Author Topic: Tippet length and sighter setup for Czech nymphing  (Read 2358 times)

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Matthew Mikes

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Tippet length and sighter setup for Czech nymphing
« on: January 01, 2015, 08:54:49 PM »
I'm learning how to Czech nymph and have a whole bunch of questions.  Reading and watching videos have clarified a lot but here are a few questions that I'm sure others with experience will be able to clarify.  How much tippet do you tie on based off the depth of the water you are fishing?  say you are mainly fishing 4' of water, from your sighter how long of a tippet do you tie on? How high above the water do you try to keep your straight sighter material?  Are you watching your sighter to detect takes or is the sighter used to find your line so you are able to focus on watching your line where it enters the water? Also, is it easier to learn Czech nymphing using inline drop indicators? Thanks in advance.

Chris Puchniak

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Re: Tippet length and sighter setup for Czech nymphing
« Reply #1 on: January 02, 2015, 11:09:19 AM »
There are no hard and fast rules for me for how much tippet I use, but generally between 4-8' is what I will have, with 5-6' being the average.  You want to lengthen and shorten it to give you better contact with your fly, and to help your fly get to the right depth.  Those are always to principle keys to keep in mind.  Too much can be too unwieldy, and too little won't get you deep enough.  But it does vary by water depth and water current speed. 

I prefer my full sighter just an inch or two above the water surface, but there are times when fishing deeper that virtually all my sighter is submerged, and I can just see the tip of it.  I usually don't mind my sighter being submerged, as long as I can still see something to give me reference.  And usually if I have to dip my sighter into the water, then I am fishing deep enough that I am not worrying about a little bit of gold mono spooking the fish.

The sighter does all of what you are mentioning, imo.  It helps me locate my leader in days when it is hard to see, and it helps detect takes as well.  Just like a "bobber" would do the same, but the sighter is just far less obvious to spot.

As the ultimate goal is to be able to get your fly down to the level of the fish, do whatever it takes to stay in contact with your fly, and then detect any anomalies, having a more visible sighter (drops) can only help with the latter portion of that goal.  Drop indicators would be great to help get oneself comfortable, build confidence, and help visually train oneself.  Knots are used in the same manner.  Anything that stands out to help you detect movement.
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Matthew Mikes

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Re: Tippet length and sighter setup for Czech nymphing
« Reply #2 on: January 02, 2015, 08:31:27 PM »
Thanks Chris.  Sounds like I am setting up my line fairly well. Yesterday I was determined to keep my sighter just above the water and I was able to detect stalling of the fly much better (no fish for me, just sticks and stones).  I have often submerged all but the top inch or so of my sighter in deeper water and find it easier to detect takes because the sighter clearly stalls or disappears!  Also, I can relate to using the knots as a spot to focus on as I tend to do that most of the time...which is why I was asking about the drop style sighters.  I had a lot of success in the summer when useing drop sighters but the fish can be more aggressive in the summer.  I'm going to try adding a few drops to my sighters again, if anything it will make me feel more comfortable.  Thanks for the reminder,"do what ever it takes to stay in contact with your fly."  I do this on the lake, thank you for reminding me it's as important on the river.

Todd Oishi

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Re: Tippet length and sighter setup for Czech nymphing
« Reply #3 on: January 03, 2015, 09:12:57 AM »
Matthew, I typically select/adjust the length of my tippet based on the flow rate of the water and its depth, with special consideration given to the weight of the fly.

If I'm targeting a slower flowing stretch of water I typically use a length of tippet that is longer than what I'd use for a faster flowing stretch of water. For a situation where the water depth is 4 feet, I'd typically use 5 to 6 feet of tippet, and in slower flowing water of the same depth, I'd use 6 to 12 feet of tippet depending on the flow rate and weight of my nymph(s).

I prefer to keep my Sighter as close to the surface of the water as possible, so I can accurately track the rate that my nymph(s) is traveling and detect any takes, which are often seen as little more than a momentary pause in the drift of the sighter, or in some cases, a very slight dip. Takes are occasionally detected by feel, but that is usually the exception to the rule, as trout and whitefish normally mouth and reject a nymph at lightning speed, rather than swallow or hold onto it...

You'll miss an extremely high percentage of the takes if you are going purely by feel, which is why you need to work on your sighter and sighting abilities. Drop sighters work well for detecting dips (as do coils), but you'll still miss a lot of takes if you aren't tracking the movements of the sighter for a pause in its drift or other unusual movements. A slight dip in the sighter, which is the norm, is very difficult to detect if the point of reference that you're using on the sighter is not right on, or in close relationship to the water's surface.

The key is to monitor the sighter and always strike even if you have the slightest suspicion that a take has occurred. If you suspected that a strike had occurred, and you didn't react, you will have already missed it and it's too late to strike. My rule of thumb is that whenever you ask yourself "Was that a fish?", it's already too late! In reality, you should have struck before that thought even entered your mind, and long before you posed the question.

Striking whenever you suspect that a take has occurred must be performed without hesitation and practiced in order to improve your reflexes and timing...
« Last Edit: January 03, 2015, 09:22:22 AM by Todd Oishi »
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Matthew Mikes

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Re: Tippet length and sighter setup for Czech nymphing
« Reply #4 on: January 03, 2015, 08:42:52 PM »
Thank you Todd.  Due to my inexperience with Czech nymphing I realize, more so from the last competition I was in, that I am missing WAY to many takes.  A majority of the fish I catch are after my line passes my body (downstream).  I understand it is because my connection to the fly is accurate and direct and I feel the take at this time.  Like you have stressed, too many times I catch myself thinking or shaking my head because I did not strike when I should have.  I'm trying to strike at every pause/change now!  I was watching a video of a US angler, sorry I can't recall his name (he competed for the US and coached teams), who was talking towards leader length and water depth very similar to what you described Todd.  I'll find the video again.  I need to spend way more time on the water to put all this together! Thanks again.

Chris Puchniak

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Re: Tippet length and sighter setup for Czech nymphing
« Reply #5 on: January 04, 2015, 07:51:46 AM »
Is it the George Daniels short videos online?

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ObcDRwrlbuo
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Don't be a Pessimist. Don't be an Optimist.  Be a Realist and change when you need to.

Matthew Mikes

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Re: Tippet length and sighter setup for Czech nymphing
« Reply #6 on: January 04, 2015, 11:52:17 AM »
Yes, those are the videos. I'v watched them a few times now and will watch them again and again.

Alex Berger

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Re: Tippet length and sighter setup for Czech nymphing
« Reply #7 on: January 06, 2015, 09:12:03 AM »
Chris,  thanks for sending George Daniel's thread!   I just finished reading his book Dynamic Nymphing, a very well written book!
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