Let's start the new year on a happy, positive, optimistic note. So, let today be a day to recognize good in the world and to hope that the new year is full of hope, kindness, compassion, respect, and tolerance for each other. It starts with each of us.
Passengers Give Up Their Seats So Man Can Get Liver Transplant Just In Time
We've all be at the gate when the airline announces that volunteers are needed because the flight is over sold. Here is a new twist on an old story....
Split Shot from Jim KuKorolo
Jim talks to us today about all things split shot. Color, size, type, drift, all affect the way the trout responds to your flies.
What are your thoughts?
If you read my article on Tips to Improve Your Fly Fishing or High Sticking with a Strike Indicator, you know I believe in adding weight to get flies in the strike zone. I believe it's one of the most common mistakes fly fishermen make and the reason they struggle to catch fish. I truly believe that the difference between a good nymph fisherman and a better one is one split shot.
It is critical that you be able to recognize if you are fishing with enough weight. This is where a strike indicator is very useful in helping you determine that. One rule of thumb is to add weight so that your strike indicator is moving slightly slower than the bubbles on the water. Keep in mind that the surface of the water is moving faster than the water on the bottom of the stream. When my strike indicator is moving as slow or slower than the bubbles, I know that my flies are on the bottom and in contact with my strike indicator.
Types of Split Shot – I prefer black, brown, green or camo color over the shiny silver types. One time I had to buy the silver ones with the tabs and I ended up spray painting them black. I prefer the smooth one type without the tabs because they are round and will roll easier on the stream bottom. Although you can reuse the ones with the tabs and take them off easier, it is difficult to find them in smaller sizes. The green coated shot seems to stay in place better and doesn't slide down the leader. My personal choice is Black Bird split shot in sizes BB-1 to BB-4 and they come in an easy to use dispenser.
Tungsten Putty – Putting a split shot on your tippet can pinch the tippet and weaken it. So that leads me to tungsten putty. I just recently started to experiment with tungsten putty. Fellow guide Tom Harris got a tip from George Daniels to put a small split shot on the tippet and form tungsten putty around the split shot in a football shape. I found that it stays on the split shot nicely and lasts a long time. It is easy to apply and easy to add to and remove. Plus it's reusable.
Tip: A lot of older guys (myself included) find small split shot hard to put on the tippet. Tungsten paste might be just the ticket to easily add weight without struggling with small split shot.
Tippet material – The size of the nymph dictates the size of my tippet. Size 12 hooks and larger I use 3x or 4x. Hooks size 14 and smaller I generally use 5x. I like to use slightly heavier tippet when fishing nymphs. It allows for hard hook sets and I don't leave as many flies on the bottom of the stream or in a trout’s mouth.
Tip: Rule of thumb, I cut a piece the length of my arm to attach my dropper nymph. Which is about two foot long.
Split shot between the two tandem nymphs
This is my standard go to set up when fishing two nymphs when I want both nymphs to be on the bottom of the stream and in the trout strike zone:
1. If both nymphs are weighted with lead wrapped on the hook or with a tungsten bead it will eliminate using split shot between the two nymphs. If I still need more weight, I add split shot between the two nymphs. I especially like this set-up for early spring and cold water conditions.
2. Dark or discolored water. I use an attractor fly such as a red or pink squirmy wormy as the lead fly trailing my nymph 24 inches behind the lead fly. In discolored water the squirmy wormy gets the attention of the trout and if the fish refuses the squirmy wormy he might pick up the nymph.
Split shot in front of my tandem nymphs
1. When I'm fishing two small nymphs (sizes 18-22) I shorten the distance between the two flies and put my split shot in front of the lead fly. By keeping the smaller nymphs close together it will help the trout to see them easier. Placing the split shot 12 inches in front of the lead fly will give you a more natural drift.
2. When I’m fishing something like a large weighted stone fly nymph as the lead nymph and trailing a mayfly nymph such as a March Brown, I lengthen the distance between the two flies allowing the trailing nymph to move freely behind and drift slightly off the stream bottom. For a more natural drift I prefer an unweighted nymph. In this situation I don't like to use bead head nymphs.
3. During the Fall season I've had a lot of success fishing an egg pattern as the lead fly and trailing a soft hackle caddis pattern. I prefer placing the split shot in front of the egg so that it is rolling on the bottom allowing the soft hackle caddis to kind of dance and move through the water.
Where I place my split shot depends greatly on water conditions, time of season, type of water and what flies I'm fishing. Split shot placement on your tandem nymph rig will determine how the flies are presented to the trout. It can be the difference between a bad day and a good day on the water.
Please let me know through the Comments section (view from a browser) of the blog if you have any questions or comments. We love hearing from our readers.
Thanks for reading. Hope to see you on the water.