My New Euronymphing Sighter

Lengthen and boil your Euronymphing sighter. Really.

I’ve been test driving my new-and-thin Euronymphing leader (scroll down for the formula and links to the materials). And, I love it. It is a journey of “less sag, less drag.”

I have been putting the new rig through its paces: short-lining, long-lining, floating the sighter at shallow water, streamer fishing and throwing Euro dry-droppers.

I have various new leaders neatly wound and kept together via a folded and labeled Post-it Note. I store them in my Rio Leader Wallet (which, after just over four years of fly fishing, continues to be in my pack as other gadgets get removed).

Compared to my regular Euro leader, I’m sacrificing a little bit of dry-fly distance with the thin leader. But, that is a small price to pay for some huge benefits:

  • Ridiculous sensitivity. The sighter is comprised of two sections of indicator mono, which is extremely sensitive. They constitute a 4.5′ piece of mono that trembles during drifts. When the trembling stops, it is either a fish or an obstruction. Here is part of an email exchange with two-time national champion George Daniel:

“The idea of the longer sighter is not when the rig is under high tension (i.e., when you feel the strike) but, rather, when you’re drifting light-to-medium weight rigs, where the angler sees the strike rather than feels the strike due to the current drifting the nymphs back. This drift is like that of a dead-drift, dry-fly presentation, where the angler needs to stay in front of the presentation to maintain connection *but* without dragging the flies.

“When this natural drift occurs, I watch the bow in my sighter tighten to determine when to strike. The longer sighter section allows for a bigger bow to form and that makes it easier for me to see when tension (i.e., in form of a strike) sets into the drift. It provides a quicker feedback loop.”

  • Visibility from opacity. My previous sighter was made of colored mono called Amnesia. But, it wasn’t indicator mono. I didn’t think it mattered, but it does. Here is UpCountry’s Torrey Collins with the explanation:

“I think you will find actual sighter material is much easier to see than using Amnesia for your sighter. Amnesia is translucent, while sighter materials are opaque. I believe they first dye them white, and then they dye over that with fluorescent colors. Really makes them pop.”

  • Visibility from multiple colors. I purchased two indicator mono materials: white and a combo of bright red and green. The latter two are very visible when the sun is out. White shows well during low-light conditions. So, all together, I have no problem seeing my sighter during both low-light and high-glare conditions.
  • Great for smaller flies. When fish are feeding and looking up, it is a good idea to throw emergers. My thin leader really shines with small flies. To fish them, I grease the sighter and partially lay it on the water to create the bow-shaped curve George mentioned. A thin leader, with limp sighter material, definitely produces less “drag from sag.” Again, Torrey:

“The Rio and Orvis sighter materials are both very limp, so when you’re fishing lighter flies, and you have a little bow in your sighter, it’s easier to see the bow straighten out when you get a soft take.”

 

Lastly, I boiled my sighters. At George’s clinic (and, in his awesome new nymphing book), he recommended that we boil a sighter for six minutes to make it extra soft.

He’s right. It has made a huge difference. I feel that I can feel every bump and pause during my drifts.

My prior Euronymphing leader worked extremely well. But, it is fun to tinker and try something new. And, I’m hoping to catch bigger fish.

When water flows lower, I will test-drive the micro-thin leader. The journey continues.



Running line and leader butt

Sighter, part 1

Sighter, part 2

(blood knot every few inches)

regular

thin

(beta)

micro-thin

(beta)


 

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8 thoughts on “My New Euronymphing Sighter

  1. Just curious about the fly weights you would use/ not use with this micro sighter. From your article (excellent BTW) I surmise George is talking about lightly weighted flies with that indicator on the surface vs flies with lets say 3.0+ tungsten for which a traditional leader is used. Am I on the right track?

    1. Yes. Depending on current speed and depth, and where fish are in the water column, I will throw nymphs with small tungsten beads or ones made from brass or glass. If the fish are suspended and taking emergers, unweighted flies can work, too.

      And if they’re moving to dries, a Euro dry-dropper is a fun way to fish.

      The Euro set-up is extremely versatile and catches fish like crazy.

      Hope you’re well.

    2. Hi Steve. I also fish this way. When floating the sighter, you won’t suspend much weight and I would say if you’re fishing a 3mm tungsten bead and your sighter is floating, you’re probably not in contact and its slack that’s allowing the sighter to float.
      This lighter approach will allow you to use smaller, 2-2.5 mm or even brass beads and get a more natural drift than a heavily weighted fly. However when you do need to size up and go heavy, the improved sighter works just as well.

  2. Usually the sighter isn’t floating when I am fishing heavy nymphs but more like a Czech nymph approach. My question is more that is this leader setup useful when fishing heavy nymphs as well as very light ones? AND how does the leader work with the Contact rods? Do you incorporate tippet rings? I use a very short section of heavy Maxima with a tippet ring off my Cortland Sylk line then tie the leader to that ring. That way I can change to a Tapered leader for drys if needed. Of course you need to carry an empty tippet spool for winding up the EuroLeader.

    1. It works well with heavy nymphs, too.

      Yes, it works with the Contact rod.

      I incorporate tippet rings, usually at the end of the sighter.

    2. For true Czech nymphing, fishing under your rod tip, for example, this type of rig will work fine, but it really shines at longer ranges and will help you get down and in contact with you nymphs much more quickly. The result is a longer, more fishable drift.

  3. Excellent article as always! Curious on the need for the Orvis indicator in the thin setup. Is there are specific reason to using this and Rio (aside from the different diameters)? I use Rio now, but noticed the Orvis stuff is tri-colored with white. Is it because of a different color? Why not just step down using just the Rio in 0.11 and 0.09 from the white Cortland mono? Probably just what you had on-hand, but was curious if there was anything specific behind it.

    Thank you for your analysis. Love the perspective on Euro on NE trout streams.

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