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Fly fishing with nymphs
I had the pleasure of meeting and fishing with fly fishing legend, Joe Humphreys, shortly after I began fly fishing and the time I spent with him took my fly fishing to a new level.
It was a beautiful Spring day in April. We had been invited to fish the pristine waters of Spruce Creek. After the introductions, we sat down to a very entertaining lunch where we heard fishing story after fishing story from Joe, George Harvey and good friend Doc Hartnett, our host. Then we headed down to the stream.
There were varying reports of Mayfly hatches that day so I began testing some theories I had overheard at the local fly shop before arriving at Doc's. For nearly 30 minutes, I tied on dry fly after dry fly in a hopeless attempt to fool my adversary. I had a few lookers but no takers. Meanwhile, downstream I witnessed Joe pulling out trout after trout by fishing what looked to be under the surface of the water.
I finally swallowed my pride and walked downstream to where Joe was fishing. I waited until he landed what seemed to be his twentieth trout and I asked him the question, "So what do you do when the trout aren't rising?" He looked up at me with a huge grin and said, "I wondered how long it was going to take you to ask that." He knew that I was fairly new to fly fishing from some earlier conversations. His answer was quite simple, "Go to where the trout are".
You see, up until that day, I fished dry flies almost exclusively. It just seemed like the thing to do. Everyone I had ever talked to told of the thrill of watching a trout rise to a dry fly and how easy it was to set the hook since you could visually see the trout taking your fly. But it was on this day that I learned that I could catch trout whether they were rising or not.
Joe went on to explain this technique called nymphing of which I would learn later that he was the master. He spoke very fondly of his mentor, George Harvey, and how George spent hours on the stream with him and taught him how to nymph fish. I considered this a great honor to acquire this new knowledge from such fly fishing greats.
He spent the next 30 minutes going over the basics of nymphing. He told me that the four most important parts of nymphing are line control, matching the natural nymphs as closely as possible, getting the nymph to the bottom and the drift of the nymph. Two of the best ways to get the nymph to the bottom quickly were the tuck cast and adding weight to the line.
I was very excited when he told me he was about to teach me a new cast. This new casting method, the tuck cast, is a cast that is crucial to nymphing and allows your nymph to get to the bottom as quickly as possible.
Here is the tuck cast in a nutshell the way I understood it and learned it. Position your thumb on the top of the rod. When executing the forward cast, you're thumb and knuckles must end up pointing toward your target. Keep your wrist straight in line with the thumb and bring the cast directly ov...
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