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Getting it to the bottom ....

Joined:
2012/3/22 8:26
From Couldn't Care Less
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I know it’s been discussed b4 but two years in and I still find this to be one of the more frustrating things. Fishing with nymphs you want it at the bottom. I’ve seen it written numerous times if “u aren’t getting hung up every 5 or 6 drifts u ain’t doing it right.” Well I don’t think I’m doing it right. Maybe I am using too lil weight and/or setting up my split shot incorrectly or my depth perception really sawx!

How do u gents make sure ur hitting bottom?

Is it all trial and error?

Any advise much appreciated.

Posted on: 4/22 7:44
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Re: Getting it to the bottom ....

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2013/1/27 10:24
From Sweet Valley
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Learning to nymph properly can be frustrating! The weight used to get your flies down can be difficult to get right. Too much weight and you will be spending your time stuck on rocks and debris. Too little weight, you will be drifting halfway up in the water column and have too much slack to even know if a fish decided to actually move and come up to eat your fly.

When using split shot, the closer the shot is to your fly the faster it will sink it. Also, putting to split shots close to one another will sink it much faster than spreading them out.

Normally, on smaller streams I prefer to use lightly weighted flies and just add micro shot, until I get the perfect combination of weight to tick the bottom but not get hung up.

I prefer to put my weight on between my flies in a tandem rigging. It seems help keep my flies on the bottom, without as much weight needed.

You know when you put to many on when you swear you can hear your rig hit the bottom!

It was trial and error for me as I taught myself, but others may have better ideas.


Posted on: 4/22 8:24


Re: Getting it to the bottom ....

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From Pretty much everywhere at some point, Thorndale today.
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Typically as fly fishermen beginners tend to error by not having enough weight. That is, if we're talking about bigger water. On small streams it's all about getting in the right currents.

With an indicator, you constantly have to adjust weight and depth. Without an indicator, there's still weight adjustments, but lesser.

One thing that took me a long ways. When I started, I was looking for indications that I was ticking bottom. Either feeling it (without indicator), or watching that indicator bump around. But that's hard to do.

What is a lot easier is to observe the current. And your indicator and/or line should be moving SLOWER than the current. Remember the current on the bottom is a lot slower than that at the surface. And if you're down there in the slower bottom water, rolling around in the rocks, that's what you want. The fly has to hold your line back.

There's also a lot here as far as keeping your line off the water to prevent drag (i.e. the current grabbing your line and pulling fly downstream too fast).

Posted on: 4/22 9:24


Re: Getting it to the bottom ....

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Quote:
Allen_s

When using split shot, the closer the shot is to your fly the faster it will sink it. Also, putting to split shots close to one another will sink it much faster than spreading them out.


This is part of my problem then. I need new contacts but this past Sunday I was watching my nymph as closely as possible. Even w/ some weight it wasn't getting down fast at all .. then once I lost sight I’m not sure it got to the bottom tho I had the problems per my OP.




Quote:
Pcray wrote:

Typically as fly fishermen beginners tend to error by not having enough weight. That is, if we're talking about bigger water. On small streams it's all about getting in the right currents.

This always been the case for me (not enough). I think I’m missing a lot of opportunities cause I’m not getting it to the bottom.



Quote:
Pcray wrote:

One thing that took me a long ways. When I started, I was looking for indications that I was ticking bottom. Either feeling it (without indicator), or watching that indicator bump around. But that's hard to do.

I've been hung up below but not sure, or never concentrated, on feeling this "ticking" ..... is it easy to notice when u are actually paying attention?



Quote:
Pcary wrote:

What is a lot easier is to observe the current. And your indicator and/or line should be moving SLOWER than the current. Remember the current on the bottom is a lot slower than that at the surface. And if you're down there in the slower bottom water, rolling around in the rocks, that's what you want. The fly has to hold your line back.

Oh my …. For two years I’ve thought I’ve been doing well with keeping the indicator @ the same speed of the bubble. Ur telling me my indicator should be slower than the bubbles?


Quote:
Pcray wrote:

There's also a lot here as far as keeping your line off the water to prevent drag (i.e. the current grabbing your line and pulling fly downstream too fast).

I’ve been doing ok with that … at least by Stags standards lol.

Posted on: 4/22 9:44
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Re: Getting it to the bottom ....

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Quote:
Oh my …. For two years I’ve thought I’ve been doing well with keeping the indicator @ the same speed of the bubble. Ur telling me my indicator should be slower than the bubbles?


If you are bottom dredging nymphs in current, yes.

With dry flies, you want the same speed as the bubbles. Even if you are intentionally running nymphs high in the water column, which is reasonably common during hatches (I like a dry-dropper set up). And in slow water, same speed is fine.

But if you're fishing a faster run and you want to roll a nymph on the bottom, yes, the bottom water is SLOWER than the water you see at the surface. Your indi should be as well.

