Articles With the Tag . . . tight line 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 . . .

Stabilize the Fly Rod with the 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 and Euro Nymphing: Tracking the Flies

Regardless of the leader choice, angle of delivery, or distance in the cast, every tight liner must choose whether to lead, track or guide the flies downstream. So the question here is how do you fish these rigs, not how they are put together.

Good tracking is about letting the flies be more affected by the current than our tippet. Instead of bossing the flies around and leading them downstream, we simply track their progress in the water.

Tracking is the counterpoint to leading. Instead of controlling the speed and position of the nymphs through the drift, we let the flies find their own way . . .

Stick the Landing While Tight Lining

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 . . .

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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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Everything that touches the river drags — Everything underneath drags even more

Everything that touches the river drags — Everything underneath drags even more

This one is simple. Line, leader or tippet laying on the water drags. It’s a plain truth staring right back at us. Meaning, it’s pretty easy to see the results of drag on the water’s surface. It’s harder to see drag happening under the water and out of sight, but once you’ve put in a few thousand river hours, intuition mixes with experience and the subtle visual signals above the river reveal the same telltale drag.

. . . Only the line that has to touch the surface should be wet. Even more importantly, only the line that must go under the surface should disappear. Here’s how and why . . .

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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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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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