Nymphing Tactics

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Esox_Hunter
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2007/10/22 18:57:09 (permalink)

Nymphing Tactics

Fishing new water is hard enough...but the biggest challenge for me I think is fishing large rivers.  After a recent trip to a large unfamiliar river it made me wonder how others would fish the same runs.  Yes we caught a fair amount of fish but I didnt feel confident in my nymphing in this river.  alot of the runs were 6-8 feet deep with ALOT of water pushing through them.  Most of the time I fished a 10' leader, alot of shot, and tried to keep a fairly tight to feel for takes.  Perhaps it is in my head but it seems like this technique creates alot of drag and is only good for very short drifts in this kind of water( although all my fish were caught like this).  Tight lining in smaller water...piece of cake.  So I was wondering how some of you Experienced fly-fishers would go about fishing water like this.  Especially you guys who have fished out west before.   
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    saltflyfisher
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    RE: Nymphing Tactics 2007/10/22 20:03:15 (permalink)
    You don't fish the whole river regardless of its overall size. Fish it as small sections of stream at a time. Each little eddy, seam or riffle is just that a section of river. the hardest part that people don't understand about nymphing is you need to adapt to your surroundings all the time and each minute. Your weight gets moved, flies get changed and leaders changed. When you become overloaded w/ thoughts of what to do next, stop and get out of the water. Sit back and observe, more things can be learned by looking then jumping in w/ both feet. If you see fish, whats their habits? Are they rolling and flashing as they are feeding, are they on the surface and if so are they breaking the surface of the water or just rising under it. Any one of these items can give you insight to the fishes patterns of feeding.

    The amt of weight you use has a lot to do w/ the way the fly moves under water. Ever take a lg amt of weight and place it one the leader, what does it do to the fly. Takes it straight to the bottom. Now take the same amt of weight but use smaller pieces of the weight to make the whole. Spread it out over 6" of leader and see what happens to the fly. It will sink at the same rate as before but the difference is the way it sinks. The single shot, hinges w/ the fly at the leader. The spread out shot sinks over a longer sweeping arch and w/ the fly not hinged up. At the end of your drift, don't just pull the leader out of the water. Stop the rod and let the fly drift up in the water column. It looks like a rising emerger.

    Hope some of this helps, your have other input from some of these guys too.
    #2
    Esox_Hunter
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    RE: Nymphing Tactics 2007/10/22 20:25:58 (permalink)
    Thanks for the reply...but it really doesnt help...seems geared more towards a first timer.  Im not trying to fish the whole river???? You certaintly cant see fish in these kinds of runs either. Im specifically asking about nyphing in 6+ft deep fast runs.  Pocket water, tail outs, and shallow runs there are cake to fish like they are any where else.  This time of year like steelhead the larger browns congregate in these deep runs and faster plunge pools on their trek to find an area to spawn.  The few times Ive been to this place that has always been true.  Back to the question at hand how would you EXPERIENCED flyfishers fish these deep fast runs??  Keep in mind you will be using nymphs of some sort.  I would like to know the techniques you use and a basic description of terminal tackle.
    #3
    Green Weenie
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    RE: Nymphing Tactics 2007/10/22 20:36:35 (permalink)
    You might want to shorten your leader to somewhere between 6 and 7 1/2 feet.  The longer the leader the harder it is to get deep.  You might also want to go to a sinking tip line.  If the runs are that deep, 6 to 8 feet, lots of lead and keep mending your line upstream, so that the nymphs sink.

    fly fish....save a worms life
    #4
    SilverKype
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    RE: Nymphing Tactics 2007/10/23 07:56:34 (permalink)
    Chris -  Fishing deep runs is all about correct weight distribution.  Heaviest shot closest to the fly line and then increment towards the fly with smaller shot .. getting smaller the close you get.  This can hinder the movement of the fly so it's important to be able to recognize what is too much shot or too little.  Don't be afraid to use heavier tippet if need be.  It may stiffen the drift a bit but will handle the shot better.  Every run/seam will be different.  Fish the edges and look for breaks in the water.
     
