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How to Tie & Fish a Heads-Up (Eye to Eye) Fly Fishing Rig
I still remember the first time I saw someone tie on a dry fly with a nymph dropper hanging off the curve of the hook, and I thought my head was going to explode! I was struck by the brilliance of being able to cover and fish multiple layers of the water column simultaneously with one multi-fly rig or to even cover multiple stages of a hatch all on one line (using an adult-dry fly on top, a wet emerger fished pattern fished mid column, and a nymph pattern fished deep off the end of the line). For many, this is the pinnacle of complex fishing rigs, but I suggest that we can do better, and with one slight alteration and going "heads up" (or tying on our droppers eye-to-eye) we can make our dropper rigs exponentially more deadly and vastly improve our catch rate.
The benefits of attaching the tippet for dropper flies to the eye of the previous hook instead of the back of the hook are two-fold: 1. Our flies gain a more realistic profile in the water column, and 2. Hooks remain deeply set and bring more fish to hand.
Adult aquatic insects sit high on top of the water held aloft by their legs, and emerging insects are oriented vertically in the water column as they frantically swim towards the surface in their effort to hatch and no rig better matches these natural orientations than the Heads-Up or Eye-to-eye rig. Tying droppers off of the eye of a dry fly will create a longer, higher floating dry fly and a more realistic and tantalizing emerger trailing beneath it.
The next time you are getting ready to rig up Dry-Dropper or Nymphing Rig, keep your Head-up and your flie's heads facing up by tying them eye-to-eye.