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Thread: Still water Nymphing tactics

  1. #1
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    Question Still water Nymphing tactics

    Guys,

    One read a lot about tactics for Nymphing on streams.

    But how do you approach nymphing on still waters and what would your tactics be?
    Gerhard Delport

    We lose ourselves in the things we love.
    We also find ourselves there... Too

  2. #2
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    There are some amazing books on the subject.

    Still water nymphing is a facet on its own.
    Which can take up a couple of books to discuss in detail.
    Korrie Broos

    Don't go knocking on Death's door, ring the bell and run like hell. He hates it. (anon)
    Nymphing, adds depth to your fly fishing.
    Nymphing, is fly fishing in another dimension

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by Korrie View Post
    There are some amazing books on the subject.

    Still water nymphing is a facet on its own.
    Which can take up a couple of books to discuss in detail.
    Thanks Korrie,

    Do you have book suggestions?

    Would also like if you dont mind to give a couple of pointers here on the forum..
    Gerhard Delport

    We lose ourselves in the things we love.
    We also find ourselves there... Too

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by Korrie View Post
    There are some amazing books on the subject.

    Still water nymphing is a facet on its own.
    Which can take up a couple of books to discuss in detail.
    Hi Korrie, what books would you suggest as a start?

  5. #5
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    some info about still waters, that I wrote awhile back. Not only nymphing, but helpful.

    The easiest is small dam, small rod. I would not really suggest anything lighter than a #4 for the small dams. Although I would say the best for weight rod to have would be a #5 for small waters or as a starter kit. The bigger the dam or still water the bigger the rod. In South Africa, I would not really go bigger than a #7 rod.
    For the small dams and a #4 rod, a normal floating line will be all that you need. a #5, a long rod is my preference, with a slightly softer action. As a lot of the time you will be fishing close in, stalking fish close by. The longer rod gives you more reach and ability to manouver the fly.
    The bigger water needs bigger rods. You will be casting heavy flies or teams of flies, with very long leaders. Lighter rods, can't handle it. Also, you don't get sinking lines in the lighter rods. Which you will need on larger waters.

    Fishing still waters, the golden rules are the following.
    a. Find the fish
    b. Find the depth
    c. Find the fly
    d. Find the retrieve.

    Find the fish
    Finding the fish can sometimes be very easy or very difficult.

    Where would you start to look for the fish?
    Whether you are fishing from a boat or the bank, the basics stays the same.
    The shallows are the best place to start.
    Look for weed beds, underwater plants do not grow in very deep water as they need the sunlight for photosyntesis.
    Up to 3 meters is the norm for plants.
    Plants offer food and protection for under water insects, small baitfish etc.
    So the first place I would look for is weedbeds. Fish in, around and above the weedbeds. Weed beds also have a higher concentration of oxygen due to the process of photosynthesis.

    The second place I would start looking for the fish will be what I call "the contrasts"

    The Contrasts are all the following areas.
    Shallow to deep water (drop-offs)
    Clean to dark/dirty water.
    Still water to inlet water coming in.
    Windlanes. Areas where you can see the wind has blown a "path" next to the still water.
    Light to dark areas, ie shadows, or substrata below the water
    Cool to warmer water. vertical and horizontal. (thermocline etc)
    Bank plants(trees, brush, tall grass) to barren banks

    It is amazing how the fish are drawn to the CONTRAST areas.
    One of the reasons is that it gives the security, while they are looking for food.
    They can keep in the darker/dirtier/shadow/riffle water for protection and only shoot out to grab a morsel to eat and dart back to safety.
    As this areas provide safety for the fish, it also provides safety to the food source, ie nymph, corixia, baitfish, fry etc.
    A second reason is that some of the other contrast areas offers more oxygen, ie. inlets, but with the more oxygen provided by the incoming water, there is also more food being washed in. The inlet with its incoming water provides various contrasts a. clean vs dirty water, oxygen rich water vs less oxygen in the still water, flowing water vs still water, cold water vs warmer water.
    This mixing zone is a very good area to explore for fish.
    In this mixing zone, the fish can be found at various depth, But it is also important to realise, that the mixing zone moves. Sometimes deeper into the dam, in times of heavy rain and inflow or recedes more to the inlet in times of less rain or runoff. An important factor to remember when fishing the contrast area of the mixing zone is the depth. From my personal experience I have had fantastic results fishing the front section of the mixing zone, but deep.
    It seems to me that the inflowing water's front part wedges itself under the normal still water. The inflowing water will have the "sharp end of the wedge" furtherst into the dam, with the top section furhter behind towards the inlet.
    So keep that in mind when fishing this section. The contrast on the top of the incoming water, wether it is clean vs dirty, cold vs hot, oxygen rich vs less oxygen, will differ from the bottom section.
    My best results have been when I managed to get the angle of the wedge right and retrieved my flies along this angle. Sometimes the angle is very steep other times I have had it at a very low angle.