    I'm not a big fan of really heavy thin flies but that's the ticket if the water is really moving.  Use heavy hooks and don't make the fly too bulky.  Tunsten beads are the way to go.  Add lead if you must although this can many times be overkill.
     
    It may be a good idea to use a 6 weight if you have one.  Not necessary at all but I like to with big water.
     
    Like GW said, shorten your leader.  Fluorocarbon also sinks faster if you want to go that route.
    #5
    casts_by_fly
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    RE: Nymphing Tactics 2007/10/23 09:05:27 (permalink)
    essox,
     
    I am pretty sure that salty IS an experienced angler and one that you should be looking for advice from.
     
    Frankly, I would give the same advice.  Big water nymphing is all about adjusting to the conditions.  If you are fishing a big river (which you mentioned in your first post) you break it down into sections.  Not just tail, run, riffle, etc, but each place that you are standing in is a new section.  Every time you move your feet you are changing the conditions a little bit.  You have to find the right shot amount and pattern to put the flies at the right depth in the water column.  Get them there fast and keep them there for the whole drift.
     
    For fishing plunge pools (from your second post) and fairly quick flowing water down to 6' deep the rules are the same.  Find the right amount of weight to put the flies down but allow them to keep moving along.
     
    For me, if I walked up to a stream that was moving pretty quick and deep, I'd plan for 2-3 bb shot right off the top.  If I don't know what the fish are hitting I'd probably run an anchor rig for big water where the weight is on the bottom, come up 6" and put a dropper to your bottom fly, up 1' to another dropper, up another 1' to another dropper.  Then youve got three flies out and can change the weight easily.  With the weight on the bottom you can adjust weight quick and easy, but if you get snagged up you only loose the weight and not the flies.
     
    If I know what flies they are likely hitting or if the fish aren't picky I'll fish a standard single fly rig on an indicator with the shot just above it on the leader.  Yes, you get a big of drag when you start talking long casts to deep water.  That's when longer rods and line management come into play.  Tuck casts with upstream in-air mends are pretty helpful.  They will buy you another half to full second in the strike zone.  Also go to a longer leader of thinner material.  If the water is 6' deep I've got 8' between my indicator shot.  So put a short 2' butt on, tie in your indicator, and run nearly straight mono to the bottom.  You'll get less leader drag and all you have to worry about it your fly line.

    Thanks
    Rick
    #6
    fishenfool46
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    RE: Nymphing Tactics 2007/10/23 10:31:33 (permalink)
    < non experienced by far but listening to you guys i am learning more and more.flyfishing is like golf some days you pick all the right clubs and some ya don't lol
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    Esox_Hunter
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    RE: Nymphing Tactics 2007/10/23 10:52:41 (permalink)
    Thanks guys.  I didnt mean for it to sound like im questioning salts ability.  Sorry salts if it came out that way.  I emphasized experienced beacuse I didnt want to have another blind leading the blind thread. The rod im fishing for this is a 10' 5wt.  I think im ok with that.  Indicator fishing is certainly not an option.  The deeper the water the more variation in currents throughout the water column, fishing an indicator even properly mended will create alot of drag.  Some good thoughts on the weight distribution guys.  Something I will definately pay more attention to next time.  Any more tips/comments are greatly appreciated.   
    #8
    saltflyfisher
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    RE: Nymphing Tactics 2007/10/23 16:31:46 (permalink)
    You can't hurt my feelings. I give info slowly at first to feel a person out myself. Nymph fishing is one of those things that what works for me can and sometimes not work for someone else. To explain the whys as to how it works for myself is not clear. I fish water from 1 ft to 6 ft deep most of the time. You get this second sense to yourself as you do more nymphing over time. You strike at nothing, no indication that anything is near your fly and there it is a trout. the leader set up is a chopped up tapered leader. I'll take a 9 ft leader cut a ft off the butt end and tie that to the fly line, I'll cut 2 ft off the tippet end and add 3 ft of floro.. Tie the fly on and add 18 inchs more of the next step down of leader size and tie on a dropper.Rod is held high, tip is over my head height, rod is lowered at the bottom part of the drift to let the fly have line and to stretch out the drift. 9 out of 10 times my dropper is an emerger pattern. Nothing of any particular pattern just a wet fly w/ a clipped wing, (wht, yellow or light green in color). These are purely generic fly patterns. The top fly will be a pheasant tail or GRHE. Smaller early and late in the season. The weights added are small and smaller, I never carry anything of 1 large weight by itself. I like the lead that comes in a matchbook design, and use 1/3 to 1/2 a strip to start. Snagging bottom less weight and same is true of not touching bottom, add. Weight is started by placing 1 ft above fly and adjusted though out the day, but never closer than that ft. I do fish indicators in the rivers around me, but these are also kept small, I not looking for them to suspend the fly but to be my eyes. I mentioned about be observant, I learned the most about fly casting yrs ago when I stopped and watched a fellow fisherman cast. Looked at is stroke. This goes the same w/ any fly fishing. Stop before you even dress up and rig up and walk a small section of the river.

