Indicator or "not"???

Discussion in 'Steelhead' started by Golden Trout, Nov 22, 2012.

  1. I consider myself a fair fly rod steelhead fisherman at best. Think I may have caught 10 during one fall many years ago. That said, I have tried all order of methods including different styles of indicators without a single strike. I feel like I gain more depth and have a better feel for subtle takes with no indicator or "fishing naked" as the BC boys call it. Every steelhead, whitefish, residual steelhead was caught without an indicator and simple, weighted egg yarn patterns.

    Have others here done better without indicators?
  2. I suck at both indicator nymphing and bobber fishing. I wizard up fish on dead drift, high stick and other tight line nymphing. Probably because I have bobber fished 6 times (did catch a nice hen one winter). I have not played with indicators much, except for "hopper and a dropper" for trout...which kicks much ass.

    My guess is my lack of results stems from lack of use, as folks certainly spank the steel with indicator presentations.
  3. The problem I have with the dead drift/ high stick nymph drift with no indicator is when fishing over multiple current seams at a distance the take up is so hard to discern, and that's when you turn to the indicator. I was very anti bobber for a looooong time, but to cover all water well, it's kind of a necessity to diversify
    Irafly, natron and Blake Harmon like this.
  4. I love love love indicator fishing and I do everying I can to fish one so I can watch the take under. Sooooooo I would have to say that bobber is better but I'm a tad biased.
  5. The takedown isn't nearly as good as the tug off a swung fly to me..... But it's all good!
  6. Don't get me wrong, I have nothing against throwing a bobber. I just don't do it much (I have a variety of indicators with me most of the time I fish)...because I don't do it, it's less effective for me ;-)
  7. I am a very visual person; I can't give directions without trying to draw a map.

    Same with fishing. The takes I remember and play over and over again in my head are the ones I saw, never the ones I felt. I will fish a dry over just about anything else but if I go sub-surface, I like to 'see' the take, be it with a hopper/dropper or indicator. I do a fair bit of trout and steelhead fishing without a visual cue - swinging soft hackles or steelhead flies, dragging a bugger in a tube, or casting and stripping a streamer - but none of these takes do for me like seeing a take. I can not imagine any tug being as exciting for me as it was to watch an actively sipping steelhead rise and inhale my sz 14 Parachute Adams last spring. But I am visual and I suspect most swingers are kinesthetic.
    cabezon and Irafly like this.
  8. Me, I go both ways.
    Jeff Sawyer and The Duke like this.
  9. I think most of my hookups occur when I am daydreaming. It's the dance of the rod that brings me back :) I confess being out of doors is a great place for me to unplug my brain.
  10. That's kind of a loaded question. Like you, I fish off of feel too and usually limit out every time I go. However, the feel method is all I use when nymph'n. I have used an indicator, and I am 3 for 11 on takes. <- I know, that's bad. That being said, another guy could have fished the same water as me (using an ind.) and maybe caught more (even sooner), or less than me. I think it's up to the individual. I don't know anyone who can objectively answer this question, because they probably do one or the other primarily. Not to get to scientific, but in order to really answer that, you'd almost have to fish the same water, in same conditions, two separate days, two separate ways. Again, I think it's a preference thing.

    I have fished with a indicator a few times, but feel like I'm cheating. <- (Remember though, that's coming from a guy that went 3 for 11 :p ) That being said, I don't feel like others are cheating when using an indicator.

    I think of it this way. Say you're on a river where some real pigs are slurping spent may flies off the surface around sunset. I can try to match the hatch, or strip a "Big Ugly" through their wheelhouse. Either way, I'm going to catch fish.

    All that being said, I just like the feel method for the exact same reasons as you GT.
  11. Indicator. I got over the stigma of being a bobber fisherman when I started learning how to and increasing my catch rate by 10 fold.
  12. OH Sheesh....another debate between people who like to catch fish, and people who don't;)
    Irafly likes this.

  13. Haha, nice play sir!
  14. Apparently you didn't bother reading the posts. No debate yet.
    Dave Kaiserman likes this.
  15. Fish your preference for sure. I have done both and been successful on all fronts. Water that I can easily high stick (typically smaller streams) I fish without the indicator. When I fish across many current streams on bigger waters I find that I get better dead drifts with the indicator as I see the drag quicker and mend as needed to keep the fly in the zone better. I still like the swing take the best and fish that way when a fair amount of the time. Learn to be successful with all the techniques and increase your hook up rate.
  16. Apparently you didn't bother noticing the winky emoticon. :);):(:mad::confused::cool::p:D:eek::oops::rolleyes:
  17. Really? I find this amazing. I must be kinesthetic. I'm totally with you on the map thing though.

    The takes I remember best are they ones that blow up your arm and make your reel scream. The fish from up north that made my reel bang and woke me up. That little 6 lber was awesome. The fish from a local stream that took mid swing and kept going. They aren't all like that but those that are.......well they are why I am a steelhead flyfisherman. These fish are the hottest chic's at the party, complete with shiny positive attitudes and no sexual inhibitions. They rock my world just through a different apendage. I have caught steelhead (GL) nymphing and found it's like settling for the drunk chubby girl with low self esteem.

    I'd take up swinging spoons before I'd lob weight and a bobber. I am honestly amazed every time someone says they enjoy nymphing. I don't mean this as an insult to those who like it. I just really don't get it. Irafly thinks it's as much fun as a man can have. It's great for him to have something he loves so much, I'd just rather get my teeth cleaned.

    To the OP. Maybe your just better off swinging. If you are steelheading to the north, it would be the norm.

    Go Sox,
  18. The thing is, even with an indicator, I still get that same pull/tug so the kinetic energy is still there but I also get the visual. Not that I can be that bummed, but I've felt disappointment when a fish has hit at the end of a drift and I've looked away to target my next cast. Ultimately though I love this sport mostly because there are so many ways to enjoy it and I think most of us are at a point now where we are ok with people enjoying the sport the way they want to enjoy it and leaving it that. Most of us have gotten past the need to judge others worth based solely on how they chose to target a steelhead, I say most.
  19. Just sounds like sour grapes from those who've yet mastered the art form... ;)

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