Maybe the best place to begin again is where I left off about a year ago when this freelance column was suspended because of the harsh economic realities of the pandemic.
It’s a rainy day on a spring creek in Wisconsin’s Driftless Area. I’m standing on the bank watching Fly Fishing Team USA member Devin Olsen methodically dissect a complex section of water with his unique style of European inspired nymphing. The results are astounding. He catches more trout than I ever imagined that water could hold.
This creates somewhat of a dilemma for me, although I’m happy for Devin. I’ve been dancing around the edges of euro-style nymphing for the past several years and even experimented a bit with the longer euro-nymphing rods, tungsten-bead weighted flies, tippet rings and the strike detection system made from brightly colored leader material that’s tied directly into what amounts to a very long 20-foot plus leader. You attach that leader to a thin diameter, level fly line. Some anglers who aren’t fishing in a competition where the rules require them to use a fly line, replace it with 50 meters of nylon running line.
My dilemma is the standard old guy fly fisher argument that questions whether this is fly fishing at all, or rather just casting a suitably weighted fly on a long leader. Traditionally, fly fishing is defined as casting an essentially…