01-11-2009, 03:37 AM
Re: Maximum Fly Size for a Given Rod Weight
Yeah, weighted flies or wind resistant poppers can compound problems. With your 4 weight you could probably throw an unweighted bucktail size 8 pretty easily, but a heavily weighted size 8 bugger but be a bit tougher. A couple suggestions—
Work on the timing of your backcast to make sure you’re waiting long enough for the line to straighten out behind you. With weighted flies you should feel a bit of a tug. You always want to do this, but with weighted flies it’s more important. If you start the forward cast too early it’ll cause shock waves in the fly line when the weight "hits", reducing distance and causing tangles. The less false casting the better. Try and get it out there—ideally that means pick up, back cast, pause, forward cast, shoot. The more false casts, the more opportunity for things to go wrong, especially with weight slinging around (split shot, heavily weighted flies, whatever).
Smooth and easy does it. Try to use timing rather than trying to power through casts. You can add a haul with your off hand as you start the forward cast to help accelerate the line, but do this after you’ve made sure your timing is good, instead of using it as a crutch.
Pick a target when you’re casting, but aim for 2-3 feet above it from the surface. This will give time for the leader and fly to straighten out before it lands, helping to reduce tangles, and prevents you from coming too far forward (wide arc = wide loop = bad).
If your weighted fly is ending up in a heap of tippet, it maybe that the leader/tippet is too light. As a another rough rule of thumb, I usually match fly hook size divided by 3 to get tippet X. If I’m tossing size 18 flies, that would be a 6X tippet. For weighted or wind resistant stuff (poppers, bass bugs) divide hook size by 4, so on a size 8 weighted bugger, use 2X tippet (if you thought you could get away with it). Sometimes it’s not practical--- if I’m fishing a combination of things, dries, wets, nymphs, I’ll usually have a 9’ leader tapered down to 4X plus various tippet spools (4-7X). If I tie on a heavy stonefly nymph or whatever, I’ll just go with a short length of 4X and deal with it, since it wouldn’t make much sense to attach 2x tippet to a 4X leader, and I may not want to hack up the leader to a thicker section. But if I know in advance I’ll be chucking streamers, or fishing for bass, I’ll use a 7 ½ foot leader tapered to 2x (or thicker) and have a bunch of spools of tippet 2-7X. If I decided to switch and throw size 18 dries, I’d add a section of 4X to the 2X leader, and attach a length of 6x to the other end of the 4X for a nice taper to the smaller fly.
Anyway, just some ideas to try if you’re not already doing them. How's the fishing been?