A blended approach to the river.

I am as guilty as the next man! Yes guilty, I turn up at the same river walk to the same runs and catch the same fish. The same goes for many of us who are short on time and keen to get that fishing fix! Just occasionally though it is worth putting in a little bit of extra time and visit a new venue. You might not catch as many fish but you will certainly learn a lot more about your own angling as well as a new stretch of water.


So, what do I mean by a blended approach? You don’t have to set up multiple outfits to give yourself options simply take two rods one for dry fly fishing and another for nymphing. These two rigs should cover all you fishing needs. The dry fly rod can be used to fish the ever popular ‘Duo’ or ‘Trio’ method as well as doubling up as a streamer rod. This may not be ideal depending on what size of rabbits you intend to chuck. A #3 weight Rod will not throw a 10cm snake fly particularly well.


A good nymph rod cannot be underestimated and I would suggest that a rod in the 10’ + range should be considered. There are plenty of options out there, budget and fishing requirements will play a part in your choice. A good rod will be able to deal with dry flies on a French leader. This is providing you have the right leader set up to cope with this. Is carrying two rods not a pain in the arse? Well to be frank yes, it is but I also carry a ruck sack with my camera gear and what not, so it is not that big a deal, it’s certainly something I can live with.


What I tend to do when approaching a new section of river is have a look around first. See what you have available to you then pick a stretch of the river you intend to fish. I have known anglers who jump straight in and plough their way up or down stream with bugs only to jump out a mile upstream declaring the river is devoid of fish! Its certainly not much fun following these guys once they have unleashed their carnage.


Once I have selected the stretch of river to fish no more than fifty to sixty yards the first thing I do is fish the less favourable water. I have lost count of the amount of good fish I have caught by fishing the poor water first. Its good practice to fish from the bank initially in order not to disturb any fish in the margins. Often a dry fly is the least obtrusive way of fishing a run. Once that option has been exhausted you can then decide your next line of attack.


If nothing is rising and no hatch is visible it may be that the fish are feeding on nymphs below the surface. I often employ a light Duo approach initially and then move to more conventional nymphing tactics if that has failed. By employing this simple approach, you can often catch fish that you may well have missed or walked past. This blended approach can often be the difference between a good and bad day.


Points to take away from this article.


  1. Don’t fish the same venues all the time, it will limit your learning.
  2. Always fish the unlikely water first, it may surprise you.
  3. Do not be lazy, take the time to set up two rods it is worth it.

Try and take a new lesson from each session you fish, through time you will improve.