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> > Daniels Dynamic Nymphing

MartinlfApril 15th, 2012, 7:12 pm
Moderator
Palmyra PA

Posts: 3017
This post is for Paul and Spence (if he read George's book) and for anyone else who has been studying or using European nymphing methods. I'm wondering what folks think. A few previous posts of mine suggest my enthusiasm for tight line nymphing with no split shot, and Paul's recent comments in another thread on sampling behavior by trout suggested to me that I may be hooking more sampling fish than before because of the tight connection to the nymph. Overall I enjoy the debate and discussion about using or not using split shot when nymphing. I still do use shot, at times, but generally prefer to use weighted flies, trying to lead them at the speed of the current they are in. Your thoughts?
"He spread them a yard and a half. 'And every one that got away is this big.'"

--Fred Chappell
PaulRobertsApril 15th, 2012, 8:55 pm
Colorado

Posts: 1776
I use split shot bc it is time efficient for me. While potentially offering better detection, I found tying weighted nymphs in the increments I needed to be a big project. I've also had some sort of block on beadheads from day one –I carry few of them. I've warmed a bit to them since the advent of tungsten through its sheer technological functionality.

As I’ve written in other posts, except in rare circumstances of vertical laminar flow (usually deep slow water), a nymph is ALWAYS lead whether by rod tip or suspension device. You cannot have detection otherwise. The simplest most direct route is short-line manual leading with detection by feel. Suspension devices remove you from that and IME are mostly shallow water rigs that are hindered by depth and turbulence. The one rig in Daniel’s book I do not use and will try to incorporate is visual detection with a vertical “sighter”, which is a refinement I can see could prove to be VERY sensitive in the right circumstances.

My nymphing involves tightlining, and the use of various suspension devices (four types) that handle different water conditions. Rig versatility is very important because I need to adjust quickly to varying water, as no one configuration will cover even one pool or run. Two of my suspension devices are slide-able on the leader. And similarly, I make use of the ease with which I can adjust the location, as well as the amount of weight, by using shot.

As to detection with shot: I make do. When shot is lead by either rod tip or device it pulls the shot first with little slack between it and the fly. If I feel there is some issue with this in certain spots, I run the shot close to the fly –the more challenging the water, the closer, and often, heavier I go with the shot. I must go up in tackle size (shot, suspender sizes, and fly-line weight) as waters get more deep, fast, turbulent, colder. And there is a point where fly tackle doesn’t really work well anymore bc detection erodes too far. At this point I say “au revoir!” to fly tackle, while the French seem to stick with it further than I feel is actually fly fishing. If you have to run pure mono with no fly-line out the rod tip to cover those deep, or distant, runs then I have to say there have been better devices designed to do that –namely spinning tackle. In fact, I began my “nymph fishing” with spinning tackle and tiny jigs before “going Humphreys”, then adding suspension devices. I understand Daniel’s is describing competitive fishing circuits where spinning tackle is not allowed, but I am neither competitor nor are my romantic notions going to mire me. I’m happy to use spinning tackle, Tenkara, or … simply fish where conventional fly tackle is supported. There’s plenty of water around to blissfully float my romantic notions.

Just recently I’ve been experimenting with a new way of rigging shot for me, that I haven’t seen anyone else do, and that is to run (light) shot on a dropper off the bend of the nymph. I came up with this as a way of stabilizing the posture of some nymphs, to increase detection (as it IS the weight we feel most directly), and to decrease fly loss due to crevice snags. I used it for the first time the other day, both via suspension and manual leading (same rig), and found one issue: It has a tendency to help fish escape when close in, under the rod tip –when tension is apt to lessen on the fish. I should be able to compensate for this (if the rig proves worthy in other respects –detection, nymph posture, snagless-ness) by maintaining firm tension (tougher on the small fish I was catching yesterday), and using a net, as well as going to a micro-barbed hook if need be.

This shot looks large in the image only bc it was closest to the lens.

Well…I guess that’s a snapshot view of my thoughts on nymphing. What have you taken from Daniel’s excellent book?

