In the sport of fly fishing, there are a variety of effective methods for presenting a nymph fly pattern to a holding or feeding fish. High stick nymphing is a common strategy employed by fly anglers fishing nymph flies in the faster, deeper water of pockets and short pools, and is an extremely effective way to fly fish when there is little or no observed dry fly activity or visibly rising trout.
In high stick nymphing, a technique similar to short line nymphing, a strike indicator is often not used, but can be effective for practiced anglers. High sticking is a fly fishing technique designed to deliver a subsurface fly pattern on a dead drift to trout holding in moderate to fast pocket water and short, but deep pools. Line control is key in high sticking and nothing beats good old fashioned practice when it comes to executing this technique on your favorite river.
Approach a pocket or pool with care and make a short cast upstream at roughly 45 degrees from your position. as soon as the fly sinks to the river or stream bottom, raise the rod tip high and follow the line downstream through the drift. As the fly begins its drift, lift your rod tip high, and do not allow slack line to gather and drag in the surface film. Let the drift continue across your position and lower the rod tip as it continues its downstream movement. Employing a “Leisenring Lift” as the fly passes your position can greatly reduce the drag that may be created by mismanaged or under-managed slack fly line at this point in the drift.
Hooking a trout with this technique is actually quite simple as the reduced slack and drag in the fly line will heighten an angler’s strike-sensing ability. At the slightest tug on the line, lift the rod tip quickly and confidently; with the help of this style of fishing, hook sets are a breeze.
To effectively practice this technique, a fly angler should opt for a specific fly rod. We recommend a fly rod with a bit more length which allows the angler to access lies further out-stream. The extra length also provides better line control for the ultimate drift. For this, the Loop Opti Peak is the best choice.
High sticking has often been given a bad name, especially by dry fly fanatics, but this technique, when properly dispatched on a favorite stretch of pocket water can be the deadliest arrow in an angler’s quiver.