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A break in the fishing for a scholastic discussion. Tom Rosenbauer from Orvis [L] and George Daniel.

If you can pay close attention for 48 minutes, pick up your EURO Nymphing Ph.D after the presentation

By Skip Clement

Angie Roth catches more trouts than I do. She’s a practiced and dedicated nymph fisher that uses or has used every type of indicator known to man, as well as any advertised rigging and presentation technique advertised as ‘new.’ So if something new comes along tomorrow, she’ll give it a fair shot.

I wouldn’t say I like nymph fishing unless employing Vladi’s way as he taught the world to do it in 1989, Finland. No bobber or indicator

Besides, in shallow water bobbers/indicators scare trouts, or nymphing where the water is so clear it appears that trouts are suspended in the air. Bobbers or clumps of whatever serving as indicators scare trouts in either of those environments; shallow water or water so clear you can see the fish.

Today, there are several versions of Euro nymphing, and it has been maturing, so called, since Frank Sawyer began its circuitous European introductio post-WWII. Sawyer developed and refined the technique of using weighted nymphs fished upstream to trout and grayling feeding near the bottom and called it the “Avon or Netheravon Style.” It is also quite likely he invented the tuck cast – he described the cast in his book ‘Nymphs and the Trout’.

It would be difficult to argue that Sawyer, a Riverkeeper on the famed Avon of England, wasn’t the originator of upstream nymphing. We’re still using the fly he designed that started it all, the Pheasant Tail, and copying much of his nymphing technique.

The Poles are coming

Nymph fishing “text” books and club bar knowledge of it, as known until 1989, ended dramatically in Kuusamo, Finland. The event was the World Fly Fishing Championship. In a world-fly fishing tournament, a Polish national showed how nymphing works. To this day, it is still copied – only minutiae stand between it since that tournament in Finland, and, of course, being reborn to new fathers of new nationalities, or more commonly known a bull-shit.

“A gaggle of journalists and bystanders were following and watching in wonder and curiosity: Who was this guy dressed in an unconventional vest, wearing garden boots for waders, and casting amended fly rod? He was tenacious and very competitive, with a broad, quick smile — friendly to a fault. The mystery angler was Wladyslaw Trzebunia; then a Polish national Fly Fishing Team member. ‘Vladi,’ as he is known to his friends, is the man who knocked the fly-fishing world on its butt.” — Richard R. Twarog


In the mid-1930s, Vladi’s father had discovered that when he pulled his baited hook downstream faster than the current, he caught more fish. Here’s the takeaway: The fish were attracted to the motion.

Orvis nymphing rod. Screenshot.

Back to the 1989 tournament:

Using the same primary method his father had taught him as a youngster (with refinements, to be sure), Vladi landed a staggering total of 60 fish. That number was more than all of the 2nd, 3rd, and 4th teams combined! Wladyslaw Trzebunia won the individual title–and a dazzling gold medal—and the Polish team took the team title.

Since that 1989 competition, the nymphing that Vladi pioneered has been imitated, appropriated, and re-named throughout Europe and the rest of the fly fishing world. Over time, Vladi’s method has been reborn with many names.” — Richard R. Twarog

So with a grain of salt, take the best we have, George Daniel and the fly fishing ambassador for Orvis, Tom Rosenbauer, proving Vladi’s, and Frank Sawyer’s upstream nymphing method works. If you follow Wladyslaw Trzebunia’s recipe, as taught by Daniel, and utilize the newer, space-age materials, you’re a shoo-in for a tenured professorship.

NOTE: Twarog is the author of The San Juan River: A Fly Angler’s Journal. Vladi is a licensed guide in Poland and Slovakia and continues to give seminars and teach international competitive teams and individuals. You can reach him via e-mail.

It’s all here; click on the start tab and come away with a Ph.D. We’d love to go to your graduation, but because of the times we live in, we’ll do a drive-by and honk

George Daniel’s website: Livin’ on the Fly.

Orvis’, Tom Rosenbauer.


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