(Oh btw, Louis, the soft tungsten putty I described to you is a new brand to me and is called Mojo Mud and it stays soft in cold weather. However, now that things have warmed, it is TOO soft and doesn’t stay in place. Gonna need another brand now.)
JesseApril 15th, 2012, 8:57 pm
Posts: 378
In my opinion its a situational choice like you mentioned. When nymphing in a section of river, lake, pond, etc., that requires the flies to get to the bottom of deep water, there is nothing wrong with throwing on some extra split shot. You can even do that while still maintaining a tight line to your nymphs. There are times, many times, when using weighted flies is plenty if not more than enough. Nymphing is always something that has intrigued me about fly fishing. How you can take this large body of water (no matter what the size of the creek is, compared to the bug your fishing with it's large) and sink small, fake aquatic invertebrates and somehow trout find them. There is no proper way to nymph. Whether it be long or short leader. High sticking or low sticking. Tight line against the nymph or loose, mendy slack line. Split shot or no split shit. Whatever works for the current situation at hand, and even more importantly whatever works for you. It's all good fun!
Most of us fish our whole lives..not knowing its not the fish that we are after.
http://www.filingoflyfishing.com
JesseApril 15th, 2012, 9:05 pm
Posts: 378
Interesting method there Paul!
Most of us fish our whole lives..not knowing its not the fish that we are after.
http://www.filingoflyfishing.com
PaulRobertsApril 15th, 2012, 10:14 pm
Colorado

Posts: 1776
If you try it, lemme know how it works. I know people use heavy point flies, so it shouldn't be much different.
Feathers5April 16th, 2012, 9:03 am
Posts: 287I love nymphing and there is no "one" correct method because all flows, pockets, etc. are different. I only use the amount of shot need to get my fly into the feeding zone. If I need no shot then fine. Weighting nymphs is a good idea until you come to a section of water where you may need no weight to get the fly in the zone. That takes that fly out of play, but I do weight some of my flies. Like Paul says there is a point when detection becomes impossible because there is too much gear needed to get the fly in the zone.

Hey Paul! If I understand your post your method of weighting a fly is used in bait fishing.

Bruce
PaulRobertsApril 16th, 2012, 12:48 pm
Colorado

Posts: 1776
Hey Paul! If I understand your post your method of weighting a fly is used in bait fishing.

Bruce

I haven't seen that. Makes sense, with a barbed hook esp.
CrepuscularApril 16th, 2012, 3:36 pm
Boiling Springs, PA

Posts: 919
I know people use heavy point flies, so it shouldn't be much different.


Paul, thats exactly what I was thinking when you were describing the rig. I will be the first one to admit that I am not a very good nymph fisherman, and I tend to only do it when I can fish to specific lies within a section of stream, to do that, I fish a as tight a line to the nymph as possible and have had clients do the same it seems to me that the strike detection is far better. I'm always surprised when I hear someone say, i've never fished a nymph like that before. I'm not sure how they would ever detect a fish eating the fly.
This whole dynamic nymphing thing seems to be a new name on what many fishermen already do to adjust to differing conditions within a stream. You are either adding or subtracting weight be it with split shot or wieghted flies or adjusting the depth of your fly with line manipulations to put the fly in the zone.
PaulRobertsApril 17th, 2012, 11:58 am
Colorado

Posts: 1776
I want to clarify, or retract, my comments on French nymphing above. Spinning reels are great but I never could actually cast jigs lighter than 1/64. I could never get the #20 nymphs I was using yesterday any distance with spinning tackle. One would need mass in the line to do that, which is what French nymphing does by using a tapered leader butt behind that loooong fine tippet. Doesn't sound like lotsa casting fun there, but it beats watching fish feed away in shallow flats you can't get anywhere near, or drop anything with any mass nearby, without sending them scurrying. That about sums up the conditions in my fishing yesterday! Luckily I suppose my water yesterday was small enough, with enough canopy, that I didn't feel the need to run out and buy a 10ft 3wt. I could fish those nymphs behind a small dry fly, but needed to extend my tippet to have any hope of catching a fish. Even my dyed fly-line sent em scurrying under those conditions: low water, flat surface, under a bright sky.