    Wind lanes over an area of mixing, either mixing a bit more oxygen into the surface layer, or mixing stiller water with water that have a bit of a crust, as the English like to call it. This water with a crust, gives the fish a sense of security and makes them come to the surface. Wind lanes can also blow food into the dam. Terrestrials etc. Where the wind "hits the other bank" it creates waves. This waves first of all puts more oxygen into the water, but secondly, it washes loose a lot more food from the bottom. Any food that is blown along the wind lanes will also end up on the shore, in this area.

    Banks with vegatation have always produced more fish for me compared to banks without vegatation.
    Tall trees have been very good for me, especially when fishing in its shadow.
    Here you can have a combination of 3 CONTRASTS. 1 banks with vegatation. 2, light vs dark due to the shadows, 3 warmer vs colder water because of the shadows. I tend to like to cast into the sunnier areas and retrieve into the shadows. The trees as background, I think, hides my profile and some of my movement. I also think that the baitfish, nymphs etc will move towards the shadow/cooler areas. Plants on the banks tend to house more terrestrials, grasshoppers, bees in the flowering season, beetles, worms on some trees, ants etc. All potential sources of food for the patrolling trout.
    Korrie Broos

    Don't go knocking on Death's door, ring the bell and run like hell. He hates it. (anon)
    Nymphing, adds depth to your fly fishing.
    Nymphing, is fly fishing in another dimension

  6. #6
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    Drop-offs can be another productive spot.
    Drop-offs can be the following,
    Cliffs, old river bed with the banks, Dongas, cuttings from old roadworks where dams have been filled.
    Fish like to patrol in the drop off area. They feel same, because they can easily flee to safety of the deeper water should it be neccesary. But then they can easily dart off into the shallow water to grab a baitfish, nymph, etc and move back to the safety of the deeper area.
    Drop-offs can also have a combination of CONTRASTS
    shallow vs deep water.
    Light vs dark water.
    warm vs cold water (shallow=warm, deep=cold)
    Dirty vs clean water. (where the wind blows onto a shore where there is a drop off, the wave action can create a dirty area with clean water very close.
    Plants vs no plants
    The plants can be 2 reasons. 1. shallower water will be easier for the plant to grow due to the sunlight, 2 in the shallower area, there will be normally some soil, where the cliff/drop-off etc will have no soil.

    Warm vs cold/colder water.
    The vertical column of water will always have layers of different water temps.
    The deeper, the cooler the water. Trout tend to like the cooler temps.
    In summer months try deeper as the trout will be deeper, sitting in the cooler water
    Cooler water can be also from the inflow of fresh rain water.

    Another contrast area I like is muddy bottoms compared to sandy bottoms.
    Muddy bottoms are the favourite place of bloodworms. If you are good in reading the land, you will be able to identify where the muddy areas are.
    This is a good area to fish buzzers

    When looking for fish, I try to look at how many CONTRASTS are there. For me, the more CONTRASTS, in one area, the better the chance of finding fish.

    But sometimes the fish is nowhere near any of above ,and it might be in the middle of the dam, feeding on an daphnia bloom. Then it is like finding a needle in a haystack, but once you found the fish, there CAN sometimes be a lot of them, other times it has been only a loner that you caught and you have to search some more.
    Finding the depth, Finding the fly and finding the retrieve.

    Above mentioned factors are very difficult to view in isolation.

    They can be treated as indivudual factors but most of the time form a triangle.

    You can be on the right depth, but have the wrong fly, and you will get nothing.
    You can have the right depth, right fly, but wrong retrieve and still get nothing.

