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jack crack jones 09-30-2011 04:12 PM

Better nymphing....need tips
 
I've never had much luck nymphing. My set up seems fine. I use either the football indicators or the old-school teardrop/toothpick ones with a one or two nymph rig. I try to watch my line closely, but I never seem to be able to detect any action. Either (a) they don't like what I'm presenting (somewhat unlikely, but not impossible), or (B) I just don't know when to catch the hook and fail to see the take (much more likely). Anyone out there have any pointers on learning to determine when to set the hook or how to detect strikes better when throwing nymph rigs? I want to improve, but I just find nymph fishing frustrating.

nickj 09-30-2011 04:58 PM

Re: Better nymphing....need tips
 
I drop mine off a dry. When the dry disappears, raise the rod. I fish small water, though, when it gets 4-5 feet or deeper I'll use a stick on indicator which also sets the depth. It's entertaining too, when the little browns come up from the bottom to hit a Dayglo indicator..

littledavid123 09-30-2011 06:28 PM

Re: Better nymphing....need tips
 
If whatever you are using for an indicator does anything different, raise the rod. Slows down, speeds up or moves left or right, raise the rod. Also don't wait to decide if it is a fish or not, if it changes direction or speed, raise the rod.

Try your nymphs on bottom first, next start changing colors then different offerings.

If that doesn't work call Len Harris while you are still on the water. :D

Dave

Jackster 09-30-2011 06:31 PM

Re: Better nymphing....need tips
 
Make sure you are getting those bugs deep enough. You can sometimes feel the rig ticking bottom. If you aren't getting hung up or lose a fly on occasion you're not deep enough.

thecatpoop 09-30-2011 07:08 PM

Re: Better nymphing....need tips
 
I was having a very hard time with nymphing, but knew that the cold season means all nymphing here, so I went to the river and picked some pockets I knew held fish. I re rigged untill I felt the right depth, tiny snags every now and again, I moved my indicator/hopper around trying to understand the water deapth, after a few days out sticking to it and working on my rig and presentation, it started to click. I find nymphing the hardest part of fly fishing but I do not look at it as aww great, looks like I have to nymph. Its a challenge and can be amazingly productive once the right fly is down deep. Im not shure but i seem to do better when my indicator is close to my fly line maybe 2 feet from my fly line, more or less so i can notice any movement. I also try to high stick, get in close and feel the bite. Good luck

russellb 09-30-2011 08:53 PM

Re: Better nymphing....need tips
 
JCJ-

Hello neighbor! As we are in the same neck of the woods I'll taylor some tips to our local fisheries.

The successful nymph fisher understands one key issue- line/drag management. When I taught classes and guided this was the first hurdle to cross with clients and once mastered the successes came quite quickly.

-as a general rule the distance from the fly to the indicator should be roughly twice the distance as the depth of the water. This is a guideline- set the indicator higher in faster water and a little lower in slower water. For instance in a standard riffle stretch that is say two foot deep I am going to have my indicator set about 4 foot from the fly.

-stand perpendicular to the run to be fished and cast your rig about 10-15ft above the target water. This will allow time for the fly/flies to reach the bottom and give you a good drift through the strike zone.

-YOU WANT THE INDICATOR TO BE DRIFTING BELOW THE FLY. If you cast upstream, strip in line and elevate the rod tip to remove as much slack line as possible. If the line is managed in such a way that the indicator is downstream of the position of the flies on the stream bed you will detect a far greater amount of strikes. This IS the key to successful nymphing, those that master this have catch rates that make them more a predator than a fisher.

-Know where in the water column the fish are feeding! Many times we think that the trout are either feeding at the surface or on the bottom. Sometimes they are in between- pay attention and adjust weight/indicator depth as needed.

