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Trout’s Tips & Tricks - weight, it really is important!

November 18, 2010
Author: Trouts Staff

Tips-&-TricksLet’s face it, nymph fishing can be a complicated and confusing technique to many anglers.  While in theory it seems amazingly basic and rudimentary, the actual process can be overwhelming and the results may not always imply success.  This is often due to the multidimensional nature of nymphing.  Unlike fishing dry flies, where all you have to worry about is whether you can see the fly on the surface, nymphing involves many factors that the angler can’t see like varying currents, underwater objects, and the general contours of the river bottom.  The most common mistake that anglers make when nymphing involves how much, or how little weight they are putting on their line.  So for this weeks Trout’s Tips & Tricks, I wanted to go over some strategies that I use when it comes to weight selection and use.

Lead or Tin, which is better?

When it comes to purchasing weight, I always prefer split shot as apposed to putty.  I find it easier to apply and use, and I find that it tends to stay on my leader much better than any putty I have ever tried.  Now that said, many people ask whether they should purchase tin or lead.  The answer to this question comes down to ethics really.  Lead was the original material that split shot was made out of, and although works great because of its density, it is toxic to fish and waterfowl.  Tin on the other hand is a non-toxic alternative, but it isn’t nearly has dense so it require more split shot to equal the weight of lead.  Whether you want to use lead or tin is entirely up to you, all I ask is that if you use lead split shot, please be sure an pack out what ever you packed in.

How much split shot should I use?

This is where people have varying opinions, and ultimately it all has to do with the river you’re on, and more specifically the run you’re fishing.  The general rule of thumb in nymph fishing is that you want the distance from your indicator to the first fly to by 1 1/2 times the depth of the water.  So the amount of weight you want on your line depends on how shallow or deep the water is.  In addition, you need to also take into account the speed at which the water is flowing.  There isn’t a table or anything that tells you how much weight to use in a certain situation, so this is a skill that you will need to develop on your own.

What size split shot should I use?

When it comes to the size of weight that I use, I go by the rule of thumb that smaller is better.  By this I mean that instead of placing one large piece of split shot on my line, I typically use a number of smaller split shots that will equal the weight of the larger one.  By doing this, I can easily alter the depth of my nymph rig by adding more and taking off a few slip shot.  This in turn allows me to alter my depth by a matter of inches, not feet, which can often be the difference between catching fish and not catching fish.  In addition, this is a great strategy during low water times of year, as micro sized split shot (size 1-8) can assist you in getting your flies down, but now get your rig so deep that you keep getting hung up.

So the next time you’re on the river and setting up your nymph rig, keep these tips in mind as they will really help get you into more fish.

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