European Nymphing Explained

Czech Nymphing

Czech like other styles is a style of nymphing, at short distance usually under or very close to being under the tip of the fly rod. generally speaking the leader is the same length as the rod which leads to a situation where you are fishing with little or none of your fly line extending outside the rod tip. While czech nymphing you generally have two or more weighted flies (or bobeshs as the czechs call them) in use at all times.
Czech leaders are usually constructed of a short piece of Hi-Vis sighter material such as Stren Hi-Vis followed by 50-60" of level 3-5X Tippett. The level tippet is used to get a uniform sink rate and because the taper is not required to make the cast. Casting using the czech system is more of a lob where you flip the flies upstream and lead them downstream with your rod on a relatively tight line with little to no droop in your leader.
Avid followers of the Czech system are very conscience of the weight of their flies as this determines the depth you fish. The correct weight in your flies allows you to fish more efficiently because of the short drift lengths.

Polish Nymphing

Polish nymphing is nearly identical to Czech nymphing and it is widely believed the Polish anglers who developed the technique learned it from the Czechs. The main difference is in the leader and the number of flies you use.
The Polish style calls for two flies with the heaviest fly or (also known as the anchor or point fly) at the bottom of the rig and the lighter fly at the top. They always fish this way except for rare scenarios in shallow water where the flies are reversed. The system is fished the same way as the Czech style with weighted flies being lobbed upstream and fished on a relatively tight line being led downstream.
Polish nymphing leader systems are a little more complex than we are used to. A relatively standard leader system for the Polish style uses the following formula:

15-20 inches of 0 or 1X tippet
12-15 inch section of sighter material such a Stren Hi-Vis
12 inches of 3X tippet
20 inches of 4 or 5X tippet
12 inch section of 4 or 5X tippet
20 inch section of 4 or 5X tippet

All of these section are connected to each other with blood or uni knots created a gradually tapered leader with a stiff butt section. Now here is the main difference between the Polish style and the rest of the European styles, a free sliding dropper is tied onto the leader system. This dropper is about a foot long and is tied onto the section highlighted in red above. This allows the dropper to slide up and down the leader without being able to move too far up or down the system. Many anglers carry several pre-rigged droppers so they can quickly change out the top flies.

French Nymphing

French nymphing is different from Czech and Polish nymphing in the equipment and leader formulas it calls for. While French nymphing you are using a long rod, usually 10-14 feet in length and fishing a very long leader which is usually 12-20 feet long and incorporates a curly Q as an indicator if one is required. The idea behind the curly Q in this system is not to deliver the flies delicately but to allow for a slight "give" when the fish takes the fly which wont cause the fish to spit the fly as fast.
The major difference however, is how the system is used. While French nymphing you cast your flies directly upstream and use your rod tip to slowly pull your flies back towards you by raising the rod tip at a speed usually slightly faster than the current.
A generic French leader formula is as follows:

9ft 1X tapered leader
Curly Q - Will add about a foot of leader when its stretched out during use
1-2 feet of 2 or 3X tippet
2 1/2 feet of 4 or 5X tippet - if fishing a 2 fly rig your dropper will be tied at the bottom of this section
2 1/2 feet of 4 or 5X tippet

Spanish Nymphing

Spanish nymphing is the technique favored Fly Fishing Team USA which they discovered in Spain at the world championships. The main difference between Spanish nymphing and that of other European styles is the leader length and the fact that you generally fish at a much greater distance between yourself and the fish compared to other styles. Its also a technique that involves more visual aspects than feel like the other techniques.
Rods used while Spanish nymphing are generally 10-11 feet long with a medium action in 3-4 weight compared to the fast action rods that are the norm today.
Leaders are usually between 15 and 30 feet on the long side. the leaders are relatively light and designed for use with two or three flies. If an indicator is used its usually a piece of straight highly visible monofilament that sits around a foot above the surface of the water while being fished.
More so than other techniques the weight of your point fly is crucial to the success of the system. the idea is for the point fly to be just bouncing off the bottom. Heavy enough to get down but not heavy enough to hang up. The other flies will be drifting in the current.
The main difference here is that your leader and line will be around 10-20 feet away from the tip of your rod and rather than leading your fly downstream, you let the system float drag free with the current controlling the excess line and drag with your off-hand. There will usually be a forward droop or "reverse C" in your leader as the flies drift downstream and you keep this from laying on the water by raising your rod tip as the flies come parallel to your position and than lowering it as they go past. In scenarios where you may hang up on debris or rocks that you can see or are aware of, you may sometimes lead the flies like other techniques.
Because of the lack of feel in this method it requires a considerable amount of practice as it's more difficult to control and is generally used in situations where the fish are more finicky and selective.
The leader formula is generally as follows:

12 foot -  tapered leader 3 or 4X
2 feet - Hi-Vis monofilament - Some people use two alternating color sections of one foot each
7 feet - 4-6X tippet the same size as the one you want to fish at your fly

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