it’s the best video on long leader tactics that I’ve seen. It’s beautifully filmed, and it’s an excellent resource for those looking for an introduction to long leader...

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