View Full Version : Dropper?

10-30-2009, 08:19 PM
Alright fellas.I've been flyfishing a long time and am somewhat a dryfly purist.Love seeing the take!Nymphing has always been a sort of last resort.I've caught fish this way and am getting better with the technique.Now-over the last year or so reading all the posts on this very informative forum,:smile:,I've noticed all the refs to droppers.I can imagine the effectiveness but have coupla ?'s.How to rig and length of tippet between dry+nymph?

10-30-2009, 08:34 PM
Swampus I am sure there are far more qualified folks on here to advise you on this issue, but here is my take on it. I generally go about two feet on my dropper. That is really not a constant. It really depends on the depth of the water. I have also had a lot of luck using an emerger behind a dry. This works very well on tailwaters.


10-30-2009, 08:41 PM
Alright fellas.I've been flyfishing a long time and am somewhat a dryfly purist.Love seeing the take!Nymphing has always been a sort of last resort.I've caught fish this way and am getting better with the technique.Now-over the last year or so reading all the posts on this very informative forum,:smile:,I've noticed all the refs to droppers.I can imagine the effectiveness but have coupla ?'s.How to rig and length of tippet between dry+nymph?

Lots of variations and possibilities. Typically, I tie a length of tippet to the curve of the hook. Usually long enough to get the nymph to the bottom on a dead drift below the dry fly. In most of the waters in the smokies, 18-24", sometimes less rarely more but sometimes more.

I'm not a know guru so I just tie it on with a clinch knot. It's easy and I can tie that knot in my sleep. There are other knots that wok as well and I'm sure are stronger. Old habits die hard.

If I'm fishing a wet fly that is an emerger riding in the surface film or just below, I may tie it shorter. On the tailwaters when fishing little #20 and smaller griffiths gnats and midges, I will sometimes tie on a larger dry fly and use it essentially as an idnicator because those tiny flies are really hard to keep an eye on but the larger fly can help one keep an eye on where the smaller one really is.

I've found if I slow my casting stroke down a bit I get less tangles. with one dry and one dropper, I don't get tangled too bad. When tying multiple droppers, tangles are more problematic for me. Other guys fish multiple nymph rigs with no problems. Just depends on your casting stroke and skill. In the Smokeys, it's not a problem because one doesn't ever need to cast that far anyway. A 9' rod with about a foot or so of fly line out the end of the rod and a 9' leader is about all one needs for most of the streams.

Again, lots of opinions and lots of options.


10-30-2009, 08:42 PM
Thanks,Varmit.I can see about the depth.Guess I would have to adjust alot and these old eyes get enuff workout as it is.Thought of using a needle threader but haven't tried yet.The emerger idea is good.At the end of drift it would rise and "emerge".

10-30-2009, 08:50 PM
Thanks Jeff.Can sympathise on the #20's.Gave them up several years ago.Eyes ya know?Want a laugh?How about a deerhair mouse with a # 8 nymph as a dropper in the Cherokee Trophy section?

10-31-2009, 08:49 AM
Here's a really quick way to tie on that dropper knot, which I've always found to be a pain:

Once your indicator/hopper fly is tied on (using whatever knot you want), just pull about 2-3 feet of dropper tippet off your spool and snip it clear. Take one end of the tippet and double it back over itself so it forms a loop about three inches around. Pinch the tip end to the main body of the tippet right there where the "loop" touches, between your thumb and forefinger. Press your fingers together and roll the tippet juncture forward. This will cause the line to snap into a quick twisty "hangman's noose."

Then, simply pass the loop over the end of your indicator/hopper fly's hook, and carefully catch out the tip end from your spun loop. Pass the tip end through the loop (with the hook now inside), then wet and tighten: presto, a clinch knot you can almost tie with one hand. With practice, you can do this is ten seconds or less.

One problem I've noticed: be sure the tip end of the tippet is being rolled (in other words, don't leave a long tag when you spin up your loop). If you leave a tag, the tag itself will be rolled onto the other side of the spun loop and it will all come undone when you release pressure. You have to catch that tag end out of your spun loop while still leaving the spin in place.

Hope that's clear; if not I can probably run up a video at some point.


10-31-2009, 11:41 AM
Swampus, a couple of things.

First: My experience has been right with Jeff. Thing to be aware of (and this probably goes without saying) is that the dry has to be of sufficient size not to be dragged down by the nymph. Stimulators are great for this. As Jeff suggested, I just use a clinch knot to attach the dropping tippet to the bend of the hook. Took me some time to keep from getting tangled with every cast. Guy from the Creel in Knoxville suggested opening up the back cast a little with a little loop to keep the flies from tangling up. I fished a lot last year with nymphs just because I was determined to learn how and had a lot of success. I've fallen back to dries pretty much this year but as the water gets cooler will probably revert to the nymphs again.

