Czech Nymphing for Grayling
Winter fly-fishing for Grayling can prove to be extremely challenging, but using the correct methods and styles can increase your chances no end, here we look into Czech Nymphing.
Some days you’ll seem to just be in the right place at the right time and others, it will seem like the river is void of fish… I always find once that cold weather really starts to kick in, the Grayling shoal up even more and move into the slower and much deeper pools.
As a result, fishing methods like duo and trio prove to be ineffective, changing tactics and go deeper, fishing methods such as Czech Nymphing often pays off. I love the simplicity of Czech Nymphing, especially when you get your set-up absolutely spot on for the part of river you are fishing. I think keeping it simple is so important, over complicating the set-up can lead to doubt and with that negative mind-set you’ll never fish at your best.
So, with that in mind let me try and explain in the simplest terms how to go about the set-up of typical Czech Nymphing. My ‘go to’ fly rod would be a 10ft 3# or 10ft 4#, I find that if using a 9ft rod I just can’t get that extra reach which is so badly needed at times. I do prefer to make my own leaders, it may sound complicated but as with everything it’s easy when you know how, and once you have used and fished with them enough, making leaders will come as second nature.From
From your fly-line you’ll need to add around 4-6 feet of monofilament, then you’ll need to attach your indicator material of which I normally use a double loop coloured braided loop (I add the extra loop with a darning needle). From this, again depending on the depth you’ll need between 4-7 feet of fluorocarbon, typically I use 5x, in more extreme cases if the fish are super ‘wary’ I’d go to 6x. Off that, I add around another 50cm’s of fluorocarbon, leaving a tag of 12cm when attached for the first dropper. Personally, I prefer to use 2 flies, but if you want, you can use 3.
The good thing about using small diameter tippets is that your leader will be able to cut through the water column quicker, allowing your flies to sink down to where the fish should be, making the whole set-up more effective.
One thing I love about my Czech Nymphing set-up is that it’s so easy to chop and change as and when you need. The number one rule for me is if I can’t feel my fly touch th#e bottom, I’m not fishing deep enough. So many fishers think they can fish the same set-up for the whole day, they forget that different pools have different depths, speeds and currents. Keep thinking, if you stop catching, question what you’re doing. Sometimes it’s not the leader that you need to change, it could be that you’re using a couple of 3ml tungsten beaded jigs when really you need to be using heavier.
Many Grayling flies are tied with a CDC hackle, and as much as we all know this imparts movement into the flies, it also hinders it’s sink rate. I love to keep my nymphs nice and slim so they sink like stones and I can bounce them along the bottom, feeling every knock and bump.
Don’t forget to let those flies swing at the end of each cast as well, and always, always, compulsory strike at the end. Another tip I would say is when reading a pool if you can see any kind of a seam make sure you get your flies to track along that line the best you can – think of it as a feeding lane.
Think about your position in the river and where your flies actually are. I find Grayling in winter to be quite stubborn, sometimes they won’t move an inch, so unless you get your drift bang on, it can be the difference between having a cracking day to one of those days where you think ‘are there any fish in this river?’.