Euro Style Nymphing
Euro style nymphing is a style of fly fishing that that can be generally characterized as using heavy weighted flies attached to long leaders, with the purpose of maintaining a tight line, enabling constant contact with fly and naturally drifting it through fast currents. There are multiple variations to this, but this serves as general characterization of a form of fly fishing that has changed the nature of competitive fly fishing since its debut. That debut happened on when the Polish team out-fished their East German and Czechoslovakian counterparts on the Dunajec river in 1984 despite not having the most sophisticated equipment. What they did have was physics on their side.
Short and tight lines that eliminated drag for a natural presentation
A heavy fly that, being heavy, fell very quickly to the bottom where fish reside
A direct connection to their flies allowing for great sensitivity in detecting strikes
The rest is history. The Poles taught the technique to the Czechoslovakian team which went on to achieve even more success using it, hence the term “Czech Nymphing” which is used interchangeably with the term Euro style nymphing. In truth, other European nations have developed their own variations of the technique. The Spanish and French, in particular, have achieved great success with their variations. (since 1981, when the annual fly fishing world championships started, the Czech team has won 10 tournaments, while the French have won 7 and the Spanish 3.)
What does this mean for Keiryu?
Simply put, the the techniques of Euro style nymphing are the virtues which define Keiryu fishing…tight lines, no slack, ability to detect deep strikes.
Using a heavy, tungsten weighted nymph (size 10-12) paired with the light lines of your Keiryu rod will help get your nymph to the bottom quickly where most of the fish are.
You can drift through fast water with a vertical, no drag, connection to your fly.
You can hit deep spots in calmer waters.
Below are options for making light nymph lines, from simple, to tradition, to euro inspired. Please note, specs given are for a 17 - 18’ rod.
Also note, these lines perfectly with bait (or soft bait). Simply attach a hook to your Michi-ito or Tenjo line and add split shot 8” above the hook (12” if using 2 split shots).
As always, experiment, refine and adapt what works best for you and your the particular attributes of the waters you fish in.
MAKING YOUR NYMPH LINES
The simplest nymph line to make is one composed of just a main line (Michi-ito).
Cut 14 - 15 feet of 4X tippet. Add a simple overhand double loop at end. It should be of sufficient size to make it easy to attach to your lillian using the girth hitch knot. You can create a tag end by tying another small loop at end. For this line we recommend using a high visibility multi-color indicator line like the Umpqua line shown here, otherwise attach 3-4 yarn markers to a standard line.
Attach 2 feet of flourocarbon tippet (6X - 5X). The double surgeons knot works great for doing this.
2) TENJO OPTION.
This line features 3 sections. The first section (attached to the lillian) is the Tenjo line. It is a little larger and heavier than the main line which helps casting and in reducing tangles.
3 - 4 feet of high visibility 10-15 lb braided line. Add a simple overhand double loop at end. It should be of sufficient size to make it easy to attach to your lillian using the girth hitch knot. You can create a tag end by tying another small loop at end.
Attach 11+ feet of 4X tippet (high visibility or with markers) using a TRIPLE surgeons knot.
Attach 1 - 2 feet of flourocarbon tippet (6X - 5X) using a DOUBLE surgeons knot.
3) ADD NYMPHS TO YOUR MICHI-ITO OR TENJO LINES.
There are numerous, almost endless options when it comes to setting up your nymph rig. Our recommendation is to start simple, experiment and refine what works best for you and your Keiryu rod and the waters you fish in. Below are some rig set ups you might consider.
Single Nymph. This is how Keiryu nymphing is done in Japan. There are many advantages to single nymphing: It is simple, there are no tangles, less time is spent rigging and more time fishing (for most us at least). Most importantly, a single nymph is completely free to move about and as a result it drifts more naturally. A few other things to keep in mind:
The Keiryu rod makes it very easy to fish at a higher column by simply raising your rod. Moreover, the impact of a single nymph paired with the light keiryu line is minimal. This means you can cast more frequently without spooking the fish and experiment at different depths.
In-Line Double Rig. This is perhaps the most common double nymph set up. It is easy to do with just a bit of practice. Best of all, it is not tangle prone and it allows the angler to fish both the bottom and middle water column. On the downside the natural drift of the nymphs are sacrificed, especially for the top nymph that is anchored to two lines (with that said, in this set up it is the bottom, dropper fly that typically gets the bite).
The illustration below shows a BH Prince Nymph lead fly with a Zebra Midge dropper fly that has worked extremely well. In other situations, placing a stonefly at the bottom and a soft hackle wet fly at the top (mimicking an emerging mayfly) is a great selection for this set up.
Euro Style Double Rig. This rig is inspired by and builds off the Czech and Polish nymphing set up. Fished in fast water, with a tight line, and a natural drift, this is an extremely effective set-up. A heavy tungsten nymph is the point (bottom) fly.
A favorite set up of mine that has been very effective is pairing an Umpqua “20 incher” jig nymph at bottom (size 10-12) with a smaller (size 16) colorful nymph at the top such as a Bishop’s Dynamite or Czech-mate Sparkle. Below are two options to attach the top fly:
Surgeons Tag Dropper. Create a 7-9” dropper using a quadruple surgeons loop (4 overhand loop knot). Doing this results in a tag line that is perpendicular to the tippet line. Create this dropper by joining your dropper to the tippet line (where you want the dropper located) and execute a quadruple surgeons loop. Cut the small tag and attached the fly on the long tag.
Surgeons Loop Knot Dropper (shown below). Create a 7-9” dropper using a regular surgeons loop at one end. Place the loop under the main tippet line where you want the dropper to go and pass the line through it and then cinch the knot tightly closed. Note - because this is a loop knot, it will slide on the tippet line, therefore add a simple overhand knot beneath and above the dropper to prevent it from sliding up or down. Like the surgeon’s tag, this dropper protrudes perpendicular to the line, however, it is more rigid, doing a better job of keeping the dropper line away from the main tippet line and reducing tangles.