Euronymphing has startled fly fishing with it’s effectiveness and micro control over the drift. I’m going to stress that. Micro control of drift. What’s the biggest deterrent to catching trout? Drag. Why are the best Missoula fly fishing guides first three recommendations when fishing, “mend. Mend! MEND!” It’s fun listening to guides talk. Got this story from a Missoula guide……
“Late June, guy’s in my boat doing jack. Won’t listen, doesn’t pay attention, the whole 9. Seems like everyone on the rivers doubling up and this guy is about fishless. We get close to another boat, and my guy says, “How’s the fishing?” The reply is, “Real good.” In that confident voice that says we are kicking some serious Adipose fin ass. My guy asks, “What are you using?” Reply, “10 feet of drag free drift.” Cold. Callous. Cruel. Stone Nuts Accurate. Drag is the curse of fly fishing. Want to sum up fly fishing with an insect imitation in 7 words? Make your fly behave like it’s unattached.
Euronymphers learned fast that a longer rod helps control drift. Basic geometry tells us a longer rod can mend exponentially further. (Euclidean geometry. It’s why you paid attention in high school)) So when you’re highsticking, the higher your stick, the better your drift. I haven’t consistently used a rod shorter than 10’ since about 1995. Oh, I’ve dabbled with my favorite 8’8” 2 wt, I’ve revisited my first 8’ 4 wt, but never for long. I lose too much doing it.
Straight physics tells you that a longer lever is more effective. A 10’ rod is more powerful- you can simply apply more leverage and attain higher tip speeds. As said before, a 10’ rod mends exponentially better than a shorter rod. What does that add up to? You can drop a line weight and still have 95% of what the higher line weight delivers. So my go-to rod is a 10’ 4 wt, not a 9’ 5 wt. Does all the work of the 5 wt, but now I’m throwing one line size lighter. Better for stealth. To quote John Geirach, “Fly tackle has improved considerably since 1676, when Charles Cotton advised anglers to ‘fish fine and far off,’ but no one has ever improved on that statement.” Nuff said.
So why does no one conventionally fish a 10’ rod. I’ve been in the fly fishing industry for 35 years, and I can honestly say I have no idea. I’ve explained it countless times, and people look at me and say that makes complete sense. And then continue to use a 9’ rod. I don’t get it…..
Do have to confess, there is one thing a 10’ rod doesn’t do as well as a 9’ rod, and that’s fight fish. It takes more energy to apply pressure on a longer lever. But we’re fishing for trout, not billfish. I can’t say I’ve ever lost a fish because I couldn’t get enough pressure. Could be I’m not catching big enough trout to know. Ought to ask Bryce. . . . .
Look at those Euronymphers. They know what they’re doing. They’re using a longer rod and having ridiculous success. Might not be coincidence. Just saying. Don’t listen to me! I haven’t figured out why no 10’rods for 35 years! But try a 10’ fly rod. Do it because its the new, zippy, hot way to fish. Do it because it works. And you’ll come to find out the bonus is all the things I listed above. It’s a better tool for the job.