I have recently had two very enjoyable days guiding five experienced French fly fishers for Grayling on the River Itchen.

I have found in the past that French fishers tend to be very good short line nymph fishers and these were no exception.  On all three days they caught lots of Grayling on nymph, including a number of good sized fish in the 1lb 8oz to 2lb size range.  The trick is to balance the weight of the nymph to the speed of the current and the depth of the water so as to fish the fly close to the river bed but not snagging too often. 

Gammarus shrimp immitations worked best – sometimes small (size 16) and orange or green in colour and sometimes big (size 10), pink and with one or two gold beats.  Also another technique that worked well when fishing deeper faster flowing water with a large heavy fly was to have a dropper to which was attached a small (size 18 or 16) nymph.  The heavy fly catches fish but the smaller one often more.  Also its a wise move to keep the fish coming to change the fly pattern from time to time.  On a few occasions on these three days the swim would go quiet but by changing the fly pattern, size and/or colour more fish were caught from the same spot.

Try to keep as much fly line as possible off the water and get the flies to make a drag free drift downstream.   For bite indication there are three main options.   The Frenchmen preferred a one foot section of bright, thick, curled, ginked up piece of monofilament tied into the leader just up from the tippet.  In faster flowing deeper water with heavier flies some kind of fluorescent bite indicater or buoyant putty needs to be used.  In slower water a dry fly like a Klinkhamer or Parachute Adams with a New Zealand style dropper is a more delicate method of fishing the nymph.  You get instant bite indication to a take to the nymph and also catch fish on the dry fly.  Use the right bite indication method appropriate to the type of water you are fishing.   Whichever method you use watch the indicator like a hawk and lift to set the hook if there is any dip or stop of the indicator.  Grayling eject the fly very quickly and a slow strike is a major reason for catching fewer fish than you should.