Second: About a year ago, I started keeping midge threaders in my pack. There are days when I can't seem to get the tippet through the hook to save my life. I had spent way too much time struggling with it until PeteCz shared one of these threaders with me while we were out one day. Same concept as my Mother's old needle threaders. They've cut back tremendously on the time and frustration of not being able get the eyes working at times.

10-31-2009, 12:04 PM
I'll try to explain this but if it's not clear, let me know and the next time I get up off my chair (which may be a while, especially if I take a nap, feeling kind of lazy today) I'll take a picture and post it. Let me know.

I always had fits tying the tippet to the bend of the hook. The loop would always slip off as I was tightening the knot down or it would slip off the end of the hook as I was trying to get it tied. Really frustrating.

I started using my hemostats in the following way.

Picture the bend of the hook. Draw a straight line from the hook point to where the hook bend straightens out to the main shank. Now, clip the hook in your hemostats along that same line. It forms a closed loop that looks an awful lot like a hook eye. I then just run the line through the newly formed hook eye, tie it off, and presto, dropper hanging off the bend of the hook.


10-31-2009, 07:13 PM
tHANKS ,GUYS.I knew I'd get the best info here.I'm going to try that unique twisty thing.The hemestat technique sounds functional also.We'll have to invent something to hold the hemes still,short of wearing a vise! Charlie-where can I get one of those threaders? Does LRO have them?

10-31-2009, 10:22 PM
An improved clinch knot tied from the bend of the upper hook works just fine and is easy (same knot I use to ty my fly to the leader). I recommend taking the tippet size and using the same size or smaller onto the dropper. Also, use fluorocarbon on the dropper as it has a better sink rate and is more resistent to underwater abrasions.

Jim Casada
11-01-2009, 09:01 AM
Grampus (and others)--Thre additional thoughts on tandem rigs. (1) You'll save some flies in the long run if you use one size smaller tippet for the dropper, because it will break off rather than having the possibility of a break taking both flies. (2) The casting stroke needs to be purer (i. e., making sure the rod is fully loaded on the backcast before starting forward) to avoid tangles with tandem rigs; even better, and I hold this is generally true for streams in the Smokies, rely heavily on roll casts. (3) While I agree that an improved clinch knot is the logical one for attaching the tippet to the bend in the dry fly hook, I feel a Turle knot is better for attaching flies. Why? Three reasons--it is a tad stronger, it is less likely to slip, and most important, with a Turle knot the fly always lands in direct alignment with the tippet. That is not the case with an improved clinch knot.
Jim Casada
www.jimcasadaoutdoors.com (http://www.jimcasadaoutdoors.com)

11-01-2009, 10:19 AM
I pretty much do the on the hook bend dropper and 6x fluro as well for the dropper - haven't had issue with the improved clinch - as they say, if it ain't broke....
A little trick to tie on the dropper - unwind and leave tippet on the spool, make the hook bend tie then snip tippet at spool end. This creates sort of an anchor and alleviates some frustration of line slipping about.
I guess the next logical progression is go ahead, break the chains of dry fly tyranny :biggrin: snip of dry - and highstick it. Another rewarding facet of our sport that for me (in the park least) has hooked more fish than a dry/dropper combo.

Jim Casada
11-01-2009, 10:30 AM
Waterborn--There's nothing wrong with a properly tied improved clinch knot (and I'm guessing it is the one 90 percent of fly fishermen use). However, use it long enough and sooner or later you will have one slip and a tell-tale pig tail of monofilament come back to you. My real point, however, focused not on this (when one slips it is almost alway the angler's fault--he didn't cinch it tightly) but on the slight advantages of the Turle knot (which almost no one seems to know). It is 1 to 2 percent stronger (a minimal difference to be sure), BUT, because it actually ties around the shank of the hook immediately below the eye rather than directly to the eye (or the bend of the hook when an improved clinch is used to attached tippet for a dropper), the tippet and the fly are always directly aligned. That is not the case with an improved clince. Just take a fly which has been tied on with one and move the knot around the eye. You will immediately realize that the fly can be positioned at all sorts of angles vis-a-vis the tippet.
All minor stuff, but then, aren't little tidbits like this part and parcel of the sport? I know such is the case for me.
One final thought. Have you (or others) ever tried a Turle knot? Except for the need for care in "clearing" hackle as you cinch it down around a "bushy" dry fly, I find it easier than an improved clinch knot. Of course I've tied both countless thousands of times, and that may explain it. In fairness, students in beginner classes I teach annually at Sugarlands in the Smoky Mountain Field School usually find the Turle knot more difficult. However, that may be because almost all of them already know the improved clinch knot.
Jim Casada
www.jimcasadaoutdoors.com (http://www.jimcasadaoutdoors.com)

11-01-2009, 12:02 PM
Just an observation, after Pete C told me about Davy Wooton's Davy knot I'm not going back to either Turle or Improved Clinch unless I'm using 6x or thinner. For 5X and up the Davy knot is superb. google it and you will see how easy it is to tie and how strong it is if tied correctly. Thanks Pete.

