Missouri Trout Hunter

Blog for sharing thoughts, beliefs and opinions on issues affecting the world of trout fishing in the Ozarks.

Friday, June 20, 2014

The Non-Indicator Indicator:  
Making Your Own Euro-nymph Cheater

If you've ever wanted to toy around with "tight-line" downstream European-style nymphing, here's a nifty trick to help you out. At one point in the ancient past, I began to realize that I was recognizing hits by how my leader throbbed during my presentation. As I would work my fly down into the depths, swim it up, and lay it back, my leader would develop a little tension, and then a little slack, and then a little tension, and so on. Once I recognized this give-and-take between my rod tip and the river, it became kind of mesmerizing. There's an actual visual rhythm to it. Additionally, the sound of the line on the water added an audible beat to that rhythm. And when that rhythm was interrupted, I'd set the hook. Sometimes I'd feel the take -- a somewhat aggressive thump -- but other times I'd feel nothing. Observers would ask me what I saw, but I couldn't really tell them. It just seemed like something was different. I started referring to that feeling as my spider sense, i.e. "if you're spider sense tingles, set the hook!"

During one of my readings into European fishing styles, I found a reference to a technique that some of the national competitive fly fishing teams were employing to help them with their spider sense -- using a corkscrew twist of colored leader material, so they could better see that change in tension during the give-and-take throb of the fly. Today, you might be able too find these nifty little gizmos for sale at nicer fly shops -- Umpqua makes one. If you live in the sticks like I do, they're kind of hard to come by, other than ordering online. And who wants to pay $10 in shipping for 10 feet of curly fishing line? So, needless to say, I usually end up making my own. Here's how:

(1) Pick up some colored fishing line that's easy to see and a thin round mold of some sort -- a wooden skewer works well.  This pic is of a nymphing leader butt section, but any visible monofilament will do -- Stren, Trilene, etc. -- 20-pound test is a good idea.  If you're using plain uncolored line, you might try running a sharpie down the length of it.  Any color will help, but black is plenty visible. BTW, I haven't tried making this type of indicator with flourocarbon, but I'm guessing it won't work as well.  

(2) Tape one end of the line to the end of the skewer.

(3) Wrap it up nice and tight...

(4) ...and tape it off.

(5)  Now bring a pot of water to a hard rolling boil -- maximum heat -- and dip the coil into the water for 30 seconds.  Take it out, and immediately run it under some cold running tap water to cool it quickly.  This is what you'll end up with.

This will work best attached directly to your fly line with a LONG leader & tippet attached below. Accompanying that with a longer rod will help keep the coil in the air where you can see it.  Now get out there and practice that throb!  Or, of course, you can book a guide trip, and I'll show you how to do it firsthand.

See you on the river!

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