Keep a Backup Nymph Rig Ready

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Having a completely different pre-rigged tandem nymph rig ready helped me catch this beauty. Photo: Louis Cahill

Changing out flies on the water takes time but is often necessary to catch trout consistently all day.

Keeping a pre-rigged tandem nymph rig ready to go, will allow you to quickly change out your flies from one hole to the next and save you critical time when your fishing time is limited. They’re great to have when you find your hot fly has turned cold, when you break your rig off on a snag or find yourself with a nasty tangled mess. Let’s face it, we often find ourselves in question on the water, particularly in the first hour after we’ve wet our line. It can take some time to figure out what the trout want for the day, and by having a couple different pre-rigged tandem nymph rigs on hand, you’ll find it much more efficient to try multiple fly patterns and rigs out, and that should help you dial-in quicker and start catching trout.

Sometimes the tandem nymph rig you just caught trout with in the hole downstream, may fail to get the attention of the trout in the next hole you fish. This isn’t always the case, but sometimes for sure. In fact, this happened to me just the other day. My client had landed a fish out of the first three holes we fished in the morning with a woolly bugger lead fly and a micro san juan worm dropper. As my client worked the fourth hole of the day, the bites abruptly stopped, despite him making several great presentations and drifts. Knowing there were fish in the hole, I snipped off the rig and tied on one of my different pre-rigged nymph rigs.

First cast, my client landed a trout, and he went on to catch another fish after that. If I would have stuck with the first rig, thinking the flies were fine because they worked in the previous holes, we probably wouldn’t have landed those two fish. There is no doubt there are times when trout will key in on a specific aquatic insect and become selective feeders. However, some days, when there isn’t a hatch or specific food source they are keying in on, I think trout often create their own specific food menu for the day. When this is the case, and you’re not having success, often all you need to do to get trout to bite, is show them something different. Humans are no different. If we eat the same thing for lunch a couple days in a row, we’re ready for a change.

So before my guide trips these days, I’ve got in the routine of tying up a few different tandem nymph rig combinations, and stow them in either my pack foam patch or organize them neatly in my Orvis Dropper Rig Fly Box. I’ll have one big fly and bright attractor nymph rig, one heavy medium-sized lead fly nymph with a soft-hackle rig and last, I’ll have a small tungsten nymph with a tiny baetis or midge dropper rig. Between these three rigs, I’ll usually find one that works for the water I’m fly fishing. Give this tip a try next time you’re out trout fishing.

Orvis Dropper Fly Box

Update: Orvis is Currently Selling the Dropper Fly Box. Click the link or photo above to visit the product page on the Orvis website.

Keep it Reel,

Come fish with us in the Bahamas!

Kent Klewein
Gink & Gasoline
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2 thoughts on “Keep a Backup Nymph Rig Ready

  1. THIS is fantastic. Pro-Tip for sure. Many, many times I’ve broken off both flies, then had to sit and re-rig… this one is going in my bag-of-tricks today. Thank you Louis, really cool.

  2. This is a nice idea. But what’s the best way to attach the rig? Loop to loop seems out of the question. Perhaps a blood knot?

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