Sunday, February 10, 2013

Peacock Depthcharge Nymph

Depthcharge Nymph tied by Steven Bird

     I recently visited an artificials-only, catch & release section of the Kings River in California, where I met a half-dozen locals, all, to a man, fishing bobbers with tiny bead-headed rubber-legged creations or San Juan Worms, also beaded, dangling beneath them. 

Worms dangling under bobbers...

Even though the weather was nice, the only insect fare in evidence was a smattering of midges & micro BWO’s. The locals were all fishing tiny flies & that seemed the order of the day. Yet, to me, much of the segment seemed too rapid & somewhat less than ideal for the bobber presentation. I watched a few guys fishing a run together, their bobbers barreling downstream for a ten second drift & needing to be picked up & casted again. I could see why the heavy bead-heads are favored there, you have to get down quick for those short, fast drifts.

I decided the Kings would be a good place to swing a ‘depthcharge rig’. The depthcharge part of this set-up is a heavily weighted soft-hackle nymph that acts as a sinker. My favorite Depthcharge pattern is some version of a #6 to #10 peacock bodied soft-hackle nymph like the Brown Hackle Peacock or the Partridge & Peacock, generic ‘getters’ that catch trout anywhere. Though it does catch fish, what it really is, is the delivery system for the tiny nymph trailing behind it. I build the rig on a 7 to 71/2 foot tapered fluoro butt section, tapering to 7 or 8 pound test. To the end of that I tie a #2 metal rigging ring (available from Feathercraft), & that gives me a permanent butt section. I tie about 2 feet of 6 pound test fluoro to the rigging ring (can use 8lb test to turn over heavier a Depthcharge) & tie the Depthcharge nymph to that. Next, I tie a 20 inch section of lighter mono to the hook bend of the depthcharge, then tie the little nymph to the end of that, & that gives me about a 10 foot leader all together (I like a 9-10 foot rod for this). The fluoro leader to the depthcharge aids in getting it down, & the mono section attaching the trailer fly buoys slightly to keep the little nymph fishing above the bottom.

All said & done, it was a slow day for numbers, though the size of the fish more than made up for it, & I ended up releasing four trout for the session, all over 5 pounds – two on the depthcharge & two on the BWO nymph trailer. Walking out, I stopped to chat with a few of the bobber guys & discovered it had been an even slower day for them – the hot hand among them with two fish, proving: he who lives by the bobber, dies by the bobber.

Peacock Depthcharge

Hook: #6-#10 down-eye caddis style (This hook keels & rides point up when weighted over the shank)

Thread: Olive 

Tag/Rib: Chartreuse wire 

Body: Peacock herl -- wrap the hook shank with lead wire, full length of the body 

Hackle: Brown partridge, grouse or speckled game hen – & finish with a full head.
Yep, that's a Pflueger Medalist reel. One I bought in the '70's. Retired it years ago but recently broke it out because it is so cool.

Flyfish the Upper Columbia/NE Washington with Steven Bird:


  1. I about jumped out of my seat when I thought I saw an older Pflueger in the water. Have two myself and they are just classic.

    There is something about the clicking of a P that just seems to purr the world is all right!

  2. Now those "bobbers" need a venue to vent their views too!

    Could call it "The Bobber-Slobber Journal."
    Womens' section could be "Barbi's Bobber-Slobber Journal."
    If they fish topless, it could be "Boobies Bobber-Slobber Journal."

    (Hell if they fish topless we don't give a damn what they call it!)
    I think you might need more video on the site

  3. Barry, who needs a disc drag for trout? huh? Reel men use the palm & clicker. Did you see those pimped out Pfluegers guys were posting pictures of on the Washington Fly Fishing Forum? Very cool. Your old Pfluegers are che-che: Perfect & appropriate equipment for meeting the Apocalypse.

    Rather than waste wind saying "fishing with a strike indicator attached to the line", it might serve efficiency to give the method a salient name, a term of its own, so, I elect it be called "bobbering".