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Czech Nymphing ist kein Fliegenfischen

Ban Czech Nymphing in Fly-Only Waters

In the 1980ies int. fly fishing championships started to become popular. The FIPS Mouche started to organize fly fishing championships. One of those championships took place in Poland but the local people there did not have any proper fly lines at all. So they were allowed to use common monofilament, too.  They just knotted 0,50  mm monofilament directly to the rod tip. The only possibility for them was fishing heavy weighted flies and droppers on short distance, in fact more or less directly under their rod tip. They just made the flies roll over the river bottom for a few seconds. It was an old technique even used by poachers with worms in former times.

A winner of a fly fishing championship without a fly rod and fly line
The unexpected happened - the Polish won the championship and in the year after even became world champions! After getting in contact with this technique the Czech team started to learn it and two years later in 1986 they won the world championship. Soon after that the "new" technique was made popular and articles were written in several magazines where the Czechs praised "their" technique as Czech Nymphing.

Was it something new? No, but it was definitely a very good mean to sell the excellent Czech Nymphs? Yes, the nymphs are really good, but is the so called Czech Nymphing really fly fishing?

What is fly fishing all about?

Fly fishing is an angling technique performed by using a fly rod and a fly line by which the latter with its special characteristics is used as the casting weight which loads the rod. Provided the rod is handled correctly the fly line travels through the air, constantly unrolling in a beautiful loop which pulls the dry fly/nymph or streamer through the air finally delivering it to the target. Carrying the imitats with the help of a fly line through the air by harmoniously co-ordinated movements and an unrolling loop is the core element of fly fishing and therefore the determining criterion by which fly fishing differs from other kinds of angling.

Günter Feuerstein

If you call the fishing with a bubble and dry flies fly fishing, then probably for you Czech Nymphing is fly fishing, too. If you are of the opinion fly fishing is done with a fly line that is used to carry your fly, nymph or streamer to your target then Czech Nymphing cannot be called a fly fishing method.

As weighted alibi flies (the hook melted into in the drop like end weight  is far too small to catch fish) up to 10 g(!) were and are still used by many Czech Nymphers  in special situations it is obvious that it is completely impossible to make any overhead false casts with them (at least not with a proper technique and class 3-6 grayling/trout rods). Quite often you see these Czech Nymphers even fishing with very long leaders only maybe using a meter of fly line out of the rod tip, somethimes even less.

It is easy to calculate, that the weight of a leader is not able to pull a heavily weighted nymph through the air by using false casts. Otherwise all manufacturers of fly lines are wrong.

If the fly line is not used as the weight which carries the fly or nymph to the target but a weighted end nymph or nymph system is used as a casting weight which takes over the control in the air and is finally pulling the leader and line to the target. IMHO this cannot be called fly fishing.

If it is only about to catch fish on a nymph no matter what tackle is used, one can fish this system much more effectively(more distance, better control). In my home country Austria, the so called Tirolerhölzl was created a long time ago to fish multiple nymph systems at the speed of the current or even a bit slower -especially for grayling. Therefore a spinning or light match rod is used. Because of the declining numbers of grayling and the possibility to even failhook fish on intention with it, the Tirolerhölzl is meanwhile forbidden in many Austrian rivers and even whole Austrian provinces by law.

In Austria governments have recognised this fishing method to be a problem. But now it starts entering even fly only waters again but through the back door under a new name and under the cover of being a fly fishing method. Some newer publications were even talking about it as European Nymphing. What a ridicolous development!


Should this really be called fly fishing?

Why do you need a fly line for Czech Nymphing shown in the following videos and why a fly rod at all? That works much better with other devices (e.g. Toc-Toc).


Hereby I suggest all owners of fly-only-waters to overthink this development and to adapt their tackle regulations in order to stop that development and to protect waters from poaching as it is easy to attach additional bait on the hooks.

In my opinion it would be a good decision to ban all nymphs, nymph systems and streamers which cannot be cast by using multiple overhead false casts on an average distance of 15 m. The fly line has to be used properly to carry our patterns to the fish otherwise we will loose this traditional technique on the long run. History has proofed that all developments that lead to a progress(in this case more fish) are difficult if not to say nearly impossible to turn back if the point of return is missed.

Please support this attempt to change the regulations in your fly-only-waters in a way that the Czech Nymphing technique cannot be used there any more. Thanks to all who have already implemented new regulations to avoid this development!

To put it clear: Czech Nymphing should not be forbidden, but it should only be allowed in waters which can be fished by other angling methods than fly fishing, too, but not in fly-only-waters!

Please spread this e-mail to preserve fly fishing on the long run as a unique, beautiful and ellegant way of catching fish.

Günter Feuerstein

Copyright © Günter Feuerstein