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What a "drag"....

Discussion in 'Technique Discussion' started by Skook, Apr 6, 2017.

  1. Skook

    Skook 100 Post Club

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    So, I was listening to a podcast from the Reno Fly Shop with guest Lance Egan. He is a competitive fly fisherman and member of the U.S. fly fishing team. The interview focused mainly on the "Euro nymphing" technique. When asked about the advantages over the traditional indicator nymph fishing technique, Lance described how the indicator style of fishing imparts much more slack and unnatural drag into the presentation of the fly. There are still some advantages to indicator fishing, but only in certain situations (e.g. large, slow-moving, deep pools). International trout fishing competitions are won by greatly minimizing slack and drag.

    In many ways, what is now generally considered to be inferior indicator nymph fishing is similar to float fishing. The lure is suspended on a leader or tippet below a buoyant indicator, or float. The problem, as everyone here knows, is that the current on the surface of the water moves faster than the current at the bottom of a stream/river because the bottom substrate creates a lot of friction and slows the water down. However, because the indicator/float is at the mercy of the faster current on the surface, it is difficult to present the lure in the slower bottom current at the correct speed, that is, without drag. The float creates a hinge point, or a disconnection, between the fly and the fisherman, making subtle strikes more difficult to detect. Furthermore, getting a "good drift" often requires the intentional introduction of slack line (i.e. "mending") into the equation.

    The Euro nymphing technique uses small but heavy-for-their-size flies to get to the bottom quickly. Usually, very little or no fly line extends beyond the rod tip - just the long leader. The technique employs short casts that provide a direct connection between the fly and long leader. The fly is fished upstream, and the leader and lure are kept within the same current seam at all times. Often, there is no line or leader laying on the water's surface. The leader enters the water and is maintained at about a 45 degree angle off of the water. Slack is minimized and the whole idea is to drift the fly or flies as naturally as possible. Even the leader/tippet that enters the water is often kept at the same diameter so the currents do not act inconsistently on lines of different thicknesses.

    While listening to the interview, I started wondering about float fishing. I know the amount of weight and shot patterns can be arranged to promote a natural drift, but I'm just not convinced that these arrangements can completely overcome the fact that the float is moving at one speed and the lure, closer to the bottom, should be moving at a slower speed. These are things that I take into account while float fishing, but I haven't given them as much attention as they deserve. The Euro nymphers are obsessed with slack and drag.

    Has anyone given serious thought about eliminating drag while float fishing? Is checking the float part of the solution? Does rearranging the shot pattern really have that much of an effect, or is it just the best we can do given the circumstances? Would minimizing slack and drag to a greater extent give us a lot more success as it seems to do for these trout fisherman? If so, how could we do it?

    Here is a link to the podcast if anyone wants to listen:

    EP027: Lance Egan - European Style Nymphing, the Rainbow Warrior and his new DVD Modern Nymphing - Reno Fly Shop | Northern Nevada Fly Fishing Outfitters
     
    #1 Skook, Apr 6, 2017
    Last edited: Apr 6, 2017
  2. tod

    tod Member

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    Competition fly fishers wade very close to target using an upstream cast so they stay behind fishes & once presentation gets to them they recast. In float fishing it is a downstream presentation & you slow the float by applying a little pressure to the drift (not enough to pull out of 1 current seam but enough to match the slower bottom currents) When slowing the float your entire rig is tight on the downstream drift. The competition fly guys slow the drift by means of minimal line contact with surface currents & use heavy flies to keep everything tight. Same concept but different way to skin the cat. Fly Indicator is inferior to both described methods
     
    twobob likes this.
  3. Skook

    Skook 100 Post Club

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    That's a good explanation. But, how do you know by how much to slow the presentation? With the Euro method, you do everything you can do to allow the lure to naturally drift along at the proper speed without drag. With the float method as you describe, the fisherman needs to use his/her judgment in knowing how much to alter the speed to achieve a natural drift.

    Without having a camera following the lure under water, how do you judge how much to slow the float? I guess the answer might be "experience".
     
  4. tod

    tod Member

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    The euro method & the float method both depend on experimentation & experience to achieve a natural dead drift. The euro method depends on adjustments to rod angle and angle of sighter to adjust speed of presentation. The float method uses shot placement (more near float to slow drift) & pressure on reel to adjust speed of presentation
     
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  5. Skook

    Skook 100 Post Club

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    As you describe "pressure on reel", I am thinking that this could be one big advantage of a centerpin set-up over a spinning rod/reel. I use a spinning reel to float fish, and the more I think about it, the more I'm thinking that I do not have as much control over the speed of the drift as I should. I might be concentrating too much on the position of the lure/bait instead of its speed, or drift.

    As I am allowing line to come off of the spool, I'm not sure that I have just the right amount of slight pressure at all times to precisely control the speed of the drift. My technique might be more like alternating slack-check, slack-check, slack-check at times, with the idea that I want the lure or bait to be presented directly under or slightly forward of the float without it dragging behind the float. It's (hopefully) not as bad as I'm making it sound, but you get the idea.

    I think I need to pay much closer attention to applying just the right amount of slight pressure consistently through the entire drift.

    Thanks for opening my eyes.
     
    #5 Skook, Apr 7, 2017
    Last edited: Apr 7, 2017
    tod likes this.
  6. Linescreamer

    Linescreamer 1,000 Post Club

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    Yeah it's called trotting. It helps when you have too much leader length or when you want to adjust the float path. The other problem you will have is hook sets. Schloppy has this one frequently. You just can't set the hook quickly with a spinning reel while float fishing.
     
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