I started fishing with a Spanish/French nymphing setup a month ago to increase productivity of my idle time while I was waiting for hatches of insects. It has done just that and in a major way. French/Spanish nymphing allows the nymph fisherman to fish further away from himself with more precise casting than the traditional Czech nymphing method of rolling or lobbing your flies upstream of you and letting them drift downstream. The strike indicator or float is replaced with a 18” piece of coiled monofilament. The coils in the mono make it look like a spring which is exactly what it is and how it’ll be utilized. When you add weight to the spring it opens up and when your take weight away it closes. This means that while my flies are sinking to the bottom my spring is still closed, once the slack has fallen from the leader the weight pulls on the spring making it open up again. You can tell where the bottom of the stream is by watching and taking slack out of the coiled “Sighter”. You can do this simply by adjusting your rod tip up or down. The trick is to find the bottom and just keep the sighter slightly opening and closing almost in a rhythm which ensures your flies are on the bottom, magic things will happen there. Say you need to fish a little deeper, no more adjusting a strike indicator; just lower your rod tip mid-drift and your back in the strike zone. This method definitely shines when fishing swift pocket water as well as medium velocity transitions into tailouts. French/Spanish nymphing offers a much quicker solution to the problem of weighting your line. Here the problem is addressed simply by just weighting the flies themselves.
In a normal Czech nymphing scenario you must add and take away shot or some kind of weighted putty making your flies heavy enough to swiftly reach the bottom. Anyone used to fishing this knows the scenario; too much weight and too much slack in the leader is a dead ringer for a bottom snag each time. The flies can be weighted nicely with a beadhead, some lead wire or a combination of both for super heavy flies that will get down fast and give you more time in the strike zone. No more fumbling around with a tin of shot or blowing into your hands on a cold wintry day trying to make your sink putty more pliable. Hey don’t throw out your putty yet! I have found if you get in a jam and your team of flies is not sinking fast enough for the water conditions, a couple pieces of the putty rolled on your leader ahead of the flies and you’re right back on the bottom. Precise casting of this rigging is far superior, even when I have added weight via putty. This rig still cast much better than the classic Czech Nymphing. The slinky effect of the coiled sighter catapults your flies forward in a more precise manner opposed to simply hurling your flies in front of you (which I still love to do and find to be most effective in shallow water situations).
If the mind boggling strike detection and ease of casting (which equates to greater control and precise drifts) aren’t enough to convince the wary, then the added ability to fish much heavier tippets and still catch fish should set you over the top! The use of 5x tippet gives you the ability to confidently land trophies from the uncharted depths in no time at all! All you ambitious fishermen out there should give this one a try. I can’t forget to thank Aaron Jasper for shining a light on this technique, and providing some of his wisdom on this subject, which I have found to be quite helpful and effective. I hope this has been helpful and to all those interested in giving his a shot I have a video on how to make the leaders in the making. JW