Rigging Droppers

Discussion in 'Fly Fishing Forum' started by Trapper Badovinac, Mar 28, 2013.

  1. Trapper Badovinac Author, Writer, Photographer

    Posts: 444
    Helena, Montana
    Ratings: +590 / 0
    I was asked for a fly fishing tip and thought some on here might find it useful.

    Rigging Your Droppers

    Here are three different ways to tie on the two-fly setup.

    This works for two nymphs, a dry with a nymph dropper or two dries.

    Illustration One shows what is most used with two fly rigs. The problem with this set up is twofold. One, it hog ties the first fly which has tippet restricting it’s movement on both ends. Two, when you pinch the barbs on the top fly the tippet for the dropper can easily come off. I also think it may impede the fish from taking the top fly as it acts somewhat like a weed guard does on some bass flies. In this case it becomes a ‘fish guard’ instead.
    [IMG]
    One


    Illustration Two shows a very simple solution to the problem.

    While tying the knot for the top fly simply leave the tag end of the tippet long and don’t cut it after the knot is tied. Then using a blood knot or surgeons loop tie the dropper tippet on to the tag end of the top fly and then tie the dropper onto the end of that tippet.
    [IMG]
    Two


    Illustration Three shows a variant of Two. To add even more movement to the top fly simply tie it with any knot that produces a loop. I like a Rapala knot because it’s easy to tie. Then, using the same tag end of the tippet technique, tie the dropper tippet on just like in the middle illustration.

    The obvious first question is doesn’t tangle more? After guiding for many years and using this rigging for both experienced and inexperienced fly fishers, I have not found that there’s any more or less tangling among these three rigging methods.
    [IMG]
    Three
  2. GAT Active Member

    Posts: 4,009
    Willamette Valley, OR
    Ratings: +2,587 / 0
    Trapper, I don't see the illustrations -- just the dreaded little red "X".
  3. Dottiesdad Member

    Posts: 208
    Puyallup, WA
    Ratings: +19 / 0
    I swear the first time I looked at the subject line it said "Rigging Diapers"

    That said, I'm looking forward to seeing the illustrations. Sounds interesting.

    DD
  4. triploidjunkie Active Member

    Posts: 2,317
    Grand Coulee, WA
    Ratings: +1,264 / 0
    I don't see pics either. I've tried all three methods. I would get about the same result tangle wise with all three. What finally helped me was a the first method, only always make sure the larger heavier fly is on the bottom(which is obviously the case with a dry dropper). The heavier fly will roll your leader over with minimal tangles. So, if I'm fishing a double nymph rig for example, I'll put a#14 on first, then tie about eighteen inches of tippet to the hook bend, which I attach a bigger heavier nymph with a rapala knot. It works for my casting style, and rarely tangle up even in heavy wind.
  5. GAT Active Member

    Posts: 4,009
    Willamette Valley, OR
    Ratings: +2,587 / 0
    I wrote and illustrated an article on the subject, so I'm interested to see Trapper's illustrations.
  6. Trapper Badovinac Author, Writer, Photographer

    Posts: 444
    Helena, Montana
    Ratings: +590 / 0
    It should display correctly now. Let me know.
  7. zen leecher aka bill w born to work, forced to fish

    Posts: 3,151
    Moses Lake, WA
    Ratings: +963 / 1
    Looks good. Thanks for the info and post.
  8. GAT Active Member

    Posts: 4,009
    Willamette Valley, OR
    Ratings: +2,587 / 0
    Yup, they look good. They are pretty much the same as I use with the exception of one I call "the junction box". I use the hook eye of the upper pattern to tie on the tippet for both the main line and the dropper. It's primarily for a dry fly/ emerger dropper presentation.
  9. zen leecher aka bill w born to work, forced to fish

    Posts: 3,151
    Moses Lake, WA
    Ratings: +963 / 1
    One thing I would suggest is that when on the water try something smaller than the 9/0 leader. It appears to be better suited to the Montana Sabertoothed Cat Trout.:p

    On a serious note for picture #3, I recently read where a double surgeons knot might work in that application. I've only used the Rapala knot to date (as per your pic) and it works fine for me.
  10. Trapper Badovinac Author, Writer, Photographer

    Posts: 444
    Helena, Montana
    Ratings: +590 / 0
    Gene, as I got older and my eyes and hands got worse, I found putting two pieces of tippet through the eye of #18s and smaller nearly impossible. Both methods achieve the same results.

