No kidding...and three are usually more headache than they're worth--if nothing else every other cast is a salad-collecting exercise.
How far apart do you generally like to put 'em? I've heard guys swear by 18 inches minimum and others say 6 inches works better for them. Got a personal preference?
In my state, we're not allowed to use more than 2 flies.
I rig my tandem nymphs as ... Long (3'-5' or even more) 5X fluoro tippet to lead fly, trailer tied to bend of lead fly with 8-12" 5X fluoro tippet between the flies, and #1 tin shot 8-12" above lead fly.
The Euro nymph fishing guys tend to like heavily weighted flies rather than weight on the leader. I think the premise is that you have less conflicting current and drag between the flies and weight and you have a more direct connection for better strike detection. I still do some of both -- my lead fly is typically a #12 bead head and / or has 6-8 wraps of .025" weighting wire, but I still need a #1 tin shot (or more) to get the flies down fast.
I usually shortline, highstick nymph without an indicator (although I use an Amnesia butt leader), but I'll add a Thingamabobber if I need to make longer casts. Keeping a short line with no indicator really makes casting easier.
In any case, I think kglissmeyer1 summaries the casting technique well -- keep the line tight, minimize false casts, and make a short lob upstream.
Imagine a natural live nymph drifting along, and another one also drifting along, except that the 2nd one is hanging onto a lead bead-head weight with its legs. The 2nd one is much heavier. As they both enter a current of a given speed and direction, initially the lighter one will accelerate faster; but ultimately both will be going the speed of that current. As they hit a micro-eddy behind a little rock, the lighter one will decelerate faster. The lighter one will always react to changes in current more quickly, and since current in 3D space is likely to be turbulated (rather than laminar), the lighter one will always change and adjust more rapidly to each variation. It will drift a little more "naturally" than the one hanging onto a small lead bead.
This means an artificial nymph of the correct weight (the exact weight of a live, natural nymph) will react most naturally too (just talking about weight, and any tethering from the leader aside for the moment). Trouble with using an artificial nymph of the correct weight is that we cannot get it to the bottom where the fish are, unless we started it on the bottom--under the same rock the natural had let loose from.
So we're always making compromises to get our fly down--either bead heads or lead wire bodies or poly-leaders or shot. I tend to think shot still allows six or eight inches of natural-looking swing and wobble freedom, compared to bead heads. You might perfer bead heads though, I don't know and I'm not sure I can tell from your comments. Either way, both weighting techniques work for a lot of people.
Now let's think about the tethering: All our flies are tethered (unless we've spilled our fly box into the water). A "correct weight" nymph with shot 8 inches above it is tethered to the shot, which is in turn tethered to whatever drag the upper leader and line are experiencing. A BH nymph is directly tethered to any drag of the upper leader and line. Which is worse? Shot might help slow things down and "damp" a bit of the line/leader motion. Hard to tell unless we're watching a precise moment in the drift. In either case we spend a lot of attention trying to minimize the drag on the line and upper leader.
In general I think we've all agreed forever that unnatural motion--acceleration deceleration, cross-current motion--is undesirable (unless we're swinging and stripping). There are a lot of different opinions on best IMPLEMENTATION of a natural drift, however, and wrt ganging flies that's partly what I was hoping to hear. Eg: Do any of us have strong feelings about whether dropping nymphs from nymphs CAUSES drift problems (one fly so adversely affecting the drift of the other that ganging is a bad practice)? If so, do those people just avoid ganging nymphs, or do they handle it with a big and a tiny, or by ensuring 20 inches between...or what are the different experiences and personal rules of thumb?
So if you gang nymphs yourself, do you have a favorite rig, to keep adverse effects to a low rumble? Do you avoid ganging them because you fear one drags the other? You'll get no argument from me about the goal of naturalizing drift, but I'd welcome hearing your nymph-ganging vs. non-ganging experiences. Which tends to work better for you?
I've kinda bared my own preferences: I like shot a little above, as opposed to beadheads. And I do tend to gang flies. But my results doing it are so-so. Hoping to trade theories on separation, and large-then-small vs. large-then-large, and "ganging nymphs is a bad idea" opinions, etc.
Maybe you answered it already with a single line:
> C. To obtain 3 degrees of freedom, the fly(ies) must be tied on a dropper(s).
I think this means you like to avoid dropping from the hook bend?
I did a lot a nymphing for steelhead. The top fly was a big heavy stonefly and the point fly was a small nymph or egg. It did not take long to discover that two nymphs rigged too close together could be a disaster when the fish took the point fly and ran. The top fly would almost ALWAYS get snagged in the fish's hind half, making the fish nearly impossible to land in current. The lesser of two evils was to rig my flies 25"-30" apart. Some guys I fished with were concerned I'd be missing fish with that much space between flies. I assure you, I didn't miss many, and the payoff was fewer fish wrapped up and hauled in backwards. The small nymph is also weighted, so the big fly is bouncing along the bottom and the small nymph is doing the same on a 25-30" tether. I rig it much closer together for trout.
