I experiment constantly and have found that a modified strike
indicator is a very useful method for those who fish still water.
I find that most still-water fishers just use a floating fly line when
chironomid fishing and spend countless hours fishing the wrong
depth of water; as fishing using an indicator at a depth of more
than twelve feet is a horror story, so they just don't do it.
I know! In the past having lost many fish that broke me
off while I was attempting to remove my indicator while playing
the fish, I came across this method and have used it ever since.
So you are on a lake with only your floating fly line and you can't
get down to where the fish are holding and feeding -what can you
do? Using a strike indicator in over twelve feet of water means that
you have to get the indicator off of your fly line without breaking
off the fish or you can't land it. I have personally found it can
be done, but I do not recommend, as it is always the fish of a
lifetime that will for sure break you off.
Now I personally, like Marv, recommend a fast-sinking line but
without one - if you wish to fish a chironomid over twelve feet
down this is how you do it. For tools you
need a drill with a small drill bit (I use a 5/64ths bit) or preferably
the tiny bits that you can get for free from any dentist; thin
dowel 1/8 or larger depending on the size of the hole in your strike
indicator (the dowel has to be slightly larger in diameter than the
hole in your strike indicator) and 80 grit sand paper. I make my own
strike indicators out of wine bottle corks that you can get at any
good homebrew store - or out of balsa wood which is lighter, but more
brittle, as shaping my own and painting them is very easy and saves a
few bucks, but you don't need to do this - just buy big strike
You cut the dowel into approximately 1 inch segments and
drill a hole through the centre of each lengthwise (you will get the
hang of this quickly) but those that don't work-that you misalign - so
that the hole comes out the side - throw away as dowel is cheap. Take
your sandpaper and fashion the dowel into a cone so that it fits
snugly, leaving 1/3 of the length to protrude from the strike
indicator for something to hold onto as with any strike indicator.
When fishing you first ascertain the depth of the lake using whatever
method you wish - let's say thirty feet.
You tie in regular mono and add five feet of tippet material.
Thread your shaped dowel and your strike indicator onto
your line and snug it down lightly while you tie on your fly.
You then pinch on a split shot slightly larger in diameter than
the hole in your strike indicator so that the strike indicator
will not slide beyond it, being careful that the split shot will
not sink your strike indicator, but heavy enough to take your
line and fly down.
Now this part takes a little experimenting but is not difficult.
Pull the shaped dowel out of the strike indicator and from
below your shaped dowel create a loop in your leader so that
when you push the dowel back into your strike indicator the
loop will protrude-say the width of our finger. You now press
your dowel into you strike indicator and by pulling on the
leader below the strike indicator adjust the loop so that it does not
loop over the dowel and is in tightly enough to stay in place.
Getting enough tension will become obvious to you very quickly
because at this point hold the leader above and below your indicator
and give it a quick pull and it will break loose - sliding down until
it reaches your split shot. That's all there is too it! For extreme
depths you simply lower your weighted setup until your indicator is
floating on the surface and if in a float tube simply fin away a
little. From a boat just stay anchored and wait. If you are fishing at
less depth and are casting this setup then the right tension is more
important; so that you are not having your indicator coming loose and
sliding down your line.
With a little practice I have found this method virtually foolproof
and is a lot of fun. Over a day on a lake the trout will, depending
on the amount of sunlight-cloud cover-hatches-wind, move up or
down in the water column and using your modified strike indicator
a floating fly line can fish virtually any depth. B.C.Nick