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Discussion Starter #1
I've been tying some different versions of pheasant tails, and generally, I've been pleased with how they've fished, but I've had a few days where I'm convinced the fish were shot shy.

Any ideas on adding weight, other than tungsten beads? Would some lead raps behind a brass/copper bead work? I'm thinking of this for #16's and #18's.
 

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Sometimes lead tape works better than the other forms. If it's still too bulky you can build an underbody from copper wire or hide a bigger (or second) bead in the thorax
 
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8-10 wraps of .015 lead is perfect for 16,18 sizes. Like Funk said, many times a second bead under or as the thorax is all thats needed to put the flies in "the zone". I tie a few flies with differing weights and use different thread colors to differentiate them. Light weight - yellow thread, super heavy - red thread..etc. Otherwise they look the same.

On small flies ( either #20 or smaller, or short hooks like Mercer Mays) a tungsten bead one size larger than normal is the ticket. as there is very little room for additional weight without ruining the profile/proportions.
 

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Another idea is to use colored beads. I use an olive bead on a lot of my patterns and if you can go down one bead size. This keeps a little weight and makes the fly subtle as well. I think most fish get shy to the glare of brass or copper... You can even take a sharpie to them on the water if you think the fish are turned off by beads. I have noticed this too and had to change up a few patterns.
 

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When I am tying my smaller patterns for the tailh2o's and also again when I tie my larger stone nymphs I will use the weight to allow my fly to drift in with different balance.

On my many days staring into the zone and itching my head I have noticed that fly's will drift a similar way at times in the column. So I started experimenting with weight placement on the fly itself.

Maybe its voodoo maybe its confidence that your tweaking an already proven fly and maybe your getting more strikes and maybe it was just the day. but . I am a believer.

Anyone else?
 

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I will throw in a vote for two tungsten beads. One for the head, one larger for the thorax.

(thorax, what a great word!)

Use a small thread to avoid unsightly build. I got some Tiemco 17/0 at the Retailer show, thanks to Brian Schmidt at the Umpqua booth. COO and tool in residence Jeff Fryhover would not part with the samples. Brian is a great guy, as are most of those Umpqua cats... Fryhover is not what I would call cool, maybe it is the generation gap? I understand the bean-counter mentality is what has made so many Umpqua signature tiers jump ship in the last couple of years. Fly fisherman being notoriously anti-corporate and whatnot.

But I digress. That TMC thread is pretty great. Low build, awesome colors. I don't think it is waxed, it has low twist, and is rather flossy. Go buy some from Charlie for five bucks a spool. Quit yer whinin', it's Japanese! >:D

Cheers.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Much appreciated, guys. I have .15 lead wire, so I think I 'll give that a shot for now.

One question about tape- does it lay down very well? I've never tied with it. I've only seen it on some wide body patterns, like stonefly nymphs.

Oyey- Thanks- a sharpie's making the next trip to Deckers with me.

Tungsten is the one thing I was using as extra weight, but I'm starting to tear through my supply at a pretty good clip. Otherwise, the two-tungsten fly would be perfect.
 

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OK here come the hillbilly
Take a piece of pine sap. gather some sand, dirt works just isn't as nice to work with. heat it with a flame of some sort. it will melt and fuse together. As it cools down it will become pliable, place it on the hook, create basic shape your after --- once thats done tie your fly atop
Next a sick piece of knowledge ---- grease your line with rubbing alcohol --- try it and find out, your line will drop
top that???
 

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Get a good idea of some of the bigger flies in the river system you're fishing, whether its a big stonefly, salmonfly, caddis larvae, cranefly larvae, etc. Fly patterns for all of these bugs are "bulkable," in that you can make them fat and juicy, slim is not the answer with them... Then make a bunch of each and weight the sh;t out of them with tungsten beads and lead wraps... You won't need any shot at that point... Also, don't hesitate to lead your rig with a small, but heavily weighted streamer for that same purpose.

I've fished rivers that don't even have cranefly larvae in them, but still just use it as a weight to get the flies down... some "stealth shot," haha...
 

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Most have already thrown out the usual good ideas of lead wrap, tungsten beads, double beads, ect. Here's technique from Team USA (no split shot allowed for competitions).

Assuming the need for extra weight is to get the flies down quickly and to a certian depth. example being shallow water that drops off into a deep hole (3-5 foot quick drop off), and/or splitshot is spooking fish, and/or faster current.

#1-Fish three flies with actual droppers coming off the main leader in a czech nymph or highstick type of drift. Place heavier fly (anchor fly) in the rig to get the flies down. I don't plan on catching fish with say #8 worm or large weighted czech style nymph but I do expect to catch fish with the smaller flies #16-#22. So basically I just added the larger fly to get the smaller flies I really want to fish down and into the zone.

#2-Double wrap the lead (althought in this case you may not be able to..theres only so much you can put on a #18). To do this place .015 with close side by side wraps and then lay .010 wraps inside the larger lead wraps.

#3- Use a sink tip leader

Hope this helps,
John G.
 

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Anybody ever use those tungsten czech nymph 'bodies' that crimp onto a hook for weight? Heavy little dingers, aren't they?

I've never gotten around to getting lead tape, but have found lots of ways of getting creative with lead wire and beads. I've even used 'quick-descent' dubbing, which sounds great on paper, but guys, it's aluminum. Not *that* heavy... looks cool though. I have a few patterns like the 'Dog Nobbler' which uses a split shot clamped onto the hook like a bead. (doesn't always stay on forever though).

Ok, 720, here's a good 'un: I like the sand thing - now if you use the heavy, pyrite laden sand from say, South Park (or Chatfield, for that matter), and wrap 'er up, do you get much help there? (sorry, just couldn't help myself!)
 

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Thanks, John. I was getting ready to leave for work when I made that last post.

If you have access to a copy of Gary Soucie's "Woolly Wisdom", it's in there.
 
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