Home » The “Why” Behind My Nymph Rig

The “Why” Behind My Nymph Rig

The previous post, “My Wonderful, Simple Nymph Rig”  has been read a few times. Hopefully anglers can take my attempt at a rudimentary subsurface system and use it to catch more fish. The  how of the rig, which is where the simplicity exists, was explained in the article.

What I realized, after the post was already up, was that I really didn’t do a lot in explaining the why of each individual part in the rig. On one hand, that would just be responsible writing. On the other hand, there is a very good chance that by seeing my method you could improve upon it in any number of ways to suit your own needs. I encourage you to do so!

So piece by piece, here is why my nymphing rig looks the way it does:

  • Backing You’ve got to fill your spool somehow. Braided nylon backing is virtually indestructible, doesn’t weigh much, and is about as supple as a material gets. It would be prudent at this point to say that any rod you are going to be high stick nymphing with ought to be balanced well. Using lead tape or something else under the backing, around the spool, to achieve a good balance in your hand is necessary.
  • Monofilament That is right: no fly line. You don’t need fly line. To be frank, you don’t need a specialized $80 fly line to do this kind of nymph fishing. Most of your “casting” is going to be flipping 15 feet or so upstream and in front of you. Consequently, you just need something sensitive and flexible. I had a spool of Maxima 20-pound already, and it works great. I am sure there are plenty of offerings from the big traditional tackle brands that will work just fine.
  • Furled Leader  I am  a relatively recent convert to furled leaders. I use them for dry flies, streamers, and especially nymphs. The particular leader that I use from Appalachian Furled Leader Co. does everything that you need from  the most vital portion of your nymph  rig: tapered, limber, and three “sighter” points. Does using a manufactured piece for this section reduce some of your options? Yes. But I think that these issues are few and far between, and can be worked around in the terminal section of the rig.
  • Tippet  This is where the magic happens in any nymphing set up. Plenty of anglers catch fish after fish because they can tie and present subsurface flies well – on just traditional fly gear.  It all has to do with the right construction of indicators, weight, and flies. Here’s an  example of a basic configuration that I’ll use:  With the aforementioned furled leader, I don’t even use a indicator.  I’ll tie about six feet of 4X on, and use a heavier nymph a few feet up the tippet. Leaving two feet of the tag in tact, I’ll tie a midge or smaller nymph on the end of that. Deeper or faster water calls for weight, which I generally like to put in between the flies.

One word on the loop-to-loop connections. Well-tied loop knots aren’t just super strong, they are also incredibly convenient. As I mentioned in the last post, they allow you to add this entire rig to a reel spooled normally with backing/line (assuming it isn’t totally full). The only caveat worth mentioning is to check with your local regulations. The amount of mono in the leader could  put you over the legal limit for certain fly fishing only locations.

Again, there are much more technical formulas to catch trout using tactics that have been refined under competitive conditions. A lot of that theory went into this simple set up. It is simple and quick, but guess what: I’ve caught a lot of trout on very pressured streams with this nymph rig. Give it a shot, tweak it to make it better, and let me know how you’ve done.

Leave a Reply