-if the fish are on the bottom don't think your fly is on the bottom UNTIL YOU KNOW IT'S ON THE BOTTOM. Your need to see your indicator moving and twitching as the rigs tick across the stream bed. SET THE HOOK ON ANY MOVEMENT UNTIL YOU CAN KNOW A DIFFERENCE BETWEEN STREAM BED AND FISH. If you are NOT losing flies you are not serious about catching fish.

-use the smallest indicator you can- Thingabobbers. big Styrofoam indicators and the like suck to cast. Find the smallest indicator you can see- don't be the usual Taneycomo/Bennett Springs guy slurping their giant indicator on the backcast. Where possible use a dry fly such as a #14/16 elk hair caddis as the indicator with the line to the nymph tied directly to the bend in the caddis's hook.

Hope this helps- feel free to PM me and perhaps we can get together and fish- I'd be happy to help in any way-

R

Bigfly 10-01-2011 11:51 AM

Re: Better nymphing....need tips
 
One more secret to nymphing. Flows at depth.
The speed of the surface water is much faster than the flow near the bottom.
(3 to 10 x faster.)
When fishing a dry, we can track the drift by comparing the fly's position to bubbles on the surface. A dead drifted fly keeps pace with the surface flow.
But, if your nymph is near the bottom, not only will you see a "tick" from the bottom rocks, but the surface bubbles will pass the indicator by.
The slower water near the bottom"grabs" your fly.
To get a visual, try dropping your offering in the shallows and count down till it hits bottom.
(4 seconds for two ft. aprox.) On your next cast, count down from the minute your flies land on the water. At the point it reaches the "Laminar flow" near the bottom, your indy will slow way-down. If you don't see this slow-down, you are not getting the drift.
If you practice this a few times, you will be able to "see" if you are getting the drift. I adjust my indy in 4-6" increments.
Be heads up, shortly after getting the drift, you may see a fish.....Happy nymphing!

Jim

zug buggin 10-01-2011 03:06 PM

Re: Better nymphing....need tips
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Jackster (Post 325277)
Make sure you are getting those bugs deep enough. You can sometimes feel the rig ticking bottom. If you aren't getting hung up or lose a fly on occasion you're not deep enough.

exactly right :thumbsupu:thumbsupu set the hook on everything, you should set the hook 3/4 of the time on nothing. After a false set let it keep drifting don't assume you screwed up the whole drift. Also use a "anchor" fly with extra weight to get the dropper fly down to the proper depth.

dusty h 10-01-2011 03:30 PM

Re: Better nymphing....need tips
 
Id say try the bounce technique before. Id never used it until a friend of mine showed me and it was quite productive.


al_a 10-01-2011 11:28 PM

Re: Better nymphing....need tips
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by jack crack jones (Post 325214)
I've never had much luck nymphing. My set up seems fine. I use either the football indicators or the old-school teardrop/toothpick ones with a one or two nymph rig. I try to watch my line closely, but I never seem to be able to detect any action. Either (a) they don't like what I'm presenting (somewhat unlikely, but not impossible), or (B) I just don't know when to catch the hook and fail to see the take (much more likely). Anyone out there have any pointers on learning to determine when to set the hook or how to detect strikes better when throwing nymph rigs? I want to improve, but I just find nymph fishing frustrating.

Hi Jack, are you on Ozarkanglers.com?

Russellb pretty much said much of what I'd say. The other thing that beginning nymphers sometimes don't do is add enough weight. I think the easiest nymphing setup to use is to rig like this:

