Extract from our Feb 2007 newsletter Becoming the Expert Angler A Fly Fishing thought.
Do you rely on your indicator too much? It's an interesting question because indicators do help us catch fish of that there is no doubt. But they do spook fish? Yes, of that there is also little doubt.

On a recent trip to a back country SI stream this very quickly became apparent when fishing to some very spooky fish. Visibility was difficult, the fish hard to see and hard to keep in contact with as they fed. But cast an indicator up over them and they were gone....even though it was small, just a little piece of wool, we tried a small black gnat with a nymph on as a dropper but the fish weren't having that either. So what's the answer?

Well that takes a little time, a little experience and a good set of eyes

It's my opinion that if you enjoy sight fishing and your eye sight is still OK; ie if you're still on the younger side of about 45! then don't use them.....unless you really have to. You'll learn to be a much better fisher if you do because instead of watching your indicator you'll be watching the fish and watching for it's response to your flies. You'll notice what spooks it and what doesn't, you'll see how it reacts to different flies, you'll learn to respond to what the fish does rather than what your indicator does. So fishing without an indicator is a good skill to develop, and ultimately you'll strike your fish almost instinctively.

So how do you fish without an indicator? It starts with the presentation, watching for the splash of the nymph landing. Land it just far enough ahead of your fish to give it time to sink to the required depth and a little to the side. This will make the fish turn in that direction, then watching to see your fish move to intercept your sunken fly, sometimes you'll see a mouth opening and closing, but not always - then the strike

It's definitely the skills that develop as a result of this that's the good part, along with catching more fish! Observation is the key, watching and responding, and learning from that response.

But what about those very spooky fish in the difficult spotting conditions, how do we cope with them without an indicator?

Well that part takes time, but every day you're out fishing in good spotting conditions without your indicator you be training yourself up for those very spooky fish on bad spotting days. It's the combination of those skills leant that will allow you to catch those difficult fish. The techniques the same, but you'll be relying on a combination of observation, experience, instinct and guess-estimation for timing the strike. But until those skills develop watch for the splash of the nymph, estimate it's drift, then start to pick up once you think the nymph's past the fish, if you feel resistance set the hook.

Hope all that make sense, if you can master it, it'll take your fishing to a new level, if you already do this, then you're probably a member of the 10% club who catch most of the fish....


Set yourself up for success Of course the best anglers rely on the best spotting glasses Our most popular lens are the Techlite Glass Polarchromic Copper Mirror or the Yellow Low light lens Shop Smith Glasses