adding weight to nymphs/strike indicators

wattersonjr

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I have a few questions

1. what do you think are the best strike indicators?

2. how far about my nymph should i add weight and if it makes a small splash when it hits the water is that ok?

I am fishing in the Chattahoochee river in Atlanta Georgia

Thank you guys.
 

cotter

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I don't particularly enjoy fishing with indicators, but when I do I use a small thingamabobber. I'll fish a dry dropper instead of an indicator whenever possible though.

I also don't like to use split shot, and only use it when I absolutely have to. Beadheads will usually get your flies down quick and deep enough. If there is a situation where a regular beadhead won't sink fast enough, use a tungsten beadhead. However, when I do use split shot I usually place it 6-10 inches above my first fly.

Like you said, split shot will make a disturbance when it hits the water. I have also found that it makes casting awkward, and usually increases your chances of tangling up. I would only recommend using it when it is necessary.
 

williamhj

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I also use thingamabobbers - prefer the ones with the pin that helps hold the bobber on the line without sliding. I really like how adjustable they are, letting me move from deeper to shallower or faster to slower water without needed to adjust the length of tippet between the dry and the dropper while keeping the nymphs down near the bottom.

I previously put the weight fairly close to the fly but saw a guide putting it well over a foot above the fly and found it to be a very effective distance. I think it lets the fly drift more naturally behind the weight while still being down near the bottom. Frequently play around with the length between the indicator and weight and then between the weight and fly until I feel I've got it about right. I like the soft weight. Lets me use as much or little as I want, warm it in my fingers to soften it, wrap it around the line and then dunk it to cool it off before casting.

At times I prefer to just use weighted flies. Using a heavy fly as the first fly with lighter ones trailing to let them get a more natural drift near the bottom, or having the heavy one as the last fly to let the others ride higher in the water column. Distances between flies and fly - indicator can take some experimentation to find the depth you want without hanging up on every cast.

As for the splash, if the water is moving over rocks etc don't usually find it an issue. The weight helps get the fly into the strike zone. On slower water with more spooky fish I might use lightly weighted flies that will land more softly and hopefully still sink enough. Czech style nymphs can be great since they often have some weight on the shank, while being sleek to reduce resistance and help them get to the bottom.
 

bigjim5589

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Check out this nymph rig. Might help you. It's for a 2 fly set up, but doesn't have to be. One fly could be used.

I also don't like using split shot, but tied to the end of the line, as in that rig, makes the most sense for adding weight. Otherwise, agree with using weighted nymphs with various forms of weight such as bead heads & no, I don't feel the splash is something that's a problem. You should be casting your flies so that they drift into the area where the fish are located, not on top of them.

A Drop-Shot Tandem Nymph Rig « currentseams
 

ejsell

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I wouldn't worry to much about the splash as long as you aren't repeatedly slapping the water and the splash is fairly small. A lot of the time I purposely aim my cast near overhanging trees, branches and shrubs with the philosophy that the fish will think it's food falling out of the tree and I've gotten a lot of hits right after that little splash.
 

silver creek

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There are three factors at work when nymphing.

One is effective drift length (EDL). That is the time the fly spends in the feeding zone of the fish. When fish are feeding at the bottom, this is about the bottom 12 - 18 inches.

Factors 2 and 3 are a combination of a drag free drift AND a natural mass density or buoyancy of the fly. A drag free drift is self explanatory as the natural downstream drift of the fly. Natural buoyancy means the fly has the same density as a natural insect so that the side to side movement and up down movements as it drifts downstream is like the natural. In other words, the fly moves just like a aquatic insect caught in the flow, it is not significantly heavier or lighter than a natural insect of it's size. Since nymphs and caddis pupae are 95% water, they are just about neutrally buoyant.

In much the same way as a surface feeding trout knows the speed and action of a real insects, so a sub surface feeding trout knows the natural behavior of a natural drifting nymph. Natural drift in the subsurface world is 3 dimensional and a heavily weighted fly cannot and will not move like a fly that is closer to the density of a real nymph.

Take a look at this video below of a free drifting stonefly nymph at 1 minute 30 seconds into the video. Would a bead head or a heavily weight nymph drift in like the real nymph in the video below?

]YouTube


So why then do these flies work so well? The reason is that no matter how realistic a fly drifts in the water, it cannot catch fish if it is not in the feeding zone of the fish.

Added weight of any kind, a bead or lead wire, sinks the fly faster. The faster a fly sinks, the faster it gets into the feeding zone and the greater the chance of a fish seeing it. So if we are fishing a fly by itself, a bead head or lead weighted fly will be seen by more feeding fish. They have a greater effective drift length.

If we consider when these weighted flies are most effective, we will find that they are most effective in the faster flows. In faster flows, a non weighted nymph by itself may never get to the feeding zone. In faster water the flows at the bottom is more turbulent and the water floe is chaotic. Not only does the fish have a more difficult time telling if the fly is drifting naturally, there is also less time for the fish to decide whether to take the fly. For the same reason that it is easier to catch fish in the riffles with a dry fly, it is also easier to catch fish with weighted nymphs in more turbulent flows. This is called a reaction strike that occurs in situations where the fish has only an instant to decide to eat or not eat.

So if you are going to use weighted nymphs, they are most effective in turbulent water.

However, I prefer to use unweighted nymphs and non bead head flies most of the time. I add weight to my leader to get the flies down to the feeding zone. The unweighted flies then drifts and move more naturally.

