Wednesday, February 22, 2012

How to Make a "French Slinky" Strike Indicator

This easy-to-make strike indicator was invented by the French during an international fly fishing competition and was recently featured in Fly Fisherman Magazine. It’s basically a monofilament “spring” that is very sensitive and gives you a good visual indication of even the most subtle strikes. I don’t know if the French have a name for it, but I call it the French Slinky.

Why It's Good:

Unlike hard-bodied strike indicators, it doesn't affect your casting and is especially good for nymphing with Tenkara rods.
They're cheap and easy to make
In a pinch, you could make one in the field on a backpacking trip by wrapping some thicker mono around a stick and boiling it in your cook pot
Allows for a better dead drift by not creating extra drag on the line

What You'll Need:
  • A pen case (be sure to remove the ink cartridge)
  • Duct tape or rubber bands
  • Hi-vis mono in 15 or 20 lb. test (your choice of color)
  • A pot to boil water in
How to Fish It:

This type of strike indicator is intended for nymphing techniques similar to the French nymphing style which is essentially a kind of high sticking method done with longer rods.  Using the loops your tied at each end, attach the indicator between the end of your leader and your tippet.  On the cast, stop the rod short, let the weighted nymph drop into the water first and hold the rod high.  The idea is to keep the indicator out of the water or just on the surface while following the drift with your rod.  As soon as you see the "spring" twitch open, set the hook.  It's also a good idea to coat the French Slinky with some floatant.  Keep in mind that the French Slinky doesn't provide enough flotation for heavy nymphing in deep water or long casts.  It's better suited to close-in pocket water nymphing or when a subtle presentation is required in slower water to spooky fish.  I've found it works well with Tenkara rods because of their extra length but will also work well with conventional rods in the right situations.

I learned about the French Slinky strike indicator on a new video LS gave to me called "European Nymphing", awesome video, probably one of the most informative videos I've ever seen.


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