Thursday, March 7, 2013

Competition Nymph Line

Blog post by Joe Goodspeed

The Competition Nymph line is a specialty product designed to meet the demands that nymph fishing with the tight line methods European fly anglers have refined. Although there are distinct names for some of these methods – Spanish, French, and Czech Nymphing for example, there is often a considerable overlap between each of these methods, and they all revolve around making natural drifts with flies, usually weighted nymphs, and being able to detect the quick and subtle strikes from trout or grayling in moving water.

When you put the Competition Nymph lines on the water, an important difference from a standard WF or DT line you will notice right away is going to be the thin tip. The taper of the Competition Nymph line does the work that the butt of a long tapered leader would do for you, with increased precision and control…HOWEVER you can negate the Competition Nymph line advantages by attaching a thick tapered leader to the end of it.  To achieve the highest level of performance from these lines, you will want to build your nymphing leader with a butt section that has a similar stiffness to the Competition Nymph line.  I have had my greatest success building leaders that start around .017’’ diameter stiff monofilament to match with the .028’’ tip on the 160gn CN line, or with approximately .015’’ stiff mono to match the tip stiffness on the 140gn Competition Nymph line, and stepping down to the diameter of the indicator mono with a hand built leader adjusted to reflect the conditions.
Nymphing leaders are often subject to personal preference – two very effective nymph anglers might be able to cover the same piece of water with similar flies and achieve similar levels of success with vastly different leader configurations – success is often a result of being comfortable with the design you are using more so than having the perfect leader configuration.  That having been said, accurate strike detection often separates the best nymph anglers from the pack.  Strike detection is often a series of compromises, due to the best methods of strike detection either limiting maximum effective distance, fish being spooked by the indicator method, or numerous other factors that can come into play.  Bright, opaque “indicator monofilament”, like the product available through Cortland and other companies, is often knotted into a leader in a strategic location to provide a depth indicator/visual movement indicator in the competitive fishing competitions where floating indicators are not allowed, and many anglers have honed their skill with the European methods to the point where they can take fish far more effectively than can be achieved with buoyant floating indicators.
Personally, I have found other applications for these types of techniques – adapting them toward the big wild trout and difficult tailwater fisheries that I often fish.  Employing tight line nymphing tactics has opened up successful new ways of approaching familiar fishing scenarios for me, and there is a broad horizon of possibilities for these techniques – developed to catch fish on difficult European rivers that often see heavy angling pressure – on the diverse and prolific trout streams that are available to us here in the United States.  While the competition fishing circuit often dictates the use of attractor nymphs to catch the highest number of measurable sized fish from a given stretch of water, being able to make natural drifts and achieve good strike detection always empowers the angler to take more fish.  

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