Archive for the ‘Night Light Nymph’ Tag

To Bobber, or not?   15 comments

I’ve been contemplating my use of a float while nymphing. For those of you who don’t like the cute, snobby vocabulary of fly fishing, a float (or indicator) is nothing more than a friggin’ bobber. When it goes down, you should tug on the line and if you’re lucky, you’ll hook a fish.

 

1/4" fly fishing float

1/4" fly fishing float

 

So, I’ve been using a float for a good long while, and while fishing the Brule last November, I watched a large float drift over Steelhead runs many, many times over the course of three days. Steelhead are not spooky, not like spring creek trout. Steelhead come from a big lake (or ocean) and have not learned to be particularly wary of snapping twigs, footsteps, or bobbers. At least that’s what I was told.

On the other hand, spring creek trout (trout that live in the spring-fed creeks of the Driftless Region), are very spooky. An angler needs to use extreme stealth to avoid scaring these fish. A float could be, arguably, enough to spook a Driftless trout. I’ve even heard experienced anglers say fly line landing on the surface of the water could scare away a trout.

 

Black Earth Creek, Dane County, Wisconsin

Black Earth Creek, Dane County, Wisconsin

 

But without a float you are left to guess whether or not a fish has taken an interest in your nymph, ticking along the rocks on the streambed. Sometimes conditions are such that you can use your floating fly line as an indicator of a bite. Some say the float makes casting more difficult, acting as a hinge on the line. I’ll agree that a float does make tucking that fly right up against the cut bank a bit more difficult. And it sometimes makes a splash. But, it also gives my eye something to concentrate on as I strip line in, watching that pink ball drift back toward me.

Today my little pink float helped me land this nice male Brown trout…

 

A 17" Male Brown trout, Black Earth Creek, Dane County, Wisconsin

A 17" Male Brown trout, Black Earth Creek, Dane County, Wisconsin

 

I was on the tailout of a nice bend in the river, where the water was slightly riffled and about three feet deep. I had cast my bead-headed “Night Light Fly” up into this run about a dozen times, then saw the float dip just slightly. Hook set, fish on! He and I danced for probably five minutes, and he even leapt out of the water a few times. My 6X tippet required finesse, and my first attempt to scoop him into my hand ended with him charging back upstream to the hole he came out of. After a bit more coercing I cradled him and admired the nicest Brown I’ve ever caught.

 

A 17" Brown Trout, Black Earth Creek, Dane County, Wisconsin

A 17" Brown Trout, Black Earth Creek, Dane County, Wisconsin

 

I guess for now, I’m going to continue using a float. There are likely situations where the water is too glassy, the target too small, the fly line visibility adequate, where a float is unneccesary, but the advantage a float gives me in detecting a fish sure is appealing.

 

My 4-wt in Black Earth Creek, Dane County, Wisconsin

My 4-wt in Black Earth Creek, Dane County, Wisconsin