We all have our favourite methods - I know guys that don't/won't fish anything but dries, for others it's spiders.
My favourite is the upstream nymph. But I've never been a 'one method' man, not that I have anything against those that are. I just like the advantages and the variety that being an 'all rounder' allows you and this is what I often preach to my clients. We all lead busy lives nowadays, we can't always time our visits to the river to coincide with a hatch, or favourable conditions for any given method, so having a range of techniques at your disposal can often be the difference between having the chance of some sport, and not.
I was reminded of this on a recent outing. I'd been playing around with some different formulas for French leaders and a few bite indicators so I went out to test them. It was a mid-afternoon session - not the perfect time - the sun was blazing, the river was low and there was no sign of any life. Not that it mattered too much as this was a 'testing session'. The leaders turned over perfectly, the indicators worked fine and I had 5 fish and dropped two in under an hour. Thinking about it afterwards, it was obvious that the French leader was the only method that would allow me to fish the chosen water efficiently and produce fish in the tough conditions.
The advantages of having a range of techniques at your disposal was also brought home in the following busy week of guiding. The first day was with Matt who wanted to learn a range of nymphing techniques. It couldn't have worked better, the conditions weren't too conducive to dry or near surface techniques like 'North Country spiders', there was a guy upstream of us doing a good job of presenting a team of spiders and he didn't get a touch. I introduced Matt to French, Czech and Upstream nymphing and we had fish on each discipline.
Mike and Jason were in the area for a couple of days and their visit coincided with some tough conditions but choosing the right technique brought them a good number of quality fish over their two days
David was making his yearly pilgrimage to Eden and had a variety of conditions over his three day visit: ranging from sunny, warm shirt sleeve weather to damp and chilly. This made the fishing challenging at times but the ability to ring the changes when necessary and execute each well, ensured that he had fish every day on a mixture of nymphs, spiders and dries
So, every method has it's day, or period within the day. Having a range of techniques at your disposal and knowing when, and how to use them, can definitely help if you have challenging or changeable conditions, or if you can't pick and chose when you hit the water....