Short Line Nymphing

Is it as effective as long line nymphing the question begs? It is every bit as good but it only suits a specific type of water. Long line nymphing is definitely more versatile but short line nymphing really comes into its own when the waters are just too fast and too deep for the smaller lighter beads to penetrate. Anglers have asked me why this method was called short line nymphing the only explanation is that it ends the confusion between Polish and Czech nymphing which are exactly the same in principal. Ok there may be some slight changes because each country has adopted nic-nacs to suit themselves.  A perfect example of this is that every angler that I know fishes differently to a degree from each other and why? The answer is they have somehow found success from some slight change or just down to experience. I myself have over 10 years experience with this method and still today have had success on the correct waters. When I was away with Irish teams in the past I observed the experts in action on the roughest, fastest water you could imagine, one hand on a wading staff and the other on the rod held up high fishing the nymphs through and recasting them upstream repeating this process without any lapse in concentration. These guys, I thought to myself, were machine placing a least a cast every 10-12 seconds unbelievable. The concentration on their faces insured that each indication of a fish was swiftly met with a fast responsive strike. So naturally I was intrigued by this and began studying the method myself. Anything that will help you become a better angler and catch one more fish on a given day must be learned I thought. Originally this method was perceived to be only used for grayling fishing which might have been the case back then when first introduced but in the last few years it has become one of the most popular methods for catching trout in very deep fast water. Unlike long-line nymphing where the use of small beads are the norm we now turn our attention to much larger and bigger bugs which are more communally know as Czech nymphs. The flies that are called Czechs nymphs are nearly all descendants of Gammorous and Case Caddis Larvae more so because of their size, they are the only natural insect that has a body mass which fits perfect on a size 10, 8 or 6 grub hooks. Yes that big! With a grub hook this big it makes adding lead or tungsten wire much easier as you have more body mass to work with without making it too bulky. This extra weight that can be applied will help to get it down deeper and faster.

The Tackle End
As you can imagine the phrase”short line”means very little or no line is to be expelled from the rod. So reach is an advantage so a long rod is the best option. Normally a rod in the 110ft-11ft bracket is used with a line weight of 3-4# .It must have a line weight of this value because some of the takes are felt before they are seen.If you were to use a 5 weight the sensitivity would be lost. The rod must have a fast action because the nymphs or Czechs will be fished very deep now and they will require a responsive strike to the set the hook. A soft rod would just fold under the pressure and consequently set a bad hook hold and fish will be lost. For the reel this may be the only time with the exception of salmon fishing that the reel is very important. It must have a very good progressive drag system fitted. What this means is that a small turn of the drag dial will only apply a very small amount of resistance to the setting. They are reels out there where a small turn will practically lock the reel up .Not an option here! Because when you strike now with this method the tension is eased off the reel as well as the rod.

 The Technique 
Much like upstream nymphing this method requires casting upstream to cover fish but without the luxury of casting this time. First of all you will have to search for suitable water to employ this method. It’s designed for really fast currents and tumbling water. Deep gullies, the sort you would find at the neck of a large salmon pool, and yes trout will lie there. Remember it is only turbulent because matter like rocks, boulders and the likes are deflecting water back to the surface forming waves which are quite visible to the anglers eye but underneath lies natural shelter from the strong currents created by these features. Keep this in mind at all times. So again before entering the water make your way to the end of the fast run before you enter and don’t be worried about disturbing the water as it will have little bearing on the trout .The water type should be so noisy and fast so they should be unaware of your presents. When in position and before you make a cast adjust the length of line so that there is 12ft including the leader outside the rod tip this is all that should be outside the rod tip at any one time. Too much and will not be able to control the length.

Remember to set the drag as this will help soften the strikes and ease into the fish. There is no overhead casting involved because of the weight of flies. It’s just a lob that’s required otherwise tangles will appear due to the weight of the nymphs swinging around in the air. Keep what casting you have to do down to a minimum. A simply lob will suffice. Once you have made a cast upstream slap the nymphs at the end into the water. This will help sink them quicker. Now the nymphs are in the water and fishing. Next simply lift the rod to the 10 o clock position as they drift down parallel to your position and follow this rod path until they are now downstream. At this point you may lower the rod and follow them to get an extra foot or so but remember to always strike at the end of the run just before they will lift and swing. You never know when you make pick up a trout on an induced take. All strikes should be met with a fast responsive strike but don’t follow true if you can help it. I know the reel is acting as a shock absorber but it cannot respond that quickly. Detecting a takes is another important issue that some anglers must get used too. For instance not all takes are fast sudden stops some are quite scuttle even off the bigger fish, other takes are simply an indication that the line is not traveling as fast as it was and some are just educated guesses that will only come with experience. But what ever the case always strike low and downstream, never up as the natural angle of the line and hook is the same path so it makes no sense to strike a different way. So always strike with the current.
Hooks are also very important and they also are important to the natural shape of an insect in distress. Grub hooks are a must. Most insects that are dislodged follow a natural curved shape when drifting through current so that’s why you should use a grubber stile hook. It looks more natural to a trout and also they have a much better hooking quality because of the larger gape over a standard hook.                         

Michael Drinan