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Stripping nymphs

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2008/8/14 9:13
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I recently started fishing nymphs more heavily than dries. Most of the streams that I fish are pretty skinny with not much casting room. I might have gotten myself into a bad habit, but im not sure how bad it is. I have been dead-drifting nymphs directly downstream ( without an indicator), and giving the nymph a tiny twitch while methodically letting line out to keep it "hopping" on the bottom. Here's my problem: I dont seem to get as many bites while drifting back. But, when I am stripping back to retrieve my fly to make another drift, thats when I'm getting a majority of my bites. Sometimes the nymph is actually riding on the surface of the water leaving a wake in it's path, then the bite comes. I know what you're thinking, if you're getting bites dont worry about it, right? Unfortunately, the hookup to catch ratio sucks because i'm just lip-hooking most of them. I have become a big fan of size 16 and 18 nymphs, and I feel like I can control the depth of the fly more accurately than a larger, heavier fly. Is my hook to small to catch these fish while stripping? I know streamers work in the same fashion, and they seem to catch lots of fish on the retrieve. Is this due to the larger hook? THe reason I don't use a strike indicator or a large dry fly with a dropper is because of the commotion it cause when being retrieved, I don't get as many bites using one when stripping back. I do use them when I am fishing upstream and letting the fly work itself downstream.
Any thoughts or suggestions on how to improve my hookup to catch ratio, or am I just doing something wrong to begin with?

Posted on: 2008/10/10 11:52


Re: Stripping nymphs

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2007/7/25 19:51
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Simplefish

Your thoughts appear pretty good to me. I'm a firm believer in what works for you, go ahead and do it. I've had some of my best days fishing being unconventional. No one says it has to look good to be good. Practice with it. Try some other variations on what your already doing. I've taught myself some unconventional ways to cast in tight places just by playing around with an errant cast. Good luck

Posted on: 2008/10/10 13:15


Re: Stripping nymphs

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2006/9/10 21:53
From Greensburg, PA
Posts: 13623
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If they are taking on the upswing they may be thinking emerger. As for hooking the lips...where would you like to hook them? It may be your timing on the lift as much as anything.

Posted on: 2008/10/10 13:19


Re: Stripping nymphs

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2008/8/14 9:13
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When I said lip hooked, I meant that the hook is not penetrating anything that will keep the fish hooked. I think it just catches a little peice of skin, and once a small amount of pressure is applied, the fish is gone. I am not applying too much pressure, i just barely get a bend in the rod sometimes. Maybe i am losing these fish because i am directly upstream of the fish, and when the line comes tight, there isn't a nice corner of the fish's mouth for the point to set in. Instead, maybe it's pulling straight out, since trout do not generally turn sideways after eating. They keep their heads into the current.
I don't know, maybe Im thinking too hard about this. Maybe things will change for me if trout start getting botox and collagen lip injections. Oh well, shut up and fish, right?

Posted on: 2008/10/10 14:00


Re: Stripping nymphs

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2006/9/10 21:53
From Greensburg, PA
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If its something you want to work on do just that...try stuff...Try pausing before lifting...try striking to the side instead of straight up...try letting the fish hook itself...or hit him harder...If you are getting them to strike you have the hard part down...

Posted on: 2008/10/10 14:08


Re: Stripping nymphs

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Thanks. I am going to try new methods. You are definitely right about having the hard part down. I have always said that in any type of fishing, the bite is my favorite part. Whether its an immature trout whacking a dry fly, or a mature trout sip emerging bugs from the surface, or a sailfish chasing a live ballyhoo teaser 5 feet from the transom of a boat, the bite is what really gets my heart pounding, not necessarily the fight and the catch, or the release. But I do enjoy them all. I guess that what makes us who we are: Fisherman (and women, sorry girls).

Posted on: 2008/10/10 14:31


Re: Stripping nymphs

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2006/9/9 21:13
From Apollo
Posts: 294
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Try pushing the hook point off to the side instead of directly below the shank. That will open up the gap for better hookset.

Posted on: 2008/10/10 19:42
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Re: Stripping nymphs

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2007/1/2 11:55
From Bozeman
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There was an article in the last Fly Fisherman called "Nymphing is a Drag". It talked about purposely putting drag and movement in your nymph presentation. Anyone curious about trying more than just dead drifting or haphazard swinging should check it out.

Posted on: 2008/10/13 10:04


Re: Stripping nymphs

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2006/9/9 21:13
From Apollo
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I've watch trout follow the nymph while it was drifting and didn't take but strip it in across or up stream and they nailed it. Suppose it was the escape factor, grab it now before it gets away.

