View Full Version : A Breakthrough in Nymphing...

05-07-2007, 08:48 AM
Ok not a breakthrough but Im starting to get the hand of this "no indicator " stuff...I can actually watch my fly line and say "theres one". I landed like 8fish yesterday on nymphs and I was fishing w/o a strike indicator. I hooked a nice brown but lost him. I found that it is easier in fast water...but not impossible in slow water either. I really proud of my self. One day I just decided to take my indicator off and give it a try..Im teaching and learning.

05-07-2007, 09:16 AM
The longest journey starts with the first step, grasshopper. Congratulations. Eight fish are pretty impressive for the first time without an indicator. It just takes practice and developing your senses to watch the line and even feel the "bumps" on your line with your fingers. It all comes in time.

05-07-2007, 07:19 PM
I fish with and w/o an indicator depending on the situation. I am just curious why ya'll think fishing without is so much better?

05-07-2007, 07:56 PM
I don't know what it is but an indicator always messes it up for me. I either get strikes on it from various creatures or it is not set for the right depth or it just feels funny. I just grew up not using one and I guess it just comes natural to me to not use one. I do believe however, there's instances when an indicator used by a skilled indicator fisherman can be an advantage. In the end it all balances out because there are times when going without gives you the upper hand. I.e words if you are successful with using one by all means don't change.

05-07-2007, 09:19 PM
To me, learning to fish without an indicator effectively has increased the numbers of fish i have caught. I also have the opinion that you are more likely to catch a larger fish because large wild fish have grown wary of every little thing and a strike indicator is another warning sign, that is just my opinion, however.

On the flip side, like others have said, if you are doing well with an indicator then don't rush to switch. I still believe that a fisherman will be most successful with a fly or a technique that they have confidence in. Confidence, to me, is very important because i spend more time actually fishing with my fly in the water when i have confidence in something instead of changing flies or techniques.


05-07-2007, 10:19 PM
double your sucess rate, learn to use two indicators!!!! 2 better than one.
if you are not using a indicator you are missing 75% of the fish that take and refuse you bug, if you are using 1 indicator you are missing 50% of take and refusals your indicator must be forward of your bug to detect a take. how do you know where your bug is in relation to your indicator!! whats is so cool about not using indicators any way ? your are using sight to detect a take whether you watching a yarn ball or fly line whats the difference. to be a true purist you must still using cat gut and horse hair fly line stretching and drying , dressing every day on a cane pole not bamboo rods, bamboo rod was not native to these hills good bamboo did not come to this side of the mountain. they were confined to the nc side,rich and famous did not resort to the tn side. they wanted to high nob with the vanderbilts. thats where good bamboo came down south from new england . o well thats an other story. thanks goodness for technology we have never had it so good. equipment gets better every day. just think how much better flour tippet is than regular mono. increased my sucess rate . of course i have been only flyfishing sence the late 70tys ,gosh if i had only new how in the 60tys

05-08-2007, 08:11 AM
I rarely use an indicator anymore. When I first started nymphing I did use an indicator but after awhile I was looking to make it more challenging, for me. However, under certain conditions, such as making a long cast in slow, deep water, I will use an indicator. I like the challenge of tight lining through a run or some pocket water and being forced to use some sight and feel instincts that I don't use when I have an indicator on. To heck with the purist thing, though. If you want to use an indicator, by all means do so and enjoy yourself. Personally, I hate the word indicator, even though I used it 6 times so far, and prefer to call it what it is: A BOBBER!! Nothing wrong with a bobber. In fact, Bobber is a fun word to say! Try saying it 10 times out loud and see if you don't smile!

05-08-2007, 08:24 AM
I think both techniques has a place and a given situation to use one over the other. Its tough to no-indicator high stick on tail waters, though you could do it , but I think its a more logical approach to indicator it given the tiny flies and long distance between you target...granted the clear water and slow currents make your indicator more visible and you adjust your presentation to a smaller indicators or drift downstream, maybe use a fly indicator instead...
But in the Park, I think no-indicator high sticking is definately the way to go...I remember fishing Abrams with Hugh Hartsell and Rusty couple years back and I fished my indicator rig,they highsticked...after running through holes I didn't catch much, but they both came through right after me and cleaned house...so I followed suit and after a coulple of tries, I got the hang of the "six sense" thing as they joked about it and caught some nice fish that day. I don't think we were trying to hob nob with the vanderbilts - just me learning and them using a tactic that works. When you high stick it, you have more of a tactile, close quarter connection with your fly that you do not have with an indicator. Using the right wieght in the fly,and keeping you leader straight you can feel every knock and bump and fish...and know where you fly is....where as sometimes an indicator gets pushed around in currents keeping your fly out of alignment or causing drag - you fly is not where you thought your indicator was and if your in pocket water - its tough to keep your fly drifting as it should with and indicator - it gets frustrating at times....
though with high sticking you will loose "line of sight" as it were and loose fish and so it takes time to master to train your eyes, feel, and stealth as most times you are right on top of the fish your catching...In some ways I think high-stick has taught me to be a better indicator fisherman...but, I don't think it has anything to to with being a "purist" but rather its just another technique to our sport to learn and enjoy for what it is...

