Nymph indicator leaders

Nymph indicator leaders

Viking Lars | Saturday, 9 October 2021

Fishing nymphs under an indicator is far from new. There are a plethora of different indicators on the market and many of them are quite good. From regular float that’ll suspend a heavily weighted nymph at the desired depth to more subtle indicators, designed primarily to make even the most cautious of takes detectable. Years ago at the British Fly Festival, I picked up a couple of braided leaders. Nothing fancy about them, 9’ long, but they were bright orange.

I’ve never been a huge fan of braided leaders as such. They cast and present extremely well, though. For dry fly fishing they have the problem that they pick up water that’ll spray on the first one or two false casts. They also soak up a little water and become “heavy”, but that is part of the reason they cast well and turn over really well.

I bought the ones at the BFFI because I thought the bright orange colour would make them well suited for nymphing - and it did. When I nymph fish I use to different leader types, They have in common that I tie them deliberately with a poor turnover. For light weight nymphing, the design is close to my dry fly leaders, but with a shortened butt section that makes slack line presentations easier. It’s still made so I can present a lightly weighted (or unweighted nymph) precisely.

For deep nymphing (I’m not talking chuck-and-ducking) I prefer a very short butt section and a long, level leader. The level leaders first of all almost always land with plenty of slack to allow the nymph to sink. And the thin, level piece offers less resistance for the fly to overcome when sinking. It was for this poupose I bought the two orange leaders. And the did very well.

In my local streams, I really don’t need long casts, so the 9’ leader was a longer then it needed to be. One day on the phone with my friend, Claus (who makes the best seal’s fur on the market), I mentioned my thoughts about a shorter, bright orange, braided indicator leader. Claus also makes braided leader, so he agreed to see if he could make one shorter. Ideally I’d like to get down to a foot-and-half, maybe even shorter. We’ve got a working prototype now and I think it’s about 7’ long. It performs well.

The braided leaders won’t suspend a heavy nymph, but I don’t want it to. As long as they stay near the surface, the colour makes it very easy to detect movement. The character of the construction also allows it to hold floatant very well. A leader made with un-waxed thread is ideal and easily takes floatant. In fact, quite easily too much, so it spreads an oil film, which is to be avoided.

My next experiment is trying to impregnate some with either a floating or an oil, then allowing this to either harden a little or simply steam off. I’m hoping this will allow the leader to stay dry for a long time.

Another indicator I think looks very interesting and something to try is the “slinky”. A piece of monofilament formed into a spring type leader. Simen Gawesworth shows how to make one here. I first saw these in George Daniels’ book, “Dynamic Nymphing”, but I’m not really sure where they were developed. Maybe for French nymphing?

At some point I’ll update with progress,

Have a great weekend,