Originally Posted by diamond rush
On the contrary, if the distance the trout has to travel back to its feeding position is greater than the amount of slack between the nymph and indicator, the indicator will register a delayed strike. If you are constantly aware of the position of your nymph, the indicator, and the best spots for feeding trout, you can have slack and still not miss strikes. It takes practice and experience, but I feel that you're selling indicator fishermen short.
And, you can use the indicator for depth control when your nymph is swept from the riffle into the slack water below it. You get the best of both worlds.
The key word is delayed.
As you admit, when there is slack between the flies and the indicator, the reaction of the indicator is delayed. There is also a second delay, and that is the slack line between the indicator and the rod tip.
For the indicator to drift drag free, there must also be slack between the the rod and the indicator. Otherwise, the line from the rod tip to the indicator will drag the indicator towards the rod. This will either drag the indicator, which then drags the fly OR will first remove the slack between the indicator and the flies. Both will shorten the length of the fly(ie)'s drag free drift.
As I said before, you can choose between a drag free drift of the fly and a delayed or missed strike OR you can choose a tight line between the indicator and the flies with faster strike detection. But you cannot have it both ways.
Now if you believe that dragging flies mean fewer takes on the surface, what evidence is there that drag below the surface does not have the same result?
Anyone who has fished indicators can remember times when they made an upstream mend to get a deeper and a more drag free drift. Then when the indicator came tight, they found they had a fish on. The fish had taken the nymph while it was drifting drag free and had hooked itself. Ask yourself why that happened, and whether that fish was really an indicator success or was it an indicator failure?
Kelly Galloup calls these hook ups automatics. The fly fisher thinks it was their skill that caught that fish, but it was really the fish that hooked itself.
During a Jack Dennis talk on fishing with and without indicators, Jack Dennis recalled fishing with Kelly Galloup. Jack was on a high bank guiding Kelly toward a big fish that was feeding in a run. Long story short, on the first three casts, the fish took Kelly's fly 3 straight times and spit it out. Kelly missed all three takes because he never saw the indicator move. On the 4th attempt, Jack told Kelly when to strike and the fish was hooked.
The object lesson is that fish are able to take and spit out a fly without the angler noticing. I have previously said this can occur when there is fly to indicator slack. This can also occur when the fish takes the fly either coming up from below OR going downstream chasing the fly. In these two maneuvers, the fish overshoots in the direction of the indicator to create some slack in the leader between the fly and indicator, so the indicator does not change it's drift. During the over shoot, the fish can spit the fly and you will never know it.
You stated, "If you are constantly aware of the position of your nymph, the indicator, and the best spots for feeding trout, you can have slack and still not miss strikes." But you make no explanation of how it is possible to have slack between the fly and indicator and not miss strikes. As I have stated and explained above, even the best fly fishers miss strikes because of the physical limitations of the indicator method. It is not an angler deficiency, it is a method limitation.
You also mention, "And, you can use the indicator for depth control when your nymph is swept from the riffle into the slack water below it. You get the best of both worlds." Actually, you are not getting the best of both worlds. I can put on an indicator when I think it is the way to go, but if you continue to fish an indicator when a tight line technique would be better, you have the best of only one world.
I think there are times when the indicator is absolutely the best way to nymph and other times when it is not. If one thinks that indicators are the best at all times, I think that they are missing out. Indicators create drag, they delay the sink rate of the fly, they can negatively affect the cast, they shorten the length of the "effective" drift, and occasionally they spook fish. But they do catch fish so that fly fishers think that indicators are the best way to nymph at all times.
---------- Post added at 05:28 PM ---------- Previous post was at 04:27 PM ----------
Originally Posted by randyflycaster
Great, great answer. So after making a tuck cast my nymph will have, I assume, a very short drift, because I'm fishing on tight line and my line on the surface is moving faster than my fly on the bottom and soon I'll have no slack in my leader.
In short, once my leader is tight my fly will drag.
Last year I was fishing with a very good angler. I didn't know anything about upstream nymphing. The angler was fishing a fast seam at the head of the pool. He was nymphing upstream without an indicator. After making a cast, he retrieved a lot of tight line. Looking back, I can't see how his fly didn't drag during most of his retrieve.
P.S. I would imagine that many times when I was nymphing with an indicator I was wasting my time because of the slack I had in my leader between the indicator and fly. If a trout took my fly but didn't move far enough to take the slack out of my leader, the indicator didn't move and I didn't know I had a strike.
I fish small streams that are covered with overhanging branches. The streams are therefore fairly dark and it's hard to see a trout take my fly; so I guess I'm often damned if I use an indicator and damned if I don't.
Perhaps when I'm using an indicator I'm better off if I can put most of the lack in the line not the leader.
Or am I just thinking too much?
A tuck cast is a way to get the nymph to the bottom with or without an indicator. If you do it without an indicator then you would be straight line nymphing. It is easier to with without an indicator and in either case the nymph would get deeper faster. It is a way of getting a longer "effective" drift. So I am puzzled why you think the drift would be shorter.
With straight line nymphing there is less drag downstream than if there were an indicator on the line. So the the fly would be dragged faster ONLY of you were pulling it faster. You have more direct control over how fast the fly moves.
Regarding the angler you were fishing with, I suspect he was euronymphing also called czech nymphing and polish nymphing. You can Google the technique or you can go to one of my posts below. I post on this site as Silver Creek:
The blog below copied my post from the Fly Fisherman Magazine site without asking so I wrote asking them to add my email to them.
FLYINTROPICAL: My Two Loves - European Nymphing and High Sticking
Regarding whether you were wasting time, I cannot say for sure. Keep an open mind and try both methods. If you read my posts on other BB's you will see that even with straight line nymphing, there are many methods and variations. What is best for you depends your casting skills and your mending skills. For beginners, I think strike indicators are the best way to get them into fish. As they get more experience and become intermediate and advanced fly fishers with better mending and line handling skills, I think they should begin with short line direct line nymphing in the riffles. Then they should move to longer line methods as the water structure dictates.
It is all about a constant learning process. There are times when I just want a relaxing day of fishing. Some other days, I will do my thing but then later that same day, I may decide that the rest of the day will be committed to practicing fishing with a method that I want to get better at. So if you want to learn direct line nymphing, I would suggest going to Trout Predator and reading two sticky post son nymphing at the URL below. I also post there as Silver Creek.:
Nymph Fishing Techniques