    Heres another question,be it for yourself or someone else reading this, what are you wearing on the water? Do you blend in w/ the surroundings or stand out like a orange raincoat wearing fisherman. (Had to add that, that in itself is funny and where do we find this?) This does make a difference in the fish you catch and your abilities to get close to them to nymph. my clothing is muted in color and matches the surroundings right down to a tee shirt that may be visible through the openings in my vest or shirt. I wear long sleeve shirts, even in the summer months, so my wht skin is not visible.

    How long have you been nymphing to give you an idea, I've been at it for better than 25 yrs and still learning. This does take time to " master" for a lack of better words and It'll take another 25 yrs to finally understand.
    ORIGINAL: Esox_Hunter

    Thanks guys.  I didnt mean for it to sound like im questioning salts ability.  Sorry salts if it came out that way.  I emphasized experienced beacuse I didnt want to have another blind leading the blind thread. The rod im fishing for this is a 10' 5wt.  I think im ok with that.  Indicator fishing is certainly not an option.  The deeper the water the more variation in currents throughout the water column, fishing an indicator even properly mended will create alot of drag.  Some good thoughts on the weight distribution guys.  Something I will definately pay more attention to next time.  Any more tips/comments are greatly appreciated.   
    #9
    thedrake
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    RE: Nymphing Tactics 2007/10/23 21:30:18 (permalink)
    When nymphing in fast currents and deep water, always use and indicator. They allow longer drifts, which allows you flys a more time to sink. When you tight line nymph, you have very short drifts and often end up having trouble getting to the bottom. Using an inicator will also allow you to cover a lot more water without standing on top of the fish.
     
    Another way to get your nymphs deeper is to use a 10 or 12ft leader. I never nymph with anything less than 9ft. I know a lot of people that never nymph with anything over 7.5 ft, but a 7.5ft leader will struggle to get down even to 4-5ft in swift water.
     
    I usually place my idicator roughly 2X the depth of the water to start out. If the weight on my leader keeps my indicator sinking, then I move it further up the line. I add weight until I am hitting bottom on every cast. Typically I carry size 4 through AB shot in my vest.
     
    I have had many objections to using indicators when I am guiding. I think its mostly because people who have tried them didnt know how to use them correctly.
    #10
    Esox_Hunter
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    RE: Nymphing Tactics 2007/10/23 22:06:35 (permalink)
    7.5' definately isnt enough for what im talkin about.  I like to use a 7.5 for smaller water though.  I definately agree with high-stickin/tight lining giving you very short effective drifts.  Although that is generally how I would fish the deep and fast stuff.  Like I said above we caught some nice fish doing it.  But, I couldnt stop thinking all weekend "there has got to be a better way". 
     
    I have tried indicator fishing there but I dont think I had the correct leader length.  Like you said it sinks the indicator then and creates tons of drag. I typically like 10', but what you said makes good sense.  Perhaps the way to go about it is 12-15' leader and an indicator??? 
     
