Fly Fishing: The Two Fly Nymph Rig - A Primer|
Determining which flies to use:
When you are ready to try fishing with two nymphs under a strike
indicator, there are a few important rules you should know and follow, but first you need to learn how to rig it up.
If you don't know what bugs live in the water you are about to fish, then you should use a seine that you can use to sample the water and determine what is living there. This is one of the most important pieces of equipment the fly angler can have. With it you can actually determine what bugs the fish are likely to be eating. Without it, you must make, at best, an educated guess. Why start out your day by guessing when it's so easy to figure it out?
Now get out your seine and get in the water. Start in a place that is relatively shallow which has a good current of moving water. Facing upstream hold the seine with the upper edge of the seine just slightly out of the water. Hold it there a minute or so and then pick it up and see what you have trapped. Continue following that procedure until the seine is resting on the bottom of the river. Have a friend stir up some of the rocks and gravel directly upstream of the seine. You will be surprised at the variety and number of insects you will find in your seine. Now all you have to do is open your fly box and find a couple of flies that mimic the size, shape, and color of what you have found. That's all there is to it.
Selecting the strike indicator:
There are so many strike indicators to choose from it can be mind numbing. When first beginning to use strike indicators choose one that is easy to use and adjust. The key is to use one that floats well, is very visible even in low light and will support the combined weight of your flies and split shot as they are bouncing along the bottom of the river. A strike indicator that you can't see while it's traveling down river is of no value since you will not be able to detect when a fish has taken your fly. Try a variety of strike indicators
until you find a couple that you really like.
Rigging it up:
Now that you have figured out which flies you are going to use follow this procedure: Install your strike indicator on your leader. Cut approximately 16" of tippet material one size thinner than your leader and tie it on your leader with a double surgeon's knot. For example, if you are using a 3x leader use 4 x tippets
Tie on your first fly. Cut approximately 16" of tippet material one or two sizes thinner than your leader and tie it on at the bend of the hook of the first fly using an improved clinch knot. Don't worry, it won't come off! Tie on your bottom fly.
Add a split shot immediately above the knot you tied between the
leader and first piece of tippet. That knot will keep the split shot from sliding. Keep in mind that you may have to add weight to get the flies to the bottom. This is a function of water depth and speed. Experimentation is the only way to figure this out.
Make an educated guess as to the depth of the water you are going
to fish, then adjust your strike indicator so the distance between it and your split shot is one and a half times the depth of the water. For example, if the water is 3 feet deep, the distance between your indicator and the split shot should be 4-5 feet. Remember that water depth changes from place to place so you must continually readjust the indicator.
When casting the two fly rig the first rule is don't false cast.
I repeat no false casting! False casting will only tangle your flies, so
don't do it. The best approach is to strip out some line and roll cast it downstream. The current will cause your line and flies to
straighten out downstream of your position. All you have to do to cast is lift your rod until the rod tip is almost vertical and follow through towards your target. I like to think of it as a windshield wiper
movement. Some people call it a slingshot cast. The idea is to keep your line and flies straight before casting them. It takes some practice, but it's easy to learn. Keep your casts short at first and slowly add more distance as you become more proficient at it. Cast upstream at a 45 degree angle. When the flies and indicator hit the water you usually need to mend the line upstream of the indicator to allow the flies to sink without the fly line dragging everything downstream. Fish don't like to chase their food so don't present your flies to them in a manner they don't like or want. Remember, the whole idea is to
cast your flies and drift them down stream in a manner that would imitate the behavior of the natural bugs. Keep you eyes on the indicator. It should float downstream slightly slower than the water you are fishing due to the weights bumping the bottom of the river.
If it is moving at the same pace as the water, you need to either add
some more weight and/or increase the distance between your indicator and weights. If the indicator dips, dives, quivers, spins or otherwise acts suspiciously while drifting downstream, lift your rod sharply. If it doesn't do anything unusual, let it complete its drift. When the flies swing and straighten out give your rod a quick sweep towards the shore as if you are setting the hook. You'll be surprised how many fish you will hook. Remember, nymphing requires a lot
of perseverance. You must cover the water thoroughly.
Contributed By: Peter Blackman