The Difference between a good fisherman and a great one is often no more than a BB
This tip is a big one for all of us who spend a lot of time nymphing – change your weight before you change your fly.
One BB at a Time
On some of our local Northern California rivers like the Lower Sacramento and sometimes on the Lower Yuba we will find ourselves amongst many other boats and anglers.
If you find yourself having one of those days when conditions are challenging, the fish are stubborn, and the place is packed with so many anglers, when you simply don’t have the option of bouncing from one run to the next, sometimes you have to make do with the water right in front of you.
We often have a triple-nymph rig tied on, for instance, we may have a Pats Rubberlegs (as an attractor), a HBI nymph (for PMDs and Hogan’s Yuba Pupa ( for Caddis). After 4 or 5 casts nothing. The first option should be to add a “fuzz” more weight to the rig. A few more casts, and nothing still. My first instinct is to switch up flies, as we know the run we are working hold fish. Maybe they just didn’t like our flies.
Stop. Before you decide to change up the flies add even a little more weight. If you try several more casts, nothing. Add yet another BB and, two casts later, you may just hook into a nice rainbow.
In this example, the fish had been there all along. We never switched fly patterns. What we did was find the right weight balance that made those flies finally drop perfectly into the trout’s feeding zone. It was an offer the fish, ultimately, could not refuse.
To Quote Pat Dorsey an well respected guide in the Denver area, “Weight, is the most important factor when you are fishing with nymphs. I might cast 100 times with different flies, but if the weight isn’t right, it won’t work. When the weight is right, the fly will almost always work.”
So, think about that the next time you’re frustrated at the edge of a run you know holds trout. Think about your weight before switching fly patterns. It’s probably worth 10 weight adjustments before any single fly change, especially when you are casting at educated and challenging trout. After all, Pat Dorsey explained, “The difference between a good fisherman and a great one is often no more than a BB.”
If you want more tips like this you can pick up The Little Red Book of Fly Fishing – a new collection of 250 nuggets of fly fishing wisdom from Kirk Deeter and the late, great Charlie Meyers by clicking on the link.