Fly fishing rod

Nymphing The New Way – Jonathan White


At Thomas Turner, we look forward to meeting Jonathan White in a few days. He is, of course, president of the Rivers Trust, but also a very respected fisherman and author of the excellent book on the nymph, in particular the French leader. I felt that part of my preparation for our time together should involve going back to his book… and reminding myself how excellent it is and always up to date. I have personally dragged the Czech and French ways of fishing nymphs to the fringes for twenty-five years, but this book helped me figure it all out when I bought it a few years ago.

In the mid-90s, I led a group of British barbel fishermen in the Czech Republic, and was guided there by the excellent Franta, who continued to be fully involved in the Hanak fishing tackle company. , which Jonathan praises in the book. It was Franta, a member of the national competition organization, who taught me how devastating the Czech nymph can be for trout, grayling and even coarse fish, especially barbel. I brought Franta’s wisdom home with me, and fishing the nymph with an indicator has become one of my go-to methods everywhere. Then, about 15 years ago, I accompanied the English fly fishing team to a competition in Slovenia. The team was sponsored by Hardy, and I was there in my role as a member of the creative team to take pictures.

This trip was crucial as the use of direct hitting indicators was prohibited and all team members were playing close-line alternate methods and the debut of colored leaders. The team included anglers of the caliber of Howard Croston, Jeremy Lucas, Stuart Crofts, and later Paul Procter, so you can imagine how such a week has been for me. My problem was that, even so, I still tended to stick with my earlier approach to the bob on sight and never really moved on to new “French” pastures. In recent years, thanks to Jonathan’s book, I have become more adventurous and gradually become more skillful. Diagrams, images, and text all come together to make this basic reading if you want to understand this exhilarating technique.

But there’s more to the book, content that makes me think I’ll love Mr. White very much when we meet. I like his sense of history and his ability to put modern techniques in context. Most of all, I feel like he’s not a Chalk Creek snob. The book praises the work of French leaders, but it explains strike indicator approaches very well and suggests that they have a valid place in the grand scheme of things. (When I wrote and demonstrated the Czech nymph in the late ’90s, I was regularly disparaged as a float thrower, so I particularly appreciate Jonathan’s position.) At least. And, damn it, he even mentions the barbel as an interesting nymph target, so in my book his book is there too.

There’s a lot more to this one study cracker to say, but what it also did for me was bring back my love for brown trout. For many years I might have had a surplus, but Jonathan’s talk about the nymph of all but impossible monsters moved me deeply. And the photographs alone are worth twenty pounds in terms of inspiration and aspiration… sweat too when I think of the effort I made to grab a wild brown of similar proportions.

So, continue our meeting! And, of course, I will report as always.