There are plenty of rabbit holes to fall down in the world of fly fishing. Body segments on dry flies, tapers of lines, and the precision used to curve the bill of your new hat. Each one of these topics allows for a little bit of “it’s all personal preference” and “here’s the right way to do it,” but so many things and fly fishing are a study and world unto themselves.
Leaders are no exception. There are countless formulas for leaders that cater to different fish, flies, streams, conditions, and more. Add in the fact that you can be working with fluorocarbon, monofilament, and various braids… it can be overwhelming.
And while it may be tempting to simply unravel a knotless, tapered leader that you bought at the fly shop, there is some wisdom in having a few specialized options for certain circumstances.
Fishing nymphs is one such circumstance.
Subsurface fishing works, plain and simple. Big, meaty streamers are all the rage. Dry flies are, and always will be, sexy. Nymphs catch fish.
Wow you can simply tie a pheasant tail on the end of your normal set up and catch lots of trout, the last few years have really proven that designed nymph rigs are invaluable. Again, the options are endless. You have all the materials listed above, but also the following variables to consider:
- Rod length
- Angling depth
- Number of flies
There are plenty of standard set up so that feature all manner of European names. Some use normal tackle, and others require very specific gear. At the end of the day, they are all trying to do one thing: allow the fly fisher to be in contact with their fly and any fish that happens to bite.
I didn’t want to get too bogged down in whipping up a bunch of leaders for nothing. I wanted something simple, flexible, and most of all, effective. This is by no means a professional or competition set up. But it works. It catches fish. And it’s a cinch.
Here is what my nymphing rig looks like:
- Backing (enough to fill the spool) – loop on the end
- 20′ of 20 pound Maxima monofilament – loops on both ends
- A furled nymphing indicator leader – loop on the reel side, tippet ring on the fly side
- Mono tippet, flies, weight, etc.
That is it. The most “special” part of the rig is the furled leader. I like what Appalacian Furled Leader Co. makes, especially with the multicolored tip. Everything else is either a normal piece of gear or just a few bucks.
The beauty of this leader system is the flexibility. You can fish it using a 10 foot three or four weight, or a 9 foot five weight. The depth and speed of the water doesn’t require a whole rig change, just adding weight, flies, or tippet. The supple monofilament creates a nice tight connection between your hand, the rod tip, and the leader.
The loops allow you to change parts at will. Including even adding it to a reel that has line on it, but with enough clearance left in the spool to accommodate the mono/furled bits.
Is it the very best thing out there? Absolutely not. Is it going to replicate a lot of the benefits of some of the very technical leaders? Definitely. What this rig will give you is a very functional, and quality, nymphing option that puts you in direct contact with your flies.
Want a little more information on the purpose behind each component part? Check out The “Why” Behind My Nymph Rig.