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Old 03-10-2014, 12:51 PM
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Default Cascading (i.e. Dropping/Ganging) Nymphs

I've never done a very precise comparison, but looking back it seems to me that the times I've had a single nymph pattern on my leader, I've generally done a bit better than the times I've used two or three nymphs, each one dropped off the bend of the previous hook using about 13 to 18 extra inches of fluoro. (Talking about all nymphs here, not a nymph dropped off an indicator dry.)

Of course the idea of using more than one pattern is that we double or triple our chances of figuring out what they want. But if the patterns I use are all "go-to" patterns on that stream anyway (i.e., I have a reasonable idea that these trout will take them, based on past experience), I seem to get much more committed strikes/takes when I only have one fly on the line. They tend to "hammer" the fly or take it and hang onto it longer. Also I hook more fish. Also the takes seem to include hits from bigger fish.

When I gang two or three nymphs together, the fish seem to be smaller (less experienced, less picky), and the takes are often just quick-yank-and-gone. Typically when I gang them together I'm using several patterns that ought to work. I usually have a small (#4 or #6) split shot about 7 inches above each fly.

My main stream gets some fishing pressure (moderate on weekends anyway). I get the feeling that multiple flies may confuse or spook the trout, and especially the better ones. Or maybe that they can feel the drag from the other fly and they let it go instantly. Or something.

Anyone have similar experiences? Would be good to hear opinions on this. I'm tempted to stop "prospecting" with several nymphs and choose one pattern at a time. (Probably a more "purist approach anyway!)

(Also two and three cascaded nymphs tend to grab a little more moss/weed, if they're weighted enough to hug the bottom...which makes some drifts ineffective & wasted as a result. Another advantage of a single fly.)

Anyway...opinions on spooking/confusing stream trout with multiple nymphs?

- Mike
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Old 03-10-2014, 01:05 PM
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Default Re: Cascading (i.e. Dropping/Ganging) Nymphs

Click the image to open in full size.

Just try something like this!!!

As far as multiple nymph rigs go...I have had really good luck using two nymphs rigged as you mentioned. I have fished in water where one nymph gets more rainbows and one gets more cutts. I've also had good luck using two of the same nymphs in different sizes. I've even had one nymph be the hot one for and hour or two and then the other nymph starts catching the fish. I also like to fish a crackleback or something behind a woolly bugger. I've caught some large fish using these methods too.

But let the wind kick up or casting conditions get less than ideal, at the first sign of a tangle-fest, I am pruning back to one fly. Sometimes I catch more fish with just one fly because I can have it in the water longer.

If all else fails, try the above "Alabama Rig"! Seriously, is that really fishing? It looks like something you would hang over a baby bed (without the hooks of course).
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Old 03-10-2014, 01:21 PM
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Default Re: Cascading (i.e. Dropping/Ganging) Nymphs

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Originally Posted by mridenour View Post
I have had really good luck using two nymphs rigged as you mentioned.
Good points Mike...it's possible that non-committal takes and smaller fish are more a matter of using the wrong size nymph--okay pattern, wrong size.

When you use a two-nymph rig, how far apart do you tend to put 'em? What kind of water (I assume streams/rivers)? Ever stick a split shot halfway between? Ever use three?

Quote:
Originally Posted by mridenour View Post
"Alabama Rig"! Seriously, is that really fishing? It looks like something you would hang over a baby bed (without the hooks of course).
That thing might qualify as a "castable trot line." I think it was invented by the same guy who came up with those bead-string doorway curtains for hippie pads. : )
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Old 03-10-2014, 01:31 PM
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Default Re: Cascading (i.e. Dropping/Ganging) Nymphs

I regularly fish a tandem nymph rig. The fly selections tend to change with the seasons and conditions, but generally the first fly is a heavier, flashier attractor fly and the trailer a lighter and more subdued fly to match a seasonal hatch. Some days I catch more fish on the trailer and some days more on the attractor, but they both seem to have their times. I also believe that at times the attractor helps get attention of fish that then take the trailer, so that even if I'm not catching fish on the attractor, its still helping me.

