Nymphing for Steelhead...why are folks against it?

Discussion in 'Steelhead' started by jroni, Nov 12, 2009.

  1. HauntedByWaters Active Member

    Posts: 2,750
    Bellingham
    Ratings: +105 / 0
    Yes. It is strange. It is like people can't accept that others are different.........Crazy!

    Never thought humans would be like that......;)
  2. Evan Burck Fudge Dragon

    Posts: 6,499
    Duvall, wa
    Ratings: +1,696 / 2
    We're almost to 10 pages guys! I have faith in you!
  3. Charles Sullivan dreaming through the come down

    Posts: 2,317
    bellingham wa
    Ratings: +565 / 0
    I have friend who is a swinger. Polyamorous is what he calls it. I just recently went to his wedding. Very confusing. I mean, why would you get married if your polyamorous. But I guess that's just how they do it. Good for them.
    My question is, If you are a swinger do you then swing for nymphs? Maybe I'll give him a call and ask.
  4. zenzless Experienced Enthusiast

    Posts: 22
    Spokane, Wa
    Ratings: +0 / 0
    Swingers and bobbin’ nyphmers have always been perceived by some people to be unethical and dirty but they don’t judge themselves that way because they are free spirited and guilt free (or maybe addicted). They have way too much fun doing it and usually no time to judge others. Oops, this is a fishing argument.

    Hey did anyone ask the fish how they like to be caught?

    Otherwise Salmo g makes the most reasonable observation on page 5 in my opinion… and this is all about opinion.

    Let’s hold on to a perception, draw a line in the sand, pick sides and start another war.

    In the mean time let everyone take the journey at their own speed. Here we meet in the middle and maybe help the fishery too. Shall I hand out flowers?

    I have watched a fish attack a yellow apple for 200 yards but I don’t think I could have caught it with any method using fly line. Cool. Hopefully it had enough energy left to spawn. Its progeny might give me a chance to be caught in the moment doing something even I sometimes don’t fully understand why I enjoy it, only that I do.

    And you didn’t think you were philosophers.

    Evan pass the popcorn, I think we can still get to 10 pages.
  5. Big Tuna Member

    Posts: 1,965
    Wenatchee, Washington
    Ratings: +44 / 0
    Agreed. This gets my vote for stupid thread of the year...every year. Anyone that gets worked up over this stuff needs a little more hardship in his/her life to gain some real perspective on what is significant. It's an inane argument that no one ever wins, but some folks are deluded into thinking that if they blow enough hot air and call people enough names, they will prevail.
  6. Sageman Member

    Posts: 609
    Yakima, WA
    Ratings: +9 / 0
    I too started out as a gear fisherman and I used to think that catching a steelhead on a fly rod was almost a gimmick. I got my first one on the S Fork Stilly after pounding the river all day using spinners and bait. I got my 2nd one about 5 casts later. As I transitioned to beign pretty much an exclusive flyfisherman I used to fish both methods and discovered that I could catch just as many, if not more fish using flies. My day of enlightenment came when I was hiking about a mile stretch of water. I fished upstream using spinners, and on the way back, I strung up my fly rod and fished flies on the way down. I got one fish on a spinner, and 6 on the flies.... Once you get it dialed in, you will never go back. I do think gear has a big advantage (specifically bait) on a bigger, more colored river.

    Welcome to steelhead flyfishing, I'm guessing you'll never go back. It just is never the same again.

    As for reading water, you need roughly the same understanding of reading water to fish gear as you do to swing flies. Again, being somebody who uses all methods, I think that nymphing requires a higher understanding of reading water and currents. At least to do it right and successfully.

    Lastly, get a pair of twins who have some remedial experience flyfishing and gear fishing, but not for steelhead and not nymphing. Put a spinning rod in one of their hands and a box of floats and jigs. Give the other one a fly rod and a vest set up for nymphing. The one with the fly rod is going to really struggle, the one with the gear rod should be able to figure it out pretty quickly.
  7. KerryS Ignored Member

    Posts: 6,764
    Sedro Woolley, WA, USA.
    Ratings: +1,784 / 0
    In the spirit of getting this to 10 pages of useless dribble of which I want to make sure I have my fair share in. How is what you described above easier? I have never used a nymph setup for anything but I have seen many do it and to me it is a total mind fuck. Swinging; I put on a sink tip, some leader, a fly, and throw the whole mess out, mend once, check out the scenery until it has swung down below, take 3 or 4 steps, and repeat. Simply simple. This method does not tax my puny little brain and can even catch a fish once in awhile.
  8. Sageman Member

    Posts: 609
    Yakima, WA
    Ratings: +9 / 0
    I agree that large rivers are harder to nymph. When fishing big water, I usually swing through the runs and then go back and nymph through specific key areas that I think are most likely to hold fish, or are difficult to target on the swing (edges of big rocks, ledges, cut banks, current seams, edge of logs, etc.). Every hole has a "sweet spot" where you are most likely to find a fish. I usually go back and nymph through this area after swinging.

