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Found 2 results

  1. First, a bit of background on how balanced flies use levers to achieve a level presentation. Rowley’s balanced leech (youtu.be/S_6sn7ooL80), as you likely know-- is made with a metal bead mounted on a pin and lashed in ahead of the hook eye--and is an example of a Class 1 lever (like a teeter totter) (Fig.1). As explained below, the counterbalancing weight ahead of the hook eye is also not needed if a design based on a Class 2 lever is used to construct the fly. Figure 1. Cartoon of a Class 1 lever representing the loads and buoyancy forces acting on a balanced leech pattern when dead-drifting underwater. Egan’s Half Wit leech pattern (youtu.be/Cf9DFvWzJco), a semi-balanced fly pattern that employs jig hooks and insta-beads, also acts as a Class 1 lever (Fig 2). This design can also be made balanced simply by adding a foam tag to the rear of the hook shank that essentially converts the pattern into a Class 2 lever. Figure 2. Cartoon of a Class 1 lever representing the loads and buoyancy forces acting on Half Wit leech pattern when dead-drifting underwater. So, theoretically, it seems that balancing a weighted fly, seemingly almost any streamer, bucktail (or nymph) pattern, can also be achieved by setting up the fly design as a Class 2 lever – that is like a wheelbarrow (Fig. 3). To use the wheelbarrow analogy, lift on the handles of the wheelbarrow to balance the load is achieved by to adding buoyancy in the form of a foam tag that is tied-in at the rear of the hook shank. By placing the foam tag out on the end of the hook shank the design can leverage and balance a multiple of the load placed near the hook eye. In practical terms, however, the use of a foam tag on a fly requires that not substantially change the look of fly-- which requires that it be camouflaged, as in embedding it in a marabou tail, or tied it in as a distinct design feature, as in a red-tag wet fly. While adding foam tags is not original technique, this approach is posted here to call attention to what should be a mainline way to balance any weighted fly fished wet but is surprisingly little utilized method (or at least it is not widely published). The earliest reference to foam tag streamers that I have found so far is Holschlag’s (2005) “Tim’s Tube Tail” (p.219) and “Tim’s Hitail Craw” (p.220). I also found a blog that shows a seemingly totally unbalanced foam tag leech pattern (Patrick, 2020) -- that all joking aside-- just needed a bit of trimming of the foam tag to make it level floating. Figure 3. Cartoon of a Class 2 lever representing the loads and buoyancy forces acting on the Weiss/Egan Euro-Streamer pattern when dead-drifting underwater. While adding a foam tag makes it possible to balance most any fly fished wet, in some cases, a semi-balanced fly, like the Half Wit, may be desirable in that the unbalanced weighting makes the fly inherently unstable which may enhance an arcing fly motion during a jigging or other styles of erratic retrieves. In most cases, however, a balanced fly is necessary to achieve a near-level presentation and is especially important when using a contact nymphing rig and a dead drifting or vertically-jigged presentation. A balanced fly is seemingly necessary to achieve a near-level float when using a contact nymphing rig and a drifting presentation. This is in contrast to flies that are actively retrieved or swung. Movement of the fly In this case produces a hydraulic pressure that acts on the down-dropped underside of the fly to force it up into a near-level presentation. Unbalanced flies when presenting by drifting, especially those with lead wraps on the hook shank behind the bead or hook eye, take on a near-vertical orientation (Bachmann and Day, 2021; Appendix 1 below) -- which may work for nymphs or wounded/dead fish patterns-- but does not seem to be an optimal way to present a swimming bait fish or leech imitation. A great advantage of the foam tag type of streamer is that, if needed, the buoyancy can be adjusted streamside to assure a level-floating balanced-fly by trimming the foam with nippers. So, if you are using a new, untested pattern, tie in an overly long foam tag, test it for level floating in a water at home or when