Just like dry fly fishing, there are many, many ways to fish a nymph. Which one you should use really boils down to how skilled you are in nymph fly fishing and what you are attempting to catch and where you are doing it. Make sense? Probably not, but let’s move forward to give you some idea on the different nymphing techniques available when fly fishing.
This e-book goes over the easiest method for beginners to use. The more effective Dead Drift Method is covered in a bit.
Nymph Fly Fishing Technique : Beginner Method
This method of fishing nymphs is probably the easiest for any beginner to use, and is certainly a good way to get introduced to nymphing in general. This nymph fly fishing technique, which involves casting the nymph directly across the river and then letting is float all the way down to a point on the river directly below the angler, removes many of the problems of nymph fly fishing for the new anglers.
The beginner method of fly fishing with nymphs is quite simple. First, just cast your nymph directly across the stream from where you stand. Then, let the fly float down the river, keeping the line tight as it floats away as well as following the fly with your fly rod. Eventually, the nymph will be at a point directly downstream from you. This is the point you want. Due to the current, here the nymph will begin to “rise” out of the depths due to the current of the river. The current will also wiggle the little nymph all around. Thus, when the nymph is directly downstream from you, hold the nymph there for a couple of seconds, and then gradually raise the tip of your fly rod, which will bring the nymph a bit further up from the depths of the river. This is the most likely point of a strike using this method.
This is a nice method for beginners, as it is all done by feel, not by sight. You do not need to use a strike indicator for this nymph fly fishing method. Instead, since the fly line will be tense at all times, you will feel a trout strike immediately. Moreover, setting the hook is a snap too, since the trout will hook itself when it takes your fly - due to the tight tension in the fly line.
So, what’s wrong with this beginner method? A number of things, actually. First, the only point this method is likely to draw any strikes is right at the point where your nymph begins to lift off from the depths of the river. This greatly narrows the scope of the effectiveness of this fly fishing method; since the vast majority of the float of the nymph is “wasted” (trout are unlikely to take a nymph that is careening at weird angles across a river).
Secondly, since the point of the strike will occur directly below you, you need to make sure that you are able to be directly upstream of this point. If, for some reason (and there are lots of potential reasons) you can’t get directly upstream of this point, you’re unlikely to get your fly there.
And, lastly, this method won’t work from a boat very well. This beginner method is mainly designed for the angler who is fly fishing with nymphs from the shore.
This page covered the “beginners nymphing method", for lack of better terminology. While this method is an excellent way for the beginner to get started in nymph fly fishing, there are better methods available.
So, let's look more closely at advanced nymphing techniques, particularly the Dead Drift Method for Nymph Fishing.
The method listed above is an excellent method for beginner anglers to use when fly fishing with wet flies. However, there are a modifications of this basic method that will improve your fly fishing productivity and are not much more difficult to learn how to do. This page discusses several of these methods.
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