I have to confess something: been high-sticking it lately and it’s becoming a problem.
I’m a dry fly snob. I’ll own it. Presenting the dry fly and getting the eat is religion. Idiotically waiting, I’ll wear an ass shaped groove into a riverbank until fish begin to look up. It’s a foolish, narrow minded stance—and one I’ve regretted on more than one occasion. But I like what I like.
Nymphing is just, I don’t know, trouble. And I mean that on many levels. Tandem rigs, blood knots, split shot, bozo clown hair, measurements of water depth and speed which lead to addition, subtraction and advanced physics. And we haven’t even gotten the flies in the water yet.
It’s a taboo subject among purists. Some old timers tolerate it but don’t give it lip service. Others revile it to the point of sacrilege. I mean, is it even fly fishing? Advanced bobber fishing, maybe, but not real fly fishing.
There is no argument though, that subsurface flies are lovely to look at and touch. True creativity is flourishing among modern nymph artisans. What with their sexy use of cheerfully colored wire, playful sparkle, crafty beads (metals and plastics), glues, devilish epoxy and imaginative use of game birds. Nymphs are all naughtiness.
Going deep is a dark art to satisfy our baser desires, the id, the self—the bad. In other words, it’s fun. But why is it fun? Is it fun because it’s stupidly complicated and frustrating? Is it fun because the flies look cool and have cheeky, über-colloquial names and you must use two or three of them at a time? Or, is it fun because each time you loose a rig it’s like you threw a ten dollar bill in the water? All of the above, friends.
If dry fly fishing is dogma, nymphing is a cultish (yet surprisingly endemic) activity, abounding with splinter cells and sub-subcultures (Czech nymphing is all the rage among the younger, tattooed stream jock set) heading in seemingly disparate trajectories, the only common (and worthy) goal being to slay giant trout. And really, is there any other reason? After all, when temptation calls, are we expected to limit ourselves? Hell no! I say do whatever will put a bend in your rod and a smile on your face, even if it’s… frowned upon.
Thankfully, my brothers (and sisters) deliverance comes: in an endless, greasy mirror run dimpled by an armada of duns and the noses of happily rising tout. I will wait for it with a 15 foot 7x leader, and bottle of gink, pouring over box upon box of fussily tied no-hackles, comparaduns, para emerges, thorax-es, parachute caddis, rusty spinners etc. etc.
And with sweet salvation comes pious indignation. I will look down my nose at you, nymph. Don’t be offended or surprised at my betrayal. I told you from the start I was a devout dry fly snob. So what if I go slumming. Disingenuous? Yup. But I’ll turn my back on you, sure enough. Just sayin.’
See you in Hell.