Author Topic: Feel vs. See  (Read 2931 times)

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Alex Argyros

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Feel vs. See
« on: September 11, 2018, 04:59:44 AM »
I was wondering if people here rely more on feeling vs. seeing a strike while nymphing.  I know that Alex Berger is more of a "touch' fisherman, but that is perhaps due to the kind of water he habitually fishes.  Until recently, I would have called myself almost exclusively a sight nymph fisherman, but lately I have begun to appreciate the immediacy of touch.

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Todd Oishi

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Re: Feel vs. See
« Reply #1 on: September 11, 2018, 05:39:13 AM »
Great topic!

I am definitely a sight nymph fisher. I honestly believe that those that rely on feel rather than sight, are missing an enormous amount of takes, due the their inability to detect the more subtle takes, which is the typically the type of take that you should be expecting to encounter.

I often ask newcomers to nymphing, "at what point during the drift are you detecting takes", and more often the response is "slightly downstream or directly below their location". This is a strong indicator that they have not fully grasped the concept of a dead-drift and shortline nymphing, as they are relying on the swing and current to create a "tight line" that allows them to feel the take rather than seeing it happen.

The main exception being aggressively feeding fish, as they are generally very obvious takes...
For me, the quality of a trout is not measured in inches or pounds, but rather by the journey and circumstances that allowed our paths to cross...

Scott Voisin

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Re: Feel vs. See
« Reply #2 on: September 11, 2018, 06:37:31 AM »
I think that about half of strike that I detect are by both sight and feel and that the other 50% is about equally split between just sight and just feel.  The type of water and other conditions also play in to detection.
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Francois Dallaire

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Re: Feel vs. See
« Reply #3 on: September 11, 2018, 08:12:39 AM »
Agree with Todd.

I started out as a feeler and found it hard to believe anybody could rely on sight.  Now Iím all sight and consider a felt take a miss on my part most of the time. For me the best example of how feeling for strikes can lead to misses are pre-emptive hooksets. 

They nymphs drift through some very fishy and turbulent water, the speed is right, depth is perfect, yet I donít feel anything.  But I know my sight radar is off because the indicator is swinging around a rock in turbulent water and is to erratic to analyze.  I set the hook and the fish is on.

Never felt him; he was impossible to detect visually; but I knew he should be there, so I set the hook.

These days if I think my sighter is to hard to read I start bouncing the flies about an inch every few moments. I donít wait to feel the fish, I go feeling for him.

We all have our own aptitudes and forcing a feeler to look for strikes is probably not a good idea.  It should come naturally over time.

Graham Byrnes

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Re: Feel vs. See
« Reply #4 on: January 19, 2019, 07:49:31 PM »
This is a fairly "hotly" debated subject and nice to see other respected anglers also favoring sight.. 
Personally i think sight is No.1 upstream most of the time.

-maintaining a tight line smoothly upstream is not always easy to do (for me anyway) without pulling
As the fly gets nearer to across a tight line is much easier to maintain.

-In general my attempts to "feel" fish when fishing up/up and across have been disappointingly frustrating with most felt takes actually being felt misses! And i often wonder if the tight line restricts the fishes ability to actually "taste" the fly?? I think the only ones i have felt and landed so far have been felt "hookups"

Of course as the fly swings around at the bottom of a drift we have a very tight line and it becomes all feel, seems to me they hook themselves (and not very reliably :) )

I would love to hear more on this discussion, Id love to think there is a way i can reliably "sense" more takes! (ive been flyfishing for 40years BTW)
« Last Edit: January 19, 2019, 07:56:16 PM by Graham Byrnes »

Alex Berger

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Re: Feel vs. See
« Reply #5 on: February 03, 2019, 11:16:50 AM »
In an ideal world, I would say it should "see",  in my case  most of the time it's feel!
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John Wilkinson

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Re: Feel vs. See
« Reply #6 on: February 05, 2019, 07:55:51 AM »
A little of both. For me it comes down to how well or how tight I am fishing that day or piece of water for that moment. When casting up river the tighter I am, faster into the drift, the more takes you feel and receive through the sighter. Sometimes when you cast up river depending on current and structure it can take more or less time to get tight. This is the critical time to get the slack out. Too much slack - no detection on the sighter or feel. Once tight and coming towards you and beside you it is mostly sighter and some feel. This is where top rods do better than the average rod. Why? Unless you are drifting completely off the bottom, you are touching rocks here and there on a drift. Rocks will move your sighter just like a light hit. But a good angler will know the difference in the feel of a bite or tap, to a rock. Some say it out loud, others keep it in and some just smile. You reset make the same drift and when it gets close to the "spot" you look for and hinge in the sighter or that touch you had in the last drift that alerted you and set the hook quickly. We all have sighters and we all stare and watch them for the whole day and we get good at reading them but the guy who has the spidey sense to the lightest of takes..... has the feel.

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Gord Dykstra

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Re: Feel vs. See
« Reply #7 on: February 05, 2019, 01:39:09 PM »
A little of both.
 We all have sighters and we all stare and watch them for the whole day and we get good at reading them but the guy who has the spidey sense to the lightest of takes..... has the feel.

Johnnyobservation

So its a god given gift not practice, practice and more practice that makes a good nymph angler..................Dang I'm doomed.  :'(
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Chris Puchniak

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Re: Feel vs. See
« Reply #8 on: February 06, 2019, 08:37:59 AM »
I like to think I use whatever senses I have available - a combo of feel and sight.  In essence, we are just a predator going after a prey.  Just as a fish will use hearing/vibration detection, smell, and then sight to find it's prey, I think we can use multiple senses too.  Sometimes I cannot see the sighter well due to the angle of the sun in particular spot for a brief moment, sometimes I certainly cannot feel anything due to the distance away from me, etc...

Martin Droz told me if you want to get good at nymphing, fish 365 days a year for 3 hours a day (including Christmas).  I know that isn't feasible for us, but I think it points out that practice practice practice is key.  I think there is a huge portion of it that is getting your senses to learn what to look or feel for, and to have you arm/body respond properly without having to think about it -  so that it is second nature and creating muscle memory.  Almost like riding a bike.  At first it is very tough when you are a kid... you think you'll never be able to do it.  Then over time of practicing you get used to it, and then suddenly the old expression "It's like riding a bike - you never forget" starts to come true.
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John Wilkinson

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Re: Feel vs. See
« Reply #9 on: February 07, 2019, 06:34:29 AM »
Some great points everyone. So yes Gord you have the god given gift.... so practice, practice, practice  :D

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