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The Ways Things Should Be - Part 1

By The Fly Fish Ohio Curmudgeon-in-Residence

The opinions of the Fly Fish Ohio Curmudgeon do not reflect the position of the Fly Fish Ohio web site or team.  These are the ramblings of a so-far unidentified feather flinger who occasionally slips an article under the door jam when we're not looking.

"I have opinions of my own -- strong opinions -- but I don't always agree with them."
George Bush (1924 - )



Let me start by saying that I have been fly fishing since before the great flood (when the rivers were blown out for 40 days and 40 nights) and I have seen it all come and go. I don’t profess to know it all, but what I don’t know, I don’t need to know. I usually (sometimes) keep my mouth shut about what others are doing to transform (screw up) our sport but, I have witnessed a new technique that has ended all that. Now that I have observed Euro nymphing, I can no longer keep silent.


I first heard of this method, if you want to call it that, from Jim Stuard, the Fly Fish Ohio techno junkie. He and I went to Ohio’s Mad River a couple of years ago to catch a few trout, and he was planning to try out this new method. I recall that I happily caught 5 or 6 browns on a small dry caddis and Jim, shall we say, caught less than that.


Fast forward to last week.


I bought a Jack Dennis video on sale and it came with a free bonus video on methods to help you catch more trout. One of the methods demonstrated was called Polish Nymphing, later called Czech Nymphing, later called Spanish Nymphing, currently called Euro Nymphing. The reason for all the name changes was that each region added its own tweaks to the method. From what I observed, these tweaks must have amounted changes in style of fishing hats!


The method was demonstrated by Vladi Trzebunia, the 1989 winner of the “World Flyfishing Championship”. Jack Dennis pointed out that all the Europeans used this method in competition, which suggests to me that having actual fun is now illegal in many European countries. In this method you use a 9’-12’ rod, a 9’ leader, and have about 10”-12” of fly line out of the rod tip. You rig up with 2 or more nymphs with the bottom (anchor) nymph weighted to about a half-pound. You flip your line upstream, and with your rod tip no more than a foot off the water, you lead the nymph downstream, keeping a tight line on the fly. You repeat this “dredging” procedure for as long as you can stand it, and then you move a step towards the opposite bank and start over. If you can picture this, you are standing upright 10 or so feet from the water you are fishing with your rod tip perhaps inches above the fish you are trying to catch. This may sit well with hatchery trout, but wild trout would chuckle at the sight of it! You tuck the line under the finger of the right hand in a normal fashion, but at no time do you ever touch the rod, line, or reel with your left hand! This applies when fighting the fish as well. Fish are hauled out of the water one handed and most fish go airborne in your direction for easy netting and release within 3-4 seconds. This reminds me of the tournament bass fisherman who say “if you want to play them, play with them in the boat!”


After watching this video, the efficiency of this method became obvious. There was no real need for a fly reel, or even a fly line, as you could simply tie your leader to the tip top of your rod. In fact, the was no real need for an expensive fly rod as a cane pole (not to be confused with a split bamboo fly rod) would serve just as well. You could also skip all the laborious learning process associated with casting, reading the water, getting a drag free float, learning the hatches, working a streamer, etc. and go straight to catching fish! Best of all, (I’m serious about this one) there is no need for expensive STRIKE INDICATORS (UGH!)… but I’ll save that for another time!!!! Vladi actually had an Amadou fly dryer pinned to his vest, which had me puzzled.  Perhaps he gets a runny nose while fishing……..


Now let’s get serious people, this method totally lacks anything resembling fun, and could only be conceived as a method of winning tournaments. Anyone who would actually compete in a trout fishing tournament ought to be dunked in a vat of boiling Gink, but I’ll save that for another time! This method is at the opposite end of the fly fishing universe from “far and fine” fishing; it’s as “close and coarse” as you can get. Why would you subject yourself to this form of fly fishing self abuse anyway? After all, we do this for fun, so why waste valuable time on the water doing such a non fun thing? I actually think that throwing cherry bombs in deep runs would be more fun, but catch and release would be kind of “iffy” and some local regulations may not allow this method! Seriously people, grab your fly rod, forget the fish counting, and have fun!

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