On Ozark streams you'll seldom be nymphing really deep. Floating line, 7.5 ft. leader. If your leader has been shortened to as little as 6.5 feet it's still okay. For a two nymph rig, attach an 18 inch or so piece of tippet one size smaller than the end of your leader to the leader with a blood knot. Now tie on a beadhead nymph by using a palomar knot, so that the nymph is about six inches below the knot connecting leader to tippet, leaving the rest of the tippet section as a 12 inch length of tag end on the palomar knot. To the end of it, tie on a non-beadhead nymph. Now...if you're fishing a small creek with lots of slow water in the pools, because the flow just isn't enough to keep current in the pools, you might need to go to smaller split shot, but normally I use one or two BB size shot. Attach the shot just above the knot connecting leader to tippet. The knot acts as a stop, keeping your shot from ever slipping down to the flies. Go up anywhere from four feet to almost up to the connection between leader and fly line (depending upon the depth you're fishing), and attach a Thingamabobber. In small streams I might use the smallest Thingamabobber, but mostly I use the second smallest, which is about 3/4 inch in diameter. Why a Thingamabobber? Because I've found it is not only the most consistently floating indicator I've used, but it also telegraphs everything the flies and weight are doing. Why a beadhead above and non-beadhead below? For one thing, it's usually easier to get the line to go through the eye of a beadhead twice, as you need to do to tie a palomar knot, than it is with a non-beadhead. But I also want the fly nearest the weight to be staying down right on the bottom, while the much more weightless non-beadhead waves around in the current a little higher off the bottom.

Now follow Russellb's advice on the cast and such. Watch that Thingamabobber closely. If the weight is on the bottom the way it should be, the Thingamabobber will be "quivering" as it drifts, or even bobbing up and down just enough to be perceptible. If it isn't doing that, it means your weight isn't on the bottom, and you may need to either lengthen the distance between indicator and weight, or add more weight. In water with good smooth current about four feet deep, it'll take 5-10 feet of drift before it gets down to the bottom, but once it does, you'll know it not only because of the quivering indicator but also, as Bigfly said, your indicator will have slowed down relative to the current. You want the indicator moving just a little slower than the surface current.

Now, once you've fine tuned your presentation in that way, and you have the indicator doing what it should, and assuming you know about mending to keep your line from dragging the indicator around, you should be drifting your flies right through the strike zone. I've heard all kinds of things about how zen it is to detect strikes, and in reality we all probably miss detecting quite a few takes with nymphs. Don't worry about it. When that indicator moves differently from that little quivering and ticking it is time to lift the rod...as quickly as possible. But most of the time, the indicator will suddenly stop and drop below the surface. When it does that, it either means a fish or the weight or flies hanging up on something. Don't be slow to lift up on the rod!

You'll probably end up setting up on about five times as many "non-fish" or "maybe-missed-fish" as FISH. But you WILL start hooking fish. Don't worry too much about which nymphs you're using. In the Ozarks, the fish usually aren't too picky about nymphs. You could probably just use a size 14 or so beadhead hare's ear and a scud pattern and catch fish most of the time. Or a beadhead copper john and a pheasant tail. Or a beadhead prince and a soft hackle. You get the picture.

Of course, once you get pretty good at it, the zen comes in. You start setting the hook without really knowing why you did so. You start dividing your attention between the indicator and the spot on the bottom where your nymphs are drifting (in clear water), not actually seeing your flies, but looking for a movement, a flash, a white mouth opening and closing, and then setting the hook when you see that BEFORE the take is transmitted to the nymph. You figure out just how far above that little drop-off at the foot of the riffle to cast and immediately mend to flip the indicator above the flies, so that by the time the flies reach the drop-off with no prior "pulling" of them by the indicator, the indicator is finally in the proper downstream position and the flies are right on the bottom and dropping off that ledge right into the trout's mouth.

As Russellb said, fish your drift all the way out, until the indicator reaches the end of the line you have out and stops, beginning to swing across current. At that point, the flies down there on the bottom will finish their downstream drift and suddenly rise off the bottom and follow the indicator swinging across current. That rise of the flies is a great trigger to a trout that might be letting itself be carried downriver as it peruses the flies. And the swing will also take trout. I don't know how many trout I've caught throughout the years when my flies were just dangling in the current while I was getting ready for the next cast, or even walking downstream to a different position. Makes me think that maybe I oughta just forget that perfect drift and let them dangle.


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