Inspired by my most recent trip, I thought I would mention a couple of large nymphs I like to use in my two nymph rig. These nymphs are not always fish catchers, and I'm personally not a big subscriber to the "attractor nymph" philosophy. However, I do think that how the large nymph drifts can be critical to how the smaller nymph trailing behind it drifts. Taking a two fly interaction approach I generally choose a large nymph to achieve a certain goal in my drift rather then expect it be a fish slayer.
The main hole I have been fishing for most of the season is about 4 foot deep, at best 10 foot long with about 3 feet of densely packed fish at the bottom width. The flow is pretty fast in that little stretch so getting down has to be very fast to get into fish. In such a situation I turn to....
Case Closed Caddis by Rich Strolis
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I load mine with a lot of lead wraps (covering as much 3/4 of the hook shank), and it drops like a rock and takes the little nymph down with it. It has also accounted for several fish on its own this season.
While the above nymph has been the one I have fished most this season. My plan B has been a bastardized version of the Chimera from the guys at Fly Fish Food. (My thanks for developing this fly). I say bastardized because I have substituted similar, but not the same materials for the ones they used, but the fly is essentially the same. However it is lighter then the above fly and my olive version is significantly more subdued and natural looking. The latter is what I attribute my success with this fly to more then any other feature.
Chimera by Curtis Fry
This fly took a a 16-18 inch trout just this week.
No big nymph.
Forget the big nymph and do it all with split shot. Sometimes the fish get wise to complex rigs....or at least thats my two sense. In these cases sometimes ditching all the big nymphs can make all the difference. Now be sure to consider that your small fly's drift will dynamically change once the other fly is removed and it will take some serious readjustments to get back in the fishing zone if you are already there, but I could be the difference between a made day and getting skunked.
Hopefully this prompted some thoughts about planning out large nymphs in a two nymph rigs.