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Running a leader

Gravity Orange

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How long of a leader should you run if you are tying on (2) chirnomids to the end of your fly line? And how far from the indicator to the first fly? I think I may have been running mine a bit too long past the indicator.


Also, If you have a good illustration/ video of a loop knot to use on the top fly (to give it a little more action) that would be cool as well (I've just been using a clinch)


Thanks :fishing:

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How long the leader should be depends on the depth of the water and how you are fishing the chironomid imitation.


If you are suspending it under an indicator then the length from indicator to fly should be about 2 feet shorter than the depth of the water. This leads to problems if you are fishing more than 10 feet of water because you need an indicator that will release before it reaches your tiptop.


If you are just using a long leader (say 15-20 feet) with no indicator, then you let the fly sink to the bottom and retrieve it slowly keeping tension on the line so you feel the strike. But with a long leader two flies would just lead to tangles if I were to cast it, so I would stick to one fly.


I hope this helps. I don't know much about this pond fishing.



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Hey Grav


This is a technique I use quite a bit.


I set up the 2 flies from 18 to 24" apart and I typically use clinches all around. If you tie a 2nd cron on - there goes your action anyway... so stick with that.


As for depth - I run the quick release indicators and set the bottom fly 2-3ft from bottom (and therefore the 1st fly is at 3-5ft from bottom)


If that doesn't work - bring the whole rig up 18-24" and try again. This technique will let you cover the water column in just a couple of re-rigs.


Alternately - I'll 2 fly on a long leader as Michael suggested - and tight line retrieve.


So - that's my take on it...



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Not being an expert in this myself, I agree with experimentation.

From what Iv'e read and heard frm Brian Chan and others,

chironomid larvae live in the bottom litter, but that's not where fish eat them

as they are pretty well buried and not too active.

Where the fish get them, is as they get ready to emerge and during emergence.

As I understand it, the pre emergence behavior is that they crawl out of the muck

and inflate their nymphal cases with a bit of air, as an aid in ascent to the surface.

I gather this doesn't happen quickly, so they hang around the bottom for a while,

Usually within a foot or so of the muck, waiting for the right conditions to rise.

Then they rise quickly to the surface at which pont the midge emerges.

Emergence can be quick or slow, but happens in, or just under, the surface film.

So what does that mean to the angler.

I gather that the main zones of vulnerability are in the pre-emergence

which is a foot or two off the bottom, and at or near the surface.

So if you know how deep the water is, just rig your larval immitations

so they are betweeen a foot and two feet off the bottom.

If you use two, a separation of 12" is probably enough.

If you don't know the depth, you may need to fool around with spacing.

If you are going to fish emergerrs, you can fish an emerger pattern right in the film

with a larval stage on a dropper anywhere up to 12" or so below it.

If you're stripping in slowly, you may need an 18" dropper.

Brian H and I had good success fishing the pre-emergence last fall

but our retrieve was dead slow, just enought to keep the line straight.

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If you don't know the depth, you may need to fool around with spacing.


To deal with the unknown depth problem, a neat trick I've been using since I saw it described on TV, is to attach your forceps (everyone must carry a set) to your fly and lower it down until you can feel it hit bottom. Grab your leader at the point where it enters the water and then set your indicator a foot or two below that. Start fishing there and if you subsequently want to fish higher points in the water column, simply move the indicator closer to the fly. Don't forget to remove your forceps before you start casting. :(



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I've saw the forcep trick on a Brian Chan show.

Very cheap depth finder that. :rolleyes:


"Don't forget to remove your forceps before you start casting"


Good point Terry.

Wouldn't want to get nipped in the ear by flying forceps.

Clouser minnows are bad enough. ;)

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Hey Gravity. Typically because the Chironomid is usually taken near the bottom or in the surface film, you can try greased lining. Use floatant or chapstick and coat your leader in it down to about the last foot. When you lay your line out, the nymph/larvae hangs about 10 to 12 inches under the surface. No need for a strike inidcator, just watch your line for the tell tale movement that indicates a "take."

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  • 4 weeks later...

Another way to locate the depth is if you have an anchor system on your boat/tube, mark your rope to tell you the depth. I have mine marked every 3 feet. that will give you a pretty decent idea of the depth. From shore though.... well... hmmm.... hope you brought a towel....oh and dont be swimming where the fish are.....


As for chronies.... yeah, I agree near the bottom. as for tying on the second one... well that all depends on how well you follow the law. If you follow the law ty into the eyelet. if you dont... try the other end....<ahem>



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As for chronies.... yeah, I agree near the bottom.  as for tying on the second one... well that all depends on how well you follow the law.  If you follow the law  ty into the eyelet.  if you dont... try the other end....<ahem>



Umm? So what exactly are you saying there?


