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American Nymphing

May 08, 2017

American Nymphing

So often when we hear the term 'tactical' or 'technical' nymphing we think it has to do with 11 foot rods, 20 foot leaders, and no indicators. It's all about feeling the bottom, high and tight, 90 degrees. European styles of nymphing have become undoubtably one of the most popular ways to fly fish for trout in the United States. This style of fishing has essentially been adopted as tournament format for just about all major or national fly fishing competitions. 

@mdelormephoto

For one, I've never got into Czech or any style of European nymphing to be blatantly honest and the more I ignore it, the more I seem to hear about it. When people claim the term 'technical' nymphing as something that can only be done through this European style I feel a little confused. What kind of tactics did America invent? Are we just all about tossing a big bobber on and cracking open a Coors? I don't think so, in fact, my buddy Matthew and I set out on a journey to define technical nymphing from a very midwestern American perspective.

@mdelormephoto

The goal was to get creative, go against the grain, try something utterly new. Knowing our destination had a large abundance of stoneflies, we had some articulated girdle bugs (Pat's Rubber Leg's, Pickle, Restless Stone - WHATEVER YOU WANNA CALL IT) tied as large as streamers. We set up as about unorthodox as it got but you bet your ass we had a big old bobber on. Buffet rigs were ready to launch: articulated stone - leech, then down to another leech. Big and mean. 

@mdelormephoto

It was game over from kickoff. A dead drift under an indicator prevailed again. Or did it? We actually did not have very much action to begin with so we decided to get technical. Our version of technical however was slightly different. We weren't gonna play into their spookish games by taking off the indicator, putting on smaller bugs and tight lining it. This is what lead to the triple stone rig. After a few casts I began to strip, strip, strip.......... Bang! a monster brown surfaces out of the water and crushes my skittering stonefly with no hesitation. 
@mdelormephoto
 
Cast, mend, strip, strip. We were thrashing our indicators and big flies against the current as numerous large predatory fish were chasing nearly every cast. Though this may not essentially sound all that technical, it was all that was needed to change a good day into an extremely memorable one. After working down shore, Matthew hooks up with what appears to be a decent sized fish. After a brief battle and negotiation to get in the net, the fish was finally landed. The slippery rocks made it nice and easy to do the river dance making the fight much harder than it needed to be.
@mdelormephoto
To both of our amazement it was a brook trout taping out at around 18". It served as the cherry on top of the cake given the mind blowing fishing that just took place. It was also a special fish for Matthew as a native Mainer who grew up catching predominately brook trout. Our methods and decision to think outside of the box paid off exponentially. The drive home had me reflecting on what could have been one of the single handed best days of fishing in my life.
@mdelormephoto
Overall, our flies and rigs did not change that much throughout the day. What had changed was our presentation, how the flies were placed, where they were placed, and how they were retrieved. Never did a situation prompt us to go, "hmm, why's this fly not working?" It was all about reading the water and being persistent. If a fly's not working, well try fishing it deeper, or stripping it, or just something else because its not the fly! It's probably you.
@mdelormephoto
The overall synopsis is, the big water and big fish from the mid to western United States needed some kind of tactical overhaul at some point in fly fishing history. Traditional Euro or English chalk-stream methods needed to adapt and eventually form the type of technical and aggressive nymph or streamer rigs many of us are throwing today. Needless to say, I think it's safe to say that America's current generation of young fly fisherman have redefined tactical nymphing by incorporating traditional European methods with gritty, outside of the box thinking allowing for this type of evolution. The future's bright because lines will be tight.
- Tyler Tasci
@tylertasci
PC: Matthew Delorme 
@mdelormephoto