New trends are always hated by purists. It’s the same old story in all sports and arts. But it’s even worse in the fly fishing world, because we all know that there’s a lot of solid traditions in the fly fishing art. However, in France, we had to adapt nymphing to the drop of fish quantities in our rivers due to a mix of causes like pollution, cormorants invasion or excessive predation from anglers.
Let’s get it simple: When it comes to fish underwater, if a river is packed with non educated fish, you just have to cast a wet fly in a pool, and sooner or later, a fish will rush on your fly and you’ll have a knock on the rod to warn you that it’s time to strike. This is the easiest case on earth; I have been fishing in places like this in Alaska or Mongolia. There are no technical choices to do to catch fish in such conditions. Years ago, people from Czech Republic gave birth to the famous Czech nymphing method. This Czech nymphing method allows you to get rid of any kind of indicator on your fly fishing line by fishing the streams with your leader in a loose, but controlled tension. This invention changed the world of nymphing because it allowed an impressive gain of sensitivity, because the weight of an indicator was removed from the drifting line. When I started fly fishing in the 2000’s, I learnt Czech nymphing from French competitors. I added a 20 cm bicolour line in my leader to be able to perform Czech nymphing drift, and switch to dry fly when fish were rising. But year passing by, we had to drop down hook from size 12 to 18, and point lines from 0.16 to 0.10 mm to catch the biggest fish of the river. From my short experience of nymphing, I have been witnessing the intelligence of the fish growing on the French rivers. Today, on the most difficult rivers to fish like the Loue or the Albarine, it is useless to fish on points over 0.10 mm, and to use hooks bigger than size n°18.
French anglers had to adapt to these new behaviours, and to find a way to perform more precise drifts with such thin lines and small flies. It was hard to go smaller on the point line and on the fly size. Then the problem was in the rest of the leader. The fly fishing line is used to cast dry flies and small nymphs. But when it comes to sensitivity with “under the rod “ drifts, the fly line is just a burden in your rings, leading to a loss of sensitivity.
And this is my own definition of neo-nymphing : the use of nylon in the rings when practising Czech nymphing. This evolution brings a far better sensitivity than having the fly line in the rings, and allows you to perform more precie drifts and to feel more bites.
But keep in mind that the line used is so thin ( 0.17 mm ), that it has to be highly coloured to be seen over the water. That’s why we use a length of 5 meters of bicolour line to practice Czech nymphing in France. I always keep this 5 meters bicolor indicator rolled on a pad. Then if I want to switch methods, I just have to roll back this indicator on the pad, and fish dry fly for example.
So if you want to catch more fish, and if you are not afraid to break fly fishing clichés, be a neo-nympher!
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