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The Simplest Nymph Technique of All

Fly fishers can geek out on the most subtle aspects of nymphing technique–from bead size to indicator materials to leader construction–all to achieve the most “natural” presentation, free from “micro drag” and such. This might create the impression that nymphing is a complex business, requiring knowledge and attention to detail. While this may be true in some cases, such as on spring creeks or heavily pressured tailwaters, Joe Rotter from Red’s Fly Shop demonstrates here that much simpler methods can also be effective.

Rotter takes his sons out on the water and gives them each a simple set up and simple instructions. Lo and behold, they both hook up. Then Rotter walks us through the rig–just a heavy, size 12 beadhead nymph, with no indicator–and shows the basic presentation:

  1. Cast up stream, 
  2. Raise the rod tip to pick up slack as the fly approaches,
  3. Lower the rod tip to add slack as the fly goes downstream, and
  4. Let it swing at the end.

It’s basically the simplest version of the Leisenring Lift, and it works. It’s a great way for kids or beginners to get started in fly fishing, and it’s also a useful method for just covering a lot of water quickly.

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