As a follow up to my previous post related to indicators.

When l started my fly fishing way of life, the use of a indicator, was something that l had no knowledge of, neither did it ever enter my head to use such a thing.
Our means of detecting a take was to watch the fly line or leader, that is of course when nymph fishing, dead drift style. Not all waters are gin clear like the Test, and slow flowing at that too.

Anyways, a day or so ago l was guiding a client who is overall a good fly fisher and suggested to him that we remove his indicator. How will l see the takes he asked, l will show you.
And l might add we were drift fishing in the boat not wading at the time.
I told him that he could present the flies to the fish in a more natural way as they were not being subject to being downstream influenced by a indicator and the fly line, neither being on the surface of the water.

There are only 3 ways to know a fish has taken your fly, you either feel it, see it, either the fish or by other indication, or your sense tells you so.

I can assure you that if you develope the ability to detect takes other than the use of a indicator it will highten your ability to read and react in a very different way. For many reasons.
One of those is that your ability to be able to deal with drift control has to be overall that much better, for many reasons.

Essentially your initial placement of the flies and the then control of the drift of those flies in a relation to the speed of the water has to be that much more perfect, or you will not see the subtle takes that you will get.
So far as moving water is concerned. Lakes and stillwaters are a very different matter.

It goes without saying that much of this requires that you fish at a reasonably close range to you position, or one that the length of the rod you are using will allow you to do so.

There are two ways that you are able to do this. The first is when the entire flyline/leader/tippet are on the surface of the water the second is that you hold the rod high and allow only the leader to touch the surface, the fly line is held high above.
The indication is seen by the quick looked for between the water surface and the end of the fly line.
But there is a great deal more to it than just that.

You may know this here as a technique called High Stick. This is a very deadly way to catch fish once you have mastered the means to do it, which is related to knowing how to set your configuration of leader/tippet/fly or flies used and weight.

There is no absolute way l can tell you how to rig up for every scenario that you will be faced with but l will give you a good overall system to work with as a start.

The first priority is that you will be able to visually see the indication of the take of the fish. Remember it is the available distance from fly line to the surface of the water, that you will concentrate on.

You have a number of options here.
1. You use the means of the leader as attached as a standard tapered system.
2. You attach to the end of the fly line something that is visible, such as a bright colored end tip, that could be a braided loop, etc.
3. You attach to the end of the fly line a section of highly visible mono.

I choose to use option 3, for these reasons.

By means one, light conditions do not always make it easy to see perfectly that clear mono. And l wish to be able to chop and change my system quickly at times.

By means two, Unless you are fishing with the rod at a low angle to the water surface you will miss many of the takes you will get as you will be forced to look at too high a angle to that fixed point at the end of the fly line.
Your point of focus should be close to the waters surface.!!
This is certainly the case when you are forced to look into a very bright background of light or you are fishing with the rod tip high, which is very much the case with these techniques of fishing.

I do it this way. To the end of my fly line is attached by the no knot means a section of either red or green Amnesia, shooting head backing. You will see that in any prevailing light condition. It is highly visible.

As a rule l will use something like 2ft of 20lb Amnesia then 2 to 4 ft of 15lb Amnesia.
The second section of Amnesia may be shortened or increased as demanded.

At the termination of that l will tie on a 2mm round rubber O ring.
To that l then add my straight sections of tippet to the length l am looking for, to enable the presentation required.
You can dispense with the round ring and simply form a figure 8 knot at the end of the Amnesia, you then attach the tippet above the knot, which acts as a stop. That can be tied with any knot of your choice for that matter. I use my own for that purpose.

OK, l am not building a tapered leader as such. If l wish to fish flies for example to 4/5/6 x l will normally go straight with that.
Example may be .. Amnesia makes up for 5ft, l then add what l need for tippet, be it of any diameter, to that the fly is attached.
If l am using more than 1 fly then l use a surgeons knot to form the droppers, at the given distance apart l wish them to be.

Let me explain why l do it this way.

Often l am fishing at a range that is not directly below my rod tip. The 4 or 5 ft of Amnesia plus the added tippet length allows me to do that and also detect the takes at range, l can tract my flies 100% this way. Be it in flat surface or very rough boulder strewn pockets.
I am using also a long rod, at least 10ft sometimes 11ft, that also greatly enhances my ability to fish at long range with this technique.
Both by wade and boat fishing means.

I have used all other methods in the past and have settled on this as the all round best way to set the rig up as there is no situation l cannot deal with this way.
That is not the case by the other methods.
The Amnesia is your sight of indication, given the overall length that l use l have a very wide margin to work with between the water surface and the rod tip, regardless if l hold it high or low.
That is termed the angle of hang. You cannot have a taught line as you will be pulling or retarding the natural drift of the flies being fished.

You can of course adjust the system to suit the water you fish on a regular basis. You may find that only 2 or 3ft of the Amnesia is required. My way of thinking is this. The Amnesia is darn cheap to start with so having to cut or add makes no real difference in that respect.

Its primary function is to allow me to detect the takes, set up my system the way l wish it to be. In a simple productive way.

So far as being able to detect the takes. My point of focus is more or less just above the surface of the water. That is the point you should read more than any other. Not a position that the leader meets the fly line, or you will miss very many of the subtle takes you will get, l can assure you of that one.

I tell my students to set the hook, they look at me amazed when a fish is hooked, how the hell you see that they ask. Simple l tells them, you were looking at the wrong place, or maybe that girl in the bikini in the boat way over there !!

I will add a further post related to how to effect drift control.

Have a great day fly fishers.

Davy. Wotton