    Thanks guys...some sound advice
    Keep em' coming
    #11
    luvinbluegills
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    RE: Nymphing Tactics 2007/10/23 23:49:44 (permalink)
    My nymphing in deep (6 ft plus), fastwater goes like this:

    Cast above the run, mend line til the nymph gets down, hi-stick it through.

    OR:

    Position myself above the run, pile cast in front of me, hold line while it sweeps the nymph up through a specific spot. Lather, rinse, repeat.

    OR:

    Big heavy nymph lobbed to the top of the run, prayer that it doesn't quickly snag.

    Faith is only as good as its object
    Adventures with Fish
    #12
    Loomis
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    RE: Nymphing Tactics 2007/10/24 10:55:27 (permalink)
    Esox,
     
    have u ever tried/read/or heard anything about Czech Nymphing? I  have been practicing it as of late and is has accounted for a decent amount of fish for me, Epecially in the yough and on some holes in Meadow Run, which tend to get really deep and fast and really are strange, if you've fished it during high water u'd know what im talking about.  Czech Nymphing is probably the best plunge pool tactic iv'e found so far.  Also, I am a huge fan of the drop shotting techniuqe on a fly-rod.  Call me crazy, but when the waters up and fast, you can really high stick from a decent distance away given you have so much weight on the leader itself, it helps it to slice effortlessly through the current.  If the water is off color ill use a barrel swivel to "drop" the shot off, for clearer faster conditions ill drop the shot off from behind a blood or surgeons knot.  When casting, this method has gotten the nick-name of "Chuck and Duck" because of how much weight is whipping at you, Ive gotten a black eye before myself.  But, I cant tell you how many fish iv'e caught using this technique.  Cast upstream, and pull upstream at a 45 degree angle to get the fly behind the sinkers, then use ur instinct to keep the sinkers "ticking" the bottom.  Your in all actuallity making a 90 degree angle from fly line to fly, and this allows your fly to roll just off the bottom.  Takes are hard to feel but your fly line usually comes to an abrubpt stop as when the sinkers drift past the fish they alert you to the strike.  Use Amnesia for a leader butt to see whats going on.  Hope this helps.
    #13
    afishinado
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    RE: Nymphing Tactics 2007/10/24 12:07:50 (permalink)
    I’ve found one way to improve your nymphing success is to use a short steeply tapered leader (I make my own furled leaders), attach 3 – 5x tippet to the leader, and attach your indicator to the tippet.  I nymph under the tippet instead of running my indicator up the leader into the heavier taper.  An indicator attached to the heavy taper will cause more drag in the current ruining the drift and making strike detection difficult. Also the shorter leader is easier to cast and mend.
     
    Doing this you will find that the line below the indicator will ride more vertical, therefore less distance is needed between the indicator and fly(s), and strike detection is easier.  Also, putting one or two small split shots between the indicator and fly(s) in deeper/faster water will also help prevent drag and get the fly down both faster and deeper.
    #14
    thedrake
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    RE: Nymphing Tactics 2007/10/24 13:03:15 (permalink)
    ORIGINAL: Esox_Hunter

    7.5' definately isnt enough for what im talkin about.  I like to use a 7.5 for smaller water though.  I definately agree with high-stickin/tight lining giving you very short effective drifts.  Although that is generally how I would fish the deep and fast stuff.  Like I said above we caught some nice fish doing it.  But, I couldnt stop thinking all weekend "there has got to be a better way". 

    I have tried indicator fishing there but I dont think I had the correct leader length.  Like you said it sinks the indicator then and creates tons of drag. I typically like 10', but what you said makes good sense.  Perhaps the way to go about it is 12-15' leader and an indicator??? 

    Thanks guys...some sound advice
    Keep em' coming


    A 12 foot leader is not easy to cast, but it should help you in deep water.

    Some more advice....Always use 2 nymphs, and place them about 8-10 inches apart. Do this by tying a peice of tippet onto the hookshank of your first nymph, then connect the second nymph to that peice of tippet. I like to use two different nymphs to start that way you can find out which one the fish are taking, then switch to a pair of what is working. Place your shot about 6 - 10" above your first nymph, not between them. Space out you shot with a fingers width between them. I always use at least a pair of shot because I seem to get hung up less that way.

