Euro nymphing on rocky rivers

kingf000

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Yesterday I looked at an Orvis video on euro nymphing. They had a similar problem to me: a rapid flowing river with snaggy bed: needed heavy or streamlined nymphs to get down quickly but then they snagged on the bottom. Lighter or bushier nymphs just didn't get down. I've tried upside down nymphs but still managed to snag the bottom, so I rarely completed my drift and lost a lot of nymphs. I successfully overcame this, at least for trout, by using a bung with heavy nymphs, set so that they ran just above the river bed didn't snag so much. The heavy nymphs slowed down the bung. However, in the video they solved the problem by having the two nymphs as droppers, then on the point a couple of shot with a simple overhand knot at the bottom to retain them. The shot got the nymphs down quickly to just above the bottom, and they didn't snag. I assume you could use a lighter line to the shot so if they did snag, all you would lose would be the shot.
Has anyone tried this technique?
 

BobP

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That is a basic drop shot method. You might need to fiddle around with the distance between shot and first fly. However, there is a slight conflict in what you are trying to achieve. In the first part of the post you are trying to get your flies down on or very close to the bottom, and by your own admission are succeeding by using the indicator. Then you are proposing to use a method that will, if I read it right, mean that your flies are fishing higher in the water as the shot trundles along tight to the river bed.

Personally I'd stick to the indicator and keep varying the weight of the flies according to the depth and flow. Alternatively, fish a lighter fly on the point and put your shot 8-9" above it. I've done that before with quite a bit of success.
 

eddleston123

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Sounds like a method that's at least worth a try.

I've always been told that if I am not snagging the bottom and losing a few flies, then I'm not fishing deep enough for grayling. The only problem is, that being a miserable sort, it hurts me every time I lose a nymph, or even worse - the whole cast.

Perhaps I need to consider a mask and snorkel !



Douglas
 

Toter Fisch

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I used a drop shot rig to good effect at the end of last season. I found it best to use unweighted flies, first at 15" up from shot and second 18-20" up from that. I lost one fish when the shot snagged and the dropper snapped so I will be using a weaker link to the shot this year as I hate leaving hooks in fish.

I know most will probably say that it isn't proper fly fishing and I would probably agree, but imho euro nymphing isn't much 'better' and the drop shot rig takes a lot less faff to get the right weight for the flow and therefore a good drift.
 

kingf000

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That is a basic drop shot method. You might need to fiddle around with the distance between shot and first fly. However, there is a slight conflict in what you are trying to achieve. In the first part of the post you are trying to get your flies down on or very close to the bottom, and by your own admission are succeeding by using the indicator. Then you are proposing to use a method that will, if I read it right, mean that your flies are fishing higher in the water as the shot trundles along tight to the river bed.

Personally I'd stick to the indicator and keep varying the weight of the flies according to the depth and flow. Alternatively, fish a lighter fly on the point and put your shot 8-9" above it. I've done that before with quite a bit of success.
Many thanks. In the video they positioned the shot so that with a tight line, the lowest dropper was about a couple of inches or so above the shot. So the nymphs should still be in the 'killing' zone, but not trundling along the bottom. They did mention about putting the shot above the fly, but felt there was a dead zone between the shot and the nymph which meant you weren't in as direct contact.
This is the video I watched:
 

BobP

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I've got the book. It is a bit over-technical in my view, but there is still some useful stuff in it. You just have to sift what you need out of the book. I've seen some of George Daniels' video as well and some of it is totally different to what he has written.
 

morayfisher

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With regular drop shotting there are clip on weights which can easily be moved up and down the line.
You could have the shot close to the bottom fly with maybe a foot or more of line trailing below the weight. Then if you want to come up in the water, you just move the shot closer to the end of the tippet.
 

lhomme

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I'm not sure what this Euro Nymphing really means, and to be honest it's rather boring to watch it being explained by Americans. The original close nymphing techniques were perfected in France (yes, French nymphing), in Poland and most importantly in Czechia. This Czech nymphing technique is indeed very technical, it requires finesse and absolute line control to master it. It originated in competition circles because it is a deadly method to "clean up" a stretch of river. Of course, over here in competitions and certain rivers added lead shot is prohibited, so all the techniques were devised with weighted nymphs. I fished this Czech style quite a lot for grayling and never had to use additional lead to get the nymphs where I wanted. The whole purpose of this technique is to SLOW DOWN the train (2/3 nymphs) in the current, which has less to do with the amount of weight you add, but more with watercraft, setup and line control.

