Nymphing with Split Shots Makes All the Difference

Nymphing with Split Shots Makes All the Difference

Adding supplemental weight to your nymphing rigs is the difference between catching fish and not. Here’s why. The whole idea about split shots and using heavier beads is not only to get your nymphs down faster but to put your flies within the water column that fish most readily feed at—along the bottom.

Knowing when to add and remove weight is the most important thing you have to know when nymphing. Knowing how to use the weight is another.

Believe it or not, there are times when you’ll need to add weight to your nymphing rigs if you ever want a chance of hooking up.

  • Water is high and fast
  • Deep pools
  • Flies are too light
  • Not getting deep enough
  • Current is too strong

2 Split Shots are sometimes better than one

One of the best methods of using split shots is to put 2 splits and never just one.

Just having one sinker pulls your nymphing rig down between rocks and boulders like an anchor. Use two sinkers instead. Attaching two allows them to work together and pull each other out of crevices that you would otherwise get stuck in. Water flow catches the sinkers at different angles and pushes them downstream with the current in a rolling motion.

Streamers and split shots

You can so add split shots above streamers to add a jigging – up and down action when retrieved. Placing two split shots above the fly a few inches apart will allow the streamer to roll along the bottom like how a dead minnow or baitfish would.

Add more weight if your flies are going by too fast.

Most flies are pretty light and don’t carry much weight to them. Of course, you can prepare ahead of time by keeping a steady supply of tungsten beaded nymphs and weighted flies. But, odds are that you don’t.

No matter what time of year it is, trout are always feeding along the bottom. It is the perfect place. There is plenty of food and little to no current on the bottom, which allows fish to use very little energy and still continue to scoop up insects floating by. In case you’re wondering, slower currents along the bottom are the result of the friction between the water and the streambed.

Someday you’ll be caught on the stream with a few handfuls of light nymphs and deep, fast water to work. Trout are always feeding along the bottom so this is a perfect time to use tungsten putty or split shots.

Take some weight off if you keep snagging up.

That is the simplest way to put it. If you keep snagging up, subtract some weight.

Now, if you are snagging up every dozen casts or so leave, the weight on. It’s not the best idea to take some weight off unless you’re getting stuck 2 casts out of 3. You can do this in one of two ways.

  • Remove or replace a split shot with a smaller one
  • Replace the flies that are the most weight
  • Do both

Play around with adding weight and remember to always be adjusting. Conditions change from place to place so it’s totally normal to mess around with things to make it right.

Fly Fishing Made Easy 👍

Our Quarterly Fly Club ships 1,000’s of flies to anglers all across the United States. Receive curated fly assortments selected for the season with in-depth articles on how to fish them. Great for beginners to learn and for intermediates to discover new flies.

Share this post

Join Waitlist We will inform you when the product arrives in stock. Please leave your valid email address below.