I've been out in California for the last two weeks on a long business trip and had the opportunity to get an applied lesson in fly fishing from a guide with 18 years experience. We hit the Pit River (more on that in a different posting) and spent the day learning how to nymph for massive wild trout.
When I met up with Ernie at The Fly Shop in Redding, the first thing he did was inspect my gear and check the selection of flies and associated gear that I brought with me from the distant East Coast. I had three different flavors of strike indicators:
- Some leftover small bobbers that go with trout magnets
- The foam sticky kind that you fold over your tippet
- The limp yarn - orange - in a few different sizes
After reading the Field and Stream article, I knew that I had to use yarn and that any other type of strike indicator makes such a splash and commotion that the trout react and swimaway. Based on that, I got the yarn kind when I was stocking up on everything at Bass Pro Shops at their Spring Classic. Ernie took one look at them and recommended I throw them out. The reason was simple:
- They don't really float well
- The yarn absorbs water
- No amount of floatant will keep these things up.
Fortunately, there is an alternative; the Boles Float Rite. Interestingly enough, it was invented by a guide that worked for the Fly Shop. I found a complete article that discusses this indicator and why it is better than any of the above- click here to see that artcile. The bottom line on the Boles float Rite is that it is made out of polyproplylene that does not suck up water as fast as normal yarn. With a dab of floatant, it stays on top. The other important feature of this indicator is that it has a small flag that sticks up out of the middle. If it is straight up, you know you have a good drift. If it is cockeyed, you need to mend the line or change the length of the leader. The advantage this can give you is huge - as soon as you lose your natural drift you are a goner. By watching the indicator, you can make the most of every case. You can order a set of two from the Fly Shop or Cabela's for $6.95
So, how did it work? GREAT! This was my first time nymph fishing and was getting strike after strike... and even managed to land a few. This indicator was awesome. I had tried the orange yarn thing up on the Patuxent and could not figure out how to get it to really float. It got wet and immediately sank. Not real functional. The Boles popped its way along on top, was very visible and gave an instant indicator of a hit. I'm sold on this one.
The Boles Indicator is the second from the left.