The Mono Rig
The Mono Rig is a hybrid system for fishing nymphs (both tight line and indicator styles), streamers, dry-dropper, wets, and small dries. With 20 pound monofilament as a fly line substitute (and with fly-line-style casting) better control, contact and strike detection are gained with the Mono Rig versus a traditional fly line approach.
The Mono Rig is similar to Euro Nymphing and tight line styles, but it’s a full system for fishing all fly types, with and without indicators, with and without split shot.
There are 50+ articles about the Mono Rig on Troutbitten. Listed below are six primary articles that provide the foundation of the Mono Rig concept. Following those, a full list of all the Mono Rig articles with auxilary material follows.
Fish hard, friends.
Primary Mono Rig Articles
Tight Line Nymph Rig
Almost twelve years ago, I made some adaptations to my nymph rig that completely changed the game for me, tripling my catch rate and adding a new spark to my passion for fly fishing. Suddenly, a whole new set of techniques and achievements were possible on the water, and I was catching enough fish to feel like it wasn’t just luck anymore — I had some control over the outcome. My casts, my drifts, my fly selection, and (most importantly) my ability to focus and adapt became the reason that I caught fish or I didn’t. I soon realized that the old excuse of “the fish just weren’t on” was usually a cover-up.
The Mono Rig and Why Fly Line Sucks
For presenting nymphs and streamers to river trout, fly line sucks. There, I said it. Now I have to defend it.
Most underwater deliveries require weight, and using a very long, monofilament leader to cast that weight is more efficient than using fly line; it keeps you in better contact with the flies, and you’ll catch more fish. I’m talking about leaders with butt sections of 20 feet or more . . .
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.
Fly Fishing with Streamers on the Mono Rig — More Control and more Contact
If you’re fishing streamers, you’re already well past the original sin in fly fishing. So, rather than fighting with fly line, use the Mono Rig . . .
Euro Nymphing and the Mono Rig
A breakdown of the terms and tactics of euro nymphing, tight line nymphing, and the Mono Rig. What are the differences? What gear is best?
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.
This is the keystone article of the Mono Rig system.
Hi. I’m a father of two young boys, a husband, author, fly fishing guide and a musician. I fish for wild brown trout in the cool limestone waters of Central Pennsylvania year round. This is my home, and I love it. Friends. Family. And the river.
All the Mono Rig Articles
Monofilament fishing line tends to hold the curves of its home. Whatever spool it’s stored on, it peels off in roughly the same diameter as that housing. All monofilament has this tendency, but some brands hold their memory much more than others. This line memory — this line coiling — is a problem. But the fix is very simple . . .
. . . But Smith had also drawn out of me one thing that I’d never fully put into words before explaining it to him. Namely, that contact is felt as much as it’s seen. While tight line nymphing, I’d told Smith, an advanced angler can feel contact with the nymph on the rod tip. Essentially, you could very well fish with your eyes closed. And because Smith was skeptical, I’d suggested some after-dark tight line nymphing as a way to prove to my friend that he could feel that contact just as well as anyone . . .
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.
Smith was still puzzled, and I suspected I was about to join him. He held up his rod, with the long Mono Rig leader, two nymphs and a sighter, and pointed to it.
“But if strike detection is mostly visual, what part of this is feel?”
Smith had asked a question that I’d never fully considered. Then I answered. “At the rod tip you can feel when you’re in contact with the flies . . .”
Smith set up over my right shoulder and watched for a while, quietly examining my backhand drifts and spitting sunflower seed shells on the water. I landed two trout and missed another . . .
“Did you feel those strikes, or did you set the hook because the sighter twitched?” Smith asked . . .
“They rarely hit hard enough to feel it,” I told him. “And if you’re waiting for some some kind of tug or tap, you’re missing a lot of strikes.”
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 rocks, and then set the hook when a trout eats. With apologies to all who have uttered these sentiments and given them useless ink, that is pure bullshit.
. . . Here’s how and why to avoid the bottom, fish more effectively and catch more trout with a top down approach . . .