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Basic Nymphing and Drop-Shot Rigging

Kelly Galloup: “Today we’re going to talk about nymphing.  I’m going to go over some real basic stuff about nymph fishing. Three weeks ago I did a podcast with Roger Maves on ‘Ask About Fly Fishing’ and  it generated just hundreds of emails about how the setup was and things like that. And so what I want to go over is basics, real basics for spring, because we’re just about into spring and most that’s going to be nymph fishing for most everybody.

I want to go over some just super simple stuff and then I’ll show you a set-up.  First and foremost it’s a very good chance that you’ve got dirty water when you start this spring.  Or at some point in the spring everybody’s going to get a little runoff, dirty water. And so the first thing I might understand is that fish see very well underwater.  They do not have to have a giant fly in their face. Just because you can’t see doesn’t mean the fish can’t see. I don’t know what their window of opportunity is, but it’s probably a foot or two. But they’re primarily a tactile eater anyway: they move to anything and touch it and they mouth everything that comes by them. And so one of the old wives’ tales is that if the water is dirty—and again it’s people thinking like people instead of like fish—they can’t see in, so they just assume the fish you know can’t see either, and nothing can be further from the truth.

The thing about dirty water is it usually associated with high water, which has a lot of dislodgement, which means the fish are getting a lot of stuff coming at them and they’re putting on a big feed bag.  They are not starving down there.  They’re really taking advantage of that and the thing you should really remember is that you don’t have to have this giant fly. If most of what’s getting dislodged is a size 18, you’re just fine with an 18. They can find the bug. Just get it where it belongs….

I can tell you we fish big flies and little flies, and 70% of the fish eat the little fly. And so that’s the first one. The second one is—and this is general, not just about dirty water but about everything—the one thing that I see that’s really confusing to people, you walk over and you look at the fly bins and there’s just hundreds of flies, right? But there’s really only three flies: there’s midge, caddis and mayfly nymphs. And the you have your stone flies, your bigger ones.  But when you see all those, they’re just basically everybody’s variation of the same thing. But there’s a couple things that are common to all of them that are really critical to the way you set your systems up.

In the way you’re fishing, most people nowadays fish a double-fly rig. The first thing you have to understand is Where are the flies in your two-fly rig? if you’re running weight-fly-fly, then both your flies are basically in the same depth as a split shot. The back one’s going to be a little higher generally. And the first thing to understand is that.  If you’re going fly-weight-fly, obviously they’re in different depths….

Remember that nothing in nature reflects light without sunlight. So if you’ve got a really dull day don’t think that you’ve got to put on a bunch of flash to make the fish eat. If there’s no sunlight nothing’s reflecting down there, so you’re a lot better off with a dull fly….”