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MartinlfApril 13th, 2008, 8:43 am
Moderator
Palmyra PA

Posts: 2911
As some noted in previous posts, I have been nymphing of late entirely without split shot, tungsten putty, toobies, or any other weight on my leader, depending entirely on the weight of the flies to get down. Not that this approach came from my own invention, but from posts by other more knowledgeable anglers elsewhere. They have fully hashed out the pros and cons of fishing with and without shot in terms of can you get the flies down and keep them there, so that's not my issue here. I've decided to go shotless as much as possible for a while, and am having some success. It clearly can work, and does seem to give one more contact with the flies. I've heard that in some drift situations with shot your fly is actually downstream of your shot and when a fish takes the whole thing has to straighten before you get any hesitation in the leader. My questions are more along the lines of when is a weighted fly approach less of an advantage and when more? Gonzo has already mentioned a bit to me on this topic and has recommended Frank Sawyer's book on nymphing, which is on the way. But I'd welcome more ideas from him or others. For one thing, I'm not sure my scud patterns have room for much weight, or my wet ants, and with the scud, swimming it along behind shot seems to give pretty good contact. I'm not sure about the ant, though, and am considering incorporating beads into its design, possibly tungsten.
"He spread them a yard and a half. 'And every one that got away is this big.'"

--Fred Chappell
FlybyknightApril 13th, 2008, 10:31 am
Milton, DE

Posts: 82
I think that the discussion of shot vs weighted nymph could
go on for a long long time, and probably degenerate into a vulgar brawl.

The last two books I re-read for the umpteenth time give diametrically opposite recommendations. They are Humphreys "TROUT TACTICS" and Bates "STREAMER FLY TYING AND FISHING"

For my part, I feel more confident going the bead head route. That does not mean that it is superior to the others, and even if it was, I as a sad excuse for a fly fisherman would not know the difference if it hit me in the head.

I just try to rely more on casting technique to get my fly on the bottom.

BTW there is at least one monster trout just below the Shinhopple bridge.
I say that because the hatchery truck driver said that when he was stocking at Al,s old place this behemoth was creating pandemonium with the stocking. He claims that that fish is impossible to catch. Well, I tried, and 5 night time hours later I could not catch that fish.

Dick
Lightly on the dimpling eddy fling;
the hypocritic fly's unruffled wing.
Thomas Scott
FalsiflyApril 13th, 2008, 11:53 am
Hayward, WI.

Posts: 656
My questions are more along the lines of when is a weighted fly approach less of an advantage and when more?


Louis- After reading and rereading your post am I correct saying that the question is not about shot added to the tippet or leader verses weighted-fly but weighted-fly verses unweighted-fly as in weight added to the fly itself?
Falsifly
When asked what I just caught that monster on I showed him. He put on his magnifiers and said, "I can't believe they can see that."
MartinlfApril 13th, 2008, 12:07 pm
Moderator
Palmyra PA

Posts: 2911
Hi Falsi, (If I may coin a rather catchy nickname) Actually both in terms of how they fish and what are the best applications. I'd prefer to generally avoid getting into a big knock down argument about which is best, as folks did on another board. I'd rather assume that both weighted and unweighted flies have their place, and that there is a time and a place for using shot or not. Certainly grey areas exist as well, where various combinations will produce. I'm curious about all these issues, and welcome all cogent comments. The greatest distinction might be unweighted flies plus shot vs. weighted flies alone. And then there are variations on that theme. It might be useful to start with the greatest distinction, but not feel limited to it.

Dick, thanks for the Bates reference. I haven't read that and will. I'm an old student of Hump's, so I hope he doesn't read Troutnut posts. Do you use shot on your leader along with bead heads? Do you like tungsten beads or brass? Wire weight? Lead-free, or leaded? OK, I know it's all very complex, but any opinions will be taken . . . with a peck of salt, of course.
"He spread them a yard and a half. 'And every one that got away is this big.'"

--Fred Chappell
LittleJApril 13th, 2008, 1:10 pm
Hollidaysburg Pa

Posts: 251
Did you ever think of using tung wire to build the humps for your wet ant? just a thought i've never tried it but it sounds good in theory.
I think I may be coming into this argument from a different angle, my problem is not whether or not weighting flies is better than shot, but that I have a problem building enough weight into a fly to get it down. Mainly in high water. I get them down while short lining w/ a good tuck, but often on the J when the water is high reaching the riffles seam on the opposite side of the bank is hard to do w/o getting some line on the water. My long line nymphing has plenty of rough edges and that could be the problem right there. A good example was yesterday on the J, The fish were taking a peeking caddis and a size 16/18 olive larva, I took an equal amount on both so I wanted to keep both on the line and not sub my anchor (peeking caddis) out for an oversized walts worm. I built weight into both of them but with the water at close to 3ft, there just wasn't enough mass to get them down on the far seam when I added line drag to the mix. I did catch a football sized 19" rainbow by the way. (just had to throw that in)
Jeff
p.s I feel lead free wire is worthless I'm going to try tung. wire, but until then I'll be sticking with lead.
MartinlfApril 13th, 2008, 2:06 pm
Moderator
Palmyra PA

Posts: 2911
Jeff, do you have a source for Tung wire!!?? I was just thinking of it the other day. I'll do a web search next, but I was told you can only find it in small sizes. I did get some great tungsten beads from Blue Quill Angler at a good price. One of the biggest of them, some wire and a thinner body will make an anchor that I believe will hold up to the J's currents, but I'm not sure in peeking caddis sizes. You're right, it may take a big Walt's Worm, or something else . . .. I tied up some heavily weighted peeking caddis with an 1/8 black tung bead last night just for the J (if I can get up there!!) and I think they'll get down pretty good, but I'm not sure they'll work across a few seams on a long line. I'll try to short line them mostly, as you suggested, but with big water that may be hard in places.

CONGRATULATIONS ON THAT BOW!!!
"He spread them a yard and a half. 'And every one that got away is this big.'"

--Fred Chappell
GONZOApril 13th, 2008, 2:09 pm
Site Editor
"Bear Swamp," PA

Posts: 1681
Louis, it's pretty obvious to me that either approach can be effective, and the advantages or disadvantages are mostly situational and/or practical. Getting a nymph to drift at the appropriate level and speed is a calculation that always involves location of weight, sink rate, and (especially) casting/line management. Often, the choice is driven by the character and condition of the water being fished. Other practical aspects like size/type of fly, tackle set-up (use or type of indicator, high-sticking or straight-lining, single fly or multiples, etc.), and the desired type of drift can also be important. Under heavy pressure, even the level of exposure to certain types of flies or types of presentations can be worth considering.
MartinlfApril 13th, 2008, 2:13 pm
Moderator
Palmyra PA

Posts: 2911
Gonzo, might you venture a few hypothetical scenarios for us to ponder?
"He spread them a yard and a half. 'And every one that got away is this big.'"

--Fred Chappell
FlybyknightApril 13th, 2008, 4:20 pm
Milton, DE

Posts: 82
Hi Martin,
Thanks for the kind response, but you are asking a blind man to lead.
I like tungsten because its greater density allows a greater degree of freedom in incremental weight to different flys of the same pattern. Hate to add split shot unless it is absolutely necessary to get my weighted fly bouncing on the bottom.

Like brass for attractor frauds.

Warm regards,

Dick
Lightly on the dimpling eddy fling;
the hypocritic fly's unruffled wing.
Thomas Scott
GONZOApril 13th, 2008, 4:36 pm
Site Editor
"Bear Swamp," PA

Posts: 1681
OK, but I'd have to say that there are so many variables to consider that anything I suggest of may be of limited value. However, one could take that as a fairly universal caution, so I'll try.

Heavy flows or highly variable stream conditions: I think the advantage often goes to weight on the leader because adjustment is easier and the choice of fly is greater. With weight only in the fly, one has to either rely mostly on line management or have flies tied with different amounts of weight. Relying strictly on line management can severely limit "bottom time" in some heavy drifts, and having flies with different weights only works for some sizes/types of flies (and multiplies the number of flies needed).