The water:


The fish:
Feathers5April 17th, 2012, 12:59 pm
Posts: 287Hi Paul! Those are the conditions we will be soon suffering if we don't get some rain here in PA.
Bruce
PaulRobertsApril 17th, 2012, 1:23 pm
Colorado

Posts: 1776
Hi Bruce, There is a triple whammy going on here. Lack of precip., trees leafing out (which pump tons of water from streamside soil), and ALL our agriculture here relies o snow melt in the mountains above, so water is drawn off via ditch systems. Our streams actually get smaller as you move downstream, rather than larger! That blew me away when I first started perusing streams here. Pray for rain!
JesseApril 17th, 2012, 2:34 pm
Posts: 378
Ive heard about the rain situation your way my man and trust me..im praying!
Most of us fish our whole lives..not knowing its not the fish that we are after.
http://www.filingoflyfishing.com
EntomanApril 17th, 2012, 6:03 pm
Northern CA & ID

Posts: 2604
Paul -

Even my dyed fly-line sent em scurrying under those conditions: low water, flat surface, under a bright sky.

Being lazy, I usually just go with longer leaders in this situation, but I do have a 3 wt. set up with a neutral gray line that works pretty good. Recognizing it's the fish looking up that's important, not us looking down, I did some experimenting a few years ago that you might find interesting. When sky is the background, even the weird peach of the old 444 is less noticeable than many of the modern somber tans and olives that look dark and very obvious when seen from below. Sky blue and pale gray virtually disappear in the air and are the least noticiable on the water. The blue seems a little better under bright skies while the gray has the edge in low light and overcast. How do I know this? Spending time on the bottom of a swimming pool while having somebody cast many different fly line samples from various manufacturers and with experimental dyes on the the old white Air Cell. My neighbors think I'm an eccentric.:)

Man, that water looks low for this time of year..... I probably would have worked that water with a greased leader (as the indicator) downstream and a little to the side, dead drifting a little baetid nymph. Perhaps "Leisenring lift" that marked fish if he didn't respond to the dead drift? I wouldn't let the fly drop any closer than 10 ft or so upstream from him or let any of the leader drift over him and strip quite a ways back up before lifting for another roll cast. That tight corridor looks like tough casting... A lot of roles out in front of you with the rod held horizontally as you hide in the willows on the bank?

Anyway, quite the fun challenge!
"It's not that I find fishing so important, it's just that I find all other endeavors of Man equally unimportant... And not nearly as much fun!" Robert Traver, Anatomy of a Fisherman
PaulRobertsApril 17th, 2012, 9:28 pm
Colorado

Posts: 1776
My issue has been more line flash in the air than anything else. Dyeing makes a BIG difference there.

Part of the issue in this water is having streaking fish spook others, and this is a small stream with lanes mostly small and discrete. I tend to work upstream to keep me and my casts in their blind spot. Having a fine tippet land over the fish has been less an issue than the line motion overhead on the cast. I do throw curves where I can. But I should try presenting downstream to them just to see how it pans out, esp on the longer pools -I've done it on big waters, but there I can be sufficiently far from the fish. Roll casting disturbs the water a lot so I wasn’t doing much of that.

Patience is certainly key. I crawl up on all fours then sit a piece and watch. Also, the water was still enough yesterday that the fish weren’t staying on station long, but moving around, some almost cruising.

Interestingly,before the canopy develops I've found the fish in this stretch to be easy pickings (if I can get a cast to them in that corridor). I originally thought it was water temperature and/or insect activity, but I was wondering yesterday if it wasn't the motion of my fly-line being more visible against the foliage vs against silhouetted bare limbs.

I love casting in cover and it can look pretty silly at times -like nothing you'd see in the FFF certification manual lol. Let’s call it “creative”. It's not always very precise and I mutter (or worse) to myself a lot. Fun though.

I started with a Baetis dry but the rise rate was low. The fish were mostly taking midge pupae (too sunny for many Baetis). I tried a damp midge which was better but not what they were really after. So I added a #20 WD40-esque (midge/Baetid) dropper off a Baetis parachute and they liked that. But so did the canopy; 6X, leaves, twigs and branches don’t mix.

