Seeing Double

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“Seeing Double”

by Philip Monahan
illustrations by Bill Tipton
Pay more attention to how you construct and fish tandem rigs, and you'll catch more trout.
The length of a nymph dropper should be determined by where the fish are feeding in the water column. If trout are taking nymphs right below the surface, a 6-inch dropper will put the fly in the right zone. Earlier in the hatch, before there are many duns on the water, an 18-inch dropper may take more fish. If you want the fly right near the bottom, a 30-inch dropper will do the trick in shallow water.
A Tangled Subject

ALTHOUGH MULTI-FLY RIGS are around for hundreds of years and have forever remained common in Europe, fishing quite one pattern was nearly a forgotten science during this country till regarding fifteen years agone. In fact, even once fishing magazines flooded the market with tandem-rig stories, several anglers outside the chain took a protracted time to catch on. for example, my older brother, Brian, has been fly fishing since the late Seventies, however he had ne'er fished 2 flies till we have a tendency to traveled to Wyoming last summer. Troll many web message boards, and you’ll realize that an oversized portion of the angling community continues to be discovering the effectiveness of this “modern” technique.

But there’s an enormous distinction between merely hanging a Copper John off the rear of a grasshopper pattern (a rig normally called the “Hopper-Dropper”) and incorporating two-fly systems into your everyday fishing arsenal. several associate degreeglers think about the second fly as nothing quite an add-on, not as associate degree integral a part of their military science approach, and that they treat bike rigging as a one-size-fits-all subject. Oftentimes, speakers or writers can discuss with a “standard” bike rig that options a nymph tied to a 12-inch (or 18-inch, or 24-inch, and then on) pipette. however such a “standard” fails to require into consideration water depth, current speed, weight of the nymph, and every one the opposite myriad variables you’ll face on the stream. to use the total potential of two-fly rigs, you’ve have to be compelled to place identical quantity of thought into the elements, construction, and performance of your rig as you place into matching the hatch.

The Clincher

The first hurdle associate degree angler needs to live through is worry of knots. I came late to two-fly rigs as a result of I couldn’t see myself fastening blood knots with extra-long tag ends, that were needed for the old-style pipette systems I saw illustrated in my grandfather’s books. (To be honest, I examine those self same diagrams currently and marvel what intimidated Pine Tree State regarding them.) however the primary time I saw somebody clinch-knot the pipette to the bend of the highest fly — it had been a fellow orient Depuy’s spring creek — I mentally maltreated myself silly for not having discovered such a straightforward answer on my very own.
The combination of a heavy beadhead and a more buoyant nymph can be deadly. Dead-drifted, this rig puts the larger fly on the bottom, while the bottom fly imitates an insect that has been knocked into the drift. If you twitch your rod tip, you can make the bottom nymph dive and rise again, which often triggers a strike.
There area unit still lots of fly fishermen WHO tie blood-knot pipette rigs, and that i understand guys WHO swear that this technique can forever outfish associate degree in-line, clinch-knotted system. I smile and nod after they justify their reasoning, however I’ve ne'er seen any proof to support the assertion. for example, guides build their living by catching fish, and I’ve ne'er seen a professional tie any quite bike rig aside from in-line. positive that’s associate degree unscientific  sampling, however it’s adequate on behalf of me. The in-line rig is simpler to tie, easier to forged, and tangles less.

You can build the knot-tying processes easier in many ways that. Some realize that the loop at rock bottom of the clinch knot tends to slip off the hook even as they struggle to string the rag through. By merely holding the highest fly the wrong way up (e.g., hook up), you'll solve this drawback.
A tandem rig featuring a nymph on top and a streamer on the bottom imitates a baitfish feeding on emerging nymphs. Oftentimes, a large trout that isn't interested in the nymph will take the opportunity to whack the baitfish imitation.


Several years agone, a Green guide showed Pine Tree State a slick thanks to tie the clinch knot within the leader material initial then slide the loop onto the hook. (See directions on fastening a straightforward pipette Loop at rock bottom of this text.) If you’re acquainted with the water you’ll be fishing — and thus perceive what sorts of bike rigs you’ll would like — you'll tie {the 2|the 2} flies along reception and carry the whole rigs rolled up in recent film canisters (for a dry and a nymph) or leader envelopes (for two nymphs). Then all you’ve have to be compelled to do is tie on the highest fly, and you’re in business.