    Lets start at finding the depth with your fly.
    There are numerous ways to achieve this.
    a. weighting of flies.
    b. sinking lines. From intermediate to DI7,
    c. combination of above.
    d. using extra floatable flies. boobies etc with weighted lines

    Lets start of by looking at various ways to of weighting the flies.
    a. beads. brass, tungsen lead, glass
    b. lead wire on the hook shank.
    c.leadfoil
    d. extra thick wire hooks
    e. Combination of above.

    Line types.
    a. Floating lines
    b intermediate lines
    b1. slow intermediate
    b2. fast intermediate
    c. DI3
    d.DI5
    e.DI7

    Then you also get some specialist lines, which I won't go into now.

    Lets have a look at the various scenarios of using some of above and what can be achieved.

    Lets start with a floating line.
    a. a floating line with dry flies on the surface no retrieve
    b. a floating line with hooks only and no to very little retrieves, Buzzer style.
    c. a floating line with lightly weighted flies and a slow retrieve directly after the cast. Here the flies will fished just below the surface.. ie damsels, soft hackles etc
    d. a floating line with lightly weighted flies and a slow retrieve after different count downs. Slow to medium retrieve
    e. floating line with a heavy point fly and no weight to very lightly weighted dropper flies. ALso different countdowns. Slow to fast retrieve and every thing in between retrieve wise.
    Here the flies will be covering the water at various depths. With the heavy fly at the point and the other flies closer to the surface, you will be covering from fairly deep to 1 meter from the surface, depending the distance between the flies.
    f. floating line with a booby on the top dropper and the point fly and 1st dropper naturals. stripped vary fast. Here the booby creates a surface disturbance which attracts the fish's attention. It will come and inpsect it. sees nothing interesting, then notices the naturals behind it and takes that.

    As you can see, just with the floating line, there is so many variations.
    On every one of the options mentioned, you can now still add the fly combinations
    a. naturals only.
    b. an attractor (to get the fish's attention) plus naturals, if it is wild fish.
    c. only attractors if it is fresh stockies.

    Add to that the retrieves possible with some of the flies
    a. figure 8
    1. fig 8 with index finger and middle finger. (very slow, slow, medium, fast or very fast)
    2. Fig 8 with index finger and ring finger (different options as above)
    3. fig 8 with whole hand and retrieve options as above.

    b. Roly poly
    c. Long arm, Start with the rod directly infront of you, grip line before the stripping guide, extend the arm holding the rod straight infront of you, with your stripping arm, strip as far back as possible stripping arm. Repeat whole strip again.
    d. standard retrieve with the rod infront of you and stripping half an arm back. At various speeds.

    d. combinations of above.

    Above is just a couple of possiblilities with a floating line.
    lets go tru some options with a intermediate line on fly setups.
    You could have a point fly which is a booby and the 1st and 2nd dropper is naturals.
    Here the booby will hold the dropper flies very close to the surface for a long period of time.
    You can now use the count down method with different retrieves as well.
    What about a intermediate line with flies that are equally weighted. here all the flies will be on the same level.
    Once you have establised the depth of the fish and the flies they eat, this is a good option. As all the flies will be on the same level as the fish.
    To try and explore different depths than the floater with the heavily weighted point fly, use the same flies on the intermediate. You will now cover different depths as the flies with the intermediate will sink even deeper.
    Korrie Broos

    Don't go knocking on Death's door, ring the bell and run like hell. He hates it. (anon)
    Nymphing, adds depth to your fly fishing.
    Nymphing, is fly fishing in another dimension

  7. #7
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    Fishing sinking lines offer other options on depths and fly setups.

    Fishing from the side in winding conditions and fish feeding deep, you can use a sinking line to great effect.
    A point fly being a booby, with 2 buzzers as droppers, when cast out will immediately go to the bottom. The Booby will lift the flies from the bottom while the buzzers could be in the feeding zone.
    This could be used in various setups, with different levels of success and frustartions.
    When there are lots of plant growth, you can be constantly when you retrieve, have to take the plants of the flies. But then again, your flies could be held just above the plants, in the feeding zone, and offer an easy meal to the trout.