I had an amusing session with a “big” fish I spotted (for this stream –all of 13”!!!). It used two sites, moving from completely slack water along the bank, to mid current, and back. This meant I had to re-rig for each hold. I’d mark it, rig, and … muff it! In the slack wouldn’t you know I sunk my little dry in a protruding branch. Ugh. I crept my rod tip up to the fly and backed it off. That succeeded in moving (not spooking) the fish to run center. Back up to rest, re-rig a short dropper off the dry, and then re-mark. The pool was short and the fish held nearly at the tail lip so I had to crouch and kneel on a submerged rock below to get close enough to get my rod tip over the lip. There was a face-on breeze that made my long tippet tough to control and the lane was inches wide. I should have cut it back a bit. On my cast the tippet curved and I lost touch and for all I know he sampled my nymph or saw it drag and … suddenly I’m likely pitching “not food”. It was getting dim so I didn’t switch flies, but just accepted the eroded probability. The next two casts were in-line and on the current tongue, but, there were two smaller fish using the center current tongue and wouldn’t you know I caught them both! The “big” one was still there when I decided it was time to head out.

It’s one thing to fish water –run and gun. It’s another thing altogether to fish specific lanes and fish, esp under challenging conditions. I was tired and sore by the end. I look at it this way: I get a lot of "fishing" out of each and every spot! Wish I could do it everyday.
MartinlfApril 17th, 2012, 10:41 pm
Moderator
Palmyra PA

Posts: 3017
Wow. wow. I've done a little of this kind of thing. On a much smaller scale for shorter periods, and with less skill. It is fun, but also it tests you to your limits. Enjoyed reading the report!
"He spread them a yard and a half. 'And every one that got away is this big.'"

--Fred Chappell
OldredbarnApril 18th, 2012, 12:04 am
Novi, MI

Posts: 2600
but it beats watching fish feed away in shallow flats you can't get anywhere near, or drop anything with any mass nearby, without sending them scurrying


Paul...As I read this I thought...Hmmm...Advantage fish. :) I thought of inventing a small BB gun anglers could carry with them for just these situations...It shoots beadhead nymphs attached to 35'of 8x amnesia...One would shoot it way upstream and let the fly tumble downstream to the unsuspecting trout...:)

I have told folks here before of some of my tougher trout and my obsessive inability to walk away and just say, "You win today!" My fishing buddy would just tell me to pass this one up and find some less tough situations...I wish I could say that I actually took his advice...:) It sounds as if you and Kurt suffer from my same affliction. ;)

These situations and our attempts to solve them eventually make us better anglers, but I wonder, as I have also said here before, that once we have tilted the table back in our favor using technology or some other hook-or-crook did we really play fair? :) I'm just wondering aloud here.

Kurt is in a pool trying to figure it out a-la-LaFontaine...You are losing sleep in your situation and I'm standing there pounding the water with dry-flies and trick casts and leader formulae only Leon Chandler or George Harvey could understand...Are we nuts or what?! :)

All this for the pea-brained trout...;)

Spence

At the moment I'm a quarter the way through Daniels' book...I was looking to get through it by opening day, but it just isn't going to happen...I will say that his discussion on upstream nymphing and how to fish the seams would be worth the price of the book alone and if folks paid attention to this they would catch more fish using nymphs or dries...IMHO.

Louis...I'll get back to you once I've finished the book...OK? I somehow keep getting distracted from it...First it was a crash re-read of Marinaro's, "In the Ring of the Rise" and I found a near mint copy of Reuben Cross's "The Complete Fly Tyer"...I was going to read this one on my trip to Florida but forgot it in the backseat of my car as it sat in the airport parking lot for a week...Then there was dealing with meine Frau as she dealt with dealing with her late mother's condo sale and all the memory & emotion it evoked...Oh and selling the business...If the dust ever settles here again and it will I'll finish it and give you a book report...I'll PM you buddy.