Are you suggesting that 2 flies isn't legal?





It Is Unlawful To:


    * Use a hook that is not a barbless hook.

    * Use more than one line when angling into open water.

    * Use more than two lines when angling into ice-covered water.

    * While angling be farther than 30 m from any line in the water.

    * Use a line in angling equipped with more than three hooks (e.g., three hooks, or three single-hook lures, or one three-hook lure).

    * Use a lure in angling with more than three hooks as part of it.

    * Use a hook with more than three points on a common shaft (see Important Definitions).

    * Release live fish or live fish eggs into any waters except back to the waters from which they were caught.

    * Possess live BAIT FISH.

    * Possess live GAME FISH unless the fish have been lawfully caught by angling and are within 100 m of the waters from which they were caught.

    * Use live fish for bait.

    * Set out or use bait to attract fish unless it is attached to a hook used in angling.

    * Use scented lures or scented weights where bait bans are in effect.

    * Fish by snagging.

    * Possess fish taken by snagging.

    * Possess a snagging device while angling.

    * Use gaffs, gaff hooks or spring-loaded hooks.

    * Use snares, firearms, or any device to attract, stun or kill fish by causing an explosion or electrical current in the water.

    * Use lights to sportfish unless the light is attached to a hook or line used in angling.

    * Clean fish for transport home in a manner that is not authorized (see Cleaning and Transporting Fish below).


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No.... I'm saying if you go barbless its hard to tie on to tail end of a fly.....It's very easy for the line to come off. Espesially if your using store bought barbless hooks.

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AHHH! I don't know why that slipped past me! Yeah... been there. Honestly - for most of my tying - I won't use the 'barbless' flies because there are so few styles available.


For the time being - I'll use my pinched (and my arm can attest - Yes you can pinch a 2/0 salmon hook - and have NO trouble pulling it out of flesh from a bend-deep hooking.)


Yes - the 2 fly rig is very difficult with the 'true' barbless flies - but I find that the cinch knot will still generally hold, and as long as the fish isn't TOO acrobatic on the line - you can generally keep it on...


Never thought of tying to the eye though - that might even add a little action to the top fly - I'll have to try that - good idea ABH!

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I had a fair bit of experience fishing a 2 fly rig in NZ.

Of course they are not barbless there, but I pinch my barbs regardless.

I almost always attached the dropper to the bend of the top fly.


Why tie on the bend and not the eye? Three reasons.

You can switch the dropper rig more easily (see below).

My weak eyes make getting the dropper through the eye of the top fly

or through the line loop of the leader difficult (particularly at dusk)

But more importantly I found I got more tangles of the dropper with the top fly .


I use a Duncan loop to attach the dropper to the bend of the top fly.

Why a Duncan Loop (aka uni-knot) ? Three reasons:

If a fish takes the bottom fly, the strain actually tightens the loop on the bend,

The little bump of the pinched barb stops the dropper from sliding off.

If it takes the top fly, the loop slides up the bend out of the way.

If you want to change dropper length, you can slide the loop open

off the bend, and switch the entire dropper for another rig.


One other rig the guys use there (and that Brian H uses)

Is to tie the dropper to the end of the tippet,

but leave the tag end of the leader at that knot about 6 inches long

and tie the top fly onto the tag end of the leader.

This helps the top fly stand off from the leader a bit.

Unfortunately I found this method results in more tangles too.


But then it might just be my poor casting that gives those tangles.

And a tip for casting a two fly rig.

If the presentation doesn't result in two distinct splashes,

DO NOT cast again.

Haul it in and untangle or you get a bad bird's nest.

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So you boys are fishing not one but two flies, that should double your chances....no wonder you folks have high net counts. What ever happen to the one fly presentation. One fly one fish..as Roderick Haig Brown once said. I would bet 80% of the time fish is caught on the dropper and not the intended presentation. For the fish it must be like dining out at a buffet. Might as well fish a pickeral rig at the end of that flyrod. Jack Dennis introduced this in his seminars in the US after fishing NZ in the early 90's

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The only problem I have have with the no-slip loop (#2) is that any 'action' to be gained from the loop is gone when you put a fly on the bend of the number 1 hook.


Hepperles idea of tying to the tag end of the number 1 is also interesting - but does result in tangles... arrgh...


I like the duncan on the #2 fly for the benefit of changing out droppers - but I still can't get that duncan loop down pat. :(


I've also tried a clinch on the top fly - using a tag end as long as I want the dropper - so you use the same peice of tippet to tie on 1 and 2 - but while you save the time tying on the #2 tippet - but you have potential weakness...


So - my current strategy (which does work for me...) is to clinch the 1st fly on - and no-slip loop the #2.


I'll be writing an article for FlyAngler on this soon for short line 2 fly rigs - so we'll see what comes of it. :)

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