Sighters are the strike detectors of tightline nymphing. Because they are constructed of bright, colored monofilament, and because they are part of the line, they allow anglers to stay in direct contact with the nymphs and know when fish have taken the fly. But…they are only really useful for a short distance presentation, because the farther away one fishes, the less the angler has the arm length to keep the sighter off of the water (where you want it!)
Don’t get me wrong, there’s times when we will have to place the sighter on the water, but when we do that, we are really indicator nymphing. When contact nymphing principles are at play, we need to stay in “contact” throughout the drift. In fact, our drift doesn’t begin until the sighter is visible-above water, under tension, and under control. If the sighter is laid on the water, the angler needs to lift it off the water to regain control, which takes precious seconds away from your drift. It is essential, then, to become the ultimate micro-manager with your drift time. Strive to have the sighter off the water, and under tension, the MOMENT your flies enter the water.
Here’s how to do it:
Look ABOVE your target-not down AT your target. By fixing your eyes high, you can train yourself to stop the rod tip high after your forward cast. Think about it – if both rod and sighter need to be high the moment the nymphs touch water, why should you even have to lift the rod up to position the sighter? It should be in position from the start, and the only way that can happen is if the rod tip stops high. Right? The idea is NOT new – Joe Humphries, my mentor, called it the Tuck Cast (and Joe was NOT an Indicator guy!) You should never have to play “catch-up” with your presentation. Look high, aim high, and hold the rod tip high after the cast and BOOM-sighter is off water, under tension, and ready to be led throughout the drift. These little things make a big difference in your tight line game. Aim High!