11-01-2009, 12:18 PM
Since I switched to the Davy knot I have saved a bunch of time as the Davy knot is faster to tie when you are dealing with line as fine as frog hair.

The Principal
11-01-2009, 02:25 PM
How is the Davy note tied?

11-01-2009, 02:55 PM
Here is a link. This is going to be my "go to" knot when the fingers are cold.

11-01-2009, 02:58 PM
Field & Stream's Guide to Basic Camping and Fishing Knots (Now With More New Knots!) | Field & Stream (http://www.fieldandstream.com/photos/gallery/kentucky/2006/06/field-streams-guide-basic-camping-and-fishing-knots-now-more-new-kno?photo=10)

11-01-2009, 03:27 PM
Principal, a couple of tips when tying what already is a simple knot. First, where the tag end first crosses the standing end, make sure the tag end is shorter than the distance between where it crosses the standing line and the eye of the hook, and grasp this crossing which will also hold open the loop toward the hook eye. Second, think about passing the loop formed over the tag end as much as passing the tag end through the loop. It's a good knot.

11-01-2009, 04:36 PM
Jim--Yes I've used the turle (or turtle) years ago and just wasn't crazy about it - especially in winter w/ gloves on (course any knots can be a pain with wet finger tips in the winter) Something, in fairness, that your beginners may come to realize when they eventually move beyond fishing on ideal days/conditions ... but moreover, I'm just really a bad creature of habit. I went through phases of differents knots and then just stuck what works for me and used to in that respect. My main point though was attatching the tippet to hook bend with the improved clinch - which we agree works.
However, I'm liking this Davey Knot and seems to solve a few issues, especially when tailwatering fine tippets/ tiny flies and cold hands - thanks guys for the link...may have to give it a whirl...

tire guy
11-01-2009, 07:31 PM
Swampus, droppers help to catch more fish, they also catch more tangles. But if you ever catch a double it is worth all frustration! I think in the park there is a minimum of 12" separation between hooks, someone will correct me if wrong and that is ok. Otherwise I let the water depth and movement determine depth. Good questions.

11-01-2009, 08:07 PM
Tireguy I've considered that possibility.UUMM_UMM!I've seen the Turle Knot used out here on the towboats because with larger line-1/2" +up,it's a co,pressiom Knot that is easilt untied as opposed to a cutting knot.(Not doing a good job typing,dark n the wheelhouse.)But the tag end goes back thru the loop so we can pull on it to untie.Didn't think this would generate 3 pages of posts,but am not surprised at the wealth of info.If you see a big,bearded fella w/red truck streamside,stop and say hey!

11-01-2009, 08:23 PM
Sorry,it's the davy knot.Misspoke.Just practised with a piece of 1/4" line I keep in wheelhouse to teach deckhands the bowline.Very simple and excellant for Mr.Arthuritis.Jim,will look up turle.Am somewhat of a knotnut.

11-01-2009, 08:46 PM
tHANKS ,GUYS.I knew I'd get the best info here.I'm going to try that unique twisty thing.The hemestat technique sounds functional also.We'll have to invent something to hold the hemes still,short of wearing a vise! Charlie-where can I get one of those threaders? Does LRO have them?

I keep my hemostats on a zinger attached to my fly vest. My vest (Fishpond) has a loop designed to hold them (many vests also have these loops or some type of elongated pocket for holding these things.

I slip them into the loops but have the zinger attached to one of the handles. This way, when I bend over or, more likely, fall, they do not end up at the bottom of the stream or in knee deep grass somewhere. Also, the zinger works well for what you are talking about. Clip the fly hook in there, let it go, grab the tippet, grab the hemes again and tie the knot.

I find them quite useful even when threading tippet through the eye of smaller (18 and smaller) flies.

Lots of good info here. I'll have to try that Davey knot.


11-01-2009, 09:40 PM

LRO does have the midge threaders. They come 4-5 in a pack. As you might expect, the wires can break after a while so having several is a good thing. PeteCz showed me how he drilled a hole in the plastic handle so he could hook them on a zinger. Keeps them handy when you need them.

11-02-2009, 11:37 AM
THX,Charlie.I'll be at LRO Nov 16/17.Will pick up pack.Turle knot seem little complicated,but doableIsn't it harder to snip off?Also,idea-How about a barrel knot?Just stick line thru eye,tie 4 strand barrel knot,snip tag.This wouldn't cinch down on the eye and allow fly to turn freely.Barrel knot is just a reg overhand knot with the tag passed thru 4x.Pull tight and you have knot that won't pass thru eye.Also called stopper knot.To snip off,push leader back thru eye and snip off barrel.BBL knot was originally used to prevent line from passing thru a block as in block+tackle.Just for fun-take a piece of 1/4" nylon line,start on one end and tie a series of barrel kknots every 6".Grab both ends,put it around your back and SCRATCH?

11-02-2009, 11:51 AM
Addendum-If the bbl kknot works,tie so tag end is long enuff to use for the dropper.?.?Or would dry twist the tippet?Will have to experiment.