Today we’re coming at you with a great trout rigging tip courtesy of Alaska West guide, Larry McKurtis. If you’re planning on chucking big flies for big trout (especially in Alaska), you might want to read up on this one.
Take it away Larry!
Get Your Swivel On
Here at Alaska West we’re always tinkering with our rigs. Whether it’s the length of our leader or the types of knots we’re using, there’s a constant evolution happening. Lately, a few of our guides have been solving an old problem with an old solution.
When casting big mouse patterns in the wind or large articulated streamers, we sometimes run into a leader that will attempt to form its own bimini twist. You’ve probably experienced it.. You grab your leader and lift it from the water just to watch the fly spin like a top, or climb up the leader wrapping itself up along the way.
That tension is like a rubber band and just like a twisted rubber band, a twisted leader is a weak leader. It also doesn’t fish well either, as a large streamer won’t sink properly on the swing or the mouse simply won’t turn over.
To solve this, some of us have started using barrel swivels. Yep, those same old cheap #8 swivels you can find in any tackle shop. The rig breaks down like this..
- 1 to 2 feet of 20 or 25lb Maxima Ultragreen looped or double nail knotted to your fly line or sink tip.
- Tie the swivel to the end of the 25lb butt section with an improved clinch knot.
- On the other side of the swivel, tie on the desired leader/tippet material with an improved clinch knot. For us that’s usually 15lb Maxima Ultragreen.
- Tie on your fly and let your line twist troubles float away.
Another bonus to the swivel is that it acts as a built in breaking point as well. If you are unfortunate enough to get broken off it usually will fail at the 15lb side of the swivel. Thus saving your butt section, fly line, or sink tip for repeated abuse and re-rigging, greatly extending the life of your equipment.