    If you are in a drift boat with howling winds, the DI7 will get down, very quickly and you will be able to retrieve the flies on a deep level, before the wind have blown you over the good spot.

    Heavily weighted Montana nymphs on a DI7 is not a pleasure to cast, but your fly line and flies will reach the depth quickly and all on the same level.
    When the fish is deep and a blowing wind this could be the option to go for on a boat. But be warned. The worst is when you get the cast wrong and all you feel and hear, is the DOEF, DOEF, DOEF, of the 3 nymphs hitting you behind the head.

    I have listed just some of the options that is possible to do.
    TO try and list all of them is whole book.
    The best will be to go to the water and practice some of the methods and techniques.

    Provoking/forcing a take
    Sometimes on a dam, you will get the fish following your fly but not taking it.

    Here are some of the techniques I use.
    When a fish follows a lure but don't take it, I will strip faster and faster. Then all of a sudden STOP.
    It is almost like the fish can't help it. It just opens its mouth and gulps up the fly. Almost like preventing a crash into the fly.
    When fishing nymphs and having a slow retrieve fig 8, I would do the same, start of slower and steadily increase the spead. Almost like an escaping fish, or nymph trying to swim away from the fish. There is a critical speed, where the fish will take it or refuse it if it goes to fast. Sometimes it pays to stop dead still in this retrieve.
    If the fly is close to the surface I will sweep the rod tip and try and lift it out of the water. If the fish thinks the nymph will escape as it reaches the surface it sometimes will slash at it.

    If fish follows the flies and you have tried all the retrieves, and all you have is following fish, try a size smaller, sometimes even 2 sizes smaller. When they follow a fly and don't take it, it could be that they don't have the trust and confidence that the fly is food. Going smaller can convince them. Or something more natural.
    Other times, something larger will do the trick.

    There is not one definite answer to all the questions, but it helps to know a couple of alternatives when you are on the water. Sometimes a combination will do the trick and give you a hard earned fish.
    Korrie Broos

    Don't go knocking on Death's door, ring the bell and run like hell. He hates it. (anon)
    Nymphing, adds depth to your fly fishing.
    Nymphing, is fly fishing in another dimension

  8. #8
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    Leaders and leader material
    Leaders and the material to use is in some circles controversial.

    Some say only fluoro carbon, others will say fluoro carbon is overrated.
    Strange as it may seem, I agree with both. ?!?!?!?

    When fishing nymphs and buzzers, I agree with fluoro carbons, they do make a difference. Fishing flies that is very slowly retrieved, the fish also swims slowly and inspects the food. Having enough time to see the mono.

    When stripping lures, I prefer mono and I think Fluoro is overrated.
    When a fly is being stripped at pace past a fish, there is no way he will inspect the fly. He swims as fast as he can and grabbs it.
    Also when stripping lures, the takes are very aggresive and hard, I prefer the supple and give of mono. The shock absorption of knots on mono is a lot better than on fluoro carbons.

    Normally for still water I fish straight leader setup. It can be a bit of a beetch to cast, but here is a little tip. Try and fish with the wind from behind you if you have a very long leader, the wind will straighten it on the final cast.
    If you fish a weighted nymph, put it on the point. As the line shoots out, the weighted nymph will have lots of momentum.
    Just before the last 1 meter of flyline shoots out. stop it with your hand.
    This will make the weighted fly straighen the leader, without any problem.
    What I some times do is I deliberately don't strip all the line of, I keep the meter on the reel. The reel does the braking for me and the leader shoots out straight..

    I prefer to have the flies between 60cm and 1,5m apart. Depending on the water I fish, and the flies I have on.
    If I have found the depth on which the fish is holding. I will shorten the distance between the flies, bringing one closer to the fly that is taking the fish.
    I will also try then 2 of the same flies, to increase the possiblility of the takes from the fish.
    Korrie Broos

    Don't go knocking on Death's door, ring the bell and run like hell. He hates it. (anon)
    Nymphing, adds depth to your fly fishing.
    Nymphing, is fly fishing in another dimension

  9. #9
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    Awesome Info Korrie...!!!

    I am going to make use of this the coming weekend.
    Gerhard Delport

    We lose ourselves in the things we love.
    We also find ourselves there... Too

  10. #10
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    NICE! thanx for the great article korrie!

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