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Nymph Fly Fishing Equipment: A Basic List What to Have and Buy
Eugene Macri

Nymph fly fishing equipment is dependent on the type of water you are fishing. This seems to be rather misunderstood by many of the fly fisherman who inhabit the waters today.  There is no one rod suited for all types of nymph fishing.  However, I can give some recommendations for different types of streams and situations.

Fly fisherman www.nymphfly.infoFirst I favor long rods.  Nothing shorter than 8.6 feet on most waters except for very small streams and perhaps some tiny spring creeks.  Even on these streams I prefer 8.6 to 9.0 foot rods.  These longer rods allow control.  You must control the line, leader, and drift no matter how you fish nymphs or you will meet with little success. This is one of the most misunderstood applications of nymph fishing: Control! The reason for this is simple: There is a fine edge from having too much slack and just the right amount in fishing nymphs.  Too much and you'll miss the fish, and too tight (too little) you cause drag.  On many streams drag will cost you fish,  on some others maybe not so (those are advanced techniques so stay tuned and check back often).  Here are some basic recommendations.  They are not in stone, so adapt them to the types of water you fish.

  • Large Heavy Waters: You need a rod that can move the line and weight in fast water so we are talking about longer rods up to 9 feet or more with rather fast stiff action.  You will miss a lot of strikes if the rod is too soft in these situations.  You are basically fishing upstream with weight and you must be able to move the weight, line, and leader in a fraction of a second.
  • Medium size waters I want a rod that is around 8.6 feet that has has fast action but not as stiff as the heavy water rod.
  • Smaller Waters and Small to Medium Size Spring Creeks: Here you need a long rod with a medium fast action.  Too stiff a rod with these light tippets will cause you to break too many fish off. When you hook a fish on these streams they are rather close or what we call green fish. I've watch many a fly angler have a terrible day even though he mangaged to get his on stream like the Letort Spring Run, Big Spring Creek, Falling Spring Run and others because of the improper equipment. Furthermore, you are often fishing midge larvae and smaller flies.

This is a basic list and you adjust to where you are fishing. Here's a good arsenal for fly fishing most stream East and West:

  • 8.6 to 12 feet rod for 6 or 7 weight line. This is a very fast stiff rod. Great for a lot big water and early season nymphing on medium size streams too.
  • 8.6 to 10 feet for 4 or 5 weight line.  A good all around rod of fast action that will handle most flies on most streams except very heavy flies in heavy water.
  • 8.6 to 10 feet for 2,3, or 4 weight line medium fast.  A good rod for smaller waters and spring creeks with lighter tippets and smaller flies.






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