That said, George Daniel is his book Dynamic Nymphing points out that fishing multiple nymphs can create drag issues. If, for example, you're trying to fish a small pocket behind a mid stream rock. One fly might be in the slack water pocket and the other fly might be in the fast current outside of the pocket. In this case, the fly in the fast current will pull or drag the other fly out of the slack water. This depends, of course, on how much tippet you have between flies, how much tippet between the flies and any added weight, and the current dynamics. George recommends fishing a single nymph with concentrated weight when you have a situation with conflicting or nagging currents.

I still fish two nymphs most of the time, but I've been fishing one heavy nymph more often when I encounter difficult drift situations. Or when the fish seem to be taking one fly really well and I get tired of messing with the second fly caught in my net or finger.
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Old 03-10-2014, 01:44 PM
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Default Re: Cascading (i.e. Dropping/Ganging) Nymphs

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Originally Posted by johnstoeckel View Post
Or when ...I get tired of messing with the second fly caught in my net or finger.
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?

- Mike
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Old 03-10-2014, 01:50 PM
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Default Re: Cascading (i.e. Dropping/Ganging) Nymphs

I usually go for about 12". Farther than that and I seem to get more tangles. I've never tried putting a spit shot between the two flies. I don't know that I have seen that done. I really hate split shot but sometimes it is a necessary evil.

I'm usually fishing streams BTW.
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Old 03-10-2014, 02:43 PM
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Default Re: Cascading (i.e. Dropping/Ganging) Nymphs

When I was a kid, I learned to fish the way my grandfather fished and that was with a "cast" of 3 traditional winged wets.
You wouldn't dead drift them, they were actively fished either up and across on a tight line or down and across with a wet fly swing.
Either way the idea was to take advantage of the fact that your flies were in different levels of the water column and not try to fight it.
The "point" fly was the anchor, and along with the first dropper held the "cast" in the current. With the second dropper or "bob" fly you'd try to dap on or near the surface, making the flies dance.
We used long leaders and the flies were spaced by maybe 10"-12" on dropper loops.
Cast with a wide open loop, there are very few tangles
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Old 03-10-2014, 02:56 PM
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Default Re: Cascading (i.e. Dropping/Ganging) Nymphs

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Originally Posted by mridenour View Post
I really hate split shot but sometimes it is a necessary evil.
I guess you use bead-heads then.

I thought I'd hate shot too, but found they cast easily enough with a 5-wt line if they are #4 or smaller. I've been using them instead of BH because I reason that an unweighted nymph that''s still at the right depth will move/drift more naturally than one with a hunk of metal for a head. Just an assumption though; maybe it's irrelevant.

---------- Post added at 03:56 PM ---------- Previous post was at 03:55 PM ----------

Quote:
Originally Posted by Rip Tide View Post
a "cast" of 3 traditional winged wets
Interesting, Rip; let me try and picture that for a minute.
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Old 03-10-2014, 03:13 PM
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Default Re: Cascading (i.e. Dropping/Ganging) Nymphs

Quote:
Originally Posted by michael_vorhis View Post
I've never done a very precise comparison, but looking back it seems to me that the times I've had a single nymph pattern on my leader, I've generally done a bit better than the times I've used two or three nymphs, each one dropped off the bend of the previous hook using about 13 to 18 extra inches of fluoro. (Talking about all nymphs here, not a nymph dropped off an indicator dry.)

Anyone have similar experiences? Would be good to hear opinions on this. I'm tempted to stop "prospecting" with several nymphs and choose one pattern at a time. (Probably a more "purist approach anyway!)


