Fishing Gear Review: New Zealand Strike Indicator Tool

I tried using the New Zealand Strike Indicator Tool Kit for the first time, and the knotless, simple system has helped out a lot.

American fly fishing anglers owe a lot to the global techniques that have made their way across oceans, demographics, and generations. Japanese Tenkara techniques laid the foundation, European nymph fly fishing pushed its popularity west, and even New Zealand influences have made their way to the worldwide market.

That last-mentioned category, from the island nation south of Australia, is where I've turned my attention lately. Namely, it's the New Zealand Strike Indicator that I've zeroed in on, thanks to a neat little tool that helps rig up a fly line with a bobber- or float-style patch of sheep's wool to serve as an indicator of a bite. The New Zealand Strike Indicator Tool Kit, which I've been using for the better portion of this season, brings it all together.

The New Zealand Strike Indicator Tool Kit

The verdict? I love it. It's very easy to use, customizable to the conditions, and helps keep wet flies in the strike zone better than anything I've tried before. There are no knots to fumble through trying to tie, meaning no kinks in the leader or chance of slipping. And there's also no commitment: If you see fish rising to eat on the surface, you can quickly ditch the indicator and start fishing a dry fly without switching set ups or wasting valuable time.

Here's briefly how it works: The tool is used to store small, pre-cut tubing sleeves on the shaft. You can attach it to a vest or pack with the lanyard loop, and there's a small non-slip gripping point made of aircraft aluminum. The end of the tool features a leader snare hook, which is used to grasp your leader. Then you just slide one of the sleeves onto your leader and attach the included New Zealand wool. Add a little floatant and trim it with scissors to your optimal size.

It's an innovative design, one that's made it reach the echelon of best indicators on the market for this type of fly fishing. The combo pack comes with an additional 12 inches of plastic tubing, so you can create extra tubing sleeves to your heart's desire. They're semi-reusable, but the additional length is a benefit. It's made out of only the highest quality materials, and the wool is so sensitive it's said to indicate even the most subtle of takes.

If a trout can strike and then spit out a nymph as fast as the experts say they can, then using an indicator like this is a no-brainer.

The New Zealand Strike Indicator wool is available in four colors, each ideal for a slightly different set of circumstances. They all land quietly and softly just like a dry fly for stealthy presentation. Bright Orange is great for when sighting is a challenge. Black works best when there's a glare and the water surface because it turns silver/gray. Using the chartreuse color option is best when the background is dark or in low-light conditions, and the white color is rather versatile. It looks like an air bubble on the water. The wool has been deemed superior to other indicator yarns after years of testing.

If you're a fly fisherman who needs a little extra help when nymphing, this Strike Indicator System is the way to go. It may not be able t guarantee you'll catch more fish, but you'll undoubtedly have an easier time identifying the best time to set the hook.

New Zealanders who fish deal with some tough conditions and some finicky fish, to say the least. If something is tried and true through use in such a scenario, then it will almost certainly work well in others.

If there's anything you should be adding to your fly boxes that can actually change your luck and turn the odds in your favor, this is the perfect indicator to consider.