The Challenges And Delights Of Nymphing

Veteran anglers consider nymphing to be one of the most difficult forms of fly fishing to perform properly. Learning to identify the "take" while your fly is underwater requires patience and skill. Though it's extremely productive (as trout do most of their feeding under the surface), it can also be frustrating.

The name "nymphing" is given to this fly fishing method because trout feed mostly on nymphs (insects that haven't matured). They're usually found underwater. Thus, the technique of positioning the fly underwater to attract trout is called nymphing. Below, you'll learn why anglers consider nymphing difficult as well as the equipment used and the basics of the technique.

Challenges Of Nymphing

The hardest part of nymphing is identifying the take. The take happens when a trout attacks the fly. During dry fly fishing, the fly floats. When a trout attacks it, you'll see a splash. It's much easier to identify. But, nymphing requires the fly to be underwater. It's far more difficult to recognize the take. Second, because the fly is submerged, it will often make contact with rocks and other objects underwater. For beginning nymph anglers, it's easy to mistake these disturbances in the fly line as takes. Third, trying to determine the depth of the trout can be a challenge. It often requires experience, leaving novices to learn through frustration.

Equipment Needed For Nymphing

Most of the equipment you'll use while nymphing is the same that you'll use for any form of fly fishing. That being said, there are a few additional pieces of gear that you'll need to purchase. First, invest in several strike indicators. They're usually bright orange and are attached to your leader or to the fly line near the leader. Their purpose is to alert you to the take. Because it's nearly impossible to know when a take happens by watching a submerged fly, you'll need to keep your eyes on the bright orange strike indicator.

Second, you'll need to buy a few small weights for your fly line. Most anglers use a line that floats. Because nymphing requires the fly to sink beneath the surface, it needs to be weighted down. By attaching small weights to your leader, you can help drive your fly underwater. Last, you'll need polarized sunglasses. While they're useful for all forms of fly fishing, they're particularly helpful with nymphing. The polarized sunglasses will help you see the bright orange strike indicators much more easily.

Beginner's Technique Of Nymphing

While anglers often employ advanced nymphing techniques, novices should learn to master the easiest strategies first. One of the most difficult parts of nymphing that frustrates beginners is casting the fly and getting it to submerge properly. The best method is to simply cast your nymph fly across the stream. Let it float downstream and away from you. If you keep the line tight, the fly will eventually submerge. As your fly is caught by the current, pull your line back a bit, lifting it slightly. Because the line is tight during the entire method, you can "feel" the take.

Practice Makes Perfect

Nymphing can't be learned from a book (or an article). It can only be mastered through experience. In the beginning, nymph fly fishing will likely be frustrating. All nymphing anglers go through this same frustration. But, with time, you'll learn the subtleties of getting your fly submerged and identifying the take by watching your strike indicators. Eventually, you'll become a capable nymphing angler.