"I can certainly appreciate the purist's point of view in nymphing, but isn't using using your fly line, coiled leader, colored leader, knots on the leader, hopper droppers, any dry fly, or any point of reference indicating a take basically the same as using an indicator?
Any fly fisherman is a great and poetic fisherman in my book."
Exactly! We all need a little help, it's just a matter of how much you want to advertise the fact.
It's also more of a challenge for me to fish without an indicator, and I fly fish for the challenge. I remember going out at night to harvest the biggest nightcrawlers on the face of the earth, buying my first baitcasting rod and then the largest assortment of crankbaits you've ever seen, etc. Now I'm looking for a sleek rig to fly fish with, and that often means using small flies to catch big fish.
Purists and Snobs
I was at a fly shop, and a local tyer was finishing up a demo. He spoke to me like I had never even seen a hook before, let alone tied a fly. He whipped up what he considered to be a Wooly Bugger: Hook, lead, dubbed body, and a bit of hair from a zonker strip for the tail. He gave it to me, and I tried to give him one of mine. He looked at the two pieces of gold flashabou, and said that he doesn't fish with synthetic materials. He then started to tell me about his friend who makes a habit of using flash in his flies, but I dropped his on the table and said, "Later" before he had a chance to pontificate.
The OP asked if nymphing without an indicator is possible. The answer is....YES. The rest is just a matter of preference, aka thread drift.
P.S. Look above at my friend Ard's post. That sums it up for me.
---------- Post added at 04:06 PM ---------- Previous post was at 03:30 PM ----------
Using a Small Indicator, but NOT Needing It