How Can You Easily Multiply Your Success With Bead-head Nymphs?

2 CommentsFriday, 14 October 2016  |  Paul G

It is prime nymph-fishing season right now.

And, because there is quite a bit of confusing info around on the subject, I have something for you. If you ever had a feeling that you were missing a trick when using weighted flies, then this could be the most significant page you read today.

I know how you feel because that is exactly what I felt when I first started to transition from lake fishing to rivers. Don’t get me wrong, I loved every second I spent on the water and I clearly remember the first time that I caught 7 fish in a session using bead-head flies and a Czech-nymphing approach.

But I also knew some competition anglers fished the same section of river. And they caught a lot more than 7 fish…

Now let me be perfectly clear: Fishing is not about the numbers. It is about enjoyment. BUT…

…As long as you can put ego to one side, it does feel good to improve your skills and expand your knowledge. There is satisfaction in making progress. As a benchmark for that, I wonder if you’d like to know how I went from 7 to 180+ fish in a day on that section of river?? Well, keep reading…

As well as your own angling, there is so much satisfaction in helping other people to get better results in their fishing too. So today I want to tell you a short story about Danny (he is holding the net above).

Both me and JP were really grateful to Danny for joining in our hosting of Chris Hendriks (a guide who lives and fishes in Norway, though originally from Holland!) this autumn. Danny is one of the most active anglers you will find anywhere (he usually fishes 4 days a week). He also probably catches the most fish on our local rivers each week.

Now the reason he is so effective is down to his own practice and dedication. But I do allow myself a bit of pride in helping Danny make his start in river nymph fishing (in addition to teaching from international anglers like Stuart Crofts; who you will see mentioned in the free email tutorials!).

That was back in 2008 – and I was amazed and really happy to see Danny’s progression. So I was delighted to have the chance to bring back some overlooked secrets direct from the Czech Republic and share them with Danny in 2012. In those 4 years he had already gone from a standing start to catching (and releasing) well over 100 wild fish in a day on productive rivers.

So, email subscribers could be amazed to hear that by making just one simple tweak to Danny’s set up I was able to see takes that had been invisible. This let both of us hook fish that had been taking our flies in a back eddy (and where we’d thought that there were no feeding fish in that spot before!).

Why would email subscribers be surprised? Because it was the exact tip I gave out yesterday…

…Many medal-winning Czech competitors (including the coach of the world team Jiří Klíma and the well-known Jan Šiman) make a big point about keeping the tippet as short as the fish will tolerate. Why do this?

So that there can be no slack line between the nymph on the end of your tippet and the section of bright line that you are using for indicating bites.

I bet you think that this tip is too simple to be worth anything?

Well, simply shortening Danny’s tippet by 12” (30cm) so that it was 4ft (1.2m) long meant that we could catch fish that were just impossible for us 5 minutes earlier. It is important enough that the world’s most successful anglers are obsessed with the idea. Watch out for the tips next week that will extend this idea further (because having tippet too short can spook fish; angling is always a balancing act!!).

Now, what I think is the most important part of this story is not only to do with the heap of simple tweaks and “hacks” that you can learn from us. It is especially not that we have special “angling powers”(!!).


Instead we are just total fishing addicts who have had the blind good luck to have many great opportunities gifted to us. The main thing that we do is very simple – and that is to always try to take full advantage of those opportunities. If we do have any “signature move” it is to try as hard as possible to visit and study information at its source. Then, with practice, it seems as if we’ve gradually become more and more efficient at transferring the skills that we find and develop to our clients.

Because of that, we will do our best to use what we’ve found out to steer you through the confusing mass of information pushing you into “this latest craze” or “that must-have method”. There is a quite simple path through that confusion – and it is based on sound, basic principles.

If you’d like to share in some of our good fortune and that simple, effective approach then stay tuned over the next week. On Monday you’ll find out just how much information we’ve been lucky enough to gather and put into practice for our own and our clients’ successes.

Have a great weekend,


PS  if you get chance, do put the super-sensitive “short-tippet” nymph rig into action…it could shock you!


Saturday, 15 October 2016  |  1:17

Paul, what tenkara rod works best on trout up to 4 lbs.?

Paul Gaskell
Monday, 24 October 2016  |  14:37

Hi Larry, it depends on size of river and tree canopy etc. For fish between 2 and 4lb the Otaki is a solid option. For wider rivers then I've had some good sport with the 450 Honryu and also the Tanuki 425.