Mono Rigs

Jim Darden

Active Member
Does anyone else here fish a mono rig?


I've used one for most of the summer and I'm sold on it now. However, I'm still learning and there isn't anywhere to discuss this system. I figured maybe this could become a dedicated thread.

Edit: This article might be controversial for some folks and the title of the article probably doesn't help, so I'm going to clarify a few things.

The writer doesn't claim this is a perfect solution for all scenarios. If you read his other articles, he's very clear about the disadvantages. He is of the opinion that you should use the best tool for the job and that this is just another tool, albeit one that fits his needs more often than others. He isn't into euro nymphing and there's articles explaining his stance on that. He uses fairly general purpose gear, so he can easily switch between a mono rig and a traditional rig as needed.

I encourage people to be open minded and do some investigation, before writing things off. Your fishing and life in general will be better for it. At the very least, I suggest actually reading the article before commenting; you'll see that most negative comments you can make have been thoroughly addressed already.
Interesting! and I don't doubt it is effective, but you don't understand why I fly fish! I truly find pleasure in the casting of the fly line, it is one of the things that makes it fun for me and is more important to me than catching fish. I also swing flies for steelhead, it is not the most efficient way to fly fish for them but I love the casting, and would rather catch fewer fish but do it on my terms. That is why I no longer use a spinning rod, though it is far more effective in the hands of a skilled fisherman......
 

MGTom

Living at the place of many waters
WFF Supporter
Interesting! and I don't doubt it is effective, but you don't understand why I fly fish! I truly find pleasure in the casting of the fly line, it is one of the things that makes it fun for me and is more important to me than catching fish. I also swing flies for steelhead, it is not the most efficient way to fly fish for them but I love the casting, and would rather catch fewer fish but do it on my terms. That is why I no longer use a spinning rod, though it is far more effective in the hands of a skilled fisherman......
I like casting too, down and across, to me its really relaxing. I find a leader about 15' lets me fish the euro style for certain problems I encounter along the way, but is still castable with 3 flies to 40'. It's only when fishing directly up that I have a sag problem, and I rarely do it.
 

MGTom

Living at the place of many waters
WFF Supporter
The conclusion I came to is that a full mono setup won't work for me all day. It's a good option for an occasional challenge where I fish. I just find a fly line much easier to handle than straight mono and more versatile, so I have ended up with a kind of hybrid rig. Old leader butts ~5, then a couple feet of sighter, then some clear. There is an actual dropper loop 18" below the sighter, to attach a dry or surface film bug (ant). 2' below that a pre-looped dropper 4-6" is fixed around the tippet then slid down to the next knot (it spins a bit and won't tangle with clean knots) (hare's ear). 2' below that is a heavy fly. the rubber leggs is not a slim fly to get down so it's well weighted. These are about 7-17' feet depending on where I'm going, and can be cast just fine. I only go down to about 4X, or else I have to cut back to two flies because of tangles.
20200904_084916.jpg
 

Clarkman

Huge Fly Guy
WFF Supporter
I'll add one other thing about the mono rig, I think @PhilR might have mentioned as well. I use a standard fly line behind my long (mine's ~20') mono "leader" so that I can easily swap out that leader for a more conventional dry setup....then again, I don't care for my long 10'er for that and prefer my 8' Steffen glass for my all around trout fishing (yes, I still fish for trout on occasion)...
 

jaredoconnor

WFF Supporter
Interesting! and I don't doubt it is effective, but you don't understand why I fly fish! I truly find pleasure in the casting of the fly line, it is one of the things that makes it fun for me and is more important to me than catching fish.

The TB mono rig casts like a fly line, just not as far or with as heavy flies. That's one of the main reasons the writer prefers it over "euro nymphing", where the line is too limp to cast like a normal fly line.

Don't think of the mono rig as being anything like gear fishing. Think of it as a very light fly line.

If you have space for a back cast, you can do normal overhead casting and this is the preferred method. The casting only changes when you don't have space for a back cast or the flies are too heavy, because the line is too thin to perform roll casts and the mono doesn't have enough mass to propel heavy flies. In those scenarios, you need to do helicopter casts or water hauls. Helicopter casts are just Belgian casts in a horizontal arc above your head, rather than a vertical arc to your side.
 
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Clarkman

Huge Fly Guy
WFF Supporter
The TB mono rig casts like a fly line, just not as far or with as heavy flies. That's one of the main reasons the writer prefers it over "euro nymphing", where the line is too limp to cast like a normal fly line.

Don't think of the mono rig as being anything like gear fishing. Think of it as a very light fly line.

If you have space for a back cast, you can do normal overhead casting and this is the preferred method. The casting only changes when you don't have space for a back cast, because the line is too thin to perform roll casts and so on. In those scenarios, you need to do helicopter casts or water hauls. Helicopter casts are just Belgian casts in a horizontal arc above your head, rather than a vertical arc to your side.

that's actually a great way to describe casting it.....definitely more gear if you're going with heavier flies (like streamers--at least the ones I throw), but even then, it's not difficult.
 

jaredoconnor

WFF Supporter
The two most notable things I've learned since using this technique:

1. I was missing a hell of a lot of fish, before I started doing this. The takes are often so subtle that there is no way you would ever detect them on a strike indicator or "naked nymphing".

2. Trout (particularly big ones) are often holding way deeper than I ever thought and traditional nymphing just won't work effectively in those scenarios; the difference between surface and bottom current is too great.
 

Brian Miller

Be vewy vewy qwiet, I'm hunting Cutthwoat Twout
WFF Supporter
Does anyone else here fish a mono rig?
But please tell me nobody's using $300+ fly rods for this...
One word: centerpin!
8' to 13.5' Tenkara rods with flurocarbon level line (3X tippet diameter, fluorescent green or orange; the whole line is a "sighter") equal to the length of the rod and 3 1/2' to 4' of 5X to 7X tippet works great. Expert casters can do lines that are twice the length of the rod. A caster that is able to hit a jar lid at 15'-20'+ and precisely control the drift of dry flies, wet flies, or bead head nymphs using a tight line across complex cross currents with a rod that can also easily put a very subtle life-like movement into the fly and instantly transmit the slightest nibble to the angler catches fish!
Oh, and they cost about 20% of an equivalent quality fly rod & reel.
Tenkara Ninja Emoji 2.jpg
 

jaredoconnor

WFF Supporter
8' to 13.5' Tenkara rods ...

Having tried both, the mono rig is very similar to Tenkara, except the rods are shorter, you have a reel and there is less rules or ideology. The big difference is that, with a mono rig, you can just take off your mono leader and go back to fishing with fly line. It's a lot more versatile.
 
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MGTom

Living at the place of many waters
WFF Supporter
Looks like we've found several ways to run our flies in similar fashion. Bottom line is we're doing what we need to to get the best control of the presentation for each situation we encounter. I'm always open to learning something new, so it's fun to hear about the different stuff people do.
 

jersey

livin' the dream
Been tremendously effective in fly-only water for me. You will never line a fish...

Deep pocket waters in the Sierra can be fished thoroughly. Bow and arrow casts work too. One can literally pick lines to fish without funky drifts. It’s a much different strike feel as well.

It’s a technique. Something different to try.
 

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