- Mike
A drag free drift requires that the fly be able to move in any direction without constraint. On the water surface (a two dimensional plane) this requires that the fly have two degrees of freedom. Under water (in a three dimensional space), a drag free drift requires three degrees of freedom. The fly must be able to move along the X, Y and Z axis; where X is longitudinal along the length of the river, Y is vertical from top to bottom, and Z is horizontal from the right sided of the river to the left side.

Think of a nymph in the water as a leaf floating about in the wind. If the leaf has a helium balloon (strike indicator) attached to the top and you (a split shot or weighted nymph) are holding a string attached to the bottom, the movement of the leaf is controlled by the ballon and you. For a fly to move freely, there can be no constraint in any direction.

For this to occur, there must be slack in the leader or leader segment connected to the fly. If there is not, the fly is constrained in its movement.

Now lets consider the water flow. Flow is turbulent where water flow meets a solid and this is at the edges of the river and at the bottom. Now where do fish rest and where are the holding and prime lies? They are located where the fish has shelter from the water flow. This is at the edges of a river or at the bottom, where the water flow meets rocks, boulders, and edges, etc which create turbulent flow.

Where flow is turbulent, a natural nymph in the flow gets deflected with the flow. For a fly to move drag free, it must have the feedom to be deflected. It cannot do so if the line to a strike indicator is tight or the line from it to a lower nymph is tight. In addition, the strike indicator is likely moving at a speed and direction that is different than the water flow around a rock at the bottom of a river. A fly with a tight line to a strike indicator flowing only along the X axis at the water surface cannot move drag free in a drift lane that has is being displaced along the Y and Z axis. There will be drag.

To summarize:

A. Fish hold in areas where they are protected from the river flow and this is in areas of turbulent flow where a projection into the flow creates shelter for the fish.

B. For a fly to behave naturally and it must have the freedom to move in this turbulence and be deflected along with the current flow. This requires slack (freedom of movement).

C. To obtain 3 degrees of freedom, the fly(ies) must be tied on a dropper(s).
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Old 03-10-2014, 03:31 PM
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Default Re: Cascading (i.e. Dropping/Ganging) Nymphs

Since I fish a lot with multiple nymph rigs I have it down to a system that works pretty good for me.

For years I used two usually unweighted nymphs with one or more split shot about 8-inches up from the top nymph and I caught a lot of fish. My son and his friends began using three nymphs with split shot and then I came upon a pretty good alternative that got us into a lot of good fish and dropped the use of split shot in most cases.

Now we use a top nymph in most of the moving waters that I fish in Idaho that is weighted - usually a 'Big Ugly' Rubberlegs, trailed by a bead-head nymph such as a BH Pheasant-tail or an Improved Shop-Vac, trailed then by a smaller unweighted nymph such as a KG's Deep Purple Peril Midge or a flashback Pheasant-tail, or some such. The tippets are anywhere from 12 to 18-inches long and tied to the hook-bend of the upper fly.

We usually fish these under an indicator and have settled on this combo as the way to go for most waters. The flies can change as needed but the ones I mentioned are usually what I start with on any given water, especially waters I've never fished before.

Casting is fairly easy if you load your rod with the stream current prior to casting upriver. I've watched rookie fly-casters spend a lot of time with their flies in the air striving for that perfect presentation and cast. They waste far too much time with their flies in the air than down where the fish are. I usually make the one casting stroke upstream, point my rod where I want the flies to land and drop my tip to finish it. Sometimes I may need one false cast but never any more than that. Cast, mend, fish the drift down, load the rod with the current and flick it upstream and repeat as needed.

It does take some learning but once competent you will spend your time fishing rather than casting.

Here are the flies I use, in the order that I attach them to the leader:

'Big Ugly' Rubberlegs:
Click the image to open in full size.

Bead-head, Flashback Pheasant-tail:
Click the image to open in full size.

Improved Shop-Vac:
Click the image to open in full size.

KG's Deep Purple Peril Midge:
Click the image to open in full size.

Micro Pheasant-tail:
Click the image to open in full size.

Kelly.
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