Podcast: Angle and Approach — Tight Line Skills Series, #1

Season Two of the Troutbitten Podcast is a mini-series of connected episodes that build out specific tactics. This series is an advanced course in the nine essential skills for tight line and euro nymphing. The first skill is angle and approach — it’s a detailed look at setting up for the right range and the best angles for tight line and euro nymphing . . .

How to stay in the fly fishing game for a lifetime

I know what the game of chasing trout has given me. For over forty years, I’ve had a wonderful purpose, a focus, endless challenges, and a reason to set my feet on wooded, watery paths often enough to call these places home . . .

Fishing is as big as you want it to be. From the beginning, I’ve been in it for the long game. And in the end I plan to wade upstream, toward the light at the end of the tunnel.

The Advantages of Working Upstream

For the majority of our tactics, fishing upstream is the best way to present the flies. And sometimes it’s the only way to get the preferred drift.

So too, working upstream allows for stealth. The angler becomes the hunter. With a close, targeted approach to smaller zones, we get great drifts in rhythm, one at a time . . .

The Knot Strength Thing — Can knot strength be calculated? Does it matter?

Knots are personal. I don’t believe in any of the knot strength tests because there are too many variables. And what I know about the performance of my favorite Davy, for example, conflicts with the (I’ll say it) myth of its inferior breaking strength. My Davy’s are strong. But I don’t know about yours. That’s for you to find out . . .

Streamers as an Easy Meal — The Old School Streamer Thing

The modern streamer approach asks trout to get up and chase something down, to kill it and eat it, while the old school streamer game presents an easily available chunk of protein to the trout. It doesn’t ask the fish to chase very much. In essence, old school streamers come to the trout, and modern streamers flee from the trout . . .

Find Your Rhythm

With confusion and some sense of despair, I wondered what was wrong with my presentation? What else could I adjust to convince these trout?

Then it hit me. I was fishing hard, but I was hardly fishing. With all of those changes, I’d had no rhythm. I’d been inefficient and had struggled for consistency . . .

#9. Putting It All Together: Nine Essential Skills for Tight Line and Euro Nymphing

There’s a talent for combining all the essential techniques. Stitching them together seamlessly and flowing from one to the next takes a certain aptitude, and some intention.

Refine one through nine. Then time and again, you’ll see what you want to see. You’ll put it together. And you’ll say with confidence, “Now that was a great drift.”

Last Cast

The light of the last day of the year began to fade, and I reminisced a bit. It’s been an incredible year for me, full of life lessons that I probably needed to work on for some time now.

Here’s to living the next year vividly . . .


I asked Josh Darling to make a tree. And he designed something that attached to my heart. It’s not the leaves. It’s the structure — the wood itself — the branches and the roots. As anglers, the trees surrounding these waters are our constant companions. But like any good friend, they are both helpful and, at times, a source of great difficulty.

Floating down a favorite river one morning, I told Josh how much I loved his tree design. “It’s perfect,” I said. And I wondered aloud if some text would work with it.

“Fear no snag,” Josh replied immediately. From an angler’s relationship with riverside trees, that is just right.

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