Balanced Flies

Discussion in 'Fly Fishing Forum' started by chief, Sep 19, 2013.

  1. chief Active Member

    Posts: 296
    Portland, OR
    Ratings: +96 / 1
    This may not be a new concept, but it is new to me. I originally read about them on Phil Rowley's website, and have since done a little more research. The concept is to create a "balanced" version of a fly using a jig hook with a cantilevered tungsten bead so that it hangs horizontally under an indicator vs. a typical tie that hangs vertically. It seems like the idea has merit, so I ordered a few for my Fall stillwater outings. Anybody ever tried these?

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  2. Irafly Active Member

    Posts: 3,472
    Everett, Washington, USA.
    Ratings: +901 / 1
    Hmmm, have I ever tried these? Yep, and I tie a variety of patterns to match different circumstances. They work both as a fly hung under an indicator but also as a fly worked as a regular streamer. Although there have been times where the fly has certainly out-fished other patterns in head to head competitions, it also in the long run doesn't seem to perform all that much better than a simple jig nymph. If you do use it as a pattern never make it your top pattern in a two fly rig, always your second fly.
  3. Earthquake Ron

    Posts: 21
    Issaquah, Wa
    Ratings: +11 / 0
    This fly works very well using a full type 6 line and verticle nymphing as well. I tie mine using a loop of mono on the shank. Have had many times chironomids are not working and the horizontal leech is deadly. Best luck has been with maroon, black and blonde.
  4. GAT Active Member

    Posts: 3,515
    Willamette Valley, OR
    Ratings: +2,129 / 0
    New concept to me, too. Hmmmmm.... guess I need to experiment with the hook style.
  5. Mike Ediger Active Member

    Posts: 1,367
    Spokane, WA
    Ratings: +131 / 8
    I know Phil and Brian are making these popular right now and I don't know who invented this idea, but a local fly fisherman I know showed me this concept, tied exactly like this, easily over 10 years ago. He was fishing these under idicators on small desert streams and lakes to get the horizontal presentation, and stripping them to get the jigging action.
    Anyone know who is credited for coming up with this?
  6. GAT Active Member

    Posts: 3,515
    Willamette Valley, OR
    Ratings: +2,129 / 0
    If they work, they work but as far as stillwaters are concerned, other than perhaps water boatmen, blood worms or leeches, it seems to me that most bugs available to fish are headed toward the surface. ... which seems to me they would not be positioned horizontally under the surface but somewhat vertical.

    Regardless of why they work, I'll give them a try.
  7. chief Active Member

    Posts: 296
    Portland, OR
    Ratings: +96 / 1
    Phil Rowley gives credit to Jerry McBride from the Spokane area in the article I read on his website.
  8. Irafly Active Member

    Posts: 3,472
    Everett, Washington, USA.
    Ratings: +901 / 1
    BIngo! From there, people have advanced the idea with other techniques. I've seen the mono loop, but floro works better. I took and cut off the eye of another hook and tied that into another hook, thus giving myself two eyes to tie into. One if I wanted the vertical presentation, and one if I wanted to fish a horizontal presentation. I struggled at first with this though because my hook eye tied into my other hook would occasionally pull out. I solved that with super glue, but to be honest I don't bother with it now because I just tie different bugs for different situations.

    I'm currently working on a book that covers all of these ideas dealing with horizontal patterns for vertical presentations and how, when and where to fish them.
    Mike Ediger and Gary Knowels like this.
  9. Drifter Active Member

    Posts: 1,598
    Ratings: +609 / 2
  10. Irafly Active Member

    Posts: 3,472
    Everett, Washington, USA.
    Ratings: +901 / 1
    I knew it! Nice ties Mark, nice ties.
  11. Mike Ediger Active Member

    Posts: 1,367
    Spokane, WA
    Ratings: +131 / 8
    Makes perfect sense now. Thanks for the info.
  12. chief Active Member

    Posts: 296
    Portland, OR
    Ratings: +96 / 1
    I went out this weekend to a Central Oregon lake with a couple of balanced flies that I tied using a wire loop on the shaft (the commercially tied one's I ordered haven't arrived yet). I was fishing a normal sealbugger on a intermediate line and doing OK, and decided to give the balanced flies a go in a shallow bay. I suspended one under an indicator about 5 feet down and picked up 2 fish in about 5 minutes, and then hooked a 3rd fish that took me into the weeds and broke me off. The test ended after that because I had noticed fish were swirling on my indicator, so I put on a Chernobyl Ant and started catching them on the surface. The Chernobyl continued to work well the rest of the day so I never went back to sub-surface. I can't say if the 3 fish hooked during the test wouldn't have also taken a regular fly hung under an indicator, but the balanced flies definitely worked well. I will be playing around with them more in the future,
    Irafly and Mike Ediger like this.
  13. David Loy Senior Moment

    Posts: 2,331
    Wolf Bay
    Ratings: +276 / 1
    I like the idea but I'd feel the need to test it. Maybe one of you have. My question is if the balance point hanging under the vise (gravity) is the same as on retrieve (under tension). And, is that really desirable? Under tension is the fly swimming sideways (vertical or slanted) through the water? Diving?
  14. GAT Active Member

    Posts: 3,515
    Willamette Valley, OR
    Ratings: +2,129 / 0
    That's exactly what I've been wondering. However, as usual, if they work, for whatever reason, then they work regardless if it doesn't make sense.
  15. Stonefish Triploid and Humpy Hater

    Posts: 3,775
    Pipers Creek
    Ratings: +1,169 / 1
    I started using these quite a bit last year. I used both the jig hook and pin type flies with tungsten beads. Both types worked extremely well under an indicator with most fish hooked in the upper mouth area due to the upright hook. The jig hook type are much easier and faster to tie in my opinion.
    They worked really well when fished in a good chironomid chop. If you set your indicator short and drop it in next to your boat or toon you can really get a good idea of the action the chop inparts on your fly.
    I also had good success drifting in the wind with them both with and without an indicator. I had my best luck on solid white and a purplish maroon but caught fish on black, dark olive and brown as well.
    SF
    Mark Kraniger likes this.
  16. Drifter Active Member

    Posts: 1,598
    Ratings: +609 / 2
    I
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  17. Old Man Just an Old Man

    Posts: 21,140
    Dillon, Mt
    Ratings: +1,406 / 0
    If you take any hook with a turned down eye, add a little weight and it will float hook side up. I noticed this when I fish flies tied on that style hook. Of course I don't fish with anything bigger than a size 12 now. But some streamers tied on sizes 4,6,& 8 I used to use.
  18. jdbutula Member

    Posts: 30
    BC
    Ratings: +12 / 0
    I've also tied Damsels and Dragons this way and they work very well over weed beds with indicators!
    Stonefish likes this.
  19. Peyton00 Active Member

    Posts: 610
    Puyallup, Wa.
    Ratings: +218 / 0
    I know guys that fish without an indicator and do quite well for coho using heavy jigs( balanced flies) on full sink lines stripping and twitching out of a boat.
    The hook set is almost always in the top center of the mouth and buried.
    I haven't tried it for stillwater, one more setup added to the arsenal.

    I agree with stonefish on colors, i like the white head and purple body with some flash under an indicator. Steelhead like this color setup on my favorite river.