There is no doubt that the Czech nymphing style of fishing is very effective and can catch lots of fish. But it’s not always accepted by some anglers as being a legitimate technique that can be called fly fishing.
Most anglers would probably include a definition of fly fishing that a fly is cast to the fish using a rod that will cast a fly fishing line – a line that is much different than mono filament. In reality, it is the weight of the line that propels the fly to where the angler wants it to land on the water.
Czech nymphing however, does not really require a fly line and rod in order to effectively fish Czech nymphs. This style of fishing was developed in Poland by anglers who were not able to afford fly lines and therefore in order to fish flies, they had to find a way to fish them while only using monofilament line.
As a result, no casting in the traditional sense of fly casting is done when Czech nymphing. Instead, a straight, non-tapered leader of about the length of the fly rod is used, and a heavy nymph (sometimes two or three fly setups are used) is attached to the end of the leader. The goal is to get the nymph deep towards the bottom of the river as fast as possible, and allow it to drift at that level, where fish may be holding.
Although most anglers that use the Czech nymph technique are using a fly rod and fly line, this is not required because there is little if any casting being done. As a result, there is some controversy over whether this method should be classified as a fly angling technique. Those who disagree with it being considered thusly accept that flies similar or the same as those used by anglers who fly cast are used, but because there is no casting, it is not really fly fishing.
The gear that is used by anglers that Czech nymph is the same as that used by other fly anglers. As a result, there are no prohibitions on this technique in fly fishing competitions, and because of it’s effectiveness in catching fish, many competitors study and practice it and do very well while fishing competitively. As well, because of the gear, when Czech nymphing style opportunities are not present, the angler may then use the rod and line to propel the fly in a traditional manner.
There likely will always be controversy about what exactly constitutes fly fishing.There are some “dry fly purists” who suggest that fishing with nymphs and streamers is illegitimate even if fly casting is employed to propel the fly. Of course there are also many times when angling small streams and rivers where a back cast or even a roll cast is not possible, and methods like dappling are used.
But most anglers who fly fish feel that as long as fly fishing gear is used, it is legitimate and is simply another fly fishing technique that can be used in order to successfully catch fish. Why not learn more about this sport and discover that you can even enjoy fly tying to create your own nymphs.