Strike Indicators For Fly Fishing

This post was last updated on January 9th, 2014 at 04:23 pm

Varieties of Strike Indicators For Fly Fishing

You could call them floats, indies, indicators or whatever you want, but definitely don’t call them bobbers! 🙂 Even though they are basically bobbers.. There are a lot of varieties on the market including some fairly new ones that have become the standard for most nymphing. Here I will go over the many styles and talk a little about what each type of fly fishing strike indicators are best for certain situations.

The Thingamabobber

Thingamabber fly fishing strike indicator These are a recent addition to the many types of indicators available. They hit the market in 2006 or 2007 if I am not mistaken. They are a great way to detect strikes and come in many different sizes. I have used them for everything from drifting streamers and heavy girdle bug flies, to small size 20 midges. They are very lightweight for the amount of weight they can hold, and cast very nicely. These are my usual go to indicator when I decide to turn toThingamabobber used as a parachute during fly tying. This will keep your fly on the surface no matter what! nymphing.

Thingamabobber also makes some other floating accessories, such as thingamabodies and really small indicators that can be used as a floating parachute on your flies. Notice the pink thingamabobber on the hopper pattern right. These will keep your fly floating in any condition. I have found that they will twist up your line a little bit used in this manner, however this isn’t too big of a deal if you don’t let the twisting get out of hand. They are also very effective for the hopper dropper rigging method shown here.

The Thingamabody

Thingamabody for tying floating flies These are interesting little floating bodies used for tying flies. They have 3 sections and make great chernobyl ant bodies and work well for salmon flies and hoppers as well.

Various Foam Fly Fishing Indicators

Many versions of foam indicators exist, lets have a look at them..

Pinch on fly fishing strike indicator

Pinch on Foam Indicators

These simple pinch on indicators have been around for a long time. They work pretty good for small nymphs and that weigh very little. They are not terribly aerodynamic, but they sure are light. These are not reusable, so that is clearly a downside. They are quite cheap however (at around $3.00 for 24) they will do the job for the light weight occasional nymph fisherman. A pack of these takes up little space, so every light weight nymph fisherman should keep a pack of these strike indicators in the pocket of their vests, just in case..

Foam and Poly V Style Indicators

Foam indicators Poly Strike indicator for fly fishing These are very sensitive indicators, they will easily detect some very light strikes from fish. They seem to have a lot of wind resistance when casting, so fishing these in heavy wind would not be the best choice. You would be better off opting for a much heavier indicator during high winds.



Foam Fly Fishing Indicators with Slots and Rubber Core

Great fly fishing strike indicators for use in high winds. This model is inexpensive and works well. Rubber Core Fly Fishing Strike Indicator These are versatile indicators that will cast very well in high winds, because of their shape and density. Fish pimp strike indicators

They have no trouble floating some fairly large flies as well. They don’t float flies as well as the thingamabobbers (above) but they cast better on gusty days. They attach in a couple of different ways. Some models shown here have a rubber core that you twist your line around to keep them sturdily in place, while others use tooth pick like pieces of wood or plastic rods. I have become quite fond of the rubber core style due to ease of use.

I really appreciate the slogan of these fish pimp indicators (right)” every nymph needs a pimp”. That’s catchy, and these indies work well. They also come in a convenient little tube for easy storage and dispensing.


Keep a couple styles of each of these strike indicators for fly fishing different conditions, and you will be ready next time the dry fly fishing turns off and you need to resort to nymphs. The thingamabobbers are the most versatile, as they will even keep steehead flies drifting good,  but they all have their pros and cons.

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