A TEACHING GUIDE

 Wayne Eng teaching how to tight line nymph a subtle sweet spot. 

Wayne Eng teaching how to tight line nymph a subtle sweet spot. 

Wayne Eng, the respected northern California fly fishing guide and instructor, agreed to teach me some nymphing techniques that are well suited for the Upper Sacramento River if I agreed to let him start from the very beginning. “Pretend you’re from Mars and you’ve never fly fished before. It’s just easier for me to teach you if we do it that way,” he said.
    There was a time when I would have protested, but that was before I fully understood that all fishing is regional. I really am a beginner when it comes to nymphing the Upper Sac. Where I come from we do a lot more sight fishing when we nymph. Nymphing the Upper Sac is totally about reading the water, getting good drifts, and matching a nymphing technique to the water you’re fishing.
    Wayne started me off roll casting on his front lawn. As well as learning to tighten up my roll cast, the ultimate goal of session is its application to mending the fly line on the river. Once we were on the river the talk shifted reading the water—feeding lanes, cushions, seams, slots, run-outs, potholes---all that stuff I thought I understood until Wayne showed me I was seeing fewer than half of the nymphing opportunities right in front of my eyes. 
    We went straight to technique and execution from there—strike downstream, ways to keep your nymph imitation in the water and not the trees, by eliminating backcasts in favor of roll casts and practical tight line nymphing without all the razzle-dazzle. I sort of knew about all of this, but Wayne fine-tuned what I did know for use on his river and showed me some new tricks, too. 
    Wayne is what we called a teaching fly fishing guide when I was in the guide business. He’s happiest helping absolute beginners get off on the right foot. And anyone who can teach a Martian new tricks is okay with me….

 Without Wayne's help I would have passed up the feeding lane that held this trout.

Without Wayne's help I would have passed up the feeding lane that held this trout.