Here’s an idea if you’re trying to transition from a short-line, high stick nymphing style that utilizes a buoyant strike indicator to a tight line nymphing style.
Most short line nymphers put the strike indicator about 1½ times the depth of the water above the weight. The “weight” can be a beadhead nymph imitation or split shot attached to the leader. The idea is to use just enough weight to quickly get the flies down to the stream bottom at which time they will bounce downstream with the current in a natural fashion.
“Newbie” nymphers are often taught that once the nymphs are down and drifting they may have to make upstream mini-mends to keep the strike indicator from drifting downstream too fast and either lifting the flies up off the bottom or at the very least dragging the imitations in an unnatural fashion.
Here’s the rub. When you make that upstream mini-mend you create slack in the leader between the strike indicator and the imitations. That makes it a lot harder to detect strikes because you’re not in contact with the flies. Sure, the indicator will probably show a typical strike, but you may be a few seconds late on the uptake resulting in a miss or a foul hooked trout. More subtle strikes may go totally undetected.
If you want to experience more positive hook-ups the next time you’re nymphing consider this alteration to the technique. Start off using the exact same rig. Cast upstream and let the flies sink to the stream bottom the same as always, but instead of flipping the strike indicator upstream with a mini-mend when it starts to drag lead it downstream with the rod. The idea is to keep the leader from the rod tip to the indicator just tight enough to eliminate any slack. This in turn will keep slack out of the business end of the rig below the strike indicator. You can watch the indicator for strikes or you may feel them through the fly line or the rod because now you’re in contact with the flies.
At some point you may find yourself thinking you really don’t need the strike indicator at all. When you take the indicator off nothing much will change in your nymphing technique other than a few refinements here and there and the fact that you have transitioned into tight line nymphing.
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