I use split shot bc it is time efficient for me. While potentially offering better detection, I found tying weighted nymphs in the increments I needed to be a big project. I've also had some sort of block on beadheads from day one –I carry few of them. I've warmed a bit to them since the advent of tungsten through its sheer technological functionality.
As I’ve written in other posts, except in rare circumstances of vertical laminar flow (usually deep slow water), a nymph is ALWAYS lead whether by rod tip or suspension device. You cannot have detection otherwise. The simplest most direct route is short-line manual leading with detection by feel. Suspension devices remove you from that and IME are mostly shallow water rigs that are hindered by depth and turbulence. The one rig in Daniel’s book I do not use and will try to incorporate is visual detection with a vertical “sighter”, which is a refinement I can see could prove to be VERY sensitive in the right circumstances.
My nymphing involves tightlining, and the use of various suspension devices (four types) that handle different water conditions. Rig versatility is very important because I need to adjust quickly to varying water, as no one configuration will cover even one pool or run. Two of my suspension devices are slide-able on the leader. And similarly, I make use of the ease with which I can adjust the location, as well as the amount of weight, by using shot.
As to detection with shot: I make do. When shot is lead by either rod tip or device it pulls the shot first with little slack between it and the fly. If I feel there is some issue with this in certain spots, I run the shot close to the fly –the more challenging the water, the closer, and often, heavier I go with the shot. I must go up in tackle size (shot, suspender sizes, and fly-line weight) as waters get more deep, fast, turbulent, colder. And there is a point where fly tackle doesn’t really work well anymore bc detection erodes too far. At this point I say “au revoir!” to fly tackle, while the French seem to stick with it further than I feel is actually fly fishing. If you have to run pure mono with no fly-line out the rod tip to cover those deep, or distant, runs then I have to say there have been better devices designed to do that –namely spinning tackle. In fact, I began my “nymph fishing” with spinning tackle and tiny jigs before “going Humphreys”, then adding suspension devices. I understand Daniel’s is describing competitive fishing circuits where spinning tackle is not allowed, but I am neither competitor nor are my romantic notions going to mire me. I’m happy to use spinning tackle, Tenkara, or … simply fish where conventional fly tackle is supported. There’s plenty of water around to blissfully float my romantic notions.
Just recently I’ve been experimenting with a new way of rigging shot for me, that I haven’t seen anyone else do, and that is to run (light) shot on a dropper off the bend of the nymph. I came up with this as a way of stabilizing the posture of some nymphs, to increase detection (as it IS the weight we feel most directly), and to decrease fly loss due to crevice snags. I used it for the first time the other day, both via suspension and manual leading (same rig), and found one issue: It has a tendency to help fish escape when close in, under the rod tip –when tension is apt to lessen on the fish. I should be able to compensate for this (if the rig proves worthy in other respects –detection, nymph posture, snagless-ness) by maintaining firm tension (tougher on the small fish I was catching yesterday), and using a net, as well as going to a micro-barbed hook if need be.
This shot looks large in the image only bc it was closest to the lens.
Well…I guess that’s a snapshot view of my thoughts on nymphing. What have you taken from Daniel’s excellent book?
(Oh btw, Louis, the soft tungsten putty I described to you is a new brand to me and is called Mojo Mud and it stays soft in cold weather. However, now that things have warmed, it is TOO soft and doesn’t stay in place. Gonna need another brand now.)