Indicator or "not"???

#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?
 

David Dalan

69°19'15.35" N 18°44'22.74" E
#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

Indi "Ira" Jones
#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.
 

David Dalan

69°19'15.35" N 18°44'22.74" E
#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 ;-)
 

Freestone

Not to be confused with freestoneangler
#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.
 
#10
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?
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.
 
#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.