The Bottom Line: Why And How To Add Weight To Your Nymph Rig

You’re up here, but the fish are down there. If you’re interested in meeting those fish (and we’ll assume that is, at least part of, the reason you’re standing on a river bank with a fly rod) then you’ve got some figuring to do. In order to get your flies down to where the fish live and eat, you’ll need to enlist the help of our old pal gravity. In other words, weight is your friend.

None of this is new, and even the most devout dry fly anglers have known for a long time that trout consume approximately 80% of their food subsurface. Many seasoned anglers will tell you that the effectiveness of a nymph is determined by whether or not it gets deep enough to be seen by a fish. The standard variables of patterns over which anglers fret (i.e. size, color, legs, collar, etc) don’t make an ounce of difference if a fish never sees the fly because it isn’t deep enough in the water column.

Here are some tips for adding weight to your rigs, so that you can get your bugs down deeper and connect with those ever-so-evasive trout.

Carry a variety of weights, or at least be willing to add/remove weight as needed.

Great anglers regularly swap flies and vary presentation in order to ensure that they’re not leaving any fish behind. Varying weight is essentially a way of modifying the presentation of a fly. If you’re too light, then you’re not giving your bugs a chance. If you’re too heavy, you’re making chunky and clumsy casts at best, and frequently tangling and snagging at worst. The sweet spot is to find the least amount of weight possible to get your flies to the bottom of the run you’re fishing. Carrying a variety of shot allows you to be sure that you find this sweet spot, and the double-cut design of our Tin Drops makes it simple to remove excessive shot as conditions change.

Adjust the rest of your rig.

If you get heavier, then you’ll get deeper. This means that you’ll need to lengthen your leader accordingly. It also might mean that you need to up the size of your indicator. The perfect indicator is one that is just buoyant enough to not be dragged down by your flies, but not so sturdy that it doesn’t communicate subtle strikes and takes. Being lazy and ignoring to alter the size of your indicator, the position of your indicator, and the length of your leader can counteract the benefits of adding weight in the first place.

Be casual.

One of the difficulties of fishing weights is that you’re introducing yet another element that can serve to spook fish and alert them to your presence. All of Loon’s tin drops are colored to be unnoticeable under water, and their matte finish won’t reflect light the way that other metallic weights can.

Lead free is the way to be.

Many states have prohibited the use of lead as it is toxic for both fish and waterfowl. Yes, lead has many benefits, but none of them are enticing enough to ignore its detrimental impact on fisheries. If a fishery is special enough for you to fish it, then it is worthy of your protection. Non-toxic tin alternatives to lead are a far more responsible choice for anglers who care about the water they fish.