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Why Strike Indicators?

Joined:
3/11 12:33
From Upstate NY
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I am new and cannot understand why anyone uses one instead of a dry dropper rig? Is it because it's easier to adjust depth with the indicator? I realize for some really heavy rigs they may be needed for enough buoyancy, but for small nymphs what's the advantage? To me indicator fishing feels a lot like bobber fishing which I never enjoyed even with conventional fishing and I have little to no interest in it.

Posted on: 3/16 14:43


Re: Why Strike Indicators?

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2006/11/2 8:50
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Quote:

Rusty_Shackelford wrote:
I am new and cannot understand why anyone uses one instead of a dry dropper rig? Is it because it's easier to adjust depth with the indicator? I realize for some really heavy rigs they may be needed for enough buoyancy, but for small nymphs what's the advantage? To me indicator fishing feels a lot like bobber fishing which I never enjoyed even with conventional fishing and I have little to no interest in it.


In that case, continue not using them. I don't use them.



Posted on: 3/16 16:51


Re: Why Strike Indicators?

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2010/8/31 3:12
Posts: 362
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Quote:

Rusty_Shackelford wrote:

I am new and cannot understand why anyone uses one instead of a dry dropper rig? I realize for some really heavy rigs they may be needed for enough buoyancy, but for small nymphs what's the advantage?


Besides needing more flotation for a multiple nymph rig, with heavily weighted nymphs, an indicator is much easier to see than a small dry fly. Aside from the better visibility in faster, rougher water, some of us are getting to where keeping track of a small dry fly is just harder to see than it was a few years (decades) ago.

And, an indicator doesn't get waterlogged and need re-dressed with floatant like a dry fly.

Quote:

Rusty_Shackelford wrote:

Is it because it's easier to adjust depth with the indicator?


It is definitely easier to make quick adjustments with an indicator.

Quote:

Rusty_Shackelford wrote:

To me indicator fishing feels a lot like bobber fishing which I never enjoyed even with conventional fishing and I have little to no interest in it.


I found that a small indicator really helped me as I learned to nymph fish. However, like you, I always felt a little bit "dirty" using one, and wanted to get away from them. Now I tightline nymph, with the lessons that I learned by watching an indicator being a definite help to my new pursuit.

Posted on: 3/16 22:17


Re: Why Strike Indicators?

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2010/8/31 3:12
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Quote:

troutbert wrote:

In that case, continue not using them.


I couldn't help but laugh when I read this!

It's absolutely true. If you don't like it, just don't do it. Pretty simple.

Posted on: 3/16 22:19


Re: Why Strike Indicators?

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2018/3/29 20:58
From Lebanon, PA
Posts: 37
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I sorry but I do use strike indicators when wet fly or nymph fishing, I old, 71 and blind in one eye, I always dreamed that when I retired, that I did just late last year, all I wanted to do is fly fish, in fact it is only type of fishing that I have done since 1976. I don’t own any other fishing gear. No, I don’t use bobbers but strike indicators or a dry fly as an indicator, yes. If you don’t want to use one go for it, but don’t think you are better than someone who uses one or needs to use one to fly fish. We have enough elitist fly fishmen in the world we don’t need you looking down their nose to someone just because they use strike indicators. Even though I have been fly-fishing since 1976, I have only been doing it off and on and by my own estimation I’m still a novice but trying to get better every time I go out, using strike indicators.

Posted on: 3/17 1:01
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Re: Why Strike Indicators?

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2018/1/8 14:23
From Broomall
Posts: 68
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Often the water i fish has multiple types of water in very close proximity. for example, a dam with deep pools and heavy current followed closely by riffle water with shallow pockets, then a slow deeper bend with undercut banks around the next corner.

I like to cover water and not stand in one place for too long and having an indicator allows me to continue using my nymphs and droppers but adjust the depth quickly to math the different types of water.

I typically prefer a dry dropper rig when fishing in the spring when i'll target specific types of water. the dry fly will usually have a cleaner landing and spook the fish less when compared to foam indicators. I've just picked up some New Zealand Wool, but haven't had a chance to experiment with this yet, but that might be a better option for not spooking the fish. Another reason i prefer the dry dropper is that I've had curious trout try to eat my indicators on several occasions. Given the choice, i'd rather use a dry fly and give the fish another option that actually has a hook on it.

All that being said, I still use indicators, especially during the winter months. The action on dries is often non-existent for the winter fishing that i get to experience making a dry fly irrelevant and the ease of changing depths quickly makes them a good choice for my style of nymph fishing.

Posted on: 3/17 1:42


Re: Why Strike Indicators?

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2006/11/2 8:50
Posts: 2460
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Try this method.

Use a standard rod, like a 9 ft 5 wt or 8 1/2 ft 5 wt. Or whatever you got.

Use a standard leader like a 9 ft leader tapered to 5x.

Tie on a standard nymph, like beadhead Walts worm.

Then just FISH. Just cast it out and drift it through good looking spots. Drift it through pocket water. Through runs. Where riffs flow into pools.

Start out with a short line, fishing the water close to you. Then gradually pull out more line, fishing the water further away.

As you get more line out, you will encounter drag, but there are ways to manage that.

