Indicators, bobbers, and jig flies [Archive] - Fly Fishing Forum

: Indicators, bobbers, and jig flies

02-07-2008, 09:38 PM
Well, seeing how easy it is to rile some of you up (cough cough juro cough cough) I thought this would be a good discussion.

In my last edition of Fly Tyer (I think, can't find the darn thing to confirm which one of the 17 fishing mags I get it was in!), there's an article on tying and fishing jig flies. It's basically just a bucktail streamer tied on a hook with a 90 bend at the front after the eye. The bucktail is tied in facing towards the hook eye and then folded back to create the head. Great, so it's just a fly right? Well, here's where I started to get a little offended that the author considered it fly fishing.

The author fishes them suspended below a strike indicator that he uses like a bobber. According to him, this is becoming an increasingly popular technique down south in Arkansas. The indicator keeps the fly suspended in the water column and the caster doesn't need to work the fly at all, just let it float downstream. So I know Juro is going to call for the hangman's noose for anybody that dares use a fly rod like this, but what about the rest of you?

For the record Juro, I'll bring the rope and help you find a tree. :devil:

02-07-2008, 10:32 PM
BLASPHEMY! :lildevl:

02-08-2008, 12:06 PM
I use to spend my weekends running some "pay to fish" ponds
This method was hugely popular with the regulars
Nearly everyone did it

It was very productive, but it
looked like "bobber and a worm" to me

02-08-2008, 12:34 PM
Dude, you're asking for it now. I tried to help you out on the jig thing, but alone on this one.;)

02-08-2008, 03:43 PM
I would prefer that you be more sporting and use grenades :)

02-08-2008, 04:01 PM
Jig on a fly rod?

Hmmm, can you spell Clouser?:lildevl:

Or how about Crazy Charlie?

I think the smaller RonZ would be castable and absolute killer.

But why would you want to throw the bobber/jig combo on fly gear, other than to meet some local regs? Will we see a new line of hard-hats from Orvis designed for fly-fishermen?

I guess its another challenge ........

02-10-2008, 12:23 AM

And as Juro knows, this blasphemous practice isn't limited to Arkansas. There are folks out here in WA State who use 2"-3" foam dink floats (designed for Canadian float fishing) with marabou jigs (or heavy lead eyed Woolley Buggers) 3'-5' under these "indicators" (they never call the floats) with both single-hand and 2-hand fly rods. Then they call it nymphing for steelhead.

And the best part is they like to fish these "nymph and indcator" rigs in hatchery pools where the hatchery steelhead are stacked up. It is a great way to foul hook fish somewhere in the head. But of course, the fish weren't foul hooked, they just "missed" the fly when the struck at it and hooked themselves somewhere in the head. Since it doesn't violate the rules (although it really pushes them), it is unfortunately legal.

02-10-2008, 10:49 AM
Dude, you're asking for it now. I tried to help you out on the jig thing, but alone on this one.;)If I had less than 3 years or 1,000 posts around these parts I might have been concerned for my scalp. But I think I'm well respected enough around here (I hope) to post this. :smile: I like to stir up a little controversy anyway, keeps people's blood flowing in the winter!

02-10-2008, 12:54 PM
20 years ago I met a fisherman on the Deerfield who was wading and using a spinning rod with a tiny plastic bobber. On the business end of this rig he had a montana nymph and he claimed to be catching trout. "Ok" I said. If that's what you need to "fly fish" then go for it. At least us longrodders don't need to do that. Forward cast 20 years and all you see are "fly fishers" following their "bobbers" as they claim to be fly fishing. Almost everyone that fishes my Swift River uses bobbers (indicators). What ever happened to following your line/leader to see the strike? That works too and I'll generally outfish the bobber boys every day. When I guide fly fishers on the Millers River I try to get them to ditch the indicators. When they do they catch more trout.

The only time I'll use an indicator is when the trout are in a pre-rise mode and I want that fly to be suspended in the water column. I use "putty" because it's easy to put on and take off. Most times I don't use indicators because it limits my fishing and quick change options.

I don't like indicators or jigs for that matter.


02-10-2008, 02:50 PM
I'm with you Millerbrown, I don't know what happened to following the end of the fly line. I'm proud to say I've never used an indicator even once. :)

02-10-2008, 11:15 PM
Jig on a fly rod?

Hmmm, can you spell Clouser?:lildevl:

Or how about Crazy Charlie?

Flytyer's post made me recall the west coast guys using jigs on floats and thinking about the floating line / daisy chain fly and split shot techniques popular a ways down the coastline...