There is an English version (if it's still available), but this is a good book on the origins, nymphs and techniques.

La-peche-en-nymphe-tcheque-preview.pdf (czechnymphs.com)
 

Andrzej

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HI KingF,
look at your tippet line thickness. Last year I was lucky enough to get two weeks on a river and decided to get my head around euro nymphing. As I was staying at the river I found myself having to fish in varying conditions and quite often on a rising coloured river when most people would have packed up.
One thing I learned was how critical the diameter was of the tippet material. Initially, I was increasing the Tungsten bead size to deal with the increasing flow. However, I got the point that I didn't have a larger enough bead size to move to. I was going to move to a three nymph setup (before that I have been fishing two) just to be able to get more weight on the line to get the nymphs down. However, I remember reading about dropping line size to get nymphs down in higher flow rates, instead of tying another dropper on I took my tippet off and went to the thinnest I had which was 0.10mm about 2lbs. The transformation was amazing and I actually had to drop my bead size as I was catching the bottom too much and then started catching Trout again.
So the answer for me now is to balance both bead size and tippet diameter to get the presentation the fish want. I suspect that one of the reasons for moving to such lighter line loading fly rods (0-3 weight) is to deal with landing larger fish on lighter tippets as much as casting these small nymphs.
Finally, what you are describing is not Euro Nymphing and I would suggest someone is trying to adapt a method for something it wasn't designed to do. The situation you describe would move you towards the Polish/Czech Nymphing styles of Euro Nymphing. If you read the excellent literature by Paul Gaskell and John Pearson you realise that the Poles and Czechs are very adept at dropping their heavy Nymphs behind large rocks to catch fish in these types of conditions. There is a good reason why the Poles, Czechs, French and Spanish have dominated the World Fly Fishing Championships in recent years and it is their ability to deal with situations you describe so well.
Since getting into Euro Nymphing I have found it fascinating and also just realise how many fish I have missed out on in the past.
Enjoy and stay safe
Andrzej
 
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Andrzej

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I'm not sure what this Euro Nymphing really means, and to be honest it's rather boring to watch it being explained by Americans. The original close nymphing techniques were perfected in France (yes, French nymphing), in Poland and most importantly in Czechia. This Czech nymphing technique is indeed very technical, it requires finesse and absolute line control to master it. It originated in competition circles because it is a deadly method to "clean up" a stretch of river. Of course, over here in competitions and certain rivers added lead shot is prohibited, so all the techniques were devised with weighted nymphs. I fished this Czech style quite a lot for grayling and never had to use additional lead to get the nymphs where I wanted. The whole purpose of this technique is to SLOW DOWN the train (2/3 nymphs) in the current, which has less to do with the amount of weight you add, but more with watercraft, setup and line control.

There is an English version (if it's still available), but this is a good book on the origins, nymphs and techniques.

La-peche-en-nymphe-tcheque-preview.pdf (czechnymphs.com)
Thanks for the link Ihomme, I am going to see if I find an English version or get it translated.
 

