- [Tom] So, George, you're kind of my nymphing icon. I know you hate to hear me say that, but you're a guide, you've written books on nymph fishing, you do videos, you do presentations. I mean, to me, you're the person who really brought this European nymphing technique to the average angler as opposed to the competitive angler. How do you describe it?
What is the method?
- [George] Sure. The method is called a bunch of different things. It's called European nymphing, Czech nymphing, Polish nymphing. There's really no geography in fly fishing. But essentially, I call it contact nymphing. And the reason why I call it contact nymphing is that instead of putting an indicator on the water, what we are doing is using in the middle part of our leader, a brightly colored piece of mono called a slider, and that's going to be our strike aid.
And what we're going to be doing is using weighted flies, for the most part, so we have a direct line of contact. We're not using shot usually. When you have shot, there's often a disconnect plus shot, as you know, tangles. So what we're able to do is we put fish in the way of the fly which creates a straight line from the rod tip to the nymph. And essentially, we're going to cast and we're going to just basically stay in front, lead the flies throughout the presentation.
And as a result, you'll often feel a lot of strikes compared to watching your indicator. The aspect I like about contact nymphing the most is you're in the driver's seat. When you're throwing an indicator on the water, basically, you can man, you can manipulate the fly line, but the bobber does all the work for you. But when tight-line nymphing, we don't have the drag of the indicator moving downstream.
As a result, you are the one responsible for reading the current, how fast or how slow. And what's great about this technique is you can go from a hydrology that goes from fast to slow, and you have to really study looking at your indicator or your slider, determining how fast or how slow. So it's a lot more engaging and for the most part, people find it fascinating and it's just, in my opinion, a lot more fun.
- And you get a longer more effective drift, right, because the water is always faster at the top than it is where your nymphs are. And so your indicator is always going to tend to try to get ahead of the flies and pull them off the bottom or whatever.
- Yes, yeah, and especially in streams that have a huge discrepancy between super fast and slower currents in the bottom. When you have super fast, super slow in the bottom, when you put an indicator on that surface, because of the surface drag, you automatically create an angle. You need a lot of weight and your tippet length is often exceptionally long just to compensate for that angle between the two.
But with this, we don't have as much drag. So instead of having such a long angle, we can fish more in a vertical line which allows us to fish a lot less weight but then also it puts us more in direct contact with the flies.
- And your fly stays close to the bottom or you know lower in the water comb for longer, right because then the indicator, it kind of...there's just that one moment that you know, maybe that long right where the fly is at the right speed and depth and then it gets sucked away.
- Exactly. And the other advantage of this technique, unlike indicator fishing where sometimes when you make a cast, there's a disconnect. You're throwing on land or slack, you're allowing that fly to settle, there's no contact between the indicator and the fly. So you have a sacrificial period to get the flies down. But with this technique, as long as you make a smooth presentation cast, which we'll talk about, your flies, you're basically fishing your flies from the very beginning to the very end effectively.
- Effectively, yeah. Cool. Let's do it.