WTF is Euro Nymphing?

Over Christmas break I decided I was going to spend an hour or two catching some bass in a local pond. I spied a new rod that my dad had just purchased, a Sage 4wt, and took it down to try it out on some bass. “ESN” it said, just above the handle. Cool, must be some new Sage model I somehow haven’t heard of.

I got to the pond and pieced the rod together, only to be completely shocked to find that the thing was 10 feet long!

I called my Dad, “WTF is this?!”

And that’s how I learned about Euro Nymphing.

Apparently, the Europeans (and especially the Czech, French and sometimes the Spanish) have been employing these techniques for decades now, but it is only now becoming big in the US. Euro Nymphing uses long leaders and long rods to fish smaller streams with smaller casts. The added sensitivity of the long rod/leader means that the angler can sense even the tiniest take, and therefore catch more fish. The main difference between regular nymph fishing and European nymph fishing is the lack of a “strike indicator” (the bobber kind) in the Euro methods. Instead, the strike indicator is a colored piece of leader that you can easily perceive a strike from.

Within Euro Nymphing, there are subcategories of techniques. These include:

Czech/Polish Nymphing

  • A longer fly rod with a similar sized leader (though relatively shorter)
  • Two or more heavier flies
  • Direct connection to the flies, so sensitivity to strikes is greatly increased

French Nymphing

  • Lighter flies, longer rods
  • Fishing almost directly upstream with extremely long leader (25+ft)
  • Good in shallow water

Spanish Nymphing

  • Long rods, long leaders, longer casts
  • Need to strip in line as it comes back to you

In short, it’s a slightly more complicated Tenkara without the fixed line.

Euro Nymphing in Wyoming: