A technique that was first developed in Europe, specifically aimed at getting weighted flies down to the feeding zone in faster waters ‘ Euro Nymphing’ has become an extremely effective way to catch fish in various water levels.
Euro nymphing has been adopted by many a fly fisherman around the globe which has led to important changes in fly fishing rods over the past 30 years. Rods have become longer, lighter and more tip sensitive. A typical euro nymphing rod these days would be between 9.6′-11.6’in length made in weights 2WT – 4WT, with 3WT being the most popular choice.
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Another addition to most of these euro nymphing rods is a fighting butt. This helps the angler to hold the rod out extended for longer periods of time by locking it into the middle of the forearm. It may sound odd but it really does help.
Below we will go through the various euro nymphing fly fishing rods on the market, ranging from entry-level euro nymphing rods right up to the advanced technology rods that are specifically designed for certain scenarios on the water.
Best Euro Nymphing Fly Rods
Sage ESN 10′
- KonneticHD blank technology
- Garnet thread wraps, ceramic stripper guides, chrome single-foot guides and tip-top
- Half-well cork grip
- Black anodized aluminium down-locking reel seat, balancing the rod beautifully
- Aluminium rod tube for extra protection
The SAGE ESN 10′ is probably one of the best euro nymphing rods on the market. Retailing at $950 it shouldn’t be taken lightly. Built for experienced euro nymphing fishermen who know how to use it to its full potential. It has been specifically designed for euro nymphing, Czech nymphing or dredging, whatever you refer to it as.
These medium-paced blanks boast an impressive KonneticHD backbone which allows the angler to feel the unprecedented blank recovery. With a lightened hand feel, increased sensitivity and greater ability to absorb shock on larger fish, it makes for an excellent nymphing rod that can be used on the smallest stream or highest running river. The Sage ESN rod comes in weights 2wt – 4wt, with the 3wt being a firm favourite.
Thomas & Thomas Contact II series
- Increased blank ‘backbone strength’ helping for those bigger fish
- Blank composition, consisting of carbon and fiberglass fiber
- Readjusted guide spacing, with a strip guide, set closer to the reel preventing snags
- Balanced fighting butt
- Down locking reel seat, balancing the fly rod beautifully (2wt-4wt)
No stranger to the fly fishing world, Joe Goodspeed is known globally for his expert knowledge of fly fishing, fly tying and rod designing.
This nymphing rod is no exception, having had a lot of thought and practicality put into its redesign. With a few key changes made to the blanks technology, taper and tip sensitivity, the CONTACT II Euro nymph rods are fast becoming a favourite among euro nymph fly fisherman globally. One very interesting fact, is the combination of both carbon and fibreglass fibers, giving the blank a backbone to turn over the lightest nymphs whilst retaining that all-important sensitivity.
This rod is available in 2wt-4wt, with an optional 6wt 10’6 available.
Retailing at $825 it is on the upper end of premium euro nymph rods available these days but given the cult following THOMAS & THOMAS have and the great reviews on the new CONTACT II series, the price is justified.
G Loomis NRX +
- Titanium stripper guides, single foot recoil guides
- Full-well grip made form AAA cork
- Aluminium reel seat with walnut insert with fighting butt
- Rod bag and tube
The G.Loomis NRX+ 4100-4 Euro nymphing rod, is a 10’4wt in design that is quickly becoming one of the most popular 4wt 10′ on the market. With 10′ 4wts having a little love, hate relationship with fly fisherman this euro nymphing rod is proving to be winner more hearts than breaking them.
Retailing for $795, it leans towards the top end of euro nymph rods. Its capability of accurately casting dries and retaining contact with nymphs over distance is what makes it extremely attractive to fishermen. It can also be fished with a variety of fly lines, comfortably shooting longer heavy lines out across the water.
If you were ever interested in a 4wt 10′ then this is the rod to try, you won’t be disappointed.
Vision NYMPHMANIAC 11′ 3WT
- 4 piece blank
- Very light and sensitive throughout
- Additional fighting butt
- Downward locking reel seat for balance
- Protective tube
The nymphmaniac rod is the combined brainchild of some of Europe’s top competitions anglers including David Ferreras. Jarkko Suominen, Jan Kubala and Cato Monsen.
The rod has been specially designed for the modern Euro nymphing fly fisherman. Meeting all the requirements needed and coming in at $359, you really do get bang for your buck!
Everything on these fly rods has been thought about for nymphing. From the impressively light blank that has enough power to turn over super thin tippets and nymphs to the cleverly designed dampening ability of the blank at the end of each cast, thus keeping direct contact with the flies from the very start of the drift. A super-sensitive tip that allows the angler to feel the most sensitive of takes whilst absorbing those big hits that often snap your tippet.
The additional butt section helps for those long days whilst holding your arm out extended and when fighting larger fish.
These medium-fast euro nymphing rods are well worth their price and will be a great addition to any nymph fishermen’s collection.
Moonshine The Epiphany 10’6″
- Moderate to fast blank made from high modulus graphite
- The stripping guide moved to the butt section preventing line wraps
- AAAA cork with burled ends
- Down locking reel seat with fighting butt
- Protective rod case
- Lifetime warranty
A brand that has been gaining a cult following over the past few years. They first brought out the Epiphany 10’6 back in 2017. The nymphing rod was good but they have now redesigned it and are very proud of what they have achieved. Making it one of the best moonshine fly rods.
With a perfect balance and increased sensitivity, competition anglers are enjoying the new changes. Retailing at $279, this nymph rod is accessible to a larger audience of anglers which is what any retailer would aim at.
One of the most noticeable changes is the considerably lighter blank they have developed, along with upping the quality of the other main components this nymph rod really is a great purchase.
One of the favoured additions to this Epiphany 10′ is the fact that it comes with two-rod tips as a standard. This is game-changing!
Orvis Clearwater 10′
- Chrome guides and tip top
- Black nickel aluminium reel seat
- Protective rod case
- 25 -year guarantee
Given the increasing popularity of this style of nymph fishing, Orvis has developed a very impressive CLEARWATER 10′ 3 weight euro nymphing rod. With nymphing in mind, this rod has increased sensitivity and lengthened reach which all tactical anglers will love. The Vermont rod designers have done a complete redesign on this euro nymph rod improving everything on it, except the price. Coming in at $229 its an absolute bargain.
A key talking point of this rod is its sensitive tip which allows the fly angler to feel the takes before they can be seen on the dry or strike indicator. With the ability to be loaded with a 4wt line if desired, this makes it an attractive fly rod to buy for a fly fisherman that needs a rod with a little more versatility to it.
Echo Carbon XL 10′
- Medium fast action
- Lightweight stripping guide and tip-top
- Extra fabric covered rod case and sock
- Echo Lifetime Warranty
- Four-piece rod
The growing demand for nymphing fly rods that can fit the requirements and budget of the general fly fisherman who isn’t interested in competition fishing, has led to this amazing rod. Retailing at $199 its an easier buy for most and with the reputation, this rod company has its a given that it will please. With the designers reducing the weight by 20% and lowering the price compared to earlier versions this really is a bargain buy that most won’t even think twice about.
With a strengthened back, it can roll cast nymphs with ease and the fasten action allows for quick loading if needed for those long casts.
Maxcatch Nymph Rod 10′
- Japanese Toray Carbon and nano resin technology
- Coated stripper guide and snake eye guides
- AAAA contoured cork handle
- Three-year warranty
Light, strong, sensitive and easy to cast, this euro nymphing rod ticks all the boxes that a good euro nymphing fly rod needs to. At $146 its a great entry-level euro nymphing rod for any fly fisherman to get started with. There isn’t a need for one of the most expensive fly rods when starting out, this is why this nymph rod is so popular, it delivers in every aspect needed and doesn’t break the bank.
Made with a Japanese nano resin the rod is slightly stiffer than others but has a super sensitive tip. The added strength in the base end of the fly rod helps with those bigger fish and longer line control if the distance is required. This fly rod comes in 2wt to 4wt and ranges from 10′ to 11′ in length.
What is Euro Nymphing?
Commonly referred to as Czech Nymphing, tight lining, high sticking or French nymphing. Whatever you want to call it, it involves getting heavily weighted nymphs down to the feeding zone as fast as possible, whilst retaining complete control and contact with the flies.
Takes can be very sensitive or hard, either way, once you get dialled into this form of fly fishing it can be very difficult to want to fish a beat any other way.
Purists will argue it isn’t fly fishing as you aren’t using much or any of the fly line or a traditional fly fishing setup but the technical side of things can be very attractive to the fly fisherman that wants to improve their catch rate and who are willing to be versatile and change things up.
The leader setup is generally double the length of your rod (rule of thumb), with the heavier, lengthiest piece attached to the fly line and the opposite tip ending in a 7x tippet. You tie on your point fly which is generally your heaviest fly and about 50 cm above this you tie a dropper with a double surgeons knot to which you tie a lighter nymph.
A sighter line which is usually a fluorescent coloured line is used to detect the takes which can be extremely helpful in low light or glary conditions.
This is your basic euro nymphing style set up which will work for most scenarios. You can however dive as deep you want into the various tricks and techniques involved in this style of fly fishing but just remember the whole point of fly fishing is to catch fish and have fun.
European Nymphing Competition Rules
Competition rules are laid out by FIPS ( FIPS is the governing body for international competition) are helpful to learn the basic requirements for this style of fly fishing. The rules can often hinder or restrict a fisherman who wants to apply the method of nymphing rather than compete in it
Let’s run over the rules below.
- Nothing attached to the leader or tippet except the flies
- No split shot or strike indicators (hence the birth of heavily weighted nymphs)
- Leader cant be longer than double your rod length
- Sighter tippet needs to be a minimum of 30 cm in length
- Flies need to be a minimum of 50 cm apart.
What Is The Best Weight Fly Rod For Euro Nymphing?
As with any sport or category within it, there are many opinions about which gear is the best and should be used. Does one use a 10′ 2weight or opt for a heavier rod with more of a backbone such as a 4 weight. Do we overload the fly rod with a heavier weight fly line or do we use a DT (double taper) line with a slightly heavier leader and tippet?
It can all be very confusing, so take from it what you need, go fishing and don’t be afraid to change things up! As anglers, we need to ask questions and try new things as this leads to new development in our sport.
Below we will briefly break down each weight fly rod and describe what they are best used for.
This is a very handy weight euro nymph fly rod to have, giving the fly fisherman an extremely light and responsive setup that can be used over an extensive variety of waters. With their lengths ranging from 9′ up to the lengthier 10’6, they are the first choice for those smaller streams or creeks.
If you are planning to fish an area know to be breezier or gusty then you may find this weight fly rod to be a little light and you may battle to turn your rig over.
This is the most commonly found and used weight in the nymphing rod category. It meets all the requirements of most anglers, whether they are at the competition level of just enjoy the nymph style of fishing or even enjoy casting a dry. It generally has sufficient backbone to turn over those heavier nymphs whilst remaining light enough to fish the whole day.
With new technologies and designs going into the blanks especially on the rod tips and recovery rate, the 3 weight fly rod is the most versatile euro nymph rod out there. Bow and arrow cast a dry dropper to a trout holding in a very tight spot or tackle a large river with fast-moving water the go-to choice for most fly fisherman will be 10′ 3 weight.
On the heavier side of euro nymphing models, the 4 weight can be a very useful rod to have and use when needed. When fishing larger waters and longer cast are needed the blank generally will be able to shoot those nymphs out with ease even in the windiest conditions.
Another positive to fishing this model is if you wish to change your setup to a dry dropper or streamer style of fishing then a 4 weight fly rod is ideal for it
What is Different on a European Nymphing Rod?
Generally longer in length, allowing the angler to have a better reach is the reasoning behind the extended rod. Remember that one very rarely uses the fly line in this style of fishing as you use the lengthened leader to keep contact with your flies. Fly line creates drag and drag is probably the worst thing you can have on drift as your flies will move at the speed of the ‘dragging line’ and not naturally in the current. Ranging from 9’6 to 12′ there is a long rod for every purpose. 10′ is the most common length available and will fit most of the anglers needs.
All the nymph style rods have sensitive tips allowing the angler to feel the bite. Some rods are softer than others but the general rule is to make sure your rod tip is soft enough to detect the take but strong enough to flick that leader out without using too much energy.
Described as’ where the rod bends’ will tell you its speed. So a fast rod will only bend in the last third of the blank with a slow rod bending from the beginning third. Most nymph style blanks are described as moderate to fast, which theoretically means they load from the middle forward. This tells us that the blank is slow enough to have enough sensitivity and in-hand feel to it, whilst being fast enough to transfer sufficient energy to turn over those very thin leaders and tippets.
With a huge selection to choose from these days, it can make things quite daunting when choosing a setup.
There is literally a rod for every scenario or need and its up to the individual fisherman to make a decision based on their specific needs. As mentioned earlier there aren’t any hard and fast rules to this style(unless you are a fishing competition) so use all information as guidelines and get out on the water and test for yourself.
Happy fishing and tight lines!