05-08-2007, 08:59 AM
To use an indicator is a matter of choice and the location you are fishing. It has nothing to do with wanting to be a a fly fishing purist. It's the comfort zone you operate in when fishing. I was taught to high-stick and fly fish without an indicator and have done so since since the late '60s. That does not mean I won't use an indicator when fishing the tailwaters or larger streams where an indicator will help you recognize a strike on larger waters. On the other hand, when fishing the Smokies, Pisgah in NC, Jefferson Forest in VA, etc. I have found that I am more successful when high sticking w/o an indicator and feeling the strikes and bumps with the flow of water. It's up to personal preference for successful fishing. What works for some will not always work for others.

05-08-2007, 10:40 AM
IMHO there's no "right" or "wrong" way to Fly Fish if it works for you. It's all a matter of personal style and preference. "If it ain't broke,don't fix it" has always been my mantra. However, I think we all go through a natural progression in our fly fishing where we vary our tactics to become a more "complete" fly fisher. This allows us to adapt to varying situations and gives us the "edge" against the elements and our aquatic friends. I find it very humbling that just when I think I have it all figued out I have to devise a new plan. That's one of the great things about fly fishing, no two days on the water are the exact same and there is always a learning and teaching moment! If I ever get it all figured out- I'll hang up my fly rod....


Jack M.
05-08-2007, 10:59 AM
I'll admit to being a bit of a "purist" if that is what you want to call it. I don't even like to be forced to use nymphs let alone a bobber, but I'll do it when I must, and there are times I feel I must. If fishing the most effective technique and tackle were all there was to the fishing experience, then why do so many of us eschew the spinning rod? I guarantee you more fish on small spinners and bait than you'll ever catch on nymphs or dry flies, in the park, limestoners, tailwaters, whatever-- if you know what you are doing. To me the beauty and allure of flyfishing is the nearly direct connection between you and the fish in its natural habitat. An "indicator" breaks the continuum for me. It is a "Zen" thing.

05-08-2007, 11:32 AM
IMHO there's no "right" or "wrong" way to Fly Fish if it works for you. It's all a matter of personal style and preference. "If it ain't broke,don't fix it" has always been my mantra.

I have to agree... I've never used an indicator and therefore don't know how many fish I've missed over the years, but on the other hand, have learned like someone mentioned earlier, to watch the line and "sense tension."

During a trip to Montana, our fishing guide suggested if I had never used an indicator then not to begin. He had always used indicators and claimed it was a "sick addiction" as he couldn't bring himself to "nymph" without one. That was good enough for me. I figured, why try to complicate a simple concept?

So, naturally I'm the opposite of that fishing guide: I wouldn't recognize a situation where an indicator was needed, much less know how to tie one on. :smile:

Rog 1
05-08-2007, 11:42 AM
I learned how to flyfish in the park using dries only....this was mostly in the summer months when I was visiting my grandparents in Sevierville....I was fishing Tremont one April and things were very slow when a couple of local fishermen suggested we might do better with nymphs....they gave a couple of quick tips and off we went with the only nymphs we had...Tellicos....within a day or two we were catching fish on every pass just high sticking them through the runs.....later my grandfather told me that most of the locals fished with cane poles and wet flies bascially high sticking from behind trees and rocks.

David Knapp
05-08-2007, 12:22 PM
Fishing with indicators (the floating bobber type) means you are only covering one part of the water column unless you are constantly readjusting the depth. This is the advantage of fishing without an indicator. I haven't tried it but using a leader with a "built in" indicator in the form of a colored piece of line would eliminate that problem and probably be a huge advantage. For me, indicators make me get lazy. When I'm fishing tailwaters with an indicator rig, I'm not focused nearly as much as when I'm highsticking a fast mountain run. Consequently, I lose fish... Still keep using 'em though sometimes, there are definitely times to use them...