Like many anglers, I’ve been getting into the Euro-style nymphing game over the past couple seasons. One of the important elements of this nymphing tactic is avoiding “suspension devices,” aka strike indicators. Instead, you use a bright or otherwise visible section of leader material as a “sighter.” Besides specialized sections of coiled leader material, Perform X is the sighter material Parks stocks.
Perform X is a medium-stiff nylon that comes off the spool in 6″ bands of alternating colors. In the illustration above, these colors are yellow and red. Not only the bright colors but the transition between them as well as the leader knots you use to secure a section of the Perform X into your leader help you pick up the leader and watch it for telltale twitches that indicate a strike.
I used this product for the first time this fall and it generally performed admirably. For nymphing for fall-run browns, the 02X size is best. I used a 9′ 1X base leader that I cut where it’s of comparable diameter to the Perform X and added 18″ of Perform X to serve as my sighter. This was enough to include a section of both bright orange and chartreuse material. I continued building out the leader by adding a long section of 2X to the 1X base, a tippet ring, and a short section of 3X fluorocarbon tippet. In addition, I cut off the butt section of the leader and replaced it with 30lb Amnesia in bright orange to serve as an additional sighter when fishing water too deep for me to see the Perform X.
The Perform X proved no more likely to tangle than the rest of my leader and was quite visible when contact-nymphing water shallow enough to hold at least the upper (deep) end of the sighter out of the water. Once the sighter was actually in the water, for example when fishing deep pools, I found it was too thin to be visible, hence the need for an Amnesia section close to the fly line. The material took knots well, turned over fine on casts, and did not abrade. In fact I never changed my sighter in about a month of fishing.
One tip: don’t hesitate to add additional knots inside the sighter section to increase visibility. I got one tangle in the sighter section itself (purely a casting error) that I had to cut out. Rather than replacing the sighter, I merely cut the knot out and retied. The sighter was substantially more visible with this additional knot in the middle.