Regardless of how you feel about strike indicators, there is no doubt that a strike indicator will help a new fly fisher catch more fish by visually learning current speed, reading seams, and gauging the depth of the water. However, if you’re not careful, the strike indicator can develop into a crutch for a new fly fisher who has transitioned into an intermediate angler. So, to indicate or not indicate that is the question.
Reasons Not to indicate
- You’re fishing waters that are shallow, 3 feet or less – if you are fishing in shallow water and you can see the end of your fly line, really there is no reason you need to use an indicator.
- When you’re NOT using a full floating line – if you’re using a not full floating line, don’t use an indicator.
- When you want to learn other cues and other signals of a fish strike – learn how to use tension, and feel to become your indicator.
Reasons To indicate
- When you need to suspend a nymph or a bead in deep channels or pockets – sometimes, there are pockets, and pools that are very difficult to “reach” without a suspension system. In those areas, yeah you should leverage an indicator.
- When you’re drifting down water in a boat. – When you’re in a drift boat, and you have a submerged fly, it can be difficult to identify a strike visually because there are so many moving parts. This is where an indicator can help.
- When you feel like you’re simply missing the subtle strikes- If you’re simply missing strikes, and can’t see or feel it, sure, put on an indicator. Make the best of your day fishing.
If you’re a novice fly fishing angler it can help you progress into a better fly angler. There are times where it is, like a lot of things a tool to help enhance our fly fishing experience. Just remember there is a time and place for strike indicators. Don’t make the mistake of becoming reliant on the indicator to see strikes. Learn to use other ways like tension, feel of your line, and other visual cues that show that a fish is interested in your fly.
More tips on NOT using indicators