Pro Tips: Go Naked When Nymphing in Still Water

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Written by: Phil Rowley, Fly Craft Angling

Phil Rowley hoists a nice Falcon’s Ledge rainbow caught utilizing the “bare” method.
All pictures courtesy Phil Rowley

Just a few years in the past, I used to be in Utah at Falcon’s Ledge for an additional of my stillwater colleges. Callibaetis and damselflies had been energetic on the lodge lakes. The fishing was so good that Falcon’s Ledge information and good friend, Grant Bench, and I had been busy each night replenishing misplaced flies for everybody.

With every on-the-water seminar, a particular alternative or presentation method sometimes steps to the entrance. This time, the Callibaetis and damsel exercise supplied the proper recipe for what I name the “bare” method—a floating line coupled with an extended, 15 ft or higher, chief.

Floating traces and strike indicators dominate stillwater fly fishing right now, and I take advantage of them typically. And for good cause, as it may be a lethal technique. However there may be extra to fly fishing lakes than hanging flies below indicators. There are different presentation methods, such because the bare method, that every one stillwater fly fishers ought to be taught.


Callibaetis nymphs had been on the menu.

Nicknamed for its lack of an indicator, the bare method is the standard technique I that realized for fishing chironomid pupae and larvae (bloodworms). After all, strike indicators didn’t exist when i used to be rising up. However I firmly consider that every one stillwater fly fishers ought to discover ways to fish flies utilizing a floating line and an extended chief, because it teaches two essential stillwater abilities—endurance and contact. These are abilities that, as soon as developed, enhance all points of your stillwater presentation.

When fishing the bare method, a floating line with a big head profile fitted to casting lengthy leaders. I need a chief system with a stiff butt part to assist turnover and lengthy tippet part to sink flies rapidly. I start by attaching roughly three ft of butt part that’s simply thicker than the butt part of my knotless, tapered chief. Connect the butt part to the slender line loop through a clinch knot, after which connect the 10-foot chief utilizing a blood knot, as this offers a clean horizontal profile that travels by means of the guides simply. To finish the general chief size, merely add fluorocarbon tippet utilizing a triple surgeon’s knot. The chief should be 25% longer than the water is deep, because the chief doesn’t sink straight off the top of the fly line. So to fish 16 ft down, for instance, requires a 20-foot chief.

Preserve your false casts to a minimal, break your wrist barely to facilitate an open loop, and keep in mind the properties of a weight-forward line. Shoot the road to the goal. I by no means false forged greater than twice. Repeated false casts are asking for tangles. As the road shoots out and reaches the top of the forged, let the road shoot tight to the reel or pinch it to a cease. This causes the flies to slingshot over, aiding chief turnover. Get within the behavior of in search of distinct splashes once you’re fishing a number of flies. In the event that they land inside shut proximity to one another strip them in and examine, as you most likely have the makings of a tangle. When utilizing a number of flies, I preserve them 3-5 ft aside relying on water readability: the clearer the water the higher the separation. This slingshot method additionally works properly with indicators.


While you’re utilizing a really lengthy chief, your knots should slide
simply by means of the guides, or touchdown a fish turns into an issue.

As soon as the road hits the water, strip out any slack and let the flies sink. Thirty seconds is customary. Use your watch to make sure accuracy. For a lot of anglers, ready 30 seconds is agony. Do not forget that studying to have some endurance is a by-product of this technique. As soon as your flies are sunk, use two brisk 3-inch strips to take away any slack and maybe draw a close-by fish to the fly. If there aren’t any takers, start a gradual—and I imply gradual—hand-twist retrieve. Throughout the retrieve, there should be no floor wake brought on by the fly line. . .extra agony for the impatient.

Full line management is essential when utilizing the bare method. This implies double-anchoring once you’re fishing from a ship or pontoon boat. It’s essential to flip your watercraft into primarily dry land. Any sway means lack of line management and retrieve. You must keep tight to the flies to achieve success.

Your fly line is a 90-foot strike indicator. Watch it, notably the tip area closest to the fly, like a hawk for indicators of a take. If the road veers left, proper, or downward, increase the rod to set the hook. If there’s a little squiggle within the fly line, watch it intently. If it all of a sudden straightens, increase the rod. In calm situations, you’ll virtually all the time see takes earlier than you are feeling them. The elevated banks of most of the lakes at Falcon’s Ledge supplied an ideal vantage level once I demonstrated the strategy. College students noticed the road transfer as fish inhaled the fly beneath. I couldn’t have requested for a greater demonstration. To drive my level residence, on two events throughout my presentation, I hooked and landed two fish twice.


Rowley is flanked by guides Spencer Higa (left) and Grant Bench.

If I had been restricted to as soon as presentation method for lakes, it might be undoubtedly be fishing floating traces and lengthy leaders, notably if I’m working water between 14 and 18 ft the place this technique shines. I encourage you to offer the bare method a strive.

Phil Rowley is a well known stillwater specialist from Alberta, Canada. He owns Fly Craft Angling.



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