Let the water do the magic

I usually reserve the heavier beaded flies for deeper water and try to limit my fishing of them. But I will use a copper wire weighed fly or heavier hook fly with stiff hackle in high gradient water. I find a heavier bead will often get hung up unless you tight line it and tight lining can often be pulling the fly out of the zone. I will put a lot of slack in my presentation, and the current will grab hold of the fly and really deliver it naturally to where the fish hold. I feel it is equally effective as beads, but really reduces the risk of catching bottom and requires a lot more lost and found in presentation. Something alternate to try. This is not textbook but rather a presentation that I have done since I was a teen drifting garden worms to trout. The water is a vehicle for presentation. It naturally lifts the fly around obstructions, where a bead will always settle on the bottom.

The American Beauty plastic bag scene comes to mind as a best illustration of the method. This inanimate bag becomes alive in the medium of air. The same applies to our flies in water. If the bag were attached to a line it would not move naturally…it would be a mechanical arc. If you introduce slack, your fly will dance in the eddies and micro eddies, just like most of the forage the trout are keyed in on. It will also deliver your fly in nooks you would never be able to reach with a tight line. I will periodically pulse the fly to check for a fish. It works really well. It is my favorite presentation.


I have to say that I still struggle to wean myself from heavier beads – but last summer I did a lot more of what you describe here with stiff hackle wets. Maybe wire ribbing and a heavy hook for weight, but lighter tippet and more slack and swing, with some tugs to regain contact but a lot of “wishful thinking, leaps of faith” in letting the fly tumble…and it paid off many times. My motivation to really try fishing with less weight was both to gain skill since I know many tenkara anglers practice this (I am not in the hungry-trout high gradient part of the country)…but also to be more versatile with one setup…more depths, more options for manipulation.

I was trying that this morning but the wind was so bad that even heavy beads were problematic. Under these conditions when the lighting is good, I think I need to get back to experimenting with clear fluoro level lines (the last time this failed miserably since I get so much from watching the line, and fish in wooded areas most of the time). It seems like having more line on /in the water in more of a swing is the lesser evil when compared to letting the level line get blown around.

perfect video.

@Lance_Lascari We can fish in wind but I tend to just skip the windiest of days.

I fish about 3 patterns but in different weights. Light, medium, and medium heavy. Light is light hook no wire. Medium is ribbed with copper. Medium heavy is a copperjohn underwrap of about 8 turns biased to the can of the fly, then ribbed forward. This tail weigh is better than a head weigh of a bead as the posture is more naturalistic.

I pick a weight that will float or swim on its own in current. Meaning the weight that will suspend in current. I do not imagine the fly tumbling on the bottom but rather suspended in current and the stiff hackle acts like a sail to give it loft as in the video of the plastic bag. This is a really important concept when choosing weight, we need to pair it with the force we are putting it in.

Yes this is the idea. One fly, no changing, fishing it different ways in the same water. I try all the ways …then move. Versatility.


3 Words: Try Jig Hooks! With and with out beads…Karl.

Karl, I do use jig hooks and understand the benefits but actually prefer other hooks for bead free flies. I feel i get better hooksets with an inline eye/shank, but do like jighooks when using a bead.

You can do other things with Jig Hooks than tying only with Beads. Here is an example:

Probably, the main takeaway from the above video is that your tippet to fly knot has a lot more to do with Letting The Water Do It’s Magic than the fly you are casting does…Karl.