Monday, May 4, 2009

Czech Nymphing- dan dan daaah!

How many times have you heard this-"What in the heck is this foreign nymphing technique I keep hearing about? Why is these european fly flickers trying to ruin our nymph fishing fun."

I know I have heard it plenty, but don't be scared of this nymph fishing technique. It is definitely from a place far far away, but its spread can't be stopped. Embrace this technique and you will find nymph fishing fast water easy, successful, and enjoyable.

What is it? Czech Nymphing is a technique born out of competition fishing. Its ability to deliver nymphs to the bottom rapidly is key to its success. Since mulitple flies are used the fish are quickly given 3 flies to choose from. The combination of rapid sink rates and multiple weighted nymphs is terribly effective.

How do you set it up? A czech nymph rig is made up of 6-7' of tippet material (4x-5x) followed by two 24" sections of the same tippet material. The two shorter sections are attached with double surgeons knots. On each knot leave a 4-5" tag on the down streamside of the knot. You will end up with a leader that is roughy 9' long and that has two dropper tags. Attach a fly to each tag and one fly at the end of the leader. Please refer to the diagram in the last post- it will make this leader set up make much more sense than the text above.

Flies used in czech nymphing should be slender but well weighted. The core idea of Czech nymphing is to cut through the water column quickly without resistance from thick leader material and bulky fly patterns. The thin 4-5x tippet material and the slender flies fit this bill.

Traditional Czech style nymphs are tied on curved grub or scud hooks. They are normally tied in sizes 8-16. European patterns tend to be larger than those that I find effective on my home water, so I tend to fish patterns tied on size 12-14 hooks. I will use the occaisional #6-10 fly when imitiating cranefly larvae, large cased caddis larvae, or large stonefly nymphs. Most of the patterns I use imitate free swimming caddis larvae (hydropsyche and rhycophila) and scuds.

Other options for czech nymph patterns are heavy nymphs such as Copper Johns. Use any nymph you like, as long as it is slender and has significant sinking potential.

Of the three patterns I tend to put the heaviest fly in the middle, a traditional czech nymph on the top dropper tag, and I alternate smaller patterns on the end of the leader. A typical setup would include the following flies starting with the top most dropper tag and working down to the end of the leader- hydropsche larvae, cased caddis larvae, and a weighted mayfly nymph pattern.

I will try and post some of these patterns in picture form soon.

Now, how do you fish it. This method works best in faster flowing water that is 1-4' deep. Fish a short line just upstream from where you are standing. You shouldn't have much more than 6-10' of line out. Keep the rod tip high and follow the rig as it moves downstream. Keep the rod tip moving slightly ahead of the current. Don't pull your flies downstream, but keep slack out of the drift. When the tip of the fly line is 1-2' downstream of your position lift the rig up and transition into a roll cast to your targeted lie. Due to the short amount of line, and the tension in the set up, strikes are telegraphed instantly by the tightening of the line or by the tug of the fish.

It is a very clean way to nymph- no split shot or indicators required!

This is just a short primer. There are several resources on this important technique. Here are two I recommend.

-Oliver Edward's remarkable DVD- "Essential Skills- Czech Nymphing"

-Czech Nymph and Other Related Methods by Karel Krivanec et al.

Please contact me if you wish to order these two resources. I am also available to do private lessons on Czech Nymphing. My first lesson was with Oliver Edwards on Spearfish Creek. It was an amazing couple of days. I will never forget how it changed the way I look at fishing fast water.

And now....your comments please.

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