Ok, I don't really hate indicators, I just don't like them very much. Here's a story that may explain things clearly. Backcast to 1987. It's an early May morning on the Deerfield River and our TU Chapter is out there posting signs on our newest conquest - the new C&R section from Pelham Brook to the Mohawk Campground. It was late in the morning when we began to wrap things up by Pelham Brook when I noticed a wading angler with a spinning rod making his way down into the new C&R section. His rig consisted of a spinning rod and a bobber. I asked him about his bait and he said he didn't use bait. "I use flies" he said. He then reeled in and showed me the ugliest Montana Nymph that I ever saw. "I've caught four so far" he said as he headed back upstream.
That was it - a nymph suspended under a bobber!!! I began to think of the Deerfield being lined with spin fisherman casting flies with bobbers or worse, flyfisherman giving up the long rod and casting flies with bobbers. Instead I lived long enough to see fly fishers casting bobbers with their flyrods.
Now, if that's how you were taught or that's what you want to do then go for it but fly fishing WITHOUT AN INDICATOR will increase your chances to catch trout under all subsurface conditions. Indicators made the first step in subsurface fly fishing easier for a lot of new people but it keeps them at that level. It becomes a crutch. Fishing without an indicator opens more possibilities.
A year ago last Spring I was at my barbers waiting my turn when I picked up a Field & Stream. There's only one reason to read this magazine and that is because the Fishing Column is written by John Merwin, a past Editor of Flyfisherman Magazine and the creator of what would be finally called Fly Rod & Reel Magazine. The photo that accompanied the article showed a trash can full of strike indicators. The article was a full blown rant against those critters. I'm not alone!!
The next time you're on the river take off the indicator and follow your line and leader, adjusting your depth through line mending as you go. It works now as it has worked for a century.