13 years ago I found myself in a fishing shop in the south of France. I didn't speak a word of French and was desperate to find out where to go fishing in the area. Luckily one person in the shop spoke English, this person happened to also be one of France's finest anglers and has since become one of the best anglers in the World. His name is Julien Daguillanes, and I feel very privileged to call him my friend. Julien took me fishing the day after we met and introduced me to French nymphing or what it is now commonly called Euro nymphing. This day changed the way I fished.
Since meeting Julien, I have fished with him and some of the best anglers in the world and learnt a great deal about Euro Nymphing. There was lots of time spent getting things wrong, a bit of time getting things right and somewhere along the way co-authored a book on the subject called "Nymphing The New Way". It's my favoured way of fishing and I am sure I will write a number of blog posts on the subject. Today I want to focus on rods and rod choices.
Don't go too long.
I increasingly see and hear people talking about using rods of 11ft, or even 12ft in length. Unless you are fishing in a Fips Mouche competition (the majority of us are not) and the length of your leader is dictated by the length of your rod (max leader length is double the length of your rod) then there is really no need to fish rods of this length. In fact, I would say that anything over 10ft is too long. What you gain in reach you lose in control, sensitivity, and fish playing ability.
Top Tip: Use a 10ft rod and move a foot or two closer to the fish.
Go as light as you can.
95% of the time I will fish with a 10ft 2wt rod and will move up to a 3wt if I am fishing some really heavy stuff. I believe that by using as light a line weight rod as possible you will have better sensitivity, lose less fish, and have more fun. It also allows you to be more versatile. I can almost load my 2wt with my leader alone, allowing me to effectively fish a dry fly without even changing set ups.
Top Tip: Fish with the lightest line weight you can get away with.
Spend the money and buy something light.
When euro nymphing there are a lot of repetitive movements and time spent holding the rod at arm's length from your body. If you're an infrequent nympher then you will do fine to buy something on the budget end of the spectrum. But if you are even slightly serious about it then you need something lightweight. If you don't get something light you are going to struggle to fish effectively for extended periods and will probably find yourself in some considerable pain.
Top Tip: Buy European, the technique was invented in Mainland Europe so you can't go far wrong with rods made there. For me, the American made rods are too stiff.
I have used or held virtually every Euro Nymphing rod on the market, including ones that I produced myself for a few years, and have concluded that when buying a rod for Euro Nymphing it should be designed by an expert in the field.
This may seem obvious, however, a lot of rod companies that make 10 ft 2 wt and 3wt rods have made them with casting in mind. As we don't cast with this fishing style, these rods are not suitable.
Typically the best Euro Nymph anglers come out of France, Spain, Italy and Czech. So you can feel pretty confident buying rods made by companies in these countries, as they will typically have their respective national teams involved in the design process.
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