Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Czech, Czech, Czech It Out.

When it comes to fly fishing, I suppose I'm a bit of a traditionalist. I tend to overthink the art of fly angling more than I should. If a technique can be done with conventional gear, I'm usually a little reluctant to embrace it. Hell, it took me 20-some years to finally use a bobber...a'hem, indicator.

Nit-picky? Yea, probably. But although I still lean towards more traditional methods, I've learned to appreciate other extremely important aspects of fly angling and keep an open mind when it comes to straying away from traditionalist's ways.

One technique that has intrigued me for the last couple years is Czech Nymphing. But, seeing as how I get caught up in my own technical "ruts", I hadn't given it a shot...until now.

I figure what better way to start the new year off than to open my mind to different fly fishing techniques and embrace them to the fullest? So I start reading up on Czeching, and come to find out, it is very traditional. Just not here. If you're not familiar with Czech Nymphing, it's a fairly simple method of long fly rods, longer leaders, and heavy flies. Essentially, the object of the game is to "swim" your nymphs along the bottom, thus eliminating your dead drift, detecting strikes by feel.

Okay, here's where my "hillbilly-ness" is going to shine... Bear with me.

While growing up in Missouri, my dad, uncle, friends, and whatever other fishing buddies I had would frequently fish the large lakes and reservoirs for bass and crappie...conventionally, not with a fly. We would spin fish with grubs or Mister Twisters or curly-tail jigs or what have you. When crappie fishing, especially in Spring, there is an effective method of boating monster crappie in shallow brush called "Doodle Dippin". At least that's what we called it (and NO, it's not a penile reference). Doodle dippin' is when you troll your boat up onto some brush or a crappie bed close to the bank, and with a long rod (usually with either a telescopic rod or old fly rod--generally rigged with an incredibly cheap reel and equally as cheap line), you dip your grub or jig into the brush. The water is normally very clouded, so your proximity to the fish doesn't effect their appetite. After dipping your jig into the brush, one of three things happens. You either get hung in a branch, have to break your line, and then ruin the fishing hole; You come up dry, for whatever reason; Or, you hook into a 12 inch papermouth slab. That's doodle dippin'.

This is where I'm going with this...

Czech Nymphing is basically doodle dippin'. There are slight differences, and although "Czech Nymphing" sounds much more respectable than "Doodle Dippin", the technique is quite similar.

I took this technique to a mini-tailwater close to home the other day that wasn't too iced over, and within my first five or so casts, I landed a nice brown. The rest of the day brought several more brownies--all caught by feel.

I can appreciate this method. I'm on board with this method.

So, while I don't live in Missouri anymore, and I only get the chance to limit out on crappie on a 35,000 acre lake maybe twice a year now, I still get to doodle dip. Or as us sophisticated trout anglers refer to it as: Czech Nymphing.


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