Indicators – You’ve got Options   5 comments

A quick search on Amazon for “Indicators” yielded plenty of options, as you can see below. I’ll have to diversify my collection and try some of these out.


Amazon Indicators

Amazon Indicators


5 responses to “Indicators – You’ve got Options

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  1. Interesting. I like the “fan” shape of the ones in the bottom corner. I could see those landing softly. You’d probably need to keep after them with floatant.


    • Those fan-shaped yarn do-dads do land softly, and I believe they look more “innocent” to fish than plastic day-glo fushia spheres. In fact, they look natural enough that fish will strike at them (of course, fish’ll strike at day-glo indicators, too). Either way, when fish are hitting your indicator, it’s probably time for the ole hopper-dropper. Yes, yarn indicators do sink, often after only a few casts, but a good wringing-out will make them float again. On the other hand, under most conditions they can do “indicating duties” when waterlogged or even submerged. As long as you can see the hesitation that signals the take, you’ll catch the fish. In my opinion, the primary advantage of Thingamabob-type indicators is that you get a very positive (practically binary) indication — that bubble is either riding on top or it’s under. Most other indicators give signals that are “open to interpretation” on a case-by-case basis, especially those that are less buoyant (like yarn).

  2. I don’t want to beleaguer any points, but take a closer look at the differences between long-line nymphing and short-line nymphing. Long-line nymphing is basically the same as casting a dry fly, but instead of a dry fly you have a buoyant strike detector and a nymph (or nymphs) dangled below. You may cast shorter distances and the casting may be somewhat less elegant, but it still closely resembles traditional fly line casting and mending. Short-line nymphing is really quite different. It goes by many names, by the way — Czech nymphing, Polish nymphing, tight-line nymphing, and Euro nymphing to say a few. In short-line nymphing, you do not cast any fly line. You instead hang your nymphs into trout lies almost directly from the rod tip. Strikes are detected by seeing and feeling the hesitation of the leader in its downstream travel (because the fly has stopped in a trout’s mouth). It does not matter if the sighter section is out of the water, half in and half out, or under the water — it’s designed to be visible in all those cases. As you begin to understand the differences between long-line and short-line nymphing, you’ll see that sighter sections and indicator leaders are not really designed as straight-across replacements for buoyant indicators. Sighter sections are designed for a different fishing technique and they provide a different method of strike detection. You wouldn’t want a short-line sighter section to float, for example. The last thing you want in short-line nymphing is deflections, bends, or floating tackle between your flies and rod tip — such obstructions would dampen, delay, and obscure trout takes. If you plan to continue long-line nymphing and you’re unsatisfied with the panic-inducing aspects of your Thingamabobber, then by all means replace it with something subtler, but replace it with something made for long-lining. If you replace your Thingamabobber with a sighter section and then keep long-lining, you may find yourself even more perplexed and frustrated. Sorry for the rambling comment. If you want chat more about this, drop me an e-mail (

    • Chadd, Hey, no worries. I really, really appreciate all of your insights. I’m not particularly interested in short-line nymphing as you’ve gathered. I don’t feel our streams are very well suited for it. I’m interested in long-lining though, and I appreciate what you’re saying about using the right stuff for that technique. I’m going to play around with some of the options out there to see what I like. It sounds to me like yarn or maybe even a little roll-on foam would be good enough to at least detect a take. I had been under the impression that a float was the right way to go, because it somehow “carried” the nymph along by staying on top of the water. I can see that may not be the right way to approach spring creek fishing.


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