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High stick nymphing: 1

Saturday, 30 May 2015  |  Simon

In the sport of fly fishing, there are a number effective methods for presenting a nymph fly pattern to a holding or feeding fish. One common strategy employed by anglers is known as “high stick nymphing.” With this method the nymph flies in the faster, deeper water of pockets and short pools, and is an extremely effective way to fly fish, especially when you observe little or no dry fly activity or rising trout.

The high stick is a technique similar to short line nymphing. Often you don’t use a strike indicator, but it can be effective for practiced anglers. High sticking is designed to deliver a subsurface fly pattern on a dead drift to trout  which are holding in moderate to fast pocket water and short, deep pools. Line control is the key to this technique. And when it comes to using it on your favourite stretch of river the rule is: practice, practice and then practice some more.

Approach a pocket or pool carefully. Make a short cast upstream at roughly 45 degrees from your position. Immediately the fly sinks to the river or stream bottom, raise the rod tip high and follow the line downstream through the drift. As the fly starts its drift, lift your rod tip high. Don’t allow slack line to gather and drag in the surface film. Let the drift continue across your position and lower the rod tip as it continues the downstream movement.

At this point in the drift, if you employ a "Leisenring Lift" as the fly passes your position you can greatly reduce the drag that may be created by mismanaged or under-managed slack fly line. Fly fishing with this little technique will definitely improve your skills.

 
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