I often just high stick these situations. But if I do have an indi on, I often "check" it, meaning when you mend you repeatedly move that indi an inch or two upstream to get back in line with the nymph and not pull it.

Posted on: 4/22 11:07


Re: Getting it to the bottom ....

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2006/9/11 13:33
From Lehigh Valley
Posts: 3317
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Looks like some "training wheels" are in order....

Most people think of a strike indicator as just that - it tells you when you either are stuck on the bottom, or a fish took your fly. There's more to it than that.....

Try this. Pick up a pack of yarn indicators. They suck for casting, but they work really well for learning how to nymph fish.

Pinch your leader into a small loop, put the tip of the loop through the loop at the bottom of the indi far enough so that you can then pass the entire indi back through the loop, and pull to take out slack. Try to position the indi at 1 1/2 to 2 times the depth of the water away from your split shot.

Place the shot a foot or less from the fly - 6 to 8" is ideal. You're fishing the shot, not the fly. When fishing shot, the fly can actually be anywhere within this short distance between shot and fly. Having the shot closer to the fly lessens reaction time to a strike, for both you and the indicator.

Grease up the indicator well with your favorite paste or gel floatant. Be generous with it, and do it before you get the indi wet.

Now for the meat and potatoes of this....

When you are drifting this rig downstream, the position of the indi will tell you what's going on with the shot. Think of it as a drift indicator, not so much as a strike indicator.

If the indi is floating along completely vertical, and not twitching occasionally, you either need more weight, or the distance between shot and indicator isn't long enough. More likely you need more weight.

If the indi is leaning upstream, the shot is downstream of it. Again, need more weight.

If the indi is leaning downstream, and twitching occasionally, you're good. This means that the shot is in the slower current at the bottom. The indi should be moving slower than the surface bubbles.

Most of the time, you can just make adjustments to the shot (size/amount) to get the desired results, but if you really botched the depth estimate, you may have to increase the distance between indi and shot.

Fish the indi as you would a dry fly, meaning you want to mend to prevent drag. Let the position of the indi tell you if your shot is ticking bottom.

There's a LOT more to nymphing than just this method, but it's an easy start for a newb. Hope this helps....

Attach file:



jpg  indicators.JPG (14.50 KB)
72_5356c44f3495e.jpg 356X356 px

Posted on: 4/22 15:34
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Re: Getting it to the bottom ....

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2013/2/4 17:48
From SW PA
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Not to steal the thread but im having problems with this to i seem to be getting caught up way to much what is a good standard for distance of indicator to the fly 2x depth of water etc. i feel like thats wat i struggle with not when to add and take off weight thanks
adam

Posted on: 4/22 19:29


Re: Getting it to the bottom ....

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2013/1/27 10:24
From Sweet Valley
Posts: 185
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Distance from strike indicator for fly depends on current and the weight used. If the water is slow moving you won't need as much distance between the two as there won't be as much resistance to the flies sinking (also known as drag).

I think 1.5 times the water depth is usually enough distance and I would start there. 2 times can be way too long, depending on current.

Casting further upstream of your "target" also gives your flies more time to sink without using more weight as well.

Each run, riffle and hole may need adjustment on distance and weight to really fish effectively.

Getting hung up all the time is most likely a combination of distance of flies from indicator and too much weight. Reduce both and see how that works.

Posted on: 4/22 21:23


Re: Getting it to the bottom ....

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Varying the tuck on the cast can give your nymphs the time they need to hit the bottom. The higher you stop the rod the more tuck. This is tight lining/high sticking though.

Posted on: 4/22 21:46
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Re: Getting it to the bottom ....

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2012/3/22 8:26
From Couldn't Care Less
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Good stuff Ed ... lots to absorb much appreciated.

Quote:
Brookiechaser wrote:

Varying the tuck on the cast can give your nymphs the time they need to hit the bottom. The higher you stop the rod the more tuck. This is tight lining/high sticking though.

Brookie ... old lefty showed me something similar at last years fish-n-chips

Going to concentrate on both of these next time I'm out.



Quote:
hof52 wrote:

Not to steal the thread but

Hijack all u want ... we're all here to ask questions and pick up a few pointers.


Posted on: 4/22 22:01
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Re: Getting it to the bottom ....

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2010/6/19 16:43
From Clinton County, Pa.
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Stagger, by varying the angle of the tuck cast you spend less time switching weights. If I want the nymph to sink fast I cast so the fly goes in at a steep angle. If I want the fly to sink slower than I cast to get the fly to hit the water at a shallow angle. All this can be done WITHOUT switching the amount of weight on your leader.

Posted on: 4/22 22:32
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Re: Getting it to the bottom ....

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2011/5/26 10:12
From Dauphin PA
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Stagger,

There's no easy fix because it will vary from riff to riff or from one side of a run to the other side...if you really want to nymph properly. I'm not a big nympher and am a bit lazy when doing it....but still catch fish.