Light flows or consistent stream conditions: Weight in the fly can sometimes work better, provided that the weight is well-suited to the predominant flow. This still depends somewhat on the size and type of the fly being used, but line management adjustments are usually easier under these conditions.

High-sticking or straight-lining: Because both of these techniques often rely on feeling the weight ticking the bottom in order to gauge the drift, weight on the leader (or on a dropper) usually works better. Large "anchor" flies can sometimes provide that contact and feel, either alone or in tandem. However, the trade-off (especially when smaller flies are the main enticement) is often flies lost compared to additional bites on the anchor flies.

Indicator nymphing: This often depends on the type of indicator being used/required. Other things being relatively equal, indication of a strike may be improved by using just a weighted fly. There can be something of a trade-off, though, as trout may not hang onto a heavily weighted fly as long. When a dry fly is used as an indicator in fairly shallow water, the appropriately weighted fly usually has an edge. Without weight on the leader, contact is more direct and the dropper can be shorter. This certainly makes casting easier.

Multiple fly rigs: If you are going to attach a number of nymphs to a leader, then it makes a certain amount of sense to use an anchor fly rather than attaching additional weight as well. However, adjusting this rig to different flows and drifts might also require changing the anchor fly, so that can become a trade-off.

Pressure considerations: These can argue either way depending on the flies and presentation methods that the fish see most. Fish can become "shot shy" (any experienced Great Lakes steelheader can attest to this), but overexposure to beadheads (especially flashy beadheads) can also cause rejection at times. Weighted flies drift differently than unweighted flies, and that difference can be played in either direction in order to overcome resistance.

As a proviso to this, I'd add that something about the popular shotgun approach of fishing multiple "searching" nymphs in a fairly random way doesn't often appeal to me. I can't deny the general effectiveness of this approach, but it seems a bit like hedging a reluctant bet. I much prefer to fish a single fly whenever I can, and I usually base my fly selection on my best guess about feeding activity and available foods. But that's just me. I'm a hatch-matcher at heart, even subsurface.
FalsiflyApril 13th, 2008, 4:36 pm
Hayward, WI.

Posts: 656
The preface of intent for this discussion is how to get an artificial food source presented to a trout in such a way as to induce the trout to accept it. The parameter set is that the artificial presentation must drift on or within a given area of the associated bottom of a flowing water system where it is assumed the trout are feeding. . It is also preferred that the artificial should assimilate physical properties of a naturally occurring food source along with the natural appearance of biological drift for obvious reasons. The intent being to include into the artificial; physical attributes and characteristics such as size, shape, color, mobility, buoyancy, etc, all being done without the unnatural looking encumbrance of induced physical restraint. The inherent problem imposed upon the fly fisherman is that all this must be accomplished by presenting the artificial from the surface, allowing sufficient time to submerge and then drift along that area. To accomplish the means to this end we attach weight. The amount of weight necessary is determined by a myriad of variables such as depth, flow rate, bottom strata, hydraulic friction, current differentials, etc. just to name a few. How and where we attach that weight is immaterial within the confines of getting the artificial down, however the proximity of weight placement along the tippet or leader in relation to the artificial may affect its position within the targeted area of drift differently than that of the self weighted. None the less, it could be argued that bottom strata induced current may be the more influential. Considering the hydraulic dynamics associated with water flowing over a drag inducing boundary I donít think that the addition of weight one way or the other has an advantage. The addition of weight no matter where it is placed will impose an unnatural characteristic. I have fished and found both methods effective. In my opinion I have found the addition of weight to the tippet to be the most efficient and effective way to adapt to the ever changing conditions.
Falsifly
When asked what I just caught that monster on I showed him. He put on his magnifiers and said, "I can't believe they can see that."
WbranchApril 14th, 2008, 4:44 am
York & Starlight PA

Posts: 2506
While I still apply lead wire to some of the nymphs I tie I have always preferred applying BB's directly to the tippet or the tag end of the blood knot. Typically I place the BB no closer than 12" from the fly or further than 18" from the fly. If using two nymphs I never put a BB between the two flies as this is a sure way to get a pendulum effect and wind up with a mess.
Catskill fly fisher for fifty-five years.
GetyourboneApril 14th, 2008, 8:06 am
Baldwin, WI

Posts: 28
Lead free solder wire?

