I really like Noel’s recent post about being open-minded and taking on new challenges.
One thing I’d encourage people to try is this: “sight nymph.” Fish one small fly with no split shot, putty, indicator or dry fly. It’s an approach that emphasizes many skills and focuses one’s attention on the best indicator on earth: the fish itself.
Noted tailwater guide and angler Ed Engle writes about all this in Fishing Small Flies. I think he is sight nymphing in the photo up top.
I’ve read all of his books, attended his tutorial at the last Fly Fishing Show, and am incredibly impressed with his knowledge and calm personality. He’s a guy who can talk about his expertise without appearing like a show-off, a rarity I think among the fly fishing elite.
Here’s what you do.
You sneak up on the fish. Toss a lightly-weighted non-dry fly (e.g., a Thread Midge with a glass bead) that is heavy enough to go below the surface film and does not “splash down” and spook the fish. If you see the fish turn its head or open its mouth, set the hook. You’ll only have one shot or two if the water is slow and/or clear.
This technique requires you to:
This technique is a low-percentage game. You’ll fail very often. But, it is supremely rewarding when it produces a fish in the net.
It will take me decades to get good at it.