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January 1, 2023 at 9:36 am #4691Lew LeichterKeymaster
By Rick Hafele
SOMETIMES KNOWING what not to do can be more important than knowing what you should do. Over the years I’ve made my share of mistakes and seen others fail at nymph fishing only because of a few simple missteps. Below are five simple no-no’s that if avoided I believe will greatly improve your nymph fishing success
#1: Don’t be afraid to use small nymph patterns! For some reason most fly fishers pay close attention to the size of their patterns when fishing dry flies, but routinely grab the largest fly in their fly box when selecting a nymph pattern. It’s hard not to. Even after years and years of experience to the contrary, I still have to force myself to select a size 16 or 18 nymph instead of a size 10 or 12. It just seems to make sense that a trout will one, see a larger nymph easier than a small one and two, find a larger morsel of food much more enticing than a small morsel. I mean who picks the smallest slice of cake on the dessert tray?
#2: Avoid “Rootitis” Rootitisis one of the most common afflictions of beginning nymph fishers, and it will seriously limit your success. How do you know if you have rootitis? If you find yourself parked in one spot fishing nymphs for 30, 20, or even ten minutes without getting a strike and not moving, you have rootitis.
#3: Change patterns that aren’t working This problem is sort of like rootitis in that you are continuing to do something that isn’t working. With rootitis you are continuing to fish the same water. In this case you are continuing to use the same fly pattern.
#4: Get your nymphs to the bottom Skip and Dave both mention the need to fish nymphs deep, which means near the bottom whether you are fishing in water two feet deep or ten. I want to emphasize this even more by saying: If your nymph isn’t hanging up on or bumping the bottom at least once every five or six casts, you are not fishing deep enough and need to add more weight to your leader. I don’t mean that you should lose a fly every five or six casts, but you should be feeling your fly hit the bottom. Occasionally it will get snagged, and some snags will result in a lost fly. If you want to improve you nymph fishing however, as they say, get use to it!
#5: Fish nymphs with as little line as possible One of the main challenges of nymph fishing is detecting a strike and then setting the hook before the fish spits out your fly. All successful nymph fishing tactics maximize these two factors. No matter what tactic you are using, you will be more effective at detecting a strike and hooking fish if you shorten the amount of line you have on the water.
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