fishing, and if needed, trim it until it floats like you want it. Rule of Thumb-- for starters, I found that make the foam tag approximately equal in volume to the tungsten bead being used is usually close to making for a balanced fly. In any case the foam can easily be trimmed later. The best practice is to make the foam tag extra long and trim it after testing. Another advantage of adding a foam tag is that by using colored foam you can easily add a hot spot – like on my red tail variant (Fig 4) of the Weiss/Egan Euro Streamer design (youtu.be/4x6jBlNPebI) that I usually tie with a black foam tag. Figure 4. Red-Tag Euro Streamer, --a variation based on the design of Weiss and Egan. Scale shown is in centimeters. For the photo, the black marabou tail was groomed to the side to better show the foam-based red tag. The red tag is normally tied to be surrounded by feathers of the tail. Recipe: Red Tag Euro streamer, --a Euro-streamer variation based on the Weiss and Egan pattern listed at www.flyfishfood.com/blogs/streamer-tutorials/euro-jig-streamer. I also use black foam to balance a shank-weighted Euro-streamer to make it look almost identical to the original pattern Hook: Hanak H 400 BL Jig: in Sizes 8 to 12 but mostly size 10. I use a Firehole 551 size 8. Thread: UTC Ultra Thread 70 Denier – Black. Bead: Round+ Slotted Tungsten Beads -- Silver – 4.0mm on size 10 hook. Size also varies as needed to get to near the bottom of the stream you are intending to fish Tag: 2mm – 3mm thick closed cell foam sheet in red color cut into a strip, tied in at bend of hook shank and trimmed to be about the same volume as the bead. You can also use a SemperFli 2.6mm body tube in red for the tag. Tail: Strung Marabou – Black (UV dye) Optional Weight on hook shank: Lead Wire Spool -- 0.015 in diameter to keep a slim profile body, 5-10 turns as needed to get to near the bottom of the stream you are intending to fish. Note that Egan does not weight the hook shank at all in some cases (see: youtu.be/4x6jBlNPebI) but that the fly does float level – see Appendix 1 below. Body: Medium UV Polar Chenille – Black. Tied in at tail and palmered forward over hook shank and tied off at bead. Spirit River UV Estaz in black makes for a more thickly spiked body if desired. References: Bachmann, Mark and Day, Frank, 2021, Jig Nymphs and Balanced Flies: https://flyfishusa.com/blog/ Jig-Nymphs-and-Balanced-Flies Tim Holschlag, 2006, Smallmouth fly fishing. Smallmouth Angler Press, Minneapolis, MN. 326p. Patrick, W.F., 2020, First prototype using flotation to balance a leech: www.reddit.com/r/Westfly/comments/f1eq7e/first_prototype_using_flotation_to_balance_a_leech/ ________________________ Appendix 1: Summary of Tank Testing Results on Weiss/Egan Design Euro-Streamers: 1) Streamers with just beadhead weighting on the jig hook more or less float level in a seemingly balanced manner. The balance is thought to be brought into the design by the buoyancy of the dressing more or less equaling the net weight of hook shank. 2) Streamers, or nymphs for that matter, with bead weighting and wraps of lead on the hook shank drift along in a near-vertical rather than nearly-level position. Conclusion: If a level presentation of the fly to the fish is the goal, then shank-weighted flies seemingly must be balanced. To assure that a euro-streamer drifts along in a level manner, the best practice would be to always add a foam tag, a technique perhaps extending to all streamers that are going to be fished by neutral to slight-lead drifting technique of contact nymphing. In any case, the buoyancy of the foam can be adjusted after tying by tank testing and nipping off potions of the foam to reach a level float of the fly. The foam can also be cut-off entirely if an unbalanced fly is needed.
  2. For you stillwater guys who have tried tying balanced flies which style to you like to use- Add length/weight beyond the eye of the hook with a pin and bead or like this: shown in this video https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=S_6sn7ooL80 or create a new eye using wire leader or mono loop to replace the eye like this http://www.flippr.ca/bob/TYGerLeader.pdf BTW the video shows a nice use of simi seal
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