Some who read this will know that I have chosen to remain "old school" with my approach to the nymphs I tie and fish.  So, what is "old school" you may ask?  Best way to answer is to say I tie and fish mostly non-beaded nymphs.  Go back and read that last sentence again and you'll see that I said mostly.  Yes, I do tie and fish a beaded nymph now and then.

When I go into a fly shop and peer into their fly bins most of the nymphs they sell have beads.  Hey, that's fine with me.  I certainly have nothing against beaded nymphs.  However, there's something beyond this that glares back at me very powerfully.  It's easy to find a good Sexy Walt's or a Frenchie or a Red Dart or a Perdigon.  Try to find a good Blue Quill or a Quill Gordon or a Hendrickson nymph.  Yup, the tastes of those anglers who fish nymphs have changed.  

I've always justified my fly-tying approach with the statement, "I can't buy the flies I want to fish."  This is more true today than ever.  Sure, we can still find the common Hare's Ear and Pheasant Tail nymphs but most of these are tied with beads nowadays.  And here is where I have to admit that the majority of my beaded nymphs are these generic flies.  Hey, they flat out catch fish!  Too, the vast majority of the time I fish a dry-dropper set-up I'm fishing streams that I feel don't warrant a more intricate pattern to tempt more "sophisticated" fish.  And for those of you who are thinking this argument is shot down by a Perdigon nymph duping large numbers of wild browns on pressured water...you'd be right on that one!

So, if a Perdigon takes a good number of wild browns on a regular basis why, for Pete's sake, do I invest so much time tying the patterns I choose to tie?  I'll try to explain my (mostly speculative) reasoning.

Humans and trout alike are curious critters.  An example:  a human walks into a shop, sees an item that piques the curiosity factor, walks over to the item, reaches out and takes said item into hand to examine it.  All this time said human has absolutely no intention to permanently posses said item.  Once human's curiosity has been satisfied the item is returned to it's resting place and human moves on.  

I've observed a number of trout over the years.  As they hold in the current they frequently move slightly to intercept something drifting to - or very near to - their holding position.  Most times as they have taken the item into their mouth it remains only for a slight moment and then it is expelled.  I don't believe the trout ever had any thought (yeah, I know, trout don't really think) of making that object a part of their daily caloric intake.  Their intent was to satisfy their curiosity.  

Somehow you gotta' admit this almost makes sense, doesn't it?  So, let's go back to the question about why a Perdigon nymph is so effective?  My answer:  they look nice!  O.K., it may be a little lame but it's my story and I'm stickin' to it!!

I'm one of these folks who goes out, catches the real critters, brings them home and photographs them in their watery environment.  From there it's on to the tying vise to somehow transfer - through the power of suggestion - what I see in the real critter to my fly.  I'd like to hope that what I produce by combining fur, feathers and at times other stuff might just suggest what the trout take to satisfy their need for caloric intake.  No beads, no hot spots.  Just materials applied in such a manner as to suggest life...with a BIG maybe.  And, yes, I get a bit of satisfaction from so doing.  It ain't the same as tying a Red Dart or a Frenchie, that's for sure!


Now, don't get all beside yourself thinking I have anything against those flies or any other bead head or jig nymphs.  I don't.  Again, it's whatever trips your trigger.  There is, however, one other major difference in my nymphs and that's the fact that I don't use any weight in my flies.  I place all of the weight I need to get my flies to the depth I want them on my leader.


After all, does it really matter if a trout inhaled our fly out of curiosity or need for caloric intake?  Hhmmm, something to think about.


Next up is what I refer to as accessories:  strike indicators, weights, and the like.  As with so many other things its all boils down to personal preference.  

Let's begin with strike indicators.  And, no, I don't call them bobbers.  First one up is the New Zealand strike indicator.  Good stuff.  Floats like ... nah, I can't say floats like a cork since it's not cork.  I guess I'd best say floats like a tuft of wool since that's what it is.  It comes as a complete package:  wool, tubing and a tool to attach it to the leader.  I found early on that I can easily get by without the tool.  Loop my 4X tippet, run it through a small piece of plastic tubing, place a tuft of wool through the tippet loop and pull tippet tight.  This brings the base of the doubled over wool into the tubing and, if there's enough wool in the tubing, it holds in place pretty well.  I really push it by using so much wool I can barely get it to go into the tubing.  I also don't cut the wool short if I can avoid it.  I like to keep the wool long because when it rides on the surface it usually stands up vertically and it's really sensitive.  While this indicator can be moved up and down it can't be moved over any knots.  This isn't a problem for me since I use a long (at least 5') knotless tippet.  While I was surprised at how much weight a hefty chunk of wool can support when it is dressed with fly floatant it's also an indicator you might want to avoid when a stiff breeze is blowing.

Next up is the Airlock indicator.  I like 'em.  They are easy to attach to leader and, other than having to be careful not to loose the little rubber washer when putting one on or taking one off, the only other points to make is that they float very well and they're easy to reposition.  Oh, and they come in 3 different sizes and a variety of colors.  My first preference is white.  Check out the foam floating on the stream surface and that will explain why I like white.  Too much foam to be able to track your indicator?  Go to another color.

