Last week we gave you a glimpse into the very non-traditional world of using bullet weights with your steelhead and salmon flies. Today, more details!
Next time you’re at the vise setting strategy for the ultimate Alaska West or BC West fly program, consider tying a bunch of flies without any weight. Tying on plastic tubes is ideal for this situation. Then, head to the tackle store and get yourself a few 15 packs of bullet weights. We like sizes ranging from 1/64, to 1/32 and 1/16 oz. For going super deep quickly, the ¼ oz. option and a helmet works great, just remember your Advil. Naturally, lifting a payload like this is also where the shorter Skagit heads like the Skagit Compact or even better, the Skagit Switch on a full-length two-handed rod shine.
Once your guide drops you in the run, talk over the situation and where you both think the fish are holding. Then, slide the appropriate-sized bullet weight up the leader 5-7’ long (or don’t use any weight and 3’ leader on the first pass) and rig your tube. Proceed to dominate in any part of the water column, because you can adjust your weight to find the perfect fishy zone during the critical part of the swing. Smile big. Then, sleep tight.
NOTE: The crittery folks we know who’ve been doing this for years maintain lead bullet weights are the most user friendly, as they won’t fray the leader when sliding up and down it. Tungsten and brass are great too, but they have hard edges than can compromise the leader’s integrity. If you choose to use tungsten or brass, just ‘sleeve’ the weight by sliding a small piece of size extra-small Frodin F.I.T.S. System small-diameter tube material inside the brass or tungsten weight, then secure the tubing in place by burning the ends with a lighter. A small Plano box like the one in last week’s post is super helpful for organizing various-sized weights, too.