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Old 08-23-2013, 08:43 PM
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Default Fishing Weighted Flies;

This thread is the result of some replies to a post I made to the 'What have You been Tying Today' thread.

To bring you up to speed, these are the flies, some of them.
Click the image to open in full size.

Click the image to open in full size.

I'm not trying to school you guys, I'm just saying something that I have not commented on here before. I know you'll understand.

And here are 2 quotes;

One from Tevis: [skulpin heads... I like the design, and the flies they make. But every time i have tried to fish one it gets snagged on the bottom with quickness. Those things are like anchors! Fast water only... or silty bottoms.]

And one from Larry: [Ard: I hope you have cast and fished some of those. I tied up a few and they are scary to cast, I have no control of them in the air and quit using them because I was afraid of bodily injury. Maybe it is different with a two handed rod?]

I started to answer on the thread but then thought to make this General Discussion. Here goes;



I have been avoiding weight for years now Larry because of the things you and Tevis have mentioned. Actually my avoidance has been more of a position than the result of problems.

Some tips I can offer even before fishing these are; don't plan weighted flies for any other than fast (rainbow) water and that water should be at least 2 - 3 feet deep.

Fish a floating line and dress it prior to use. keep the rod tip up while the fly swings. These things mentioned will help eliminate the snagging problem.

Now about control while casting; Use a heavy leader butt, 25 pound maxima or heavier. Forget the sinking braided lead head in the mid section of the leader, transition to 20 pound and tip with 15 pound. Keeping the leader to 6 or 7 feet will help a great deal with having a weighted fly follow closely with the fly line while casting.

With a single hand rod, keep it to a 'water load' when you pick up and make one back cast then deliver the fly. Quarter the weighted flies down and across, a bit of rotation at the hip will assure the redirect of the payload. This should work well with the single back cast. You definitely want to use an 'elliptical' casting stroke with weight.


On to 2 hand rods: first off, don't plan on 90' casts with any weighted fly until you are quite accustomed to the way you must change the timing of the sweep and cast stroke. The flies will be sinking at the split section that you stop the sweep. because of this you will want the line off the water at the end of the sweep and the fly skidding along at the surface. Start with short casts (nothing over 40 - 50 feet) to get the feel of how you will need to adjust in order to compensate for the fly.

Actually I not sure I've ever cast a weighted fly over 50 - 60 feet even with a 2 hand rod. The weighted fly is for a specific situation; depth and current speed. This (here in Alaska) is the place you will find a large rainbow or steelhead. They won't be in a pool, they won't be over silt, they will be in water that will defy logic and they are quite comfortable in these flows.

So I have said all of this not just in reply but in an effort to provide my own slant on what specific use such flies will have. If I am successful I will surely post a snap shot of some fish. I have been struggling to get my un-weighted versions of these same Sculpin patterns down to where the big ones are holding. So....because of that I am going to the dark side and I will heave some depth charges at them
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Old 08-23-2013, 10:28 PM
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Default Re: Fishing Weighted Flies;

Ard: I hear what you are saying, I use weighted flies with floating lines all the time, well at least until we get to the super skinny water we are in this late in the summer. I love throwing streamers, I just haven't fallen in love with the immense weight those sculpin helmet heads have, they are hard to control in the air and I don't really see a need for that much weight, but then we don't have the super fast currents you have up there.
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Old 08-23-2013, 10:35 PM
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Default Re: Fishing Weighted Flies;

I was wondering when you'd find this............

The heads I used are the smallest they sell, I guess the macro on the little camera made them look huge.

I have slung flies with large Zinc coated lead dumbbells and then had to add 3 of those split shot the size of chick peas to my leader to get them down so I guess I have a history of fishing dangerously
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Old 08-23-2013, 10:47 PM
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Default Re: Fishing Weighted Flies;

Ard: Ok now that makes more sense, the ones I bought and tied up were the large sculpin helmets! Those things are like firing off unguided rockets, totally out of control, even when using an 8 wt rod. We just don't have the fast current around here that requires that much weight, but your rivers are totally different.
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Old 08-24-2013, 02:36 AM
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Default Re: Fishing Weighted Flies;

I doubt that I will use them very often because of the weight but there are some spots where being able to swing one within 6" of the bottom will probably bring me one of those fish I've been after for years now.

You'll be the first to know how this works out Larry
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Old 08-24-2013, 06:24 AM
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Default Re: Fishing Weighted Flies;

I also use weighted flies (SW and FW - warm) probably with some amount of weight about 50% of the time, and the ones with pretty "intense" weight maybe about 10% of the time. This time of year I use a lot of unweighted flies when tide is at the lower stages.