"Even when my best efforts fail it's a satisfying challenge, and that, after all, is the essence of fly fishing." -Chauncy Lively

"Envy not the man who lives beside the river, but the man the river flows through." Joseph T Heywood
EntomanApril 18th, 2012, 1:57 am
Northern CA & ID

Posts: 2604
Paul & Spence

It sounds as if you and Kurt suffer from my same affliction. ;)

During a three day family & friends trip in the Sierras years ago, I spent most of the fishing hours allowed working a single fish (I had to be home in time to get cleaned up and go out). He was picky as hell and in a very difficult lie that was virtually impossible to get a good float through. He was worth the effort though - 19" in a stream where a fish of 14" is considered a really nice one (that's my excuse, anyway). I guess the first two nights I was mumbling to myself with a scowl on my face when asked about the fishing. I don't remember it that way, but my wife swears it was so. Thinking back on it, I must confess to probably never mentioning any other fish.

Anyway, on the last evening I was apparently much more agreeable as I happily reported my success. The husband of my wife's friend slapped me on the back and said, "So you finally caught a fish, huh? I get you, man. That's the way I feel about golf even though I can't break a hundred." I took the compliment in stride, but my wife said later she wished she had a camera to capture the look on my face.
"It's not that I find fishing so important, it's just that I find all other endeavors of Man equally unimportant... And not nearly as much fun!" Robert Traver, Anatomy of a Fisherman
CrepuscularApril 18th, 2012, 9:54 am
Boiling Springs, PA

Posts: 919
I'm standing there pounding the water with dry-flies and trick casts and leader formulae only Leon Chandler or George Harvey could understand...Are we nuts or what?! :)

All this for the pea-brained trout...;)



Spence I'm right there with you obsessing on getting that one fish to eat. But boy do I feel really smart when I outwit that pea brain ;) please interpret exteme sarcasm here...
PaulRobertsApril 18th, 2012, 12:05 pm
Colorado

Posts: 1776
...once we have tilted the table back in our favor using technology or some other hook-or-crook did we really play fair? ...

Well, if you figure out how to make it "fair" in all conditions, you let me know. I worked darn hard yesterday for little return. And it felt pretty good.

Daniel's describes a competition in which he got to watch a French angler given a poor beat -a very shallow riffly stretch. The guy made good by French nymphing 4 grayling from a 4in deep riffle, which kept him in the ranks and he finished high. Sounds like competitive FF is in large part about making lemonade from lemons. Now I have no interest in competitive fishing. But I've come to appreciate the sheer amount of knowledge and innovation it has wrought.

I can say this: It's far easier to limit ourselves than it is to "limit out" at every turn.

Obsession?
Yes, but not in the pathological sense. It's natural, a way of carrying one through the tough times -times when our ancestors went hungry and had nothing but hope, fueled by memories of past bounty, and achieved through "obsession". Although I let the fish go, and then grab a burger on the way home, the mechanism is in place and I'm happy to be there. At what point is it absurd? Well...absurdity is in the eye of the beholder. At least we have the option.

Now... Kurt, your story allows you to both chuckle at our shared "obsession" and boast at the same time. Any fish that is big enough to grace the cover of a magazine places it so. I'll one up you though in saying that anyone can obsess over a 19"er, but a 13??? Can I add the OCD award to my Tolstoy award?? Ach! no I can't, I never caught it and have no plans to return on my next jaunt.

EntomanApril 18th, 2012, 12:43 pm
Northern CA & ID

Posts: 2604
Paul -

I'll one up you though in saying that anyone can obsess over a 19"er, but a 13???

Ha! You nailed me! I did mention that the size of the fish was an excuse though... Might as well admit it if I'm to get any benefit from the group therapy. Probably my worst rock bottom moment? One day on a different vacation, I took the boys out when they were little to show them how to take little perch on a nymph that were hanging around the boat dock. It was a fun example of sight fishing and a way to get the boys excited about fishing in general. A little while later, a very stern wife came up to announce that I was making the entire family late for something I don't remember. "Hon, I was just trying to show the boys..." She cut me off, "Kurt, the 'boys' haven't been out here with you for over an hour!"

My name is Kurt Schirmer, and I'm a flyfisherman (oh crap, I'm missing my name tag)....:)
"It's not that I find fishing so important, it's just that I find all other endeavors of Man equally unimportant... And not nearly as much fun!" Robert Traver, Anatomy of a Fisherman

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