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Thread: Wire weight wrap

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Sep 2008
    Knoxville, TN

    Default Wire weight wrap

    I'm not a big fan of tying nymphs with bead heads for various reasons. I have been using a lot of Hugh Hartstell's tutorials on tying, and he seems to use a lot of the wire weight wrap (.015 non-toxic).

    The other day, I acidentally bought .025 wire weight. Is this going to be too big for #12, 14, & 16 nymphs? I tied a few pheasant tails with it, but they seem to be a little heavy. I have only been doing 6-7 wraps, instead of the 10-15 that Hugh suggests with the .015.

    The other thing I have noticed is that it seems to point the tail at a weird angle, since the barbs are stacked onto the thicker wire weight and then tied down to the hook shank/bend area.

    Any thoughts?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Dec 2008


    I use lead wire, or non-toxic, for BHPT's, Princes, etc when I tie a nymph pattern as you want to get the fly down deep to get the fishes attention. You can vary the size, and # of wraps to get the weight you want. I've found that it helps to wrap the hook shank with Unithread before adding the wire. Seems to keep the wire from slipping down the shank toward the hook bend.

    You can also use copper wire, tied as a rib, to add weight. A Brassie, or zebra midge, can have the abdomen tied with wire. You really have a lot of choices as to how you want to tie the fly.

    Yes, Hugh's tutorials were/are a great help to me. I know Hugh, used his flies, and i have a great respect for him as a tyier, as a guide, and as a friend. I stand in awe of his tying abilities, and hope someday to get close to his level of expertise.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Sep 2008
    Andersonville, TN


    I have not been tying that long and am far from an expert. So...

    One thing that I have found that helps me prevent slipping is to put a small coat of head cement on the wire once on the hook. I usually will spend a little time putting lead on hooks before I start the actual tying process.

    If I really want to weight a hook down I will put one layer of wire on (7-8 wraps) and then put another 4-5 wraps toward the front, but not all the way, of the initial wrap.

    The weird angle can likely be corrected by less wire toward the hook bend.

    I would also stay out of the Fat Tire while tying.

    Hope this helps.

    jasonkelkins at yahoo dot com

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Hillbilly Hollow, NC


    That wire is a little heavier than I would use for those size nymphs. Most of the time I like the wire to be about the diameter of the hook. Here's what you can do though to take care of the weight and tail issue. Just make 3 or 4 wraps wire under the thorax area. You are going to build that area up anyway. Make 3 or 4 wraps and build a thread dam in front of and behind the wire, now cover the wire with thread and apply a couple drops of cement. Leave enough room to tie the tail and body on without any wire underneath. Notice how I tied in the wire in this link and left enough room to tie in the tail and body material so that it would make a smooth transition. I think the wire in just the thorax area would be fine. It will allow you to keep the body slender and it will give the fly a jigging action.
    Last edited by flyman; 04-21-2010 at 03:13 PM. Reason: 42
    "Have no fear of perfection - you'll never reach it."
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  5. #5
    Join Date
    Dec 2008


    I agree with you that wire at the thorax will make the fly "nose" heavy and sink like a jig. Another option is to tie the wire on the rear half of the shank and the the nymph will sink tail first. Either method is valid, just depends on how you want the fly to appear under water as it sinks.
    Choices, and choices, and choices. I still have a lot to learn in tying flies, but some guys from the local TU chapter meet every Saturday morning, and I'm invited if I bring doughnuts. HA HA! But seriously, I have learned alot just in the last month, blows my mind.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Mar 2006


    Some suggestions- 1)Use the .025 to tie some stonefly nymphs- big ones. Smokies fly fishers have concentrated on the Mayflies and Caddis and neglected the huge Stoneflies we have. Look at the size of the nymphal husks on the rocks stonefly nymphs are large. If you follow the fishing reports, the guys hunting those big browns aren't throwing #14 and 16's.
    2) Lead free wire is lighter than lead. So we have more bulk for the same weight.
    3) A rule of thumb is to use lead wire the same thickeness as your hook shank.
    4) A problem most freestone nymphers have is getting their nymphs deep enough. I tie my stonefly nymphs with two tungsten beads one at the thorax and a brown or black for the head. I wrap lead free wire between them. I dubb over the bead and wire at the thorax.
    5) With the problems at the tail, wrap a little dubbing.
    6) Is where we put the wire on the nymph (other than altering the nymph's shape) really a factor after we attach a tippet resulting in drag, other forces? My personal opinion -90% of time its more important to get the depth.

    Randall Sale
    the Kytroutbum

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Nov 2008
    Norris, TN


    You can always just tie in a strip length wise along the shank. Just put it through the hook eye and slide it down the bottom of the shank. Wrap it in and busy (as D. Cammiss would say..) the part at the hook eye to break it loose.

    You can flatten the lead out too. Just unwind a manageable length and place it on a piece of wood and tap it with a heavy spoon.
    Last edited by MadisonBoats; 04-26-2010 at 03:57 PM. Reason: ABCs
    “Every human has four endowments- self awareness, conscience, independent will, & creative imagination.
    These give us the ultimate human freedom... The
    to choose, to respond, to change.”

  8. #8
    Join Date
    May 2010
    Hartselle, Al


    I have found that using the woven wire method allows me to add uniform weight across the entire hook. The beadhead could be left off the pattern in this link and may work for you

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