One difficulty I see with weighted nymphs is that they are weighted. By that I mean they have a set amount of weight that will work well for a given depth and flow speed. If the water is deeper or faster, you need to add weight to the leader anyway to get the flies to the bottom; and if you adding weight to the leader, why not use unweighted flies in the first place to get a more natural drift? If the fly is too heavy for the depth and flow you are fishing, you have the worst of both worlds. You cannot remove weight if it is in the fly.

As to the flash factor, it that is what you think is needed, use a glass bead that is both reflective and translucent like a real caddis.

Consider where and why bead head nymphs were invented. They were invented for the the World Fly Fishing Championship which uses European fly fishing regulations that do NOT allow added weight or strike indicators to the leader or the fly line. So all weight HAS to be in the fly. So the bead was a method to sink the fly maintaining a more natural slim profile to the fly body. So although these flies do not drift naturally, they did maximize the EDL.

In the USA, the fishing regulations in most states allow adding weight to the leader. So I prefer to add weight to the leader since this allows me to change the weighting of the nymphing rig more easily that weighting the fly AND it gives me a more natural drift of the fly.

The second reason to weight the rig and not the fly is that almost every nymph fisher uses bead head flies. This means in heavily fished waters, the fish see bead head flies all the time. I believe that in these heavily fished waters, some fish will avoid bead head flies and a non bead head fly will catch more fish.
 
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runningfish

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I think the thingabobbers are better than the small 3/4" slip bobber for fishing from the banks. At least they are much easier to cast than the slip bobber and they come in 3 different sizes.

Thingamabobbers: Fishing Tools | Free Shipping at L.L.Bean

I don't do much nymphing but when I do, I am just using beadhead or tungsten head nymph directly under the indicator without any weights.
 

patrick62

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1. I don't. I use a dry fly — usually but not always a big one.

2. It depends. Bead- and tung-heads often do the job. I use weight when needed. Heavier weight goes further up the leader. Microshot — if you can see it — can go a few inches away from the nymph.

I don't worry about splashes. Get a mask and snorkel and spend some time in a river. It's utter chaos. A tiny splash here and there isn't going to make much difference.
 

silver creek

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I fish additional nymphs off of droppers rather than in line with each other. Consider that the Brits who have been fishing soft hackle flies for since the 1800s fish these flies off of droppers rather than in line. Have you ever considered why soft hackle flies on droppers are more effective than in-line flies?

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 freedom 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).
 

planettrout

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Silver is right on...when this river is blowin' at over 800 cfs., one wishes for wheel weights to get a #20 Cream Miracle Midge down to where the fish are holding and feeding...up to five twist-ons will generally get it done with a tuck cast (try that without the whole rig going South)... :p




PT/TB :thmbup:
 

Bigfly

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1st, I think any time we use a Ralph Cutter video (on utube), we should bow in his direction......because he doesn't get a dime.
The guy has spent years underwater for our benefit. He didn't post it......so ethically we should buy it.....What's $29.00 for ultimate knowledge?
I also recommend his companion book "Fish Food".

2nd, Silver is dead-on about beads. They act as a fish repellent here..the smarter the fish, the worse it is.
How many bugs have bright heads?
I do use them early spring when water is off color.
I use less weight in my flies too, just drop a stone fly on the water and see how long it takes to sink to the bottom....
Of course, when Czech nymphing my jiggy stone weighs about an once............

3d, I pinch split shot 6-8" from the lead fly (I want my flies and weight in the same zone.), and use the soft weight on dropper tippet to not bruise the lighter tippet, and still get it down.. Bruised leaders can lose a lot of fish. (Looks cloudy if bruised.) Test it to see, and then retie.

4th, I almost never use an overhand cast with nymph rigs. The only time I have trouble with clients (beginner or experienced), is when they can't transition to a roll cast/water load. We can go all day without tangles otherwise. (Which means more fishing.)


In several states drop-shotting is not legal........thankfully. Better check your local regs first.

Jim
 
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labradorguy

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As always, top notch stuff there Jim.

"Now, walk into the water to your knee quietly....." LOVE IT. You made me spill my coffee.... :)

One thing that has helped me slow down and quit being the guy who is trying to cover the most water on any given day is me keeping the fish counts at the very front of my brain.... As an example, the biologists estimate that there are 500 fish per 1000' of river on the Stone above Big Timber. If I'm fishing a nice looking piece of water and I'm not doing any good, I recall that number and then try to visualize how many fish there are in range of my rod before I make the decision to leave. It's a great way to motivate yourself to try something different rather than just move on.

Now I need to work on- fish a dry, fish another dry, fish another dry, fish another dry, fish that dry again just smaller, fish another dry.... tie on a nymph. All things come with time I guess. lol :)
 

Bigfly

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Jason, we may have 400 fish per mile, not that fishy really......
The challenge is to take the game to them, not wait for them to come play with us.
They are in there though......
Fishing here is more like the NFL, as opposed to Pop Warner.....all the players are good......both fish and fishermen.....
Slow down, fish effectively, and then report back.......
I find the Kungfu approach works best....Looked for, cannot be seen, listened for, cannot be heard....bumbling and white hats, don't help our stats......
I get a laugh about once a year on here....thanks.

And......fish a dry, when you see a nose.....otherwise..get it down there.


Jim
 
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