    Maybe I should call mine the "old fart" way . . .

    Trapper
  11. Evan Virnoche Guest

    Posts: 0
    Ratings: +0 / 0
    i actually came into this thread thinking it would be a severe newbie question. left presently surprised
  12. GAT Active Member

    Posts: 4,009
    Willamette Valley, OR
    Ratings: +2,587 / 0
    Geez, the junction box system will not work with a size 18 fly. I'm talking about larger dry flies... and it is just an option.

    I also will use one tag end of the leader or tippet material at a connecting knot to tie in a secondary pattern.

    Like this :

    [IMG]

    Or, you can make an overhand loop and attach the secondary tippet material to the loop at you would a hook eye:

    [IMG]



    However, for stillwaters, which I primarily fish these days, I tie the tippet for the rear fly in at the hook bend of the upper fly (as shown). The draw back to this system is if you're using barbless hooks at the upper pattern. The tippet knot to the rear fly will slide off the upper hook if it has no barb -- speaking from experience.
  13. Trapper Badovinac Author, Writer, Photographer

    Posts: 444
    Helena, Montana
    Ratings: +590 / 0
    Gene - Nice work! I like it.

    Trapper
  14. IveofIone Active Member

    Posts: 3,055
    .
    Ratings: +1,064 / 0
    Gene, I too had problems with the tippit knot coming off of a barbless hook. I was using a uni knot and only taking the tag through the loop twice. Once I started using 3 turns in the uni knot and tightening it real good the problem went away. I also use that same 3 frequency uni knot to tie on chironomids and tighten the knot against my thumbnail to form a loop. It will tighten with a fish but can be loosened afterwards.

    Ive
  15. GAT Active Member

    Posts: 4,009
    Willamette Valley, OR
    Ratings: +2,587 / 0
    Ive, I'll try that. Thanks.
  16. Steve Unwin Active Member

    Posts: 318
    Edmonds, WA
    Ratings: +84 / 0
    I always find when I do the uni-knot as a loop (davy loop), just the act of casting and retrieving tends to tighten the knot, but I've never tried to loosen it. I've been practicing the mono-loop recently instead.

    I do like the uni-knot for attaching to the hook bend. I haven't done it enough to have any come off yet, but I usually do a minimum of 3 turns. Usually I do one less than the tippet size i.e. 6x gets 5 turns.
  17. atomic dog Jive Turkey

    Posts: 487
    Pasco
    Ratings: +317 / 0
    Question about methods 2 and 3: Why tie on an extra piece of tippet to the tag end? Why not just make the tag end long enough for the dropper and avoid having another spot for potential knot failure?
  18. Old Man Just an Old Man

    Posts: 21,614
    Dillon, Mt
    Ratings: +1,655 / 0
    I do something like all the pictures. After I tie on the first fly I tie my dropper to the leader of the first fly. I use a piece if lighter tippet for the bottom fly. About 18" in length. It seems to work for me. I also add a bb shot about a foot above the top fly. Need to get er down.
  19. GAT Active Member

    Posts: 4,009
    Willamette Valley, OR
    Ratings: +2,587 / 0
    If you are using a system where the dropper tippet is added to the main line leader, you'll want to make sure that tippet is fairly short and use stiff material, like Maxima, to keep the fly from tangling with the main leader.

    The fish don't seem to mind how short the dropper tippet is from the main leader. I've continued to catch fish with just 6 inches of tippet material remaining for the dropper pattern.

    Of course if you're using a dry fly with an emerger pattern then tangling isn't a concern and using the hook bend of the front pattern for attaching the rear fly is also fairly tangle free. However, the downside is if the fish hit the front fly the tippet material to the rear pattern can act as a fish guard and hinder the hook from stabbing the fish.

    If I continue to get hits but no hook ups, I'll switch fly positions so the upper fly becomes the lower fly.
  20. Big Tuna Member

    Posts: 1,958
    Wenatchee, Washington
    Ratings: +39 / 0
    I have Trapper's book on fishing the Missouri. Great little book that will get you oriented to the Mo. I highly recommend it.