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 . . .

Fly Fishing in the Winter — Egg Tips

Fly Fishing in the Winter — Egg Tips

  ** NOTE: This is Part Seven of a Troutbitten series on fly fishing for trout through the winter months. This will all read a little better if you back up and find Parts One, Two, Three, Four and Five and Six. **   Smith and I found ourselves on another...

The Sweet Ride

The Sweet Ride

There’s a sweet spot to every drift. For each swing of a wet fly, strip of a streamer or drift of a dry, there’s a range — a distance — where the fly looks its best. This is the moment where the fur and feathers tied to a hook are most convincing or most natural. It’s...

Nymphing: The Top Down Approach

Nymphing: The Top Down Approach

The biggest misconception in nymphing is that our flies should bump along the bottom. Get it down where the trout are, they say. Bounce the nymph along the riverbed, because that’s the only way to catch trout. We’re told to feel the nymph tick, tick, tick across the...

Tight Line Nymphing: Reach with the rod to find the seam — Then stay in your lane

Tight Line Nymphing: Reach with the rod to find the seam — Then stay in your lane

You might be a poor judge of ten feet. In fact, on the river, you probably are. Anglers are notorious for overestimating the lengths of things, right? Your buddy tells you about the big trout he caught, up around the bend. “It was probably twenty inches,” he says. But he didn’t measure it. So you nod and smile skeptically. Tell that same friend you’ll meet him three hundred yards upstream for lunch, and you could be walking around hungry at noon, until you finally find him a half mile upstream. Again, we’re bad at evaluating distance out there.

With that in mind, consider this . . .

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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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Fly Fishing in the Winter — The Secondary Nymphing Rig

Fly Fishing in the Winter — The Secondary Nymphing Rig

Every winter our rivers go through changes, and the trout follow suit. Regardless of how much water flows between the banks, I encounter a predictable slowdown in trout response at some point. Call it a lack of trout enthusiasm. Or call it hunkering down and waiting for warmer water. However you look at it, the trout just don’t move as far to eat a fly.

For some, the solution is a streamer — to go bigger. Get the trout’s attention and add some motivation to peel itself from the river bed and move to a fly. It works — sometimes. (everything works sometimes.) But just as often you’re left with an empty net and more questions than answers. I do love fishing streamers in the winter though. I use it as a chance to build body heat, to warm up by walking and covering more water. But my standard approach is a highly targeted pair of nymphs, right in the trout’s window. Served up just right, you can almost force-feed a trout that didn’t even know he was hungry.

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Fly fishing the Mono Rig — Thicker leaders cast more like fly line

Fly fishing the Mono Rig — Thicker leaders cast more like fly line

Thinner butt sections sag less. But the thinner they are, the more they lose that fly-line-style performance. And sometimes, that matters a great deal.

All of this is part of the the joy in being a fly fisher. There are hundreds of ways to make things work. And because every angler brings a unique set of goals and conditions, that’s why there are so many solutions . . .

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