kingf000

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So the answer for me now is to balance both bead size and tippet diameter to get the presentation the fish want. I suspect that one of the reasons for moving to such lighter line loading fly rods (0-3 weight) is to deal with landing larger fish on lighter tippets as much as casting these small nymphs.
Finally, what you are describing is not Euro Nymphing and I would suggest someone is trying to adapt a method for something it wasn't designed to do. The situation you describe would move you towards the Polish/Czech Nymphing styles of Euro Nymphing.
Many thanks. My understanding is the term 'euro nymphing' is generic and covers all nymphing techniques developed in Europe, from the very long distance nymphing on very clear rivers in France to the shorter line contact nymphing as per Polish and Czech. But I maybe wrong, just what I've read. I use both 0.14 and 0.12mm tippet and didn't really notice any difference between the two. I never went below 0.12mm as, even with that, I was losing the bigger fish (3lb plus) in the faster water. The bung method was good in the slower water but I didn't catch many grayling, though those I did catch were quite big, I assume because the bung needed for the heavy nymphs was too insensitive. I think I need a method that hovers the nymphs just above the river bed and hopefully the drop shot will do that. The alternative would be to lift the nymphs up a bit, but that would probably take a lot of practice, and probably a lot of lost nymphs! If the river was close to me I'd try that but it is 140 miles away (obviously not going there now) so I can't get there that often to perfect the technique.
 

kerryjordan

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This book by Paul Gaskell explains all the strands of Euronymphing in brilliant detail. It is profusely illustrated with very helpful diagrams and photos. The package also comes with good video sequences as well.
 

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Andrzej

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Many thanks. My understanding is the term 'euro nymphing' is generic and covers all nymphing techniques developed in Europe, from the very long distance nymphing on very clear rivers in France to the shorter line contact nymphing as per Polish and Czech. But I maybe wrong, just what I've read. I use both 0.14 and 0.12mm tippet and didn't really notice any difference between the two. I never went below 0.12mm as, even with that, I was losing the bigger fish (3lb plus) in the faster water. The bung method was good in the slower water but I didn't catch many grayling, though those I did catch were quite big, I assume because the bung needed for the heavy nymphs was too insensitive. I think I need a method that hovers the nymphs just above the river bed and hopefully the drop shot will do that. The alternative would be to lift the nymphs up a bit, but that would probably take a lot of practice, and probably a lot of lost nymphs! If the river was close to me I'd try that but it is 140 miles away (obviously not going there now) so I can't get there that often to perfect the technique.
Hi KingF
There are quite a few other things going on as well as tippet diameter. Line control is also key here and in reality, the only thing that should be touching the water is the tippet (below the indicator to nymphs), this is a very direct method (rod length will help here), the fact that you say you have a bung on the line will make this difficult if not impossible. Fly selection also plays a large part not just in the Tungsten bead size but types of fly dressing. Some of these flies are very minimal to reduce drag, some even epoxy coated to give a smooth finish and reduce drag further.
Without seeing you fish, it is difficult to give you any more guidance. To be fair we all do things differently, so working out for yourself is always the better way once you understand the basics. I dare say if you spoke to the Czech Fly Fishing team, they would all have slightly different ways of dealing with the situation, it is their individual interpretation of the basics that makes it work.
Finally, don't get obsessed with making one technique work. Howard Croston (current World Fly Fishing Champion) tells of an occasion when he dominated and won a completion by fishing Traditional Up Stream Nymphing technique when everyone else was using Euro Nymphing techniques, because that is what the fish wanted. And by the way, he wanted to present a small Nymph just off the bottom traveling with the current over beds of weed and rocks to catch Grayling.
Regarding tippet diameter, I would be quite confident of getting a 3lbs fish out on a 1lbs tippet as long as the tackle is balanced. Think of when you get a fly caught in a tree and how hard you have to pull for a break if you can't get to the tree, it's insane. As I said before the reason for the 0-2 weight rod are more for balancing with light lines than casting action. At the end of the day, you have to do what you need to do to get bites and then worry about getting the fish out. No bite, no fish no problem, so why did you go fishing? I would rather get the bite and worry about getting the fish out after than not get any bites.
It's what makes our sport so fascinating so when you get the chance, go and enjoy.
Stay safe
Andrzej
 

kingf000

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Regarding tippet diameter, I would be quite confident of getting a 3lbs fish out on a 1lbs tippet as long as the tackle is balanced. Think of when you get a fly caught in a tree and how hard you have to pull for a break if you can't get to the tree, it's insane. As I said before the reason for the 0-2 weight rod are more for balancing with light lines than casting action. At the end of the day, you have to do what you need to do to get bites and then worry about getting the fish out. No bite, no fish no problem, so why did you go fishing? I would rather get the bite and worry about getting the fish out after than not get any bites.
It's what makes our sport so fascinating so when you get the chance, go and enjoy.
Stay safe
Andrzej
You're obviously a much better angler than I am. For me, anything less than a 3lb tippet, letting the big fish run means they head for the nearest weed bed or sunken tree root. Trying to hold them back from those snags - snap goes the tippet!
 