Posted on: 2008/10/13 20:03
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A fish is a fish, except THE FISH


Re: Stripping nymphs
Moderator
Joined:
2006/9/11 8:26
From Chester County
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Here's is a decent video that I found with short segments on moving flies, hooking fish, and slack casts/mends to gain depth.

FF Video

Posted on: 2008/10/15 9:55


Re: Stripping nymphs

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2006/9/10 16:07
From Pine Grove
Posts: 2410
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Quote:

live2fish wrote:
I've watch trout follow the nymph while it was drifting and didn't take but strip it in across or up stream and they nailed it. Suppose it was the escape factor, grab it now before it gets away.


That's the most productive method I've come up with for for the streams I fish. I fish both nymphs and streamers this way whenever I have an adequate amount of water to do so. I love to see the end of a swing in a long deep pool followed by a trout that appears out of nowhere and catches you completely asleep at the reel.

Boyer

Posted on: 2008/10/20 16:42


Re: Stripping nymphs

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2008/3/20 22:15
Posts: 1789
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You aren't going to get as many hookups with what you are doing. I won't say any technique is wrong that's how new ones are developed but I fish some skinny water and got beat up allot until I started watching my son more closely. He fishes with the USA Fly fishing youth team and I'm his Mom who pretty much has no natural talent. What I noticed is he rarely does a traditional cast. He does a combination of flip cast and bow casts when cover is tight. He also stays out of the skinny water if possible which is stating pretty much the obvious when trout fishing. What I say watching him and lately have learned to love is hugging the bank and casting the nymph straight upstream. I don't have much dexterity but you can figure 8 your line with your fingers to keep up with the slack..... that is if you don't get a hit when the nymph hits. The fish pointing up stream and the hook position is right on. It took me way too long to figure this out but at last it's paying off.

Posted on: 2008/10/24 19:02


Re: Stripping nymphs

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2007/5/21 10:47
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You've hit on two interesting points: the first being that, as you've discovered, when fishing directly downstream you won't hook as many fish as you think you should and the second being that breaking away from the "nymphs can only be fished on the dead drift" mentality is a good thing.

The issue with fishing directly downstream and stripping flies back towards you is that there is relatively little slack in the line compared to other methods. Slack?! Slack Bad!! Not always. IF you think about it, slack is present during all other attempts to hook fish, even if just for a moment (which is all it takes): that is to say that your reaction time is just slow enough to allow the fish to mouth the fly a little more and ultimately result in a more secure hookup. The only argument you may have is that the line is tight while stripping streamers--true, but people generally miss a lot if fish stripping flies and those who are really good at it have trained themselves to strip-strike the fish rather than lift on them. Try a trick learned from an older gent I know who fishes wets downstream with great success. Leave the rod tip high—approximately 65 degrees—while retrieving the fly rather than point the tip directly at the fly. This will put just a little bit of slack in your retrieve and allow the fish to really grab the fly before you set on them—often, they hook themselves when you do this. The other is to employ a sidearm hookset. Rather than yank back over your shoulder, slowly sweep the rod out to the side. Both of these techniques will increase your hook-up and land ratio.

The second thing you've discovered is that moving flies catch fish—the certainly do. What you've done is discover—sort of—another nymph behavior: although they don't often skip on the surface (but some bugs do), they do move around—especially before a hatch, and it is at this point when they are most exposed and vulnerable that trout really like to go after them. What you're doing is merely recreating this behavior and triggering a strike as a result. It seems people don't often think to fish their nymphs actively due to all the press the dragless drift gets nowadays, but experimenting with different approaches will lead to more wiggles on the end of the line and more satisfaction at the end of the day.

Good luck.

Posted on: 2009/1/16 10:26


Re: Stripping nymphs

Joined:
2006/9/10 11:16
From Harrisburg PA
Posts: 602
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As Riverguide said and I find it worlk well, keep the rod tip high through the drift and at the take lift up and sideways while using a strip-strike. A friend thought this would move too much line and pull the fly away from the fish, but I find it to work well. It does take practice for the timing and this semi-complicated strike.

Posted on: 2009/1/16 12:16


Re: Stripping nymphs

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2008/3/20 22:15
Posts: 1789
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I'm sorry I don't mean to belittle your nymphing tactics. My question is why don't you feel confident to cast your nymph upstream in skinny water? Listen, I basically stink at everything I try the first time. Am pretty bad at it the 2nd time and am about ready to cry the 3rd, 4th and fifth time I try something, One day after I'd watched my son a million times I hugged the bank and I casted upstream in 4 inches of water and guess what? :) Not saying you shouldn't investigate what you're doing. Just thought while your doing it it you might want to more effectively check out the original option. Feel free to beat me up. I just like to master basics first. When I get them down I'll let you know.

Posted on: 2009/1/18 19:51






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