Czech Nymphing Fly Fishing
Czech nymphing was introduced to the UK in the 1990 World Championships. The Czech team beat the UK International teams on the Welsh River Dee. The Czechs caught grayling in numbers from places that were thought impossibly fast or deep previously. This sent shockwaves through the world of competition angling. The technique is today considered to be pretty much a standard - an essential part of every grayling anglers armoury.
Firstly, let's take a look at the flies, the Czech nymph has many, many variations, but all are based upon one simple design, utilising a heavily-leaded hook. They are intended to be fished very deep, in fast water, weight & a slim profile are important.
The water will be fast water, normally considered unfishable on the fly, You'll want to get your flies as near to the bottom as possible. Do not fish with more than about 3-4' of flyline outside the tip ring. This is difficult to do, as the fly fisherman's natural tendency is to shoot a bit of line. This is extremely short range fishing, fish will be close to your rod! Do not cast conventionally, there is not enough line & the nymphs are far too heavy - the nymphs that provide the casting weight. Use a flicking action to throw the nymphs upstream at an angle of about 30 degrees. Done correctly, the 'flick cast' will extend the leader so that the nymphs lie in a straight line upstream. They will immediately start to sink rapidly as the current brings the flies back down towards you. To stay in touch with the flies, don't retrieve any line, just track round with the rod, raising & lowering the tip as appropriate. Watch your indicator very closely! Any hesitation, draw, stutter, check - strike it immediately. Because of the fast nature of the water grayling and trout will have little chance to closely examine the fly and hit quickly. Fan cast the water ahead of you and, if no action, take a pace or two upstream & repeat. This is fast fishing, each cast is fished out in 5-10 seconds and you're straight into the next one, a lightweight rod helps the weary arms. Often it is often useful to let the flies come down below you and allow them to fish for a few moments as they come round the bend and onto 'the dangle'. Keep the rod tip above the indicator & steadily 'lean' downstream, dropping the tip as you do so. This can be a particularly effective tactic, taking one or two more fish out of water that has already been worked. Obviously, with this technique you do not need to restrict yourself to Czech nymphs. The key is to use heavily-weighted flies, so goldheads, caddis will do just as well. 'Matching the hatch' is not a priority with this fishing! This is an active searching method and, as such, technique is more important than specific pattern.