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Old 04-30-2012, 02:02 AM
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Default Big River CA Balloondicator Nymphing - pics

I got out to the Lower Sac on Saturday for my first float trip ever. I've wade fished the upper many times but never the lower, I usually cast dries in small creeks or medium to small rivers.

My friend told me about the standard rig - a thingamabobber on a loop with a 12' leader coming off at a 45 down to a brace of nymphs with a split shot above.

What a ✪&₰* to cast. True to his word, everybody we saw had the same setup he described. Not my favorite way to fish but when in Rome. . . I got used to it pretty quickly and had a BLAST! You have to have a long handled net in the boat and we learned that the hard way.

I am a balloon artist/entertainer, and I suggested we use animal twisting balloons (260 balloons - 2"wide X 60" long). I get them for about 6 apiece wholesale and I can make at least 5 indicators out of each balloon. I wasn't sure how they would hold up in the elements, but they performed perfectly for the duration of a several hour float. Compared to the price of a thingabooberama, no contest, plus you can't twist a poodle out of a thingybobber!

Here are some shots - my biggest fish ever at 18". . .
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Old 04-30-2012, 05:30 AM
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Default Re: Big River CA Balloondicator Nymphing - pics

Great photos! Balloon indicators have been around for a number of years, they are pretty popular on the Green.
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Old 04-30-2012, 08:12 AM
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Default Re: Big River CA Balloondicator Nymphing - pics

Looks like a great trip!! Thanks for the photos.
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Old 04-30-2012, 10:15 AM
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Default Re: Big River CA Balloondicator Nymphing - pics

Thanks guys! What a blast.

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Originally Posted by mcnerney View Post
Great photos! Balloon indicators have been around for a number of years, they are pretty popular on the Green.
Yep, I know I didn't invent the idea - I think I read about it here, but have you ever seen a guy float by with a balloon poodle as an indicator? I gotta do that next time. The long skinny balloons provide a better value - albeit measured in pennies, but you need to learn to inflate and manipulate them.
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Old 04-30-2012, 10:52 AM
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Default Re: Big River CA Balloondicator Nymphing - pics

The problem with real balloons is that they break and litter the river. The can get eaten by wildlife. They look like H3LL. Thingamabobbers can come off but they float and most of the time get picked up by other fishers.
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Old 04-30-2012, 01:23 PM
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Default Re: Big River CA Balloondicator Nymphing - pics

Always glad to hear that you're having some fun and success with the fish and thanks for not showing me a 'balloon' but only the fish

Ard
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Old 04-30-2012, 08:48 PM
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Default Re: Big River CA Balloondicator Nymphing - pics

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Originally Posted by silver creek View Post
The problem with real balloons is that they break and litter the river. The can get eaten by wildlife. They look like H3LL. Thingamabobbers can come off but they float and most of the time get picked up by other fishers.
Latex balloons are as biodegradable as a leaf, also float even when broken and according to a balloon company rep I spoke to there is no evidence that wild animals choke on and/or eat balloons (of course he's going to say that though.)

Thingamabobbers are not biodegradeable, are probably just as likely to be eaten by animals and probably more likely to choke the animals. I'd imagine the odds are pretty low that either a stray balloon or thingamabobber would get picked up as a great majority of flotsam probably floats out of sight and reach of people on a river. The odds of me picking up a stray anything are the same however.

I have never seen a balloon littering a river, I have found lots of line, hooks, spinning lures and bait containers though.

I do believe that thingamabobbers are grossly over priced. Just look in an Oriental Trading company catalog to compare prices of small plastic items. They probably cost a dime to make.
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Old 04-30-2012, 10:57 PM
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Default Re: Big River CA Balloondicator Nymphing - pics

Not sure how you can lose a Thingamabobber. It's usually attached far enough up your leader that something else is gonna break before the leader does up there, and if you put it on properly it can't come off. On the other hand, balloons do break, and even if it's biodegradable I question the idea that it's no more harmful to the environment than a leaf...and it's a lot more "artificially colored" than a leaf. With all the stuff I spend money on fly fishing, a half dozen Thingamabobbers a year is pretty small potatoes, and that's more than I'll actually use and lose in a year.
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Old 05-01-2012, 07:25 AM
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Default Re: Big River CA Balloondicator Nymphing - pics

One thing about the ballons... part of the reason people use them is thay you're supposed to be able to pull the ballons right through the guides as you land a fish.. There was a fishing show on TV (Fly Fishing the World?) a few months mback.. fishing on the Missouri.. the host was fishing, the guide told him to do that... broke the rod tip.. so.. be careful with that part of the technique.

I was cracking up.. that guide has to feel bad after that.. and on TV. I'm sure it works 'most' of the time
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Old 05-01-2012, 07:33 AM
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Default Re: Big River CA Balloondicator Nymphing - pics

Quote:
Originally Posted by al_a View Post
Not sure how you can lose a Thingamabobber. It's usually attached far enough up your leader that something else is gonna break before the leader does up there, and if you put it on properly it can't come off. On the other hand, balloons do break, and even if it's biodegradable I question the idea that it's no more harmful to the environment than a leaf...and it's a lot more "artificially colored" than a leaf. With all the stuff I spend money on fly fishing, a half dozen Thingamabobbers a year is pretty small potatoes, and that's more than I'll actually use and lose in a year.
Good points. I did lose a rig and the balloondicator stayed put. The way the balloon is (under)inflated and attached to the rig would prevent it from coming free even if it were to somehow lose air. I have been using balloons to put food on my table for 18 years - believe me balloons biodegrade even when kept in a dark cool place. They are made of plants. They become unusable if they go stale.

Environmental stewardship is key to our sport and beyond, thanks for bringing it up. If I suspected that the practice would litter the river I would not have used balloons. I will definitely keep an open mind here and stay vigilant if/when I ever use this technique again.

In the scheme of things the price of indicators is a minor one. Keep in mind some of us are on tighter budgets than others - even in better economic times than these. They are also probably a big money maker for small fly shops who I like to support.

Quote:
Originally Posted by dhayden View Post
One thing about the ballons... part of the reason people use them is thay you're supposed to be able to pull the ballons right through the guides as you land a fish.. There was a fishing show on TV (Fly Fishing the World?) a few months mback.. fishing on the Missouri.. the host was fishing, the guide told him to do that... broke the rod tip.. so.. be careful with that part of the technique. I was cracking up.. that guide has to feel bad after that.. and on TV. I'm sure it works 'most' of the time
Wow! We, fortunately, did not try to bring the balloons through the guides. They were too big for that - that is why we needed the longer handled net to land the fish, with a 12' leader and your rod tip as high as you could get it... "a balloon broke my fly rod." That is hilariously tragic!
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