Some 20 years or more ago l wrote a article for a UK magazine, Fly Fishing and Fly Tying regarding how weight addition would alter the attitude of a fly. This was well before the days when bead heads became popular, which as we know today are added to the vast majority of nymph and streamer patterns.


The reverse option applied- Davy Wotton

The article included how lead wire or lead shot would alter how the fly drifted or animated based on how much and where that weight was added. For example if the weight was added at the rear end of the fly it would alter how they fly presented as opposed to weight added at the head end of the fly either on the hook or above it on the leader/tippet.

There is no doubt that bead headed fly patterns have a place but not always. That said by a simple process the fly fisher can for the same fly pattern used have many options in so far as altering how that fly will fish and by what attitude or movement it can be presented be that dead drift or with animated movement such as fishing wet fly, soft hackles and streamers.

This will also change the relative position of the hook point.

So here is the deal.  l carry with me a box which contains tungsten beads of different sizes and colors, size of bead is of course related to the weight. Many of my fly patterns are not adorned with a bead head included on the hook shank.

l now have many options to change the fly by the addition of bead size and color, or number of beads used,  more to the point by the addition of the bead to the tippet or leader above the hook eye it will cause the fly to fish hook upper-most.

There fore as a example… You can have many variations of say woolly buggers or other streamers in your box without bead heads. By adding a bead above the fly the hook will fish up and not down so very much, reducing the hang ups. It will also allow for you to fish the fly much slower.

More to the point it will also change dramatically how your fly animates ( Subject to how you fish it and with what fly line you use ) as the further effect is that the bead is able to move freely above the hook eye.

This method works equally well for nymphs, wet fly and soft hackles.

More or less you have now changed the fly in such a way as it acts like a jig, but it is not a fixed position as such.

Davy Wotton

(Posted by Teresa “TBird” Van Winkle 12-11-2014)