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Thread: Tandem knot set up

  1. Default Tandem knot set up

    I read the searches on tying the dropper fly to the first fly. I'v been using Frank Whiton method of tying the dropper to the hook. and i'm having problems. His solution was use a bigger hook which did help a little, but some of the dries I have are smaller hook. (I buy mine and don't make my own). Large or small hook, after a while i'm getting a lot of sliding up and down on the hook and that wear may be causing the breakage when I get a hit on the dropper.
    I read another search result from Big Cliff back in 06 and I like what I hear. It sounds like he leaves a tag off the tippet from the first fly and ties the dropper from the length og tippet to the tag. I think he was using a blood knot.
    Tying to the hook is a lot easier and I can add a tandem pretty quick. Has any one come up with anything different to keep the lines from breaking off the hooks on a hard hit?
    Alot is said on line about what combos to use but not connecting them.

  2. #2

    Default Re: Tandem knot set up

    Now, I haven't actually tried this yet, BUT.....

    I just watched the Davy Wotton DVD "Wet Fly Ways" and he uses three or four flies at a time. He uses a Surgeon's knot and leaves the tag end for tying th eflies. The important thing is to tie the flie to the tag that's pointed toward the Fly end of the leader, not towards the reel. THat is much strnger and snags a whole lot less.
    Jakeway Near Nashville, TN

    Kayaks: Just part of the drag system

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jun 2007
    Missouri City (near Houston), Texas

    Default Re: Tandem knot set up

    I've had problems with tying the dropper off of the indicator fly's hook, because I use barbless hooks and I think I lose a significant number of dropper flies because the knot on the indicator fly's hook just slides off. I'm thinking of instead tying the dropper fly's tippit off of the indicator fly's eye instead. All things considered, however, I think you'd get much more natural movement if the dropper fly was tied off of a long tag end as has been suggested previously.
    On the whole, I'd rather be in Wyoming . . .

  4. Default Re: Tandem knot set up

    Jake, I mean't by a tag is when I'd tie the fly on and leave about 5" of tippet and tie onto that 5" with the dropper tippet. Is that what you are doing too? It would be a mammy gettin that knot right on the 5" tag that's why I was looking for something easier, at least for my big fingers. I started to make my own leaders that I use just for tandem and tie the first fly on and leave a long tag. I think the last one I made I left enough for a 16" tag and all I had to do is tie on my dropper and it was all one piece. It was 8' w/ an extra 16" for the dropper. If 16" was too long, I could cut it short.

    If it was too short I'd just tie first on and tie the dropper to the hook. (I quit easily) I've been pretty lucky cause where I've been fishing I've been able to work with the 16". I've been using different thickness Maxima ultragreen leader/tippet to make my leaders up. 16" always looks right when you don't have the faintest idea what the heck you're doin. As Delores Del Rio told John Holmes "16 inches sounds right to me"
    What are the cons of the way the first fly will move through the water with the dropper tied to the front of the lead dry fly, will it pull it sideways. It seems the motion of the dropper being pulled from the rear of the first fly would give off a more natural motion of the dry.
    I'm really looking forward to spring and fishing tandems for crappie at the lakes. This way I can loose twice as many flies than I usually do in half the time......
    F2F I hear you about the barbless hook thing. I do alright with the setup of fly combos i'm picking, it's just the line breaking.

  5. #5

    Default Re: Tandem knot set up

    Davy does an excellent job describing and showing this, it would be good for you to get ahold of the DVD. But, here goes another try.

    Let's say you've got your leader and first tippet the length you want (9 feet?) from the fly line to your top fly. Cut another piece of tippet maybe 30 inches long. Overap that on your leader at least a foot. Make the surgen's knot 12 inches up from the end of your original tippet. Cut off the tag (short) end of the NEW tippet. This will be the tag on the surgeon's knot that is on the side of the knot towards the main flyline. The "dropper" for the front fly is actually the end of the original tippet. Tie the fly to that dropper, so that it dangles about 6 to 8 inches below the main leader. Now tie your anchor fly to the end of the new tippet, and you're all set. The entire leader and tippet will be approx 11 feet from line to tail fly, with the front dropper fly hanging 2 feet in front of the tail fly, and 6 inches below the main leader. If this leader is too long for you, you can shorten the distance to the front fly by 12 to 18 inches, and shorten the additional tippet by a foot.

