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Understanding Euro Nymphing Gear

Updated: May 22

If you've never tried Euro nymphing, you're missing out.


Euro nymphing has been around since the late 80's and has become increasingly popular over the last 10 years or so. It is sometimes referred to as French, Czech, Polish, Tight-Line, or High Stick Nymphing.


Initially it was primarily used by competitors in fly fishing competitions such as the World Fly Fishing Championships. As you can imagine, if a new technique is suddenly being used by the best fly fisherman (and women) in the world, there's probably a good reason. It is a very effective way to catch fish in virtually any conditions and works well regardless of flows, depth of the water or time of year.


Essentially, this style of fishing creates a direct line of contact between the heavy weighted nymph and the rod. You are very much fishing by feel rather than relying on the visual indication of watching a dry fly or strike indicator. As such, it certainly takes some time to adjust if you've never experienced it. You will miss your fair share of fish when learning this style of fishing, but with a little practice, you'll most likely catch more fish than you ever have before.


What Gear Do I Need To Euro Nymph


While you can technically use any rod to Euro Nymph, there are some significant advantages to using a Euro specific rod and gear that will help you be more effective.


Rod Length

Euro rods are typically longer, usually 10' or more. This allows for longer reach and helps keep your line off the water. As your not "casting" in the traditional fly fishing sense, the extra rod length is distinct advantage in helping to get the fly where you need it.


Conejos Euro Nymph Rod with Euro Nymphs
Conejos 10' - 2 Wt Euro Rod with some of our favorite Euro Flies

Construction

A good Euro rod has a very light, super sensitive tip section which is a huge advantage in being able to detect strikes by feel. The butt section will be stiffer in order to balance out the soft tip section and provide the power needed to handle larger fish. Our Conejos line of Euro rods come in 10' 2 wt and 10' 3 wt options. The weight designation of the rods really only applies to the tip section when comparing them to a conventional fly rod. We design the butt sections so that they would perform in a comparable fashion to a traditional 4 wt and 5 wt rod respectively.


Reels

I personally like a larger diameter reel on a Euro rod which helps balance the longer length. We use our Chama 7/9 reel on our Euro set-ups. Again, the larger size helps with balance.


Chama 7/9 wt reel with Euro Nymph set-up
Chama 7/9 Weight Reel With Euro Set Up

Line

As for line options you can either set your rig up with Euro nymph specific line or go another route. We prefer to set the reel up with a light weight standard weight forward floating line that matches the rod weight. We then utilize Scientific Anglers Euro Nymph Kit which allows you quickly convert your standard fly line to a nymph specific rig. The advantage of this line set up is it allows you to expand the capabilities of a Euro rod. One of the things our customers tell us is that they love using The Conejos as a dry fly rod. When the fish start rising, simply remove the SA Euro Nymph Kit line and rig up a standard dry fly set up.


Leader, sighter tippet and tippet ring

Leader, sighter tippet, and tippet ring - you can buy a Euro specific leader, but it's most effective to make your own using a standard 9' leader, some sighter tippet, a tippet ring followed by traditional tippet material. George Daniel does a great job describing how to build your own Euro leader in this video.


Flies

Euro nymphs will in general be compact and heavy. Usually tungsten weighted and tied on a jig hook, these nymphs are designed to get down into the water column quickly. One thing that helps with this is using a slender, hard body fly like a Perdigon. If you're running a 2 nymph set up, use one of these heavier, smaller body flies on the bottom and tie a lighter, bulkier more buoyant fly above it like a Sexy Walt's Worm.


The first time I tried Euro Nymphing was on the San Juan. I was fortunate to have a coach who was very familiar with the technique and gave me some great pointers along the way. As I mentioned above, I missed a lot of fish in the first hour or so. But once I got the hang of it, I went on a two hour stretch where I caught as many fish as I ever have in that time frame.


It's also a fun change of pace. While I enjoy the rhythm, motion and movement of casting a dry fly or a dry dropper rig as much as the next person, it's refreshing to have another method to turn to when it's time to change things up.


While we touched on some of the basics here to help with your understanding of euro nymphing gear, there is a lot more to learn. A great place to start is with this video from The New Fly Fisher. It's the full video that goes along with the snippet on building your own leader above. George Daniel does a wonderful job of further covering the concepts and techniques that will shorten your learning curve.


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