    This setup works well for me, and i've got a lot of people on a lot of fish this way. Like I said earlier, using an indicator allows you to distance yourself from the fish. When tight line nymphing, people typically scare more fish than they realize, since they often stand right over top of them.
    #15
    Esox_Hunter
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    RE: Nymphing Tactics 2007/10/24 13:20:21 (permalink)
    Drake,
    12' leaders certainly arent any fun to cast.  I nearly always fish a tandem rig, anytime conditions permit(99% of the time).  I like to start with a heavier generic nymph on top (copper john, bhpt, ect.) and some sort of caddis pupa/emerger or an egg pattern on the bottom.  I also agree with shot placement, at least 2 shots with just a bit of space in between. 
     
    Loomis,
    I dont really know a whole lot about about czech nymphing, I have seen articles on it but cant say ive payed much attention to it.  The river im talking about here is similar to the yough only about 1/2 its size.  Included in the river are numerous rapids, I think up to class 3 with the right flows.  The rapids create the deep swift runs and plunge pools that are in question.  So my guess if it works on the yough it outta work there.  If you dont mind, how about posting some of the specifics of czech nyphing?  Never hurts to have several techniques to try for next time.
     
     
    #16
    kyler16
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    RE: Nymphing Tactics 2007/10/26 04:12:38 (permalink)
    Im still screwing up the drag in the current with an indicator. I dont know Ive tried so many things. If i wasnt for a few hungry trout going after the hares ear I would of given up on it. most of my nymphing Im using a dropper and they are going after the egg more then the nymph. Also Im doing this after reading everyones advice and havent really had anyone to show me or let me know wether Im doing it correct or not. 

    "If you kill it, eat it. If you eat it, cook it right."
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    #17
    saltflyfisher
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    RE: Nymphing Tactics 2007/10/26 06:15:59 (permalink)
    kyler, whats the indicator doing? Is it being pulled under?
    ORIGINAL: kyler16

    Im still screwing up the drag in the current with an indicator. I dont know Ive tried so many things. If i wasnt for a few hungry trout going after the hares ear I would of given up on it. most of my nymphing Im using a dropper and they are going after the egg more then the nymph. Also Im doing this after reading everyones advice and havent really had anyone to show me or let me know wether Im doing it correct or not. 
    #18
    thedrake
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    RE: Nymphing Tactics 2007/10/26 08:15:02 (permalink)
    ORIGINAL: kyler16

    Im still screwing up the drag in the current with an indicator. I dont know Ive tried so many things. If i wasnt for a few hungry trout going after the hares ear I would of given up on it. most of my nymphing Im using a dropper and they are going after the egg more then the nymph. Also Im doing this after reading everyones advice and havent really had anyone to show me or let me know wether Im doing it correct or not. 

     
    Are you mending your line during the drift?
    #19
    SilverKype
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    RE: Nymphing Tactics 2007/10/26 08:43:33 (permalink)
    kyler -- the fish will let you know if you're doing it correct or not.
    #20
    kyler16
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    RE: Nymphing Tactics 2007/10/26 09:08:13 (permalink)
    The indicator seems to be pulling forward of the nymph is it trun that your to make the depth 1.5 times the depth your fishing? I try not to use weight I try to my them as weighted so it looks more natural. yes Im mending so the slack isnt pulling the float. 

    "If you kill it, eat it. If you eat it, cook it right."
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    #21
    saltflyfisher
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    RE: Nymphing Tactics 2007/10/26 15:12:32 (permalink)
    I tend to have the indicator at the same depth as the water I'm fishing. After a few casts and fishing through the run I'll adjust as needed till I feel good of the placement. Once you placed your cast, throw slack w/ a small roll cast or with a reach cast. You really have to give it the same slack like that for dry flies.This will let the fly drop and the indicator to remain above the dropped fly. The other thing to remember is the current is slow at the bottom. W/ the use of weight added to a leader I've yet to find where it hinders the flies drift. Yes to much weight like the amt. used w/ the old chuck and duck style of fishing will affect it.
    ORIGINAL: kyler16

    The indicator seems to be pulling forward of the nymph is it trun that your to make the depth 1.5 times the depth your fishing? I try not to use weight I try to my them as weighted so it looks more natural. yes Im mending so the slack isnt pulling the float. 
    #22
    ronnie84
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    RE: Nymphing Tactics 2007/10/29 19:11:51 (permalink)
    I'm glad I browsed this thread because it just brought a bad habit of mine into the open and is probably a big reason for missing a lot of takes...