The upstream reach cast is IMHO the most important part of managing drag.

You can also do line mends during the drift to limit drag.

I started fly fishing when indicators did not exist, and this is the way we fished. It is similar to some wet fly techniques. And also to how people fished bait with fly rods, which was common back then. Some people still do, but it is much less common now.



Posted on: 3/17 6:28


Re: Why Strike Indicators?

Joined:
3/11 12:33
From Upstate NY
Posts: 12
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Thanks for sharing y'all, love hearing how everyone makes everything work.

Posted on: 3/17 19:49


Re: Why Strike Indicators?

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Posts: 2460
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Here's how most people fished worms or salmon eggs with a fly rod.

Standard rod, standard line, standard leader.

On the end: hook with worm.

Weight: a split shot about 10 - 12 inches up.

Fishing technique: Throw it out there and drift it through good looking pockets, deep runs, undercut banks, where riffles flow into pools, etc.

Just tie on a mayfly nymph or caddis larva imitation instead of bait and otherwise it's exactly the same.

Posted on: 3/17 20:59


Re: Why Strike Indicators?

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2010/8/31 3:12
Posts: 362
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Quote:

troutbert wrote:

Here's how most people fished worms or salmon eggs with a fly rod.



Just tie on a mayfly nymph or caddis larva imitation instead of bait and otherwise it's exactly the same.


I'd have to disagree with that.

A bait "take" is much different than an artificial nymph "take".

With bait, it tends to be a bit more assertive or aggressive, making it much easier to feel than the subtle take of a nymph.

And with bait, the fish will hold it much longer, due to taste and texture. With an artificial fly, it is often take-and-spit-out in less than a second. You need to be much more aware, and much quicker on the hookset. That's hard to do if you never even knew the fish took the nymph.

To illustrate that a little further, when was the last time you saw a fish hooked deep in the throat with a fly, yet it happens frequently with bait.

Posted on: 3/18 8:19


Re: Why Strike Indicators?
Moderator
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2006/9/11 8:26
From Chester County
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Quote:

ColdBore wrote:
Quote:

troutbert wrote:

Here's how most people fished worms or salmon eggs with a fly rod.



Just tie on a mayfly nymph or caddis larva imitation instead of bait and otherwise it's exactly the same.


I'd have to disagree with that.

A bait "take" is much different than an artificial nymph "take".

With bait, it tends to be a bit more assertive or aggressive, making it much easier to feel than the subtle take of a nymph.

And with bait, the fish will hold it much longer, due to taste and texture. With an artificial fly, it is often take-and-spit-out in less than a second. You need to be much more aware, and much quicker on the hookset. That's hard to do if you never even knew the fish took the nymph.

To illustrate that a little further, when was the last time you saw a fish hooked deep in the throat with a fly, yet it happens frequently with bait.


Troutbert's statement "Just tie on a mayfly nymph or caddis larva imitation instead of bait and otherwise it's exactly the same" has a lot of truth to it.

I started FFing as a kid. At the time all I knew was how to fish with bait for trout and I had no teacher. Basically I learned to cast ("sling" actually) my fly up and across and follow it down. I set the hook at any movement or change in my line drift.

I caught plenty of trout. In fact sometimes many more than I did using bait, especially later in the season. I also encourage perspective anglers to keep things simple. Don't worry about matching the hatch, indicators, specialized rods and outfits, etc. Cast your line in the stream and pay attention. That's really all it takes. As time goes on you can and will refine your methods and rigs, but it shouldn't be rocket science.

Posted on: 3/18 10:00


Re: Why Strike Indicators?

Joined:
2011/7/6 13:48
From Philadelphia PA
Posts: 1374
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In low light I may use one as my eye sight even with glasses doesn't always see the dry fly.

Posted on: 3/23 11:17
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Re: Why Strike Indicators?

Joined:
2007/10/17 10:49
From florida
Posts: 2658
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I agree with Troutbert re: fishing flies like bait. Old timers like me fished bait early in the season and switched when the hatches started coming off. Some used old bass casting line rather than a fly line to bait fish. Leader ,split shot 10 to 12 inches up from the hook,add a garden hackle and it was game on. GG
Remember Salted Minnows and the needle used to rig them?

Posted on: 3/23 14:42
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Re: Why Strike Indicators?

Joined:
2009/5/26 8:36
From York & Starlight, PA
Posts: 897
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Quote:
I never enjoyed even with conventional fishing and I have little to no interest in it.


Then don't do it. Learn to nymph fish without the indicator. I know many excellent fly fishers who either don't, or only rarely, use indicators. While in some streams they have there place in most free stone, or tail waters, they are unnecessary.

If a stream you are fishing has a lot of aquatic vegetation and you are getting green gunk on your fly often then applying an indicator to keep the fly above the vegetation is a good thing. The only time I would ever use an indicator when trout fishing is when I fish for steelhead in streams and rivers with a lot of loose shale on the bottom instead of the more common rocks and boulders. Loose shale seems to be a fly magnet. I've had days before I started to use an indicator when I could lose a dozen nymphs. Adding an indicator brings that loss pretty much to zero.

Posted on: 3/30 18:10
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