Photo: Greg Dini

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Czech Nymphing: Improve your catch rate

Home sweet home. After a few months in the caribbean and a week out in Montana it is good to finally be back on the right coast. With spring in the air the bugs are hatching left and right.  Hendricksons, Olives, Midges, Caddis, and Quill Gordons are everywhere.
After fishing for 3 months straight I naturally had to get the feet wet today within the Croton Watershed. I spent the morning sniffing for carp only to find them uninterested and in spawn mode. The afternoon however, I got into some serious trout fishing. Once in trout mode I commenced my plan of attack using conventional methods. The fish were everywhere but on the end of my line. In fishing it is important to be open to a new game plan. Most of the time (not always) it is also imperative to keep changing ones rig, casting position, flies, and so forth. Today I did just this. I threw on a 25 foot leader and began Czech nymphing. After the first 10 minutes I had caught 4 fish. 
A Montana Brown
Czech nymphing when executed properly is deadly. Pure and simple. The Czech nymphing attack occurs within a close proximity of the angler, usually no more then 5 yards. Allowing one to create a drag free drift. More often then not I find myself on my knees so wearing knee pads can be useful. Think of a heron or egret hunt and stalk its prey with a stealthy low profile. The plan of attack is quite similar. Fish are more often then not caught right under the rod tip. To commence the attack it is important to take your time getting into position in a low and quiet manner, since the fish are close at hand. When in position throw a lob or roll cast 5 or so yards up stream. With the fly in the water high stick the rod in motion with the fly going down stream. Tracking with the fly downstream one steadily dips the rod to maintain a drag free drift. It is important to keep the leader taunt and at a 90 degree angle to the water. That way one can maintain a solid connection with the fly. Using a 20 foot leader can be crucial. The rod is literally tracking over the fish more often then not, any fly line hanging over the water or within the guides can spook the fish.  The bare rod tip will blend in with any branches. I find it useful to use a light fly rod since the never ending high stick method is tough on the shoulder. A 10 foot rod can be ideal. For those new to the method I recommend using an indicator of some sort. Without the indicator one must focus his or her eyes on the leader or fish. Any abrupt change in the leaders' motion will suggest a strike. When delivered properly the Czech nymphing technique creates a drag free drift. Mastering the technique WILL improve and probably double your catch rate.

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