Mrtrout

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That’s a good video for anyone taking up or improving their skills.
Ive watched it before and I tie tags on my indicator like his it’s a great asset in seeing them better.
S.
 

BobP

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You're obviously a much better angler than I am. For me, anything less than a 3lb tippet, letting the big fish run means they head for the nearest weed bed or sunken tree root. Trying to hold them back from those snags - snap goes the tippet!
This where fluorocarbon comes into its own. Daniels writes and talks about fluoro extensively when referring to leaders and there is a very good reason for that. You can up the breaking strain significantly without compromising the diameter. Grand Max fluoro at 0.14mm gets 4.7lb bs. Expensive but good stuff.

As far as copolymers go I've been using Gigafish ultra for about three years now. 0.14mm gives 4.8lb bs which should be more than enough to get a fish away from trouble and it's less than half the price of Grand Max. The problem is that Gigafish seems to be more difficult to get hold of now. EU playing silly b&ggers post-Brexit I believe.
 

kingf000

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This where fluorocarbon comes into its own. Daniels writes and talks about fluoro extensively when referring to leaders and there is a very good reason for that. You can up the breaking strain significantly without compromising the diameter. Grand Max fluoro at 0.14mm gets 4.7lb bs. Expensive but good stuff.

As far as copolymers go I've been using Gigafish ultra for about three years now. 0.14mm gives 4.8lb bs which should be more than enough to get a fish away from trouble and it's less than half the price of Grand Max. The problem is that Gigafish seems to be more difficult to get hold of now. EU playing silly b&ggers post-Brexit I believe.
It's the Grand Max fluoro I use: 0.14 and, apologies it is the 0.115mm, not 0.12 rated at 3.5lb I use. I couldn't get away with using the 0.10mm.
 

lhomme

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This where fluorocarbon comes into its own. Daniels writes and talks about fluoro extensively when referring to leaders and there is a very good reason for that. You can up the breaking strain significantly without compromising the diameter. Grand Max fluoro at 0.14mm gets 4.7lb bs. Expensive but good stuff.

And it helps to sink the nymphs faster.
 

Andrzej

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You're obviously a much better angler than I am. For me, anything less than a 3lb tippet, letting the big fish run means they head for the nearest weed bed or sunken tree root. Trying to hold them back from those snags - snap goes the tippet!
Don't be too hard on yourself for me it's just experience and getting to know what the tackle is capable of. I come from a Coarse Match fishing background where small hooks and fine lines are the norm. It's more about steering them where you want them to go, more than fighting with them as usually the harder you pull the harder they pull back.
If you are getting line breaks where is it happening, at the fly or the tippet and dropper knots. I used to use Blood (Clinch) knots for everything. I started using Copolymer lines and they didn't like strangulation type knots (types of blood knot) so moved to Surgeon or Water knots. Over the last few years, I have moved to figure 8 type knots and these have proved better again. A poor Knot can reduce line strength by up to 50%.
It's all part and parcel of learning. The need to go lighter to get the presentation to get bite, means you are going to test the tackle even more. So did the line fail or was it the knot? If it's the knot try a different knot.
Also, make sure the diameter stated on the spool is what you have got. I have had spools of line that have said 0.12mm but when measured you find it is 0.10mm, it does happen. On thicker lines it not so critical but when you start getting down to these sorts of diameters it is.
I landed a 5lb grayling on a pubic hair once!



Douglas
Not sure if that is painfull or stimulating!
 
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