Great response Kelly, thanks; yes, I completely dispense with the false-casting when I flog water with nymphs--just load with the current and flick back upstream. They just plop into the water anyway; no need to lay them down like a feather. I've been using the SA Sharkskin line which picks up off the water so cleanly I rarely have a issue with a single load & cast.
So you also tie off the previous hook bend. That's what I've been doing although when I first heard that guys did it I feared it would impede hook-ups. But I still do it because it's a quick tie-on, & quick to change.
You say by using weighted nymphs, you eliminate the shot. Is that because you think shot visually annoys the fish? Or you just find the weighted flies easier? I'd be curious to hear your opinions on why tiny shot should be avoided.
Great photos...I have NOT been using progressively smaller nymphs and maybe I'll try that. I might also try "dropping" each nymph on its own short tippet instead of tying off the previous hook bend (as I think SilverCreek may have been suggesting), to see if I get more hook-ups. This time try to do a real accurate comparison.
Maybe I'm missing takes, but I tend to not use an indicator--I watch the line. It's bright & floats high. I found that a bushy deer-hair dry didn't seem to give me much more info than the line does anyway, and I just don't like little bobbers.
Kelly has described the nymphing rig we use here.
2-3 flies in descending size off the hook bends.
We tend to use a bit more weight above the big fly, 2-3-4 ABs or even AAAs. And 12-18 ft leaders.
Obviously zero overhand casts.........roll or water-load casts only. (Which is why we use a switch rod a bunch.)
Ralph Cutter has convinced me that big nymphs shouldn't be weighted.
Bugs are not negative nor buoyant, mostly just neutral, and so they float that way..
And I believe that little flies "flag up" out of "the zone" unless we add some weight on the tippet.
My preference is Deep Soft Weight from Loon.
That way you don't bruise your lighter tippet pinching on shot..
(If you ever get back just your split shot with no leader coming out of it, that's why.)
The only difference with Kelly's rig here, is the fish don't appreciate bling.......fish repellent......
As close to natural as possible for best results.....
When high sticking euro style I tie an "El Gordo" Pat's rubber legs, as my anchor fly, and fish smaller tidbits above it, off of dropper knots.
Lots of ways to get the job done.....
I often use bead-heads and weighted bodies on the same fly. I always but the heavier fly first and the smaller trailing fly last. I also rarely use an indicator and tend to high-stick a lot of the time. There are a lot of times that I add a split-shot to the rig but like I said before, I just don't like to because it seems that split shot is always roaming up and down the tippet. I feel like I am damaging the tippet when I crimp one on.
For me, a lot of it depends on the water I am fishing. I'm sure Kelly has a lot more expertise and I will have to learn to master his method. Not all situations are conducive to my high-sticking style of nymphing.
I think we all agree that especially with multiple nymph rigs...false casting bad. No good can come from it...lol.
Seems to be the consensus Jim, tnx; I haven't been doing that consistently.
I've tried the weighted putty but lose it too quickly; shot stays on, although yes I've seen it pinch off the tippet. Annoying to realize the last seven casts have been fly-less and I've been trying to get a fish to lock his lips over a split shot.
I hear you on the neutral buoyancy naturals, but unless I get the fly bumping bottom it's a no-action outing on the water I frequent most.
I don't avoid using shot, I just don't use it anymore. No particular reason other than the weighted nymph as my top fly seems to work most of the time in getting the rig down without additional weight - just personal preference.
I used to not use an indicator until my eyes (even corrected with glasses) got to a point where I had difficulty tracking the line for subtle strike detection. This is why I utilize strike indicators and they work extremely well for my older eyes.
I often use a Parasol Emerger fly when trailing dry emergers or something quite small in the surface film. I also use them when fishing my favorite spring creek to suspend a multi-nymph rig at depth through that clear and very slow moving water.
I'm a believer that each of us should find what works best for where and how we fish - that's the beauty of the sport, there is no perfect way to do it. If you are confident and comfortable with your presentation and setup and you are consistently catching fish then keep it in play.
I am constantly tweaking my rigs, setup and presentation, but what I do results in a lot of fish being caught and a lot of angling satisfaction for this fly fisher.
I never thought too much about snagging the body of the fish but I have worried that the free hook would grab something on the bottom, and then bye-bye tippet and fish.
And doubles...yeah, bound to happen at some point! Great photo.
---------- Post added at 01:41 PM ---------- Previous post was at 01:28 PM ----------
Originally Posted by kglissmeyer1
...each of us should find what works best for where and how we fish...
Absolutely. Even so, these forums exist, and I do enjoy hearing and thinking about everyone else's opinions and preferences. There are a lotta years of experience talking here on this thread and I do enjoy it. Whenever I start wondering about my own ways, and whether they're due for a tweak, I like to hear what works for you guys.
My eyes are going too, but getting far-sighted so I can still see the line. So far!
I tend to still like tiny shot, but I think I'll try putting it only above the lead fly, and also pay more attention to progressively descending size, and maybe greater separation.
And I might play with separate tippet-droppers for each fly rather than tying off the hook bend. See if I get more hook-ups.