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
(five-turn blood knot every six inches, leave on 3/4" tags to create "bunny ears," and boil for five minutes to soften)