Czech Nymphing - The Essential Technique

Czech Nymphing Fly Fishing

During 1990 World Fly Fishing Championships the The Style of Czech nymphing was introduced in the UK. The Czech team beat the UK International teams at the Welsh River Dee catching grayling in numbers from places that were thought impossibly deep &  fast previously. Czech nymphing sent shockwaves throughout the world of fly fishing. The technique is today now considered an essential part of every grayling anglers armoury.

Firstly, let's take a look at the czech nymph 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.

Recommended Czech Nymphing Tactics

  1. The water is going to be fast, normally considered unfishable using normal flies as they simply do no get down fast or deep enough normally.
  2. You need to get your flies as near to the bottom as possible. For this technique you will use heavier flies or Czech nymphs.
  3. Do not fish with more than about 3-4' of flyline outside the tip ring. Sometimes this is  difficult to do, as the fly fisherman's natural tendency is to shoot a bit of line.
  4. This is extremely short range fishing, fish are is going to be close to your rod! Grayling indeed will be attracted by the feet moving deutritus from the bottom of the river. You must 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. The flies 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.

Because of the fast speed of the water grayling and trout will have little chance to closely examine the fly and hit quickly. Watch your indicator very closely! Any hesitation, draw, stutter, check - strike it immediately.  Fan cast the water ahead of you and, if no action, take a pace or two upstream & repeat.

This is a very fast fly fishing technique, each cast is fished out in 5-10 seconds and you're straight into the next one, a lightweight rod helps the weary arms. Frequently 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.

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