Saturday, July 17, 2010

Using the Strike Indicator Or The Tight Lining Technique

Last week I made a trip to the Caney Fork and spent the better part of the day wading in the cool 57 degree water. I discovered that I had the air conditioner controls at my finger tips as long as I stay knee deep and above in the water. I discovered something else on this trip that I will never learn all there is to know about fly fishing for trout. My reasoning behind that statement is using the nymph effectively. As all you know using the nymph as a dropper below a dry is somewhat easy to master, but when it comes to using multipliable nymphs without the use of the dry is much more difficult for me. I know I lost numbers of trout in some seams and pockets that day. Why, because I either never felt the hit or my indicator was set at the wrong depth or I should have added some lead. I finally ditched the indicator and started tight lining using just one nymph and still had problems knowing when to set the hook. I did discover one thing through all of my trails and errors; most of my hits came at the end of the drift, when the nymph was in a stationary position floating. I landed my best trout with this method. So I would love a little input from you guys on your method or technique, when using a nymph with an indicator or just tight lining. All opinions are welcome!!!

14 comments:

Bigerrfish said...

Don't let the strikes at the end of the drift build your confidence.

When using an indicator set it almost double the depth of the run, less for fish that aren't as spookie.

Detecting a strike- Dont count on the thingamabober dissapearing, watch for it to do ANYTHING but drift, set the hook when it hangs on the bottom, just do it. sign in to the thoughts of the indicator and set the hook a lot.

At the tail end of that drift you fly could be hitting the bottom just before the water pulls it back up, that drives the fish nuts. a bugger will do the same thing to fish acting that way.

change weight often, calculate you sink time so that it has already been "in the zone" when the fish sees it.

move the indicator around often.

picture your indicator upstream from your fly, (not completly right) but picture it.. A fish takes the fly and holds on to it longer than it should, now your waiting around for your indicator to float along past the fish and the fly before the line gets tight enough to do anything to the indicator.. it takes forever.

take that thought along with you and the tight line method.

dont let a fish have the fly if you wont know about it..

Colorado Angler said...

Hey Bill - great topic, and one that's been on my mind since Midgeman touched on it a few posts back.

For what it's worth, here's my 2 cents: for me, the indicator is not so much a method of detecting strikes, but rather, I use it to gauge where my fly is in the water in relation to the fish.

I use the placement of my indicator and the fish's response to determine whether or not he's taken my fly - as it drifts past, if the signs are there, I will give a light pull to my line.

If he hasn't taken it, sometimes, that little 'jerk' of movement can get a quick strike as well.

Not sure if that makes any sense at all.

Bill Trussell said...

Hi Colorado Angler,
I too use the indicator for strike indication but I found that at times I can detect the strike just as well tight lining or dead drifting. I have found that the indicator has helped me notice how the trout hits at times. With me the nymph process whether it is with the indicator or dead drifting is still a learning process. I will use your advice on my next trip. Thanks for the comment.

Bill Trussell said...

Bigerrfish
Great information, I noticed the other day that my indicator was doing exactly what you were saying. At times I would set the hook with no success other times I would set the hook and feel the fish but was unable to land the fish becuase I did not have a firm hook set. Do you use the indicator technique or do use tight lining technique? The reason I am asking is because I prefer the indicator over tight lining. I can feel and see what my fly is doing using the indicator. It also helps me to detect the stirke as well. The other day for some reason I was not able to connect my thought process to the reaction of the indicator. I have just got to get better at doing that. The end of the drift was the only success I had at landing trout the other day. I agree I should not depend solely on that technique. As far as weights are concerned what size weights are you using with the indicator? I know the depth of the water will dictate the weight and size. 80% of the water on the Caney is no deeper than waste deep. I have found that the thingamabober is the best indicator I have used thus far. Do you think that the color of the thingamabobor scares the fish at times? I am thinking about toning down the bright colors of the indicator. Maybe using a tint of black and brown spray paint....just a thought.

Bigerrfish said...

Spray paint is the great idea, Atleast for the bottom of the thing, leave the part you see bright. heck I'm thinking sky blue my friend.
I almost always use white and green bobbers white because it looks like the bubbles, foam etc, and green, when I cant see white, simple as that.

You asked if I use an indicator or tight line. It is safe for me to say that, from time to time, In twenty casts I take the bobber on and off the leader twice.

It all depends on if you can see the fish you want to catch or not.

I walk up on a famaliar spot... no indicator. two bugs no split shot, look for a fish, ask will it get down in time? if so.. go for it if not just add shot one at a time.. watch that fish eat some bugs then try to fool it with yours.. the mouth of the fish is the indicator in that situation, If you can read on the high stick method and stand on top of the fish and dip the flys in front of it. sounds easy huh? It is...

Cant see fish but know the depth?keep the flys and the indicator on the same page.. or its worth less sindicator alone tells you nothing about where the fly is.. that would be a guess. and guessing games are a waste of time..

What size shot do I use? I dont know or care, I think of lead in mass... more sinks faster.

My best advise would be, honestly for you... set the indicator right where you think the fish is and where it wont get hung up every two seconds, add and add shot until you can barly cast it, watch the indicator twitch because of the shot is on the rocks.. even that is fun to watch for me.. from there... rip there frickin lips off on the set unil you tired of leaving flys in there lip, then lighten up a tad!

Theres my 50 cents up to a dollar.

Bill Trussell said...