I've never tried sculpin heads, but we have them in some streams around here -- I imagined they'd cast about like my tungsten and wire woolly buggers.

Other than slowing down when making the cast, they're fairly manageable but I wouldn't say "fun" to cast. To me they're just a means of reaching the fish - nothing more. I'd prefer a sinking line of some kind vs. heavy flies, but it's not always practical for all situations (i.e. I might not want to get deep in every spot, making a sink tip impracitcal).

I have no moral objection to using weight -- all that stuff is arbitrary and obnoxious to me.
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Old 08-24-2013, 07:47 AM
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Default Re: Fishing Weighted Flies;

Ard: Send my your address and I will send you this streamer I have with the large sculpin head and you can give it a try the next time you want to dredge the bottom.

Larry
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Old 08-24-2013, 08:07 AM
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Default Re: Fishing Weighted Flies;

Larry, from the sound of that fly you're going to send to Ard with the large sculpin helmet, he may be able to dredge the bottom of Bristol Bay with it! It will be interesting to hear how that works LOL.

Great post Ard. Those are some excellent looking ties, you appear to be a natural on the contemporary styled flies! I've seen numerous comments on the inter webs about the sculpin helmets and the experiences folks have had with them. I have personally not fished them but reading your post reminds me of what's important if you do fish them or heavily weighted flies. This should seemingly should be obvious to me: Heavily weighted flies usually have a pretty specific purpose on a stream and remember to adjust one's stroke.

I can't tell you how many times I've been on the water, casting away, then add shot and it takes me a few casts to figure out that I need to adjust the mechanics.

I especially like the suggestions to use a strong and stiffer butt on the leader and the water born casts with singles. What we often do is just tie on flies and attempt to fish them on our more general purpose leader without making a change. Sometimes to fish a certain run we need to not only change the fly, but adjust the leader.

That's kind of a no brainer with a 2 hand rod but we can use similar casts on singles, most of us probably have and may or may not have known we've been employing single hand spey casts.

Good read this morning, lots of good info and stuff for me to think about.
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Old 08-24-2013, 10:44 AM
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Default Re: Fishing Weighted Flies;

Like turbineblade, I'll fish heavily weighted flies about the same amount of time as he does. He & I are in the same general area, so I expect the waters would be similar that we fish. Tidal currents or depth are the main reason I use heavily weighted flies & I hate using split shot. I've also not given those heads a try, but agree that they do look interesting & could see the potential in their use.

Ard, that's some awesome information you've posted, and could be applied to any water/species where depth or strong currents are present & require heavily weighted flies.

What you've described is basically what I've learned to do. The exception is the leaders I'll use, and although most of the time I'm using a floating line, I will go to full sinking lines of various sink rates as well, even with heavily weighted flies.

I make my leaders using Yozuri Hybrid, and the butt sections are 40 or 50 lb test (.024-.028 diameter) which closely matches the end of the fly line diameter (9, 10 wt), transitioning down to about 30lb test & a tippet of 20 to 25 lb test. This is generally what I use for Striped Bass & heavily weighted or extremely large flies, particularly those tied with rabbit strips that may be 8 to 10" long. I do go lighter with smaller & lighter flies. This heavy set-up is only for heavy flies. I have no problems casting heavy flies with this leader.

I know a lot of folks recommend Maxima, but I like the Yozuri a lot. Silver Creek in his many posts has mentioned using leader & tippet materials that have suppleness, but when using the heavy weights, suppleness is the least of my worries. Anyway, I'm digressing!

I also stick to leader & tippet combinations of 6-7' or less. With sinking lines, it may be nothing more than a single strand of 20 or 25 lb test 3 to 4' long.

Quote:
Sometimes to fish a certain run we need to not only change the fly, but adjust the leader.
Jaybo, that's exactly correct & something I don't think that many folks understand when going to such heavy flies. I know it took me quite a few years to get to that mindset as well!
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Old 08-24-2013, 11:51 AM
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Default Re: Fishing Weighted Flies;

Quote:
Originally Posted by bigjim5589 View Post

Jaybo, that's exactly correct & something I don't think that many folks understand when going to such heavy flies. I know it took me quite a few years to get to that mindset as well!
Right on Jim. In this case, since the topic is heavy flies it's a no brainer but changing up a leader can greatly improve your success for any type of fly. I recall last year going to an 18 foot leader for steelhead during low and clear conditions. When I did that it was on! Point being while you can certainly find success just changing flies sometimes you need to do some extra tweaks to your rig to fish as the conditions for the day or the specific spot warrant. I know that I'm guilty of being complacent at times. That said, reading Ard's post served as a great reminder of how much tweaks can be to our benefit.
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