Get down nymphing is one of the challenges often faced by the new fly fisher. One of the attributes a successful fly fisher possesses is the uncanny awareness of where the nymph lies in the water column. This skill is developed over time with stream awareness of time on the water. Over the years teaching classes and shows the new fly fisher tends to look for a singular answer oftentimes to a complex question. To get down nymphing folks usually answer go heavier. This may or may not be the answer depending on what and where you are attempting to fish in the water column. This article will address the areas to develop a game plan for you to develop this awareness and what is involved.
One of the speed tricks to develop your nymphing game would be to rig a bright colored pattern that is easily visible. An egg pattern or chartreuse mop is perfect to develop what your actions do for observing the fly. The answer may not always be to sink quicker. Think of learning to slice through the various layers to cover them all. Develop this ability on the stream for a deeper enrichment as a fly fisher. The following attributes below may all contribute to your understanding. nymphing
These skills are a “gateway” into fly fishing. They are an entry into understanding control aspects in the short game. My kids started with these tactics when they were very small. They are great skills to develop for all ages. The more complex tasks of wet fly, dry fly techniques require a deeper appreciation of casting.
Tight line nymphing is a short game tactic overall in regards to control. The greater the distance you fish away from your position, the less control you possess. It is for this reason we employ really long rods to enable greater control. The length is also a better spring when using a lighter tippet. The overall leader and tippet angle relative to the water surface is a cue to depth. A steep verticle angle helps to keep the pattern deep. This progression of leader angle is dependant on the rod angle. Steep angle for fishing deep. Shallow rod angle for fishing higher in the water column.
A shallow angle enables the pattern to hover. Learning to control the pattern in the mixing layer deep will require the most practice. It is also where we find success the highest percentage of the year. Learning a tuck cast is an invaluable tool for the nymph fisherman. However, there may be alternatives for the new fly fisher. An easy line control trick is to simply lift and reset your pattern with the rod reach upstream. Place the pattern directly down current. This will drop your nymph instantly to the depths and is just as effective. Do not disregard the process of learning to tuck cast. The benefits of learning to tuck cast will enable you to successfully fish upstream.
Tippet size also influences the pattern’s sink rate. We use a much lighter tippet during the winter months because the patterns are small. Think of tippet like a parachute. The thinner the profile, the quicker the sink rate. In competition-style angling, it has become commonplace. It is not uncommon to witness skilled nymph masters using 6x-8x on highly pressured waters. On guided trips, we use tippet sizes that equate to the angler’s abilities. nymphing
Nymph profile has not been properly addressed over the years. A small 2mm tungsten bead on a size #16 hook may very well sink quicker than a larger nymph. This is a simple concept by just observing the pattern. If a long #4 hook girdle bug is 16 times larger than a small fly it offers greater resistance. Over the year, folks get hung up too much on weight. Especially those new to nymph fishing. The overall learning process has been jaded to think more weight is the answer. You can see how this “trap” works if you ignore the logical assumption of ignoring the overall profile. We use #18 to #24 hooks often through the winter months with great success matching small insects. These small insects are typical throughout the world in the cold season. Usually, midges and blue-winged olives are the winter staple food.
Long before tungsten beads were the rage we used #18-#24 brassies as a kid. Wire nymphs were and still are highly productive patterns. The tiny sizes may sink really quick on light tippets. They are superb to cast with a dry dropper rig. Casting control gets difficult quickly when the dry fly and nymph are not matched. Think of this relationship as a balancing act. The dry should offer just enough buoyancy to offset the weight it carries.
To Lead Or Not to Lead
To lead, or not to lead could have been a quote from Shakespeare. Your rod movements influence where the pattern is fished. This is an experimental game that is constantly adjusted on the stream. The main trick with various lead rates is to experiment. If you are catching fish consistently then keep doing it the same. The experimental part comes into play when you are covering lots of good water with no results to show for it. The quicker you adjust this on the stream usually equates to success.
Think SMOOTH when learning to tight line. There are times to move the rod erratic for jigging and other techniques. When you are dissecting water columns in the beginning. First, learn a dead drift which requires smooth rates of movement observing the drift. The speed of water will oftentimes influence the rate you move. It will also affect sink rates.
Drop Shot Rigs
The concept of drop-shot rigs is often employed on larger tailwaters. It is also a highly effective technique using an indicator that floats on the surface. The key is in the rigging near the point fly. A split shot is used on the very bottom of the rig. The point fly is placed 4-8 inches above the daisy chain of lead. This enables the fly pattern to be exposed in the mixing layer. Rigging these are beneficial when fishing over the same area of water.
As the contours of the river change, drop shot rigs need to be readjusted constantly. The trick to matching the rig to the water type is a simple concept. The indicator floating needs to have a vibration that is constant once near the bottom. If there are no vibrations, the rig needs more weight. If it is too heavy, it gets hung up too quickly. This technique can be really effective during high water releases.