Don't know how it compares in weight to lead or tungsten but it would be relatively cheap and certainly is pliable. If it can be used in plumbing applications for humans I would think it would be safe in the streams?


If you could solder it onto the hook, it wouldn't need to be as heavy as lead. Wrapping round wire leaves some amount of voids.

just a thought.




Of course one could use gold or platinum wire.


LittleJApril 14th, 2008, 1:47 pm
Hollidaysburg Pa

Posts: 251
A friend of mine brought a point up today that i felt was worth sharing on this topic. He said be careful on weighting your bug imitations to much, because you can lose a lot of the natural movement you want when the bugs start moving. Basically pre hatch or when ever you want to swim the nymph. Just another situation to throw into the pot of never ending analysis
Jeff
Shawnny3April 14th, 2008, 6:40 pm
Moderator
Pleasant Gap, PA

Posts: 1197
Lead free solder wire?


These contain mainly tin, which has a density (7.8 g/mL) about the same as iron and about 2/3 that of lead (11.4 g/mL). I'm sure its ductility would make it work great if you could find it in a small enough diameter, or you could probably just buy tin wire. But none of these are close to tungsten (19.2 g/mL), which is about as dense as you can get for relatively cheap metals.

When you guys talk about "anchor" flies or flies "on point," what do you mean? Do you mean the fly closest to or farthest from the flyline?

-Shawn
Jewelry-Quality Artistic Salmon Flies, by Shawn Davis
www.davisflydesigns.com
GONZOApril 14th, 2008, 10:37 pm
Site Editor
"Bear Swamp," PA

Posts: 1681
Shawn,

An "anchor" fly is a very heavy fly used instead of adding weight on the leader. It could be fished in a number of ways or locations--alone, in-line, on a dropper, etc. Usually, it is fished in-line with a second smaller fly attached by a short length of tippet material to the hook bend of the anchor.

"Point" is an older term usually associated with traditional wet fly methods. When fishing a trey of wets, the closest fly to the line was often referred to as the "hand" or "top" fly, the middle fly was the "dropper," and the fly on the end was the "point" or "tail" fly.
MartinlfApril 15th, 2008, 4:54 pm
Moderator
Palmyra PA

Posts: 2911
Jeff's point is well taken. Today, fishing no shot, I fished a lightly weighted Walt's Worm. Regular bead (not tungsten) and lead free wire. It got down where I wanted it to, and kept a light feel. I picked up three trout in spots I had fished a week or so before without finding anything. If one fishes without shot, the lightest nymph that will get where you want it may be best in some situations. It was today, anyway.
"He spread them a yard and a half. 'And every one that got away is this big.'"

--Fred Chappell
JADApril 18th, 2008, 6:42 pm
Alexandria Pa

Posts: 362
Just got back from Grannons on Little j. Louis fuzzy Wasy Walts Worn accounted for the biggest fish 19-5/8. The only trouble was walter was so heavy ,had to be careful I didn't hit any Trout on the head.

JaD

img]http://i90.photobucket.com/albums/k258/Caddisman1/DSC00538.jpg

They fasten red (crimson red) wool around a hook, and fix onto the wool two feathers which grow under a cockís wattles, and which in colour are like wax.
Radcliffe's Fishing from the Earliest Times,
MartinlfApril 19th, 2008, 9:10 pm
Moderator
Palmyra PA

Posts: 2911
The hairy honeybug scored for me on the J also today, nothing huge, but several 14 inchers. No shot. Caught a few on Grannoms also.
"He spread them a yard and a half. 'And every one that got away is this big.'"

--Fred Chappell
GetyourboneApril 19th, 2008, 9:48 pm
Baldwin, WI

Posts: 28
out of curiosity, are there tungsten hooks? It sure would seem to make sense for nymphs and wet flies.


For all I know, all hooks are made of tungsten for strength?
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