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Heavy Metal Fly Fishing - Why & How to Use Weight When Fly Fishing
Take a trip with me back in time to the year 1987. You were the coolest cat on the neighborhood, tearing down the road in your Z28 Camaro with the T-top off, your pants tight as a fashion statement and not yet a symptom of middle age, your hair long and still on your head, and Guns N Roses - Appetite for Destruction is roaring through the speakers. Whether your band of choice was AC/DC, Metallica, Black Sabbath, or Jimi Hendrix, heavy metal music ruled the airwaves - and now - heavy metal needs to rule your fly box.
Trout live in a moving world. The current of the stream is always pushing into their faces, and threatening to force them down river unless they constantly struggle and strive to hold their position. In return, the small nymphs, larva, and pupa of aquatic invertebrates that drift down the stream offer few calories to sustain this laborious existence. In order to survive and thrive in this constantly moving world, trout dive deep and take refuge along the bottom and edges of the river. Trout cannot sustainably feed in the fast flows and white water near the surface of the river, so we need to fish deep and bring the flies to the trout if we want to catch more fish.
As you dive through the surface of trout-bearing streams and move towards the bottom and stream banks you will begin to encounter boulders, logs, and even plant root creeping and trailing into the water. These rocks, logs, and roots act like the offensive line of a football team, pushing back against the river.
As the current impacts and rubs against these structures, it is slowed and pockets of calm, low velocity water are developed downstream of the obstruction. Trout spend the majority of their lives in these refuges of calm along the bottom and edges of the river, feeding on drifting invertebrates, while expending minimal energy to hold their position in the water.
In order for the fly angler to get down deep where the fish are lying among the rocks and boulders of the streambed we need to add weight to our flies. Wrapping your hooks with lead wire, tungsten tape, and topping them with bead heads is essential in order to bring the buffet of hook-infused flies to the fish instead of drifting them in a speeding blur above their heads. Add split shot to your leaders and tungsten putty to your line to make your flies skip and bounce along the bottom of the river. Next time you head to the river, embrace the heavy metal of your youth, pump your fist in the air, and go deep!