Saturday, October 30, 2010

Tandem rigs , Droppers, Multi-flies etc...

So today I was having a great day on the Big Thompson River in Colorado.  It was a great day because the weather was awesome and for whatever reason there were ducks  all around me which made for some interesting company and casting.  The fishing however started off very slow.  I think in part because I was up there fairly early and the water was still very cold, but the other part was because I don't think I had the right flies on.

As I was debating which fly to throw on I realized it has been a while since I wrote a blog post and that I was going to tell you guys about tandem rigs. When I first started off fly fishing I went out with a guide to a local stream mainly to learn as much as I could from the guide so that I would get the basics.  This is a great way to learn and I highly recommend it unless you have a buddy or someone else who can teach you.

The guide taught me right away about a tandem rig.  What this is is essentially casting multiple flies at once.  Now I had this whole speech set up on what and how you guys should do this but I did a quick look at what is becoming one of my favorite sites and found a better write up than I would have done. So check out that on how to set it up.

I will go into a little more detail as to why you should try these setups.  As I have mentioned in other articles that the diet of a fish consist primarily of underwater bugs rather than dry flies.  Yet most of us would rather fish dry flies because of the excitement of watching a fish take a dry fly.  If you hook up a tandem rig you can have the best of both worlds!

Most people nymph or streamer fish with some sort of strike indicator (my personal favorite is a Thingamabobber), but the upside to a tandem rig, or more specifically a dry-dropper, or hopper-dropper rig is that you can use the dry fly like strike indicator and the fish might actually eat it as well!  I have yet to catch a fish on a strike indicator.

So I snapped out of my daydream about blogging and decided to put this to the test.  Since the glare was really insane on the river this morning I tied on some stupidly large hopper even though it is past hopper season and then a Zebra Midge that I tied myself.  Now I have been tying flies for about a year now and I am terrible, you should have seen this Zebra Midge it was practically unraveling.  So I tie it on regardless and throw the whole rig out there and within one or two casts I caught the largest Brown trout I have ever had the pleasure of releasing.

The moral of this story?  I would have never have caught that fish had I not decided to up my chances by using a tandem rig! (Ohh and don't be scared to use your first crappy self tied flies! It felt even better knowing I created the fly that caught the largest fish I have caught!)

Here are a couple of hints for tandem rigs

  • Hit it! - This is in my head forever because of the guide that first time out.  Everytime the dry fly would pause or dip into the water the guide would yell "HIT IT" practically in my ear.  The first couple of times I said "ohh I think that was just a rock.." he would say something like ".. or it was a fish, what's the worst thing that could happen?"  So my advice to you is.... HIT IT!  If the dry fly on top does anything out of the ordinary odds are it is a fish.
  • Make sure to keep depth of the water in mind and how fast the current is.  This will tell you how long of tippet to tie onto the dry fly.   The faster the current the heavier the dropper you want to use etc.
  • Experiment! - Try all sorts of combinations.  In the article above I learned about the nymph, streamer combo.  It's a streamer fish chasing a nymph! Brilliant! So try all sorts of combos like two dry flies, a heavy nymph and then a light nymph etc.. heck even try three flies!
  • You may need to modify your cast a little as snags are a little more common the more flies you tie on.  My advice is just make sure your line is tight and you will be fine.
That's all! Please make sure to check your local fishing regulations.  Some areas have limits on how many hooks you can have in the water, so check this before you go!