I put on my flies / weight and use my indi to counter the weight and keep me from hanging up too much. If I hang up constantly, I'll trim the leader 3"-6" and try again. I won't remove weight because I still want them sinking quickly. If I don't hit bottom in several casts, I'll raise the indi.

1 - 1 1/2 the water depth? No clue. I look at the water and guess.

Real heavy water might rewire more weight. The angle you fish will also impact how deep the flies will be able to get.....straight upstream vs up and across vs down and across. The tension or lack of line tension will determine how deep the flies can get. Someone else mentioned tuck cast which drives the flies in first and helps get them drop faster.

I use very little weight and still lose a lot of flies to the river bottom. I just think thrres a bunch of variables that make answering you question difficult. A little on stream time with a vet might be more help than 20 posts....just a thought. If I wasn't 90 minutes away, I'd be first volunteer.

Posted on: 4/22 22:41
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Re: Getting it to the bottom ....

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1/16 22:10
From danboro pa
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Thanks for this thread stagger,i have been wanting get away from using the indicator and try and feel the bottom like I did with my noodle rod.I have noticed that once I ajust the weight and get to the bottom I start caching more fish.There is some great info here and I cant wait get in the water and try it.Thanks for the great info everybody

Posted on: 4/23 7:33
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Re: Getting it to the bottom ....

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I take my cues from better bait/spin guys. A good baiter will run drag freeish drifts on a tight line bouncing bottom and feel bottom through the rod the whole way. It's all by feel, not sight. Many of them even use artificial nymphs to do it, though most of these guys are either tipping those nymphs with maggots or else using millworms, helgramites, and the like. Many also use jigs, to ensure the offering is down there, not just the shot.

High stick/bottom bounce nymphing with a fly rod is essentially trying to do what they do. Having fly line makes drag free more difficult. This is compensated by the fact that less weight makes drag free easier, and us fly guys only need the weight to get down, and not to cast. That gives us an advantage in certain situations.

Many guys even use heavily weighted "anchor" flies in place of some of the shot. It's the equivalent of the jig.

I think the ultimate result is that with a fly rod, you can do it with less drag provided you do it fairly close to you, and the water isn't too deep or fast. These conditions negate the fly line disadvantage while maximizing the advantages of needing less weight. But if you are forced to do it at a distance, the spinning rod would be the better tool but you can get away with a fly rod by using indicators and good line management, or else purposely adding drag (example swinging wets). If the water is very deep or fast, the spinning rod is the better tool but you can get away with a fly rod by using amounts of weight that are typically more associated with a spinning rod. But with only moderate currents and moderate depths and fairly close to you, and we have the superior tool for the job.

So, the point? If you are fishing a deep, fast run, and want to be on bottom, you need to be using an amount of weight typically associated with spinning gear. Either a whole lot of micro shot, or a couple of BB sized. At lesser currents and depths we need less weight than they do, but still approaching that.

Posted on: 4/23 7:52


Re: Getting it to the bottom ....

Joined:
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From Pretty much everywhere at some point, Thorndale today.
Posts: 13424
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Couple tips:

1. As was said, for fly fishing, spread out those shot. Makes casting easier, and less tangles.

2. I typically like a tandem rig when I can get away with it. That said, it definitely adds complexity to casting and can lead to tangles. Try only to your skill level. If I have to have a ton of weight and/or cast further than ideal, I still go with 1 nymph.

3. Personally with tandems I much prefer droppers, as opposed to tying to a hook bend. Most of my nymphing rigs I leave multiple droppers. At any blood knot near the business end of the leader, leave a 1-2" tag end on the THICKER line. If you choose no dropper fly, still put your shot on that tag end. MANY snags are shot, not fly, in the rocks. And if the shot is on that dropper it will usually pull out by pulling the shot off the end of that tag end. Then you need only to add more shot, not retie knots. If you're shot are not removable, this also makes changing weight MUCH easier, as you can just slide em off that end instead of cutting, sliding, and retying. One downfall of every nympher is laziness, and not changing weights when we should. This make it that much easier.

4. This leads to tandem rigs, which is good. You get to saying that, if you're putting shot on that tag, why not just make it a really heavy fly so that it can catch fish too? I always have a few in my box, that are pretty much balls of soft wire wrapped on a hook with a little dubbing overtop. Think Walt's worm where 3/4 of the "cigar" shape is actually metal. I've even done 4 or 5 tungsten beads strung along the shank to give the overlying dubbing a segmented look. They catch fish, and are very heavy indeed! The downfall of this approach is that if you do snag one of those, it doesn't pull off the end, rather it breaks the line above the point rig, forcing a whole new rig. Tippet rings might help me here, I intend to try that this year.

Posted on: 4/23 8:10



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