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Thread: Weighted or unweighted?

  1. #1
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    Mar 2009
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    Question Weighted or unweighted?

    I seldom fish weighted nymphs, I also seldom catch fish lol. What about you guys? I really find that weighted nymphs mess with my casting but thatís just me. What about you? I just watched a video on YouTube that says that most of the fish are in the bottom 20% of the water column. It got me to thinking.

    hNt
    ďA man fishing for minnows, no matter how beautiful the minnow, is not after fish.Ē
    A man called Boomer

  2. #2
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    Nov 2008
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    Quote Originally Posted by hungNtree View Post
    I seldom fish weighted nymphs, I also seldom catch fish lol. What about you guys? I really find that weighted nymphs mess with my casting but thatís just me. What about you? I just watched a video on YouTube that says that most of the fish are in the bottom 20% of the water column. It got me to thinking.

    hNt
    I recommend you use some type of weighted fly for most nymphing rigs.

    I have discovered in many years of underwater videos; that the flies move all over the place in underwater turbulents. I suspecut the idea that most aquatic nymphs are neutrally bouyant and their physical structure make them drift in the current in a catanonic fashion. Light weight flies tend to move all of the water column with line tension and various cross currents.

    So; I tend to use a weighted fly that is proportional to the tippet and current I am fishing. It takes some trial and error to dial in. But, the general idea is to use heavier weight when fishing heavier tippet and in stronger currents.

    POI: I have found that using tungsten beads instead of brass can increase your take rate significantly.

    Hope this helps you out and gives you a different perspective. Note; most of my fishing is on tailwaters and not freestone streams. There are some top-notch mountain guys on here that can clarify the better freestone approaches.
    ďEvery human has four endowments- self awareness, conscience, independent will, & creative imagination.
    These give us the ultimate human freedom... The
    power
    to choose, to respond, to change



  3. #3
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    Feb 2016
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    Farragut TN
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    If you tie your own flies you can vary the weight of a nymph by your choice of tungsten bead size, by adding lead-free wire weight, or by adding both a bead or wire. You can vary the diameter of the wire or the amount you wrap on the hook. If is sometimes useful to have the same pattern in different weights. Heavier flies are useful for deeper pools or higher water levels when you want the fly near the bottom. If you have flies in different weights you can avoid adding split shot, which I find makes detecting strikes and getting a good drift more difficult. Fishing deep with weighted jig hooks helps reduce snags on the bottom, although does not eliminate them. I find if my nymph doesn’t bounce occasionally I am not fishing deep enough.

  4. #4
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    Feb 2017
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    Townsend, TN
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    I tie my own flies and nymphs. I used a bead and lead wire on the hook for all of my nymphs. I also use a BB size split shot around 6 inches above the nymph. I have no trouble casting this rig as I don't really cast. The small Park streams I fish are not conducive to a traditional cast anyway because of their size, so I just flip the nymph out there and usually only a few feet. I use a 9 to 12 foot leader and the fly line itself seldom even touches the water as I hold the rod out and high. I guess you could call this high stick nymph fishing. It works for me but YMMV.
    Joe

  5. #5
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    May 2016
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    Seymour, TN
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    If there is room in the water to fish weighted nymphs, I fish them! I don't think anybody would disagree that you'd catch more fish on the weighted version of a given fly on something like Little River below Elkmont. It just gets deeper faster and covers more water in the strike zone than the unweighted version (provided it is tied nicely and not with a huge brass bead or something that changes the look a lot). I do think unweighted flies are still way better than the weighted version if you don't have enough depth. You can dead drift an unweighted fly right in the sweet spot on Road Prong or most brookie streams a lot easier than you can tight-line a weighted nymph. I use these a lot on small streams like upper Road Prong, upper Lynn Camp, West Prong of Little River, etc: https://www.etsy.com/listing/6179945...ginger-3-flies. There is also a lot of options between unweighted and tungsten bead, lead wired flies too. Even that pale ginger fly I linked with a clear glass bead would be awesome on small streams. I also don't use split shot, because if I have a weighted nymph and still need split shot, I might as well be using my spinning rod . You could use a weighted 2-fly dropper instead of split shot and double your odds anyway. Or a weighted nymph with an unweighted dropped off of it.

  6. #6
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    Feb 2017
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    Quote Originally Posted by IsaacMTSU View Post
    If there is room in the water to fish weighted nymphs, I fish them! I don't think anybody would disagree that you'd catch more fish on the weighted version of a given fly on something like Little River below Elkmont. It just gets deeper faster and covers more water in the strike zone than the unweighted version (provided it is tied nicely and not with a huge brass bead or something that changes the look a lot). I do think unweighted flies are still way better than the weighted version if you don't have enough depth. You can dead drift an unweighted fly right in the sweet spot on Road Prong or most brookie streams a lot easier than you can tight-line a weighted nymph. I use these a lot on small streams like upper Road Prong, upper Lynn Camp, West Prong of Little River, etc: https://www.etsy.com/listing/6179945...ginger-3-flies. There is also a lot of options between unweighted and tungsten bead, lead wired flies too. Even that pale ginger fly I linked with a clear glass bead would be awesome on small streams. I also don't use split shot, because if I have a weighted nymph and still need split shot, I might as well be using my spinning rod . You could use a weighted 2-fly dropper instead of split shot and double your odds anyway. Or a weighted nymph with an unweighted dropped off of it.
    I have to respectively disagree about using split shot. I use weighted nymphs and still use split shot. If I use a two fly rig, I will put a split shot between the two nymphs. I am in much better control of my fly (flies) when using the weighted nymphs AND the split shot than I think I would be if using a spinning rod. I'm not talking about attaching a boat anchor to my line; just a BB size split shot. I am more successful (I catch more trout with the split shot than without it) if I can get the nymphs down deep and tick along the bottom. However, if someone wanted to use a boat anchor on his line and use a pool cue instead of a fly rod, I am not going to question him. Remember what that Canadian handyman extraordinaire and soothsayer Red Green of PBS fame says, "Any tool can be the right tool."
    Joe
    Last edited by xvigauge; 05-21-2019 at 12:36 PM. Reason: addition

  7. #7
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    Apr 2007
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    Kodak, TN
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    I always use a tandem rig of 2 weighted nymphs. The top is a #8 tied with weight on the hook shank. Sometimes I use a #6 grampus. For the bottom, a #8 to a #14.
    The weight makes it easier to high stick and I can adjust the depth my my cast & how I work my Line.
    The main reason I tied my own flies in the past was money. Now, itís because the patterns are, for the most part, not found in stores and not weighted as I do.

    Jim Parks

  8. #8
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    I fish a double nymph rig about 90% of the time. More and more it's a drop shot type of set up that uses weighted flies and spilt shot below the flies. If you aren't getting the fly down in the water column near the bottom when you are nymph fishing you aren't going to catch many fish most days. I'm sure a lot of the methods I use are dictated by the type of water I like to fish, larger and deeper runs. If you are fishing small streams that are shallow you may be fine with unweighted flies or dropper.
    "Have no fear of perfection - you'll never reach it."
    Salvador Dali

  9. #9
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    NC side of the Smokies
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    Heavily, heavily weighted. I tie them with tungsten beads and as much lead wire as I can wrap on the shank. And sometimes split shot on the tippet. If you're trying to fish nymphs by making long casts, you're not going to know when you get a hit, anyway. I'm rarely nymph fishing more than 20 feet from my feet.
    Specks: the other pink meat.

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