I was recently asked about bung fishing and the basics of using this method for catching fish on still waters, as I don't pretend to know all the tricks of this method here is some simple tips and set ups that will get you started bunging for trout. It was last winter that I was introduced to using a bung for rainbow fishing on lakes, when a good friend of mine was helping me get ready for a T.A.F.I inter-provincial competition and this method was proving to be a successful system for him in the right conditions. Due to the fact that I do little winter stocky fishing I am not sure how long this method has been used for by anglers to catch those lazy rainbows that want their food stagnant in the water.
When I was in Wales recently just before Christmas I also saw the same set up being used for wild fish on a river and was quite impressed at the results, so much so that it will be another gun in my arsenal this coming season for wild trout in the Irish rivers.
For the lakes as I said before it for when the trout want stagnant food and are not in the humor to chase lures or moving fry. The set up is quite simple the most complex part is getting the depths right so the buzzers or blobs are in the right feeding zone or depth for the fish. Using what ever tippet material you prefer for the still water you would have your point fly so it is just above the floor of the lake or sitting on for the fish to pick it up from from there you could have a dropper 3 or 4 foot back up the leader with a second fly and continue to a third fly if required and if you are competition fishing that the rules allow more than three flies on the leader. The bung which according to most competition rules must be tied on a hook and capable of catching a fish, should be tied on to a dropper at the correct depth so the point fly is where you want it to be. You can also tie in two spare droppers 30cm either side of the bung so you adjust the depth of your flies by moving the bung up and down the leader on the spare droppers.
Fishing this method you cast out to your desired area and allow your weighted flies to sink till they are straight down from the bung and just keep in touch by figure of eight retrieve and once the bung drops you strike and lift into your fish if it is on. Some of the best flies to use are weighted buzzers and weighted blobs for this method but I have also heard of anglers using cats whiskers and the like also.
The set up for river fishing this method has the same fundamentals as the lake set up, you are suspending your nymphs just above the river bed and allowing them to trot down the stream into feeding fish. Fishing these on rivers dose allow you to fish that slower water that if you nymph it as we normally do the slow current will quite quickly have your nymphs snagging on the bottom, getting stuck or picking up crap lying in the slow water, not allowing you to fish your nymphs effectively; so often enough most anglers will pass this water unless covering it with wet or dry fly.
When you fish this method on the slow water you are wading downstream and casting the rig across the river or slightly up stream allowing the nymphs to move down river for quite some distance which allows them to cover much more water than without the suspension of the bung, if the bung drops or stops you strike into your fish. It also allows you to cast your nymphs further away from you across the stream when wading closer is not an option as you have the bung as a sight indicator you will detect any takes through its movements or behavior on the water.
I did observe when anglers were using this on the rivers in Wales for grayling they were also shuffling up the bed with their feet as they moved down stream, this got the fish moving and feeding off the wake the angler was causing as he waded with the current and allowing his nymphs to move into the feeding zone down stream. Getting your depths right on the river is vital I feel as you want your nymphs to cover as much of the bed as you can allow it too before it gets caught up, if its too long then perhaps you find the bung dropping frequently with no returns of fish so adjusting the depths could be important to this being productive for you.
Here is a tying for a bung that can be used on still waters that is highly visible and will hold up most weighted buzzers and blobs:
Tied on a Dohiku Blob hook size 8 I used some Hends Booby eyes for the foam and superglued it in as-well as tied it down with Hends Red Grail thread. Once that was dry and secure I used red egg yarn to form the body keeping the yarn to the top side of the fly and packed in as much as i could before tying off the fly.
Once you have done this then add a coat of Water shed and allow to dry properly before fishing the bung. You should tie these in two or three colours as i have found that visibility with some colours can be harder in different light during the day and switching colours can help this. Also have several dry bungs in your box as they do tend get wet and heavy after a while of being on the water so fresh ones will be useful to have in the box. The bungs I have seen being used on rivers are much larger and some are just large squares of foam tied on to the hook this is for fishing with heavier nymphs such as 3mm or 3.5mm beads.
This is a method that I will be looking at and trying out more on the rivers and lakes here this spring in certain spots, I know it is not the most traditional form of nymphing but if you are into competition angling and on your beat is a bit of difficult water then this might just get you a fish or two to save the blank.
I hope you have enjoyed reading this post and if you have any comments or questions on this method I would be interested in reading them so just drop me a line below, also if you would like to see whats coming next on this blog just sign in and follow us. Thanks for reading.
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