    If you held the main leader in one hand, and the tail fly in the other, the droper should form a sideways "Y", with the stem of the Y pointing to the main flyline. You want the fly on the dropper to be tied in a way that the hook rides downward, rather than up towards the main leader. The Davy Knot works well for this. If you don't have a copy of "Wet Fly Ways", you can google "The Davy Knot" and get good videos of how to tie it.
    Jakeway Near Nashville, TN

    Kayaks: Just part of the drag system

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jan 2007
    Central Florida

    Default Re: Tandem knot set up

    Hi Wildcat4040,

    If the fish are breaking off on your dropper you may be using too light of a tippet or you are striking too hard or you need a softer tod tip. If you are attaching a weighted nymph to the tag end you need to use a dry fly large enough to float the dry fly and support the nymph. The setup I like is to use a size 10 dry fly as a indicator fly and a weighted nymph tied to the bend of the hook. I have never had the problem of the knot sliding up and down on the hook bend of the dry fly. I wonder what knot you are using to tie the dropper to the hook bend and what leader material are you using. I usually use a Improved Clinch knot or a Uni knot. You could also add a drop of glue to the connection if you keep having problems.

    There are several ways to tie a dropper in a two fly rig.

    1. Tie the dropper to the hook bend of the first fly.

    2. Fasten the dropper to the eye of the first fly.

    3. Tie the dropper to the leader just ahead of the first fly with an Improved Clinch knot or Uni knot.

    4. Use the tag end of the knot of the first fly.

    6. You can tie a small loop in the leader using a Blood knot. They fasten your dropper to the loop.

    The problem I have with making a loop or using the tag end is the extra amount of your leader to make the connection. You can resolve that by making a loop in the end of your leader. They fasten a long piece of tippet materal to the leader using a loop to loop connection. This you won't be using up your tapered leader and it is easy to change from a dropper rig to what ever setup you want to use.


  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    quiet corner, ct

    Default Re: Tandem knot set up

    .....and a dropper loop
    The Dropper Loop
    The simpler the outfit, the more skill it takes to manage it, and the more pleasure one gets in his achievements.” --- Horace Kephart

  8. Default Re: Tandem knot set up

    Geez, thats's a lot of info to digest. Jake, I'm gonna read up on this and make up some demos in the cellar to get a feel for this set up. That was a better explanation, but I think i'll spring for the video if I can't figure this out.
    Riptide, I thought of using your setup except everyone has me paranoid about brown trout being so easily spooked, adding on in this fashion seems like it would cause water movement that may be too depictable.
    Since I started making my own leaders I'm using Maxima ultragreene because they say its virtually invisible in the water. Putting knots in line and stringing a dropper off the side sounds like it would spook the fish to me. Crappies I'm not worried about they're a lot less technical when strategy is involved. I never fished for trout before so I'm leaning heavily on the side of being as covert in the water as possible.
    Frank, I'm down to 4lb with the Maxima that i'm tying everything to. I like your way the best because I change from single to double a lot quicker. I do use the improved clinch knot to tie on, who knows what i'm doing wrong.
    My plan has so far been to get on the water with a single fly, start casting to get in the groove so i'm dropping my line where I want to (sort of a warm up). After that I tie on the dropper, quick and easy. I only took fly fishing up a little over a year ago and am still concerned about controling the line. I also like to warm up mending the line cause it's something I learned at the end of the year last year.
    But I got a lot of good possiblilities here and ideas to work on, Thanks a lot.

  9. Default Re: Tandem knot set up

    here's a method i picked up from leroy hiatt and dave engerbretson(rip)
    slide the upper dry on the leader, don't tie it on. tie on the appropriate length of tippet and tie the nymph on the tippett. the dry slides up and down the leader and the tippet knot keeps it from going too far down the line. it sounds wierd, but works fine.


  10. Default Re: Tandem knot set up

    Whizzer, that sounds weird enough to work. After the cast, how long does it take the dropper to slide down the length til the dry hits the knot? See I'm still experimenting with this technique and I may not be using a large enough dry, cause they don't ride very high so I think mine might just stay bunched up for a while before it slid down with the combos i'm using. Got an example of the dry and dropper you'd use?

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