Updated: Mar 24, 2019
3 advantages of Tenkara for Czech nymphing
Czech nymphing has its origins in competitive fly fishing. It’s debatable which European country actually developed the Czech nymphing method as it is today, but unless you’re writing a term paper on it, I’m not sure how much it really matters.
What is important about Czech nymphing is how effective it is and why. Underwater videos have given us proof that we don’t detect most of the strikes we get. Most of the time, the trout discreetly samples our fly, realize that feathers, dubbing, and head cement don’t taste like a mayfly nymph, and spits it out faster than my kids do broccoli. Most strikes are so subtle that without the right set up, we could be left going home with the “they just weren’t eating today” excuse, when in reality the trout were spitting out our fly so fast that we had no idea they were even there. Trout have become coni sures of bugs, not because they have high i.q.s, but because these are life or death decisions for them. Enter drumroll…….. Czech nymphing.
What is Czech nymphing?
It’ a close quarters technique in which an angler uses a fixed length of line, heavily weighted fly(s), and a consistent tight line throughout the drift. Instead of using a casting motion, the angler “lobs” the fly(s) upstream and guides them downstream through the feeding lanes.
Can you Czech nymph with a conventional fly rod? Sure, but Tenkara gives you 3 distinct advantages (4 if you count being able to outfish others as an advantage).
Tenkara advantage 1: More presentation options
First and foremost, Czech nymphing is about being able to detect those subtle strikes that we usually miss. In order to do this, a tight and direct connection MUST be kept with the angler and the fly(s) at all times. This can be done with a traditional setup if you’re only going to present the fly dead drift, but why limit yourself? With a Tenkara rig you keep a tight line by moving the rod tip instead of stripping in fly line. You can still still dead drift, but nymphs are rarely floating along like a lazy river pool at the water park. When they're not on the stream bed, they are moving non stop. Tenkara opens the door to many lifelike presentation options that add more realism to your fly.
Tenkara advantage 2: Increased covertness
Most Tenkara rods are between 11 and 13 feet long. Why does this matter? Because with Czech nymphing, you are fishing your fly directly below your rod, and if you have 12 feet of rod instead of 9, you can stand 33% further away from the fish reducing the chance of sending him running off and blabbing to all his friends about you being there.
Also, because of Tenkara’s increased length you can get longer drifts. This equals fewer casts, translating to fewer chances of spooking the trout because of your moment above the surface and your flies plopping in the water.
Tenkara advantage 3: Less time breaking down and setting up your rod
When Czech nymphing, I prefer to cover a lot of water. Unlike being able to locate trout by their rises when dry fly fishing, Czech nymphing is more a game of hide and seek. When my Tenkara is in my hand, I rarely spend more than 8 or 12 casts in one run until I find where they’re “hiding”. If there is one thing that frustrates me the most about fly fishing, it’s breaking down my rod and then rerigging each time I need to move locations, but I also know that it’s important to do so. Have you ever seen those highway signs that say something like “532 accidents caused by texting and driving”, I feel like trees along the stream should have signs posted that read: “42 rod tips broken this year because fly fisherman didn’t take the time to break down their rods”. Tenkara gives you the ability to collapse/rerig your rod quickly so you can have more time with your fly in front of the trout’s nose.
For an in-depth look at how to create a leader for Tenkara Czech nymphing, click here.
While I am a dry fly guy at heart, I’ll admit that some days I can only stare at a stream for so long without seeing any risers. When my impatience outweighs my true passion, I grab my Tenkara and start the game of hide and seek.
To learn how to cast a Tenkara for Czech nymphing click here