Thursday, July 22, 2010

Fly Fishing Indicators Verses Tight Lining

Saturday I did a post on weather to use an Indicator or Tight Lining. I received a message recently concerning this subject, and I thought I would share the message with you guys. As stated in my original post I am having problems in detecting the hit most of the time when using the nymph. I really appreciate the numerous comments that have been sent my way and have proved to be extremely helpful in helping me understand the difference between a hit and snag. I will be making a trip in a couple of weeks to put all the comments to the test. I hope the following message will be even more helpful to anyone who is having the same problems I have uncounted with nymphing.
Ben one of my followers sent this message ----This is an awesome article and video about scuba diving in the river and watching the nymph rig and the trout/indicator reactions---- VIDEO/Message


  1. A couple rules that I follow...

    when you are going to watch a fish eat your bug... make sure the bug is the first and/or only thing it sees, in other words keep every thing else up stream from the fly and let it slide in the mouth.

    When you can't see the fish but know its there... keep the indicator or the end of the fly line down stream from the fly so that if the fly stops, your the first one to know...

    And Bill, ALWAYS set the hook, down stream. down stream sets pull the fly in to the mouth rather that pulling it out..

    While fighting it pull tward the tail of the fish, every time it changes directions, so do you. This insures the hook stays pulled back and not pulled out.

    These things werent in the video link and We hadn't talked about these things. good luck and lot's of hookin up

  2. Bill - to add another 2 cents to the pile (which now puts me at 4 cents for your blog): since you're at the 'beginning' of your journey, don't get in the habit of relying on the indicator to detect a take.

    More times than not, your indicator won't telegraph a fish taking your fly - they'll sip and spit in the blink of an eye.

    I've been on the river with folks countless times, and I've seen missed sets - yet, the person holding the rod is oblivious.

    Which leads me to my second piece - the ability to 'know' comes with time - countless hours of watching the movement of fish, the line in the water and how your indicator is positioned.

    Eventually it becomes instinctual - subtle movements of the fish, an unseen twitch in your line - all happening at the same time, and you automatically make the set.

    Become a student of the water's movement (learning to read the water is paramount - flows tend to pick up the further down you go, throw in a few rocks and a narrowing of the channel, and it can get really fun).

    Personally, videos can be helpful - they can provide some valuable information on the habits of fish, aquatic life, etc.

    But when the rubber meets the road, it comes down to time. The more time you spend perfecting your craft, the more successful you will be.

    As you move forward, keep in mind that your success will be the culmination of several things: your indicator, the fish's reaction, and your own instinct - one by themselves is not too effective, but all three together can be deadly.

    I heard it mentioned once, that a successful nympher has developed eyes like a chameleon...and I would have to agree.

    Now let me get a little cliche'd and corny: you're a student now, and will continue to be for the length of your fly fishing adventures - use every opportunity to study and learn - if you've come off the river feeling as if you've wasted a day, then you've missed the mark completely.

    Practice patience and understand that mistakes can be used to your advantage.

    With the wealth of information out there, it's easy to put 'blinders' on and miss out on opportunities of growth - what works for someone else, may not work for you - find your OWN style and make that information work for YOU.

    With a lot of folks I've been with, who are just learning the sport, they put an idea in their head of what fly fishing looks like - it's the fall-out of having watched too many videos, reading too many fishing rags, and the inherent nature of people just wanting to be 'like that guy I saw in the magazine.'

    Avoid that trap at all costs, break the rules and make your own, and absolutely AVOID any knucklehead that feels the need to refer to aquatic insects by their Latin names. : )

    Yeah, I've been known to go off on tangents from time to time.

  3. Josh
    You hit the nail on the head when you give me the suggestion to set the hook down stream---the other day I was losing trout because I was extremely anxious and was setting the hook up stream all the time. I even saw the side of the trout a number of times when I was trying to set the hook. I feel I need to use my 5 Wt instead of the 3 Wt when I go back. I know I could get a better hook set especially with the nymph. I had the 5 Wt. in the truck, but I didn’t want to go all the way back up river and get it, besides it was so damn hot out of that cool water. You know I really never thought about where the hook set needs to be in relationship to the fish, but what you have told me makes complete sense. I have got to learn to have more patience when I am on the river. Thanks for the advice.

  4. Bill... Read through the video/message and I'd have to say I agree with everything with the exception of the fish not caring about the tippet size. At the very minimum your tippet size needs to match your fly for delivery. You can't effectively cast a size six stone fly on 6X and you can't thread a size 22 on 3X. With you fishing a tailwater I'd go to the finest tippet that will effectively turn over your choosen bug.

  5. Not a problem Bill, Use that info and it becomes well worth it to me..

  6. Since I admit to not knowing diddly about trout fishing, it bears mentioning however, that I do know how to throw them in the pan, fry them up and eatum'.
    Just yesterday, my brother, the troutmaster in our family, was saying the big ones he couldn't wrap his hand around, that he was catching one after another after a big rain storm. He said he was using a nymph with a spinner with a bit of red on it, no feather of anykind...and they were hitting like crazy. Hope that was worth it's salt on a fishfry.
    Now, GoWetALine and CatchYa'llABunch

  7. Midgeman
    I was using a 5X tapered leader the other day, but I will try a 6X when I go back. With the water being extremely clear on the Caney the lighter leader and tippet would work better. I am like you the tippet size does make a big difference especially in super clear water, and a fish pressured tailrace like the Caney. I learned years ago ultra light fishing that one could scale down in line size and lure size and get more hits. I hope others have read this discussion and learn as much as I have through both of my posts. This is why I got into blogging in the first place to learn and share information. I will keep you guys posted on my progress. Thanks for the advice.

  8. Dar
    That is exactly the kind of action I am hoping for back on the Caney in a couple of weeks. I will even stand out there in pouring rain if I can land some nice ones. Thanks for the comment.

  9. Colorado Angler
    I know that in time I will master the technique, but at the same time I have got to get out of mind that I have to catch every trout that goes after my nymph. I sometimes think that bluegill fishing can be one of the worst things to try to compare trout fishing too. Bluegill fly fishing has somewhat spoiled me, and I am trying to vision those trout jumping on my offerings just like those bluegill would. I hope that makes sense to you---but riding home the other day from the Caney I thought man wouldn't be nice if those trout reacted just like those bluegill. Of course that is wishful thinking. My main objective here is just to have more patience and tell myself I am going to learn something every time I tie on that nymph. I really appreciate your comments they have been helpful.

  10. Bill, Actually your bluegill fishing can be a big help in all of this. I've started a lot of folks nymphing in bluegill water, some moving and others in ponds. You can work out your casting there, work out your mending and the gills will give a lot of different looks on an indicator when they hit.... You can also teach yourself to fix you eyes on the indicator and learn how subtle some of the movements of indicator are when a fish just sucks and spits. Last but not least you can learn to be crisp with your reaction time on the take.
    Sooner or later you'll just have a day where it all comes together on the trout water and from there on you'll be a nympher.

  11. Midgeman
    Good idea, I have never thought about using an indicator with my bluegill fishing. I have always tight lined when using a nymph pattern for bluegill. I usually just watch the line and go from there. I will tag the line with and indicator when I go back to the lake next week. I was at Smith at daylight with one of my buddies Tuesday and we fish with the fly using a size 10 black nymph pattern tight lining. I landed a couple of nice 12 to 14" spots, fisihng off the rock walls. The indcator would be a good way to see the reaction as you stated. Just another litte thing I never thought about. Can't wait to get back on the river.