Part Seventeen

Coat Your Lead
By George E. Emanuel


Nothing is as exciting, or as rewarding, as a take on the surface by a fish you have "sighted."

Alas, as most of us no doubt have learned, either from reading, or our own experiences, most often fish feed on sub surface food sources.

These might be larva, nymphs, emergers, baitfish, sculpins, stoneflies, crawfish and etc.

Un-weighted flies certainly have their place, and many great anglers fish only un-weighted flies, adding split shot, or twist ons, or what have you as the situation requires. Which is certainly effective as well.

If however, you like your flies weighted, as do many anglers, you may add additional weight where necessary in an extra swift current, or when away from your home waters.

I say away from your home waters as many, if not most, of us, fish the same waters time after time, year after year. We may occasionally vacation in a new area, or take a long weekend away from our usual haunts, but we spend most of our hours on the same water getting to know it.

There are no doubt many of you who know just how many wraps of a particular size wire it takes to drift your fly perfectly through "ole zippered lips" dining room. So you naturally tie your flies weighted as you know exactly what you are going to do with them.

O.K. so you got your weight perfectly balanced to give you just the right drift, you have mixed your dubbing very carefully to insure it is an exact match to the local fare. You present the fly perfectly, and in a manner to entice even your grandfathers mounted trophy of a distant age to strike, and............................... nothing, nota, zip, another refusal.

What went wrong, everything was perfect!

Was it really?

Patterns call for particular thread colors, (usually keyed to the body color of the fly) so as to prevent a color shift in the fly when wet. Most of us are well aware of this tendency. However, it is surprising how many anglers will wind lead onto a hook with no thought what so ever to the fact that it too will absolutely cause a shift in color. And a major shift as well.

If you will wind your thread on as usual, tying it down well to the hook shank, and then apply head cement to the entire surface of the lead, you will have a stronger bond as well as a barrier between the lead and your dubbing. This does prevent the lead oxidation from bleeding into your dubbing, and in fact usually prevents oxidation period. This is particularly desirable when you may not use a fly for an extended period of time. I have some tied years ago which I just have not used yet. (yeah, I know, I have too many flies!) Eliminating the oxidation problem is really only the first step. Wet one of your lighter colored weighted flies and see if you can't tell exactly where the lead wire begins and ends. Bet you can, because the color will be slightly askew. And if you can see it so can the fish.

The solution, the before mentioned nail polish to the rescue. This stuff is available in a ton of colors and shades which are much more compatible with your intended color scheme than is the bare lead coloration you have been using. Simply "paint" your lead wraps with the nail polish and viola! You now the color you intended the fly to be, even when it is wet. Now you say, "But, doesn't the bare hook "color" the fly just as did the lead?"

Well, you are now onto the idea!

In the case of the hook shank however we usually wrap the shank with a compatible colored thread as a base, thus we "paint" the shank with thread.

This may seem extreme, even in the world of fly tying, but you and I are not the final arbiters of the situation, "ole zippered jaws" is, and he will not tell you what you have just read, he just won't take your offering, no matter how well you have presented it to him.

Try it, you just might get better results on those "super finicky monsters."

If you have any tips or techniques, send them along, most of this material has been stolen from somebody, might as well steal your ideas too!~ George E. Emanuel (Chat Room Host Muddler)

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