Matched Pairs

There is no limit to the amount of helpful 2-fly combos you'll use: two drys, a dry associate degreed an emerger, a dry and a nymph, two nymphs, 2 streamers, a streamer and a nymph, and on and on. though I’ve ne'er tried it, I will even think about a handful of things during which you’d need to fish a fly with a streamer as a pipette (or even vice versa). the subject of fly selection is just too huge for one article, therefore we have a tendency to won’t take away a lot of into specific pairings; clearly, you wish to use patterns that imitate the insects or baitfish that area unit accessible to trout. (See “Useful bike Fly Combinations” for many selection alternatives.)
The perfect summertime tandem-rig fly box features plenty of big attractor drys and various nymph patterns of different weights. With this fly selection, you can cover a lot of water. Sandy Hays photo

But before you tie on any 2 flies, take many moments to raise yourself a elementary however too usually unnoticed question:What am I making an attempt to try to to with this rig? As fly fishermen, we have a tendency to do plenty things out of habit or tradition. different times, the course of action is therefore obvious that it needs very little examination — once you will see trout slurping down duns, you tie on your nighest imitation of what’s on the water. however once it’s not therefore clear what the trout area unit uptake, most folks would be happier if we have a tendency to spent longer assessing matters and thinking through our approach before we have a tendency to started casting. this is often very true once you’re victimization 2 flies, as a result of the ways in which the flies move with one another becomes vitally vital to the presentation.

The large question on top of may be diminished into 2 parts: (1) however area unit the fish feeding? and (2) however am i able to construct a two-fly rig which will exploit this feeding behavior? the solution to question one is typically simply a guess (hopefully an informed one), however you're in complete management of question two.

For instance, if a hatch is fully swing however the fish aren’t taking the duns, you recognize that you simply ought to tie on a nymph as a pipette to imitate the rising naturals. That’s simply logic. however however long ought to the pipette be? Before you attach that second fly, you wish to work out the actual stage of the hatch and observe the behavior of the fish.

If there area unit simply many duns on the water and you don’t however see feeding fish close to the surface, a nymph on a 24-inch {dropper|eye pipette|pipet|pipette} can nearly always catch additional fish than a nymph on a 6-inch dropper as a result of the trout area unit searching for nymphs lower within the water column. But, if trout area unit porpoising slightly below the surface, that shorter pipette line may be simply the price tag as a result of it puts the fly right wherever the fish expect to envision it. reckoning on however deep and quick the water is, you may would like a 30-inch pipette to imitate the nymphs swimming up from the stream bed within the moments simply before the duns begin shooting up on the surface. Clearly, associate degree angler WHO indiscriminately chooses a 12- or 18-inch pipette each time out isn't giving himself the most effective probabilities to attain.

You must additionally place confidence in however the flies can behave within the water. once you’ve got 2 nymphs on, for example, the drift of every are suffering from the opposite, and you'll use this to your advantage. If you see trout in quick, clear water feeding on tiny ephemeropteran nymphs close to rock bottom, you’ve got a tough presentation drawback. you wish to urge alittle Pheasant Tail down quick, however build it look as if it’s drifting free.
An Easy Dropper Loop Some people have difficulty making the clinch knot on the hook bend. The line has a tendency to slip off, especially if the hook is barbless, and some­times the hackle or tail gets in the way. Gene Gautieri, a guide on Utah's Green River, showed me a neat trick to avoid these problems — tying the clinch knot in the tippet material before you attach it to the hook bend. 1. Start by making a small loop in one end of the tippet material, and put two fingers inside the loop. (I've used fly line here for better visibility.) 2. Next, twist the loop six times. 3. With the tag end, go through the loop and then back through the second loop created by the tag end and the standing line. 4. Snug up the knot, and you've got a clinch knot with a loop that will slip. Put the loop around the hook bend, and tighten it up. Voila! Michelle Boisse photo

Tie on a bead-head nymph because the prime fly, then confirm the length of the pipette mantle by asking however faraway rock bottom you’d just like the second, lighter fly to be. The significant bead-head can drag the lighter fly down within the water column, however a protracted pipette can permit the Pheasant Tail to drift on top of the stream bed and be storm-tossed by tiny changes within the current, a bit like the $64000 factor. A shorter pipette can keep the second fly nearer to rock bottom.

A good friend and heavy angler likes to use the mix of a bead-head stone fly imitation and a buoyant ephemeropteran pattern. He reasons that “swimmer” nymphs, like blue-winged olives andIsonychia, that get knocked into the drift can wriggle their approach back to rock bottom as quick as they'll and trout should be conditioned to eat these nymphs before they'll reach safety. The bead-head fly gets the rig right down to rock bottom, and therefore the buoyant fly drifts on top of it. By spasm the rod tip, my friend makes the second fly dive toward rock bottom sort of a panic-stricken natural. this is often an excellent setup to use in an exceedingly slow pool below a riffle.

This is the proper example of associate degree angler WHO has rigorously thought-about however best to create his two-fly rig imitate a particular behavior which will elicit strikes. for several folks, what makes fly fishing such a lot additional attention-grabbing than different kinds of fishing is that it needs US to suppose through the assorted processes — rigging, casting, drifting, and therefore the like — needed to catch fish. Building and victimization bike rigs ought to be supported that very same method of inquiry and drawback resolution.

If you’ve ne'er tried fishing a bike rig, provides it a shot; there’s nothing terribly difficult regarding the setup, and it'll increase your probabilities of hook up. If you already fish 2 flies, you'll build the sport additional attention-grabbing and productive by trade every bike rig to the particular conditions you discover on the water. Do away with the notion of a “standard” rig, and use your ability to browse water and your information of trout behavior to fashion a two-fly system which will offer you the most effective probability to attach.
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