Friday Fly Day - It's Not All About Weight

Why go unweighted?

Light flies move about better and more naturally in tricky currents, obviously have benefits in slower or shallower water and are just the ticket when fish are feeding high in the water column. As well as being much easier to cast, they present less splashdown than beaded patterns, a stealthy option for spooky, late summertime fish. But don’t think unweighted patterns are only for shallow reaches. There are a host of ways to get light flies deep, and many reasons why you should do so.

Weight the leader

Simply slipping a tungsten bead of a suitable colour onto the tippet above your unweighted fly creates an immediate beadhead. Loon black drops pinched onto the tippet six inches above your fly will both attain depth, and allow your flies to move more naturally than a heavily leaded fly or simply use a heavier, second nymph on the leader in a truck and trailer, or dropper style rig. The ability to change the weight of your rig makes your fly selection that much more adaptable to conditions.

Consider tippet diameter and leader set up

Ever thought of fishing a long, light, level leader. Thinner diameter nylon cuts through the column more easily than leader material of thicker mass and so requires less weight to get down. Accordingly, the progressively thicker butt section of tapered leaders will hold up in the film, and provide resistence to your nymphs as they sink. Consider a lighter, level trace from your indicator through to your flies.

Remove tension

Even the heaviest fly wont get too deep if fished on a tight line, and drag is present.


Simply swing a Simon’s Ugly across and down in swift water and you will see how high it rides in the water. Now try again, this time casting upstream and allowing it to drift back towards you.

Introducing controlled slack line is a way to get lighter flies deeper and allow any weight from the hook or dressing to do its thing. Slack line is essential for any drag free drift so you should employ tuck casts, reaches and piles wherever applicable to remove the tension from your line and to allow your flies to get deeper.

Try adding these new Manic patterns to your arsenal the next time you get out on the river...

Real Meal Brown

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