    Everytime I fish an indicator, I put it directly below the fly line, probably a quarter inch gap between the indicator and fly line. As silly as this sounds, I've never thought of placing it anywhere else on the leader, ever. I always figure my depth out with weight added or subtracted and figure that the indicator at the very top would be sufficient enough no matter the water depth. Or...does my method really hinder anything at all?

    Makes more sense that takes would make strike detection easier with placing it on the smaller tippet taper.
    post edited by ronnie84 - 2007/10/29 19:13:15
    #23
    kyler16
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    RE: Nymphing Tactics 2007/10/29 22:39:23 (permalink)
    I see guys using nymphs with out indicators hows this possible, i even miss strikes with an indacator i could only imagine without.

    andro now Ive never tried sinking tips yet.

    "If you kill it, eat it. If you eat it, cook it right."
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    Esox_Hunter
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    RE: Nymphing Tactics 2007/10/29 23:39:30 (permalink)
    Kyler,

    You shouldnt be using your strike indicator only to detect strikes.  When used properly it gives you great control over you fly and presentation. They are very effective for depth control.  It also makes it very easy to read water, pay close attention and the indicator will show you every feeding lane in a given pool, run, ect.  Lastly they make it very obvious when drag is present.

    As far as fishing without indicators, its pretty simple.  Keep the rod high, keep as much line off the water, and keep your line as tight as you can without creating drag.  With a decent rod you will feel the takes, generally just a little bump in the drift. Use red amnesia to connect your fly line and leader, it will help you see changes in your drift.  The downsides of fishing like this are primarily for me, getting much shorter drifts compared to those with an indicator.  There are many times though when indicators are not an option.  For one, low and clear water with wild(smart) fish, and as I mentioned earlier in this thread, big deep water(although im gonna give indicators another try for this next time).
    post edited by Esox_Hunter - 2007/10/29 23:40:53
    #25
    kyler16
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    RE: Nymphing Tactics 2007/10/29 23:46:49 (permalink)
    Lately Ive been fishing water thats stained and I tried it with out an indicator I have bout 24 inches of red anmeasa between my tapered leader and fly line. but have trouble seeing it. 

    "If you kill it, eat it. If you eat it, cook it right."
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    #26
    Esox_Hunter
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    RE: Nymphing Tactics 2007/10/29 23:56:23 (permalink)
    IMO use an indicator if possible (if it is getting you a good drift and your not spooking fish).  Try a shorter leader next time if you decide to go indicator-less.  It will help you control your line a little better and give a better feel. 
    #27
    kyler16
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    RE: Nymphing Tactics 2007/10/30 00:04:56 (permalink)
    in the past 6 months Ive learned so much bout fly fishing, heck I never knew what a tappered leader was I always just used on of those eyelets that u thread to the fly line and then bout 4 foot of tippet. so I dont know were to use a 7.5 tappered leader of a 9 foot or what 

    "If you kill it, eat it. If you eat it, cook it right."
    -Steve Rinella
    #28
    Loomis
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    RE: Nymphing Tactics 2007/10/30 08:28:54 (permalink)
    http://www.fishandfly.co.uk/tledit0500a.html
     
    Check out that website Esox, it will give you some help, but the best thing to do is buy a book.  Most things I have found about Czech Nymphing on the internet just kind of "hint" around it, they always want you to purchase a book, maybe some sort of omen, I dont know.  What about drop shotting did you look into that at all??
    #29
    RIZ
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    RE: Nymphing Tactics 2007/10/30 10:38:10 (permalink)
    #30
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