Lot's of different strike indicators on the market right now and a great tool to effectively fish our area rivers when the fish aren't rising to dry flies. Here are a few benefits and different hacks that we like to use and consider to help make your nymphing game more dialed in.
Depth is a huge thing nymphing so being able to easily change your indicator to fly distance will determine where your flies sit in the water column. Typical rule of thumb for fly to bobber length is 1-1.5 times the depth of water your fishing. So say if your fishing a hole that is about 6 ft deep a fly to bobber distance of 6-9ft is good. Like everything in fly fishing there are exceptions to the rule so sometimes you can go more or less from there. In the winter the trout like to hug the bottom and dont move to far to eat so getting down deep will put your flies in an easy place for them to eat the fly, like off the tip of their nose. Summertime will sometimes have the fish sitting in shallow water or more aggressively grabbing flies so a short leashed distance of 5ft will help detect the strike quicker.
I've always liked the Thill indicator myself because they cast nice and streamlined and if you loop your leader around them like in the pic they can be slid up or down the leader to adjust length. I also like the two tone color to help see what direction your flies are drifting.
The air filled Thingamabobbers and Airlock indicators are super popular because their so boyant and sensitive to help detect subtle eats. The main complaint i've heard on the thingamabobber is that if you girth hitch it on your leader like they suggest then it kinks your leader. Well we discovered a solution to that if you nail knot two pieces of old fly line on either side it will hold it in place but can be easily moved up and down with out the dreaded leader kink. Lake fisherman have used this style of slip bobber forever as a way to get a long leader down deep and be able to reel it all up with the bobber sliding down the line as it hits your rod guide.
The Airlock indicators are awesome because they use a screw to attach to your leader which is super easily adjustable as well and you still get the boyancy and subtle strike detection of the balloon.
Pinch on floats and yarn indicators are great for small water, spring creeks, and super spooky fish because they make so little water disturbance. The yarn ones do require a bit of floatant and reappying helps keep it afloat but their advantage is very sensitive to subtle takes and you can trim them down if you like a smaller size.
Thats what i got for today on bobber tactics, tomorrow i'll do a blog on nymphing without the bobber!!!