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12. Adding weight to your leader. (12 of 21)

When, where, and how to attach split shot to your leader to get your flies deeper—and how to decide if you even need added weight.

Video Transcript:

Weight added to your leader might be needed when the water is too fast or too deep to get your nymphs close to the bottom just based on their weight. That's when split shaft comes in. So how do you tell when your weight is right? When you have enough weight? Well, you want to be close to the bottom. And I want to fish this slot over here, it looks pretty good. There's some soft water behind a big boulder.
And I know there's some fish in there. So how do I know my weights good enough? Well, I just cast a rig with two weighted flies over there. And I wasn't taking bottom at all ever. It didn't snag it off. And also, when you watch the barbel, it's kind of subtle, but if you watch the barbel, the indicator, you can see that it's moving a little bit faster than the bubbles on the surface.
And what you really want is for that barbel to kind of lag behind those bubbles a little bit. And it's very subtle, and you have to watch it for a while. But after a while, you'll get the hang of watching that indicator, just slowing down a little bit more than the bubbles. So I'm going to put one small shot, about 8 inches above my top fly. Okay, so I've got one small shot on there.
And it's better to start with a small one, rather than put on a big glob of a shot. Because if you put on one big one, it might be too heavy. And then you got no other option to remove it to put on one and it's not quite good enough, then you can just add another smaller one. So I put the shot on and I watched the indicator and I noticed that the indicator was moving about the same speed as the bubbles maybe a little bit slower.
And also I checked bottom once at the end of my drip, so I know I'm getting there. I'm going to try one more shot and see if that does it. And the second split shot did the trick.
[silence] Oh.
[silence] You know what, I'm not going to lose any more flies. Everyone wants to know where to add the shot on your leader. A good rule of thumb is to start about 8 inches above the upper fly.
If the water is fast, and you feel you need to get your fly closer to the bottom, you can put the shot a bit closer. If the water is slower, you may want to move your shot as much as 18 inches away any further than that defeats the purpose of adding shot because it's just not close enough to get your fly down deep.
Should I also mention that some people put their shot between the two flies, but I typically don't do it that way unless I'm experimenting.