I concluded that IMHO the floating line and flatwing approach is much more analogous to the indicator and jig than a sinking line and clouser.

(1) The indicator and jig approach uses flotation vs weight of fly to fish the fly at a suspended level at an angle where the crazy charlie or other clouser style flies are fished horizontally and directly. The eyes serve to invert the hook in shallow water (e.g. flats).

(2) In addition the indicator and jig fisherman uses a drift presentation like the floater / flatwing setup where the sinking line/clouser angler uses strip retrieve directly to the fly under straight tension.

The similarities are even more pronounced as the floatingline/flatwingers use split shot to manage depth from the floating line. Not sure how the daisy chain plays into it but that's another discussion.

For me the clouser provides an inverted hook design that is fished on slow or fast sinking lines horizontally from a wading postion in very shallow water or used to fish the bottom on the sand (right on the sand) in deeper water like the Monomoy rip or big girl bar.

These lines would allow any fly to be as effective but the hook-down design is a pain the flats situations I fish excluding some situations where it's not necessary to get the fly right on the bottom.

This is the same reason the Crazy Charlie is so effective as a bonefish fly.

I use a 7/32 non-toxic eye on flies over 6" long and there is no recoil from the resistance of materials in the air while casting, and fishing from shore there is no up/down motion to speak of with that much material, and if there is any current there is no up/down motion at all.

The synthetics are extremely durable, I have some striper flies that are 5 years old and will still catch fish. The metal looks a lot worse than the materials. But recent popularity has made it necessary to experiment with new patterns as they fish are definitely getting wise to the same ol' thing... but it's still a good one to start the day with.

I plan on putting several new patterns I dreamed up a couple years ago into field test this July on Monomoy to see how they fare, knowing what works in May means squat.

Some of them use counter-weighting, all for hook-up reasons e.g. the crab patterns.


02-11-2008, 09:11 PM
True, a dead drifted jig is analogous to a dead drifted Jock Scott, GP, Thunder & Lightning or 'team of three".

And you can turn any fly into a jig with the addition of split shot.

When is a "Jig not a Jig?"
When its "Not jigging" of course ....

But, when you "strip a Jig", it definitely "Jigs". :wink:

02-12-2008, 08:52 AM
Well I would say added splitshot is not really akin to jigging. It is no different than using a sinktip to get depth and that is what it is used for. To get depth and help maintain that depth during the swing/presentation. The splitshot is also maybe 4-5 feet or longer up the leader and does not give the fly a jig effect anymore than a sinktip would. I do not use it to give action to me fly which an integrated jig fly like a clouser does.

The inverse of this is to sometimes fish a fly like a gurgler along with your brace of flies just to keep the flies up and in the top few inches of the water column. In some cases begin able to present a fly just subsurface during times like a worm hatch can make a huge difference in your success rate. I do not use it to dead drift the fly but to keep my hatch matching flies up during the swing. This works well when a hard grease lined swing is too fast a presentation and you need to slow things down but still keep the flies up.

And not all flies with weight are jigs. As Juro points out sometimes added weight is integral to a pattern to make it swim right and/or present how you want it to. Really long and bulky full chicken flies sometimes need a counter balance up front so they swim right. Sometimes with bonefish flies and other flats patterns you need a fly to get to the bottom quickly and stay there. Added weight helps with that and that comes with fly design. But like Adrian says when you start stripping like a mad man you are jigging.

Flat wings to me are not bottom crawling designs. Adding weight to the fly and trying to crawl it on the bottom ruins the intended full breathing nature of the fly and I got no problem switching to something intended for that use if I need to.

Fishing a brace of flies, dunno but that goes back to the core and roots of our sport. Loch fisherman have been using it for probably hundreds of years and there is no better way to fish soft hackles for trout than putting a few on and giving the fish options. For me the method is great to narrow down what a fish wants and after I find out I usually go back to just 1 fly after I have narrowed it down.

Oh and if you are not fishing a flatwing with tension you are doing it wrong, the method we fish down here is no different than how we swing for steelhead back home, if you are not feeling your fly and have no tension you aint catching crap unless you get lucky. Unless that is you think all the steelhead guys back home are jigging I am not seeing it.

What does not go to the core of our sport is a bobber on the long wand. A total crutch and if people would learn how to fish a fly rod and properly tend to their line it is not needed. For the most part (even though I like to argue) I am fine with how someone chooses to fish but those bobbers bug me to no end.