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NHMatt

Novice looking for nymphing tips

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Been fly fishing a couple years now (novice still) and I'm having trouble setting the hook while dead drifting nymphs. I typically use either a single nymph or a dry dropper setup. Most of the time with either a weight or strike indicator or both. Tried everything.


In order to get a drag free drift, I usually throw a few mends in the line. My question is, with this slack created by the mends, how am I supposed to set the hook when I see the indicator twitch or disappear?


I high stick when I can to keep the line out of the water while still having control of the line, but when I have to reach across the stream, I can't seem to get it right.


Any advice would be appreciated.

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Hook sets are always going to be an issue when you have slack in the line. Do you just use the rod to set the hook? This might not be enough.

I strip set when ever I can. Sometimes, lifting the rod at the same time is needed. Without the strip set, lifting the rod might not be quick enough to set the hook. If you are not strip setting by "habit", you won't do it when needed.

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Moving the rod tip in a downstream direction during the hook set will help a little. It tends to pull the hook into the mouth of the upstream facing fish rather than out of their mouth.

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Matt,

 

If you are still in the learning phase, try to fish as close as possible. If you are throwing in mends to prevent drag you are likely trying to fish too far away for your ability. Another point about mending is you really need to do your mending AS SOON AS THE FLY LANDS. What you are trying to do is make sure you have control and feel when the fly is in the area where you think the fish is holding.

 

However, with the above said, there is no substitute for time on the water and just spending as much time doing it as possible. I have been nymphing for a number of years and I learned a lot by reading George Daniels book Dynamic Nymphing. I recommend it to anyone.

 

Steve

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Matt,

 

If you are still in the learning phase, try to fish as close as possible. If you are throwing in mends to prevent drag you are likely trying to fish too far away for your ability. Another

 

Hadn't thought of that. Absolutely right. Thanks.

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Hook sets are always going to be an issue when you have slack in the line. Do you just use the rod to set the hook? This might not be enough.

I strip set when ever I can. Sometimes, lifting the rod at the same time is needed. Without the strip set, lifting the rod might not be quick enough to set the hook. If you are not strip setting by "habit", you won't do it when needed.

I guess I've just been using the rod. Good tip. Thanks.

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Moving the rod tip in a downstream direction during the hook set will help a little. It tends to pull the hook into the mouth of the upstream facing fish rather than out of their mouth.

Thanks. I'll give it a shot.

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Depending on the size of the water your fishing and the size of the fish your catching, you might try a lighter rod with a faster action. If your fishing for 8-10in brookies in small rivers and streams a 3wt with a fast action works great (for me anyway). If your close enough and have as little slack as possible you can feel the tip shake on the strike and strip set. Learning the difference between the feel of the drag and strike might take some practice, I set plenty riffles not fish when I started. And if the fish are being agressive and not being picky you can kind of jerk the line with mini strip set motions and set fish without trying.

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NHmatt,

 

I second stevester's comment. I find that the longer my casts are the harder it is to set the hook and as a result I miss more fish. I find I have the most success when I stay stealthy, make short casts and keep as little slack in the line as possible.

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Been fly fishing a couple years now (novice still) and I'm having trouble setting the hook while dead drifting nymphs. I typically use either a single nymph or a dry dropper setup. Most of the time with either a weight or strike indicator or both. Tried everything.
In order to get a drag free drift, I usually throw a few mends in the line. My question is, with this slack created by the mends, how am I supposed to set the hook when I see the indicator twitch or disappear?
I high stick when I can to keep the line out of the water while still having control of the line, but when I have to reach across the stream, I can't seem to get it right.
Any advice would be appreciated.

 

 

If you are fishing with an indicator and the indicator is tight to the flies, you are not dead drifting. The water at the surface generally travels faster then the water close to the bottom so the indicator is pulling the flies down stream. It is only when there is slack between the indicator and the flies that the flies are free to "dead" drift free of the pull of the indicator

When there is slack between the indicator and the flies, there will always be a delay between when the fish takes the fly and indicator shows the take. The slack must first be removed before the indicator's drift can be affected.

You cannot have it both ways. To indicate a strike, the indicator must be tight to the flies, but if it is tight to the flies, the flies are not dead drifting.

Hence the conundrum of the dead drift using indicators.

What most indicator nymphers try to do is to "bounce" the nymphs on the bottom at least once or twice during each drift. This does two things. It shows that the depth is set correctly because the nymphs are hitting bottom so the flies are in the zone. Secondly, each time the nymphs hit bottom, the drift is slowed down closer to "dead" drift speed.

Dead drift is defined as motion without drag. But not all drag is equal. A fish is more likely to notice if an item is either pulled sideways toward or away from the bank, or up and down, out of its drift lane. If the fly remains in the drift lane, but is moving slightly slower or faster; it is not as easily noticed. A car that is weaving slightly is easily spotted but one that is moving slightly faster or slower is not. That is the same principal.

Drag that pulls the fly out of it drift lane is more noticeable than drag along the drift lane. So if you fish with and indicator, it is important that the fly and the indicator are in the same current seam. If they are not, the indicator and the fly will pull on each other laterally.

Indicators are most effective when there is not much differential between the water speed and flow at the bottom vs the top. Since you set the depth of the flies, you also want a relatively constant depth over the water you will be fishing. Otherwise you end up resetting the indicator; or if you don't reset, you will be less effective.

This type of water is relatively low gradient with a relatively smooth bottom so there is not much differential between the surface flow and with a low gradient, it will be of relatively constant depth.

I have found that higher gradient water water with an irregular bottom and turbulent surface is better fished with direct line nymphing. The turbulent flow allows you to get closer to the fish and fish with a shorter line. You rely on both "feel" and visual cues to detect a take. Instead of indicators that "float" the fly, we use "sighters" that are in line brightly colored mono that allow the angler to see subtle movements that indicate a take.

Sometimes I direct line nymph and other times I use an indicator or a dry dropper. It all depends on the water and how it is best fished.

There is also a concept that I have not seen anywhere that I call "effective drift length". Effective drift length is the distance of your fishing drift that the flies are at the depth of the fish. If you have a dead drift that is above the holding level of the fish, it may be a dead drift but it will not catch fish. The time spent by the flies to reach the the fish is wasted. For example, if it takes half of the drift for your flies to reach the fish, half of the drift is wasted.

http://www.theflyfishingforum.com/forums/general-discussion/318549-what-edl-effective-drift-length.html

So you need to get the flies down to the fish. This means when you short line nymph, the flies have to be on the bottom right away because the total drift length is limited. When you float indicator nymph, you manage the the depth of the indicator and the weight. When you short line nymph, you manage the weight of the flies and split shot. Both are to get the flies down to maximize the effective drift length.

The more you understand what is going on underwater and what you want to do, the more effective you will be. If you are casting randomly, you will catch fish randomly. If you plan where you want to cast and where the flies will be when they begin effective drifting, you will begin to improve your skills.

In this way, nymphing is similar to dry fly fishing. When you dry fly fish, you don't cast at the rise point because the fish is holding above where you see the rise. He backs down under the fly and then takes it before returning to his lie. Similarly, you need to plan where you cast your nymphing rig so that the fly is down at the level of the fish, when it goes by where you think the fish is holding. Think in 3 dimensions because if you are off a foot in depth, it is just like being off a foot when dry fly fishing.

Explaining the subtleties would take a book.

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