    Having caught over 100 steelhead this fall using almost every conceivable method of flyfishing, I'd contend that method has no bearing on the size or fight of a fish. In fact, if anything I find that my bigger fish come nymphing. The bigger ones tend to sit tighter and require you to take the fly to them. I probably caught 10 fish on dries this year and most of them were hatchery and most of them were smaller. A couple of exceptions. I've noticed this in past years as well. The biggest fish I got this fall was on a nymph. Consequently at the time it was also the biggest one the fish checker had seen. I think it was 34" (ginormous for a Methow fish).

    I will say that when you hook one nymphing they will sometimes sit there and try and just shake the hook out before they decide they are really hooked and get going. The ones that hit you on the swing are already moving. So the initial fight is generally more impressive when you get the take on a swing. I've had some of most chaotic initial fights on nymphs though. If you get one that really takes off on you from the word go and you had to pick up line, you sometimes find yourself stripping in as fast as you can and stepping backwards to try and catch up, only to have him turn and run the other direction, so now you are trying to keep your pile of line from knotting up as he rips it out....
  9. docstash Member

    Posts: 342
    selah, wa.
    Ratings: +22 / 0
    I do admit I enjoy this thread this year and every year. I can mostly pass over the BS stuff enjoy the posts by Salmo, Speyfisher, Kerry, Sageman. And don't forget the last several feet of a dead drift are a swing up and across, while the first several feet of a swing cast greater than 90 degrees are ofter a dead drift.

    Craig
  10. NomDeTrout Fly Guy Eat Pie

    Posts: 472
    Seattle,WA
    Ratings: +0 / 0
    i'd just like to note that I find threads liek these very valuable. of course its nice when everyone gets along but debates liek these get people brain's rolling and i think reminds everyone why we fish in the first place.
  11. John Dougher Member

    Posts: 357
    SW WA
    Ratings: +5 / 0
    "This will be a 10+ page thread

    Time to kick back and watch"


    Come on guys, we only need 2 more pages.
  12. Sageman Member

    Posts: 609
    Yakima, WA
    Ratings: +9 / 0
    I have lead on a very small percentage of my nymphs (in fact only 2 patterns that come to mind). I DO use beadheads, but getting the flies down is more a function of line management than weighting the flies. I only use split shot while nymphing when using big egg flies or fishing deep, fast runs. Lots of people who swing are using heavily weighted flies, either lead wrapped or with dumbbell eyes. Also, until recently most sink tips were (and still are) made of lead core. Now some of them are being made with tungsten. So unless you are swinging unweighted flies with a dry line, lead is used in both methods.

    True grease-lining is its own art form and one of my favorite ways to fish for steelhead. Your catch rates are going to go way down if you only use a true grease-lining technique. One of my partners uses this method exclusively.

  13. HauntedByWaters Active Member

    Posts: 2,750
    Bellingham
    Ratings: +105 / 0
    Very interesting Sageman. I find your perspective and experience interesting and thanks for that.
  14. Sageman Member

    Posts: 609
    Yakima, WA
    Ratings: +9 / 0
    I can show the average Joe how to successfully swing much quicker than showing them how to successfully nymph. He'll probably catch fish quicker on the nymph and more of them because it is simply a more productive method.

  15. Sageman Member

    Posts: 609
    Yakima, WA
    Ratings: +9 / 0
    I don't think I've ever seen a nympher badmouth somebody for swinging.... How many posts on this thread alone have blatantly stated that either nymphing is morally wrong, nymphers are bad people, or nymphing isn't flyfishing?

    I defend it not because I am exclusively a nympher, but because I think a true flyfisherman should be capable of using several different methods of catching fish. Each has its benefit. Dry flies allow you to see the strike. Swinging gives you a more vicious take. Nymphing is the most productive. Dead-drifting a dry fly is just heart-stopping because you see the whole thing happening before the fish even takes your fly....
  16. Sageman Member

    Posts: 609
    Yakima, WA
    Ratings: +9 / 0
    I'm trying, I'm trying.......
  17. Split Bamboo Member

    Posts: 648
    Tacoma, Washington
    Ratings: +0 / 0
  18. Nozzelnut New Member

    Posts: 20
    Rochester, NY
    Ratings: +0 / 0
    Almost there...
  19. Be Jofus G Banned or Parked

    Posts: 2,051
    Washington
    Ratings: +53 / 0
  20. Ryan Nathe Member

    Posts: 836
    Seattle, WA
    Ratings: +7 / 0
    My little sister who is 13 nymphs....

    I swing.

    Grow up.