Another option is the Lightning Strike indicators.  These indicators have a hole through which the leader is threaded and they are held in place with a toothpick-like wedge.  Before I use one of these indicators I break the wedge to shorten the piece sticking out from the indicator.  One of the pluses of this type of indicator is that the wedge protruding from the indicator acts like a pointer to show me where my tippet and fly is in relation to the current.  If the wedge points in any direction other than up-current (I always have my wedge pointed toward the fly) my drift is screwed up in some way, shape or form.  Believe me, this happens a fair bit.  These indicators come in several sizes and a few different shapes and colors.  Choices, choices. 

All of the indicators I've included have one important thing in common:  they will not kink leader material.  It's why I don't use thingamabobbers or any other indicator which requires looping leader around to hold in place.  And for the indicators that paste on...YUK!   And as for the indicators that have a slit with a piece of rubber tubing I can never get them to remain on my leader.  I make a cast and off they go into the wild blue yonder! 

The only other accessories I'll cover are split-shot.  As I mentioned earlier I don't weight any of my non-beaded flies so that means shot are essential to getting my flies down where I want them.  Lead shot seems to vary from soft to not-so-soft and it doesn't always like to stay where I put it.  Then, there's the question whether the use of lead is environmentally sound.  My favorite split-shot is non-toxic shot available from Orvis.  It has a slightly rough black coating and it holds in place fairly well.  The other non-toxic shot I use is the Dinsmore shot with a green coating.  This coating comes off fairly easily.  No big deal except that I don't really like shot that's really shiny.  It's mostly tin and tin is shiny.  I just have to get over it.


I revealed in PART 3 of this series that I fish with a fly line.  No all mono rig for me.  I cut off the welded loop from the line since I've found that, especially with single foot guides, loop-to-loop connections don't like to slip easily through the guides.  Too, they are extra weight.  It's what happens when line is doubled over line to form the loop.  And that's not all.  Can you imagine playing the best fish of the year and the weld breaks.  Bye, by leader, fly and ... trophy!  Don't think this hasn't happened.  Removing the loop eliminates your being at risk of becoming a victim.   

A nail knot is what I use to connect the leader to the fly line.  Some folks would recommend a needle nail knot and that's certainly an option.  I've never considered a nail knot an easy knot to tie.  In fact, over the years, I've had friends come to me to tie their nail knots because they felt they were too hard to tie.  I never could understand that.  I'm pretty sure those folks were happy when welded loops came on the scene.

There are two knots which are commonly used to connect sections of leader material together:  the   surgeon's knot and the blood knot.  When connecting larger diameter sections together the surgeon's knot is the more bulky knot.  This isn't really an issue with smaller diameter material.  I've always used the blood knot for this purpose.  Another factor to consider is that with the surgeon's knot one tag end angles toward the fly and the other angles toward the butt.  The blood knot has both tag ends coming out at a 90 degree angle from the leader.  I prefer this particularly for my dropper tags.  I believe this contributes to keeping my flies away from the main tippet and reduces the potential for my dropper tag to wrap around my tippet.  The more time I have to dedicate to tangles the less time I have to fish. 

When I use my indicator rig with the knotless tapered leader having a small perfection loop I've tied at the end, I attach my tippet to the loop via a clinch knot.  With my knotless leader cut back to 2X or 3X the perfection loop holds up well over time and it is really easy to change out a tippet.  

I hear that familiar sound of brains questioning why I haven't mentioned tippet rings.  Well, that's an easy one to answer (really?).  I normally say I'd lose all of the rings fumbling away trying to tie one onto my leader.  I know this is a lame excuse but when you don't want to do something one excuse is just as good as another.  I just like my blood knots! 

So, why do I use dropper tags?  Why, when fishing multiple flies, don't I tie off the bend of a hook or directly off the eye of a hook?  I'll admit there's a bit of speculation included in my explanation.  First, I believe that with tippet tied onto the bend of a hook it may inhibit hooking potential with a trout's mouth parts coming in contact with the leader material and pushing the hook point out of the way.  Another issue applicable to both is that it takes more effort to change a fly.  In contrast, with a dropper set-up when I want to change a fly I only have to change out that fly and go back to fishing.  Sure, I'll admit it.  I'm a bit lazy.

For attaching fly to tippet I still use a clinch knot.  No, I don't use the improved version.  The key to tying a good clinch knot is pulling the tag end tight so there's no slippage.  Too, I've seen knot strength tests and the regular old clinch knot is stronger.  Goes to show just because something is labeled improved doesn't really make it better.  I still think I need to check out the Davy knot a bit further.  After all, the name sounds a bit catchy, don't you think?

So, there you have more of MY take on things.  And more food for thought for the reader...      





1 Comentarios

  1. Your flies, as well as your rationale for using them, are compelling. I was wondering if you're going to publish a diagram of your rigging (leader length, spacing between flies, spacing between lower fly and split shot, etc.?