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Old 09-21-2005, 01:11 PM
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Default Do you see it or not ???

Do you see it or not ???
nymph fishing with indicator rigs
by Davy Wotton

Before l deal with the subject matter of this post, just to let you know that Steve at the Full Creel has in stock my new Wet Fly DVD, signed copies at that also.

OK, guys, l have been away from the site for a while, work load, on the river takes care of that one.

This past Monday evening l gave a presentation to the fly fishers club here in Little Rock related to nymph fishing with indicator rigs, and how to understand what takes place below the surface.

Bottom line is this, no matter what does take place below the surface, if you are not able to recognisee a indication that a fish has taken the fly you will not hook it.

I am not going to deal with the manner in which you set the rig up, rather some of that aspects of being able to enhance your powers of observation related to that.

Your indicator is a visual aid, how visual is another matter. As you guys know l guide 100s of clients through the season, and that gives me the best classroom to be able to assess how individuals react to indication that fish has taken the fly.

You may choose to disagree with me, and that is your prerogative to do so. In my defence of that l will only say this. I have spent 1000s of hours watching the scenario. And asking my clients what it is they see and look for.
So also for myself, there are choices.

There are many different types of indicator out there, do they all serve for the same purpose, well yes they do. But are they all efficient in the way they perform, l do not think so.

No matter what kind of indicator you use if a fish takes the fly in such as way as it more or less hooks itself then the indicator will submerge and tell you that. That is certainly not always the case l can assure you.

Taking all things into consideration, depth and water speed, relative range you are fishing, is the surface flat or turbulent etc.

Overall yarn indicators provide .
The best means of visibility.... For the reason that they will sit above the water surface and not in it, if you tune them right.

Yarn indicators can be tuned-- By that l mean you can reduce the bulk of the material used so as the min of detection can be seen.
Not all fish will cause a indicator to submerge. You will get a slow down take, a reverse take, a shudder take as l call it and many other variables. You have to be able to see and recognisee that.

On many cases with indicators of a different construction that is not so easy to see., due to in many cases the fact that the indicator is in or laying flat in the surface.
Try to determine that when fishing at range in fast turbulant water when wade fishing deep, you are at such a low level in relation to the water surface, it is almost impossible to see indications unless the indicator submerges !!

Yarn indicators can be attached by primarily 2 ways. A o ring loop, or you take a piece of yarn and use the double loop means of attaching it.

Both have a place depending on the fishing circumstances at that time.

Yarn indicators will land on the water surface softly and not with a plop and further surface disturbance, more or less like a dry fly presentation.

Like l have said you can tune a yarn indicator that is smaller than any other kind of indicator out there, 2mm or even less, tho that is going to far.

Indicator color. That is a big thing with me. I dislike hi vis indicators. Yellow, red, orange etc, why, for the reasons that they can cause you to become mesmerized and not see subtle takes, particularly in the case of indicators that are at water surface level, at either close or long ranges.


At times this highlight color will cause the fish to look toward, and at times take the indicator, thus missing the fly that will follow on from that drift track.

I use colors of more natural shades such as brown, olive, grey, green, white. All of these will be highly visible to you in a given overhead light condition, and at both close and long ranges.

I make my own indicators simply because what is generally available does not suit for my needs, by way of color or construction.

Of course how you set up your drift rig and how well or other wise you are able to detect and react to a take of a fish is another matter. It is all related in some way.

It is tho ultimately the indicator that is going to give you the message, (SET THE HOOK)

Like l say to my customers , did you not see that !! was that a fish, l did not see the indicator sink !

I think at one time l did tell you guys that l spent a great deal of time as a course match angler in the UK. That l can assure you is the best possible background to understand drift, and indication of the fact a fish has taken the bait, fly or otherwise.
The float/indicator was as important if not more than what ever else you had done for the set up.
Take a look at the many kinds of course floats that are available and you will see what l am saying here, you will have to locate a EU or UK site to find that one.

By comparison to that many of the ways fly fishers go about that are crude to say the least.

I will give you a run down on a further post related to set ups, fly, addition of weight, leader/tippet length etc, and how it all tracks subsurface, You may have a few surprises when you read that one.

Tight line guys.

Davy Wotton.
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Old 09-21-2005, 11:21 PM
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Default Re: Do you see it or not ???

You should give them out for free to NAFFF members, or at least to the staff..
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Old 09-22-2005, 08:32 AM
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Default Re: Do you see it or not ???

Great article Davy!. I agree with you about the more naturally colored indicators. I like to use homemade Rondicators (doubled over foam strips with two rubber o-rings) in heavy water, and add a customized touch. These can be made to where the outside of the thing is an earth tone with brighter foam strips in the middle. I make them with dark green with chartruese and tan with orange. I like these because instead of just seeing one object move, the color contrast within the indicator allows you to see its smaller twitches and pulsations. Rondicators are not at all ideal on flat water, but in heavy pocket water they can be very helpful. They will also hold up a bounce nymphing rig with multiple flies and shot. No floatant needed either.
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