Time To Ditch the Strike Indicator?

There’s a lot of interest these days in making fly fishing simpler and more accessible for the masses. I certainly … Continued

There’s a lot of interest these days in making fly fishing simpler and more accessible for the masses. I certainly buy into the notion that success breeds interest, and I like getting people fired up about a sport I love.

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No doubt that fishing a double-nymph rig under a strike indicator is deadly effective. Which is why 99% of guides out West will start the day by handing the client a rod rigged for “dredging” up trout.

But is that really a good thing? On further review, I’m starting to think that this manic dedication to playing “bobber ball” doesn’t really shine the best light on fly fishing. Let’s be honest. Fly fishing’s essence is about complex currents and hatching insects, traditions and techniques. This is supposed to be a fascinating intellectual challenge. And yet, nymph fishing with indicators is pretty mindless. On the simple-stupid scale, it’s right there with worm fishing under a bobber… only worm fishing with a bobber is much more exciting, because that usually involves a little kid who’s totally giddy.

I know of people who hired a guide for their introduction to fly fishing, spent the day nymph fishing, caught some fish, and still left thinking, “That’s it?” No dry fly rises… no casting fancy loops… just bobber fishing.

I understand that catching fish is what brings the tips. And when you’re out there on a river during your own precious time, you want to catch fish. If that means nymphing with a bobber, more power to you. But maybe some pros should worry less about pounding fish, and actually teach fly fishing. Maybe if we all ditched the bobber a little more often, we’d get more out of our time on the rivers. And maybe inspiring people to think a little more… even if that means less hookups… might actually do more for the sport.

Just a thought…