I am with you on the indicator and I will continue to use it most of the time. As for tight lining, I watch a guy the other day pick three nice 12 to 14" trout out of this one long seam. He had the touch to feel the hits without the indicator. You could also tell that this was not his first time tight lining. He was standing in waist deep water and fishing a rock wall. I saw the place before he did but passed it up for some pocket water, which was a mistake. You can bet when I go back that will be one of the first places I try with some of the advice you have given me. Thanks for the information, you and Midgeman are the guys I go to when I have a question about trout fishing. I will be making the trip again in a couple of weeks and do a post on my progress. Check back

Midgeman said...

Hi Bill... What ever you do, don't let the nymphing frustrate you! I'd be willing to bet that you could spend a day with Bigerrfish, then a second with Colorado Angler and a third with myself and we'd all show you different little tricks as to how we rig an indicator or set up a leader. There is no one correct way to do it and over time, you learn what fits you and your fishing. My suggestion to you would be to hook up with the best damn nymph fisherman you can find out there for a day and even if it costs you a bottle of Jack Daniels or whatever, have them show you how they do what they do. I'm going to bet that any little problems you're having are so minor that they can be corrected in ten minutes. In the most basic terms think of it like crappie fishing. You load a stick float with enough shot to tip it up and give you a good connection to the shot and hook(s) set below. You basically load an indicator the same way. When you're crappie fishing you don't leave ten extra feet of line on the water that you have to reel up to strike once the float gets pulled under, you leave just enough slack that the fish won't feel tension when it takes and you can strike quickly. Nymphing is basically the same principle only the waters moving and you've got to learn to manipulate line, mend, stack mend etc. It's all real easy and as soon as you see it done, you'll be well on your way.

Dar said...

Hi Bill. This is my first time here as I bumped into you at Whitetail Woods, Ricks place.
I don't know diddly squat about trout fishing the way you describe, but have caught one at the cabin. My son and brother are the troutmen in the family. I'm becoming your most recent follower. Come on over and set a spell. You may like what you read.
Have a Great Week, now
Go Wet a Line

Steve said...

Hi Bill! Steve Gardner here!

Thought I'd add a few comments to the indicator vs tight line question.
Of course the answer is, BOTH are best! But variable conditions and personal preference dictate which a fellow should use. If you recall our day on the Caney, I used the indicator over the zebra midge in 1 to 3 ft of water, and the strikes were definitely visible, with the indicator sinking quickly out of sight! You
should take Biggerfish's advice and
set the hook when in question. In time, you sort of learn the difference between strikes, and drags and snags on the bottom.

As to the color of indicator; bright red or green are my favorites, and the trout often attack the red one thinking it's something like a salmon egg or power bait!! (trout junk food!!)

When I go to something a little bigger like a weighted bugger or a chicago fly pattern, I like the tight line. Mainly because I like to fish it mostly down-current of my position. I affectionately call
it "dangling" in the current. When the trout grabs it using this method, it's usually a pretty hard jerk!

Steve said...

Hi Bill! Steve Gardner here!

Thought I'd add a few comments to the indicator vs tight line question.
Of course the answer is, BOTH are best! But variable conditions and personal preference dictate which a fellow should use. If you recall our day on the Caney, I used the indicator over the zebra midge in 1 to 3 ft of water, and the strikes were definitely visible, with the indicator sinking quickly out of sight! You
should take Biggerfish's advice and
set the hook when in question. In time, you sort of learn the difference between strikes, and drags and snags on the bottom.

As to the color of indicator; bright red or green are my favorites, and the trout often attack the red one thinking it's something like a salmon egg or power bait!! (trout junk food!!)

When I go to something a little bigger like a weighted bugger or a chicago fly pattern, I like the tight line. Mainly because I like to fish it mostly down-current of my position. I affectionately call
it "dangling" in the current. When the trout grabs it using this method, it's usually a pretty hard jerk!

TROUTGUY said...

Hi Bill! Steve Gardner here!

Thought I'd add a few comments to the indicator vs tight line question.
Of course the answer is, BOTH are best! But variable conditions and personal preference dictate which a fellow should use. If you recall our day on the Caney, I used the indicator over the zebra midge in 1 to 3 ft of water, and the strikes were definitely visible, with the indicator sinking quickly out of sight! You
should take Biggerfish's advice and
set the hook when in question. In time, you sort of learn the difference between strikes, and drags and snags on the bottom.

As to the color of indicator; bright red or green are my favorites, and the trout often attack the red one thinking it's something like a salmon egg or power bait!! (trout junk food!!)

When I go to something a little bigger like a weighted bugger or a chicago fly pattern, I like the tight line. Mainly because I like to fish it mostly down-current of my position. I affectionately call
it "dangling" in the current. When the trout grabs it using this method, it's usually a pretty hard jerk!

Bill Trussell said...

I agree that every individual has a different way of nymphing, and as you said no one does the same identical same thing. I prefer to go solely with the indicator, because I feel that is where I can learn the most and pick up the technique faster. I have got to get a mind set that on this trip I am going to do nothing but try different techniques until one works for me. I also need to relate the dry fly technique I use to the indicator technique I need to perfect. With all that said I just need to have more patience when I am using the nymph. I will be making another trip there in a couple of weeks and am anxious to try some of the techniques you guys have given me. Thanks for the advice and comment.

Bill Trussell said...

Thanks Dar for becoming one of my followers. I started out in your position with the trout fishing and knew nothing about the sport. I have fly fished most of my life warm water but not trout, until my daughter married a guy from Tennessee. He got me into the trout fishing and it has become the favorite fish for me on the fly. Thanks for the comment and I hope you enjoy some of the posts on my blog.

Bill Trussell said...

Thanks Steve for the advice and comment. I don't know how your comment got on here three times, but don't worry about it. I will use your advice and the other guys adivce when I go back in a couple of weeks. Have a great trip on the Caney Friday. Blll