You can trace the current Czech / Euro Nymphing craze back to it's origins in competitive fly fishing, over 30 years ago. Over time it has emerged as a popular and very effective fishing method, not just here in New Zealand, but world wide.
Those that are more traditional might look down on it as not "pure fly", but there is no arguing that it is hugely effective and not difficult to learn to get to grips with.
Where to use it
Czech Nymphing is perfect for fast, deep runs, corner pools, shallow runs or even bow and arrow casting in to 'hard to get at' spots.
With this style of fishing you never want to rush in to a pool or pocket, take your time and fish the water directly in front of you or the edges before charging in to the water.
This is especially applicable in the winter months, when fish are regularly up in shallower areas, with the increased flows in the rivers.
The advantage to this technique is that you can fish lot's of different types of water with the same set-up. All you need to do is vary your nymph weight / size.
How it is done
The basics of the technique are to make a short roll cast or water loaded cast 45 degrees upstream from you. Remember there is very little drag on your Czech nymph setup, as you do not have an indicator or flyline on the water so your flies should hit the bottom much quicker than traditional indicator nymphing.
As the fly sinks, slowly take up the slack line by lifting your rod up to a 45 degree angle out in front of you. Making sure you keep consistent contact with your nymphs. Follow your nymphs through the drift keeping the contact consistent but making sure not to pull your nymphs in an un-natural way or pull them out of the natural drift line. This will take some practice.
As the nymphs continue to drift past you in the river start to lift the rod tip gradually following your nymphs through the drift. Give the nymphs a bit of a jiggle or twitch before pulling them from the water. You would be surprised how many takes you get doing this.
A basic tutorial on czech nymphing
Video courtesy of Gary Lyttle from Hunting and Fishing Taupo
The hook up
When fishing this style, at the slightest tug or bump of your nymphs, lift your rod tip quickly and sharply to set the hook. In most instances all this needs is a quick flick of the wrist. It might take awhile to gauge the difference between the bottom and a fish, but persevere and you will be rewarded.
If you only do a short, fast lift, your nymphs will not lift too much, so you can carry on fishing the run.
Barbless czech style nymphs are most commonly used while fishing this technique. They provide much better penetration and far less pressure to set the hook.
'Jig' style hooks on our 'point' or 'bomb' fly as these hooks ride upside down. Keeping the hook away from snags and the point more readily accessible to the fishes mouth.
A typical czech nymph - note the lack of a barb and the hook's eye being on top so avoiding getting snags.
Rods which are 9'6" and 10'0" are most commonly used for this technique as this allows the angler much better control and allows better access to the far side of a run without sacrificing too much line angle.
Most choose a 4/5, 5 or a 6 weight rod. Anything bigger than a 6 weight rod will start to hinder your casting ability,
Caged fly reels also make managing your mono line much easier and stop it from escaping out of the arbor, wrapping up on the reel and or rod and resulting in lost fish
How Peter Scott sets up his rod
Czech nymphing is not everyone's idea of fishing and some say that as the flyline is not actuallyused to propel the fly forward it cannot be truly regarded as fly fishing. But in many circles, particularly in competitive fishing, it has found staunch adherents and it may be a technique you may try when all else seems hopeless.