• Fly tying: How to hide your weight.
  • Post author
    Brita Fordice
  • fly tyingfreshwatersaltwaterstreamer fishing

Fly tying: How to hide your weight.

Brita Fordice fly tying

As a woman, when you gain a little weight you have 3 options:

  1. You can lose it.
  2. You can just deal with it and not do a thing.
  3. You can buy one of those horrific sucker-inner-things that make you look 10,000 times thinner but make you cry trying to imagine how to pee out of it.

And your poor fly has to worry about the same thing. Well, not the peeing part.

You have 3 choices when tying your fly:

  1. It can lose the weight and sacrifice action.
  2. It can stay big and bulky and sacrifice appearance.
  3. You as a fly tyer can conceal the weight.

Here are my favorite techniques to conceal weight in a fly without sacrificing appearance, or running up a Nordstrom card on some fly spanx.

1. Soft tungsten strips.

Tungsten fly tying strip

I love these things.

They can be cut in all shapes and strip sizes, and they provide a customizable amount of weight.

They can be tied in easier than lead wire, as they "smoosh" down better and don't result in a dramatic ridge where they begin.

They provide a great amount of weight in a small piece, and counterbalance flies quite easily.

Streamer fly tied by Brita Fordice

As shown in this fly, you can easily add Spirit River Sof-Tungsten Strands to the body without adding any bulk at all.

2. Tungsten UV cured powder.

Tungsten UV cured powder fly tying

I have a love/hate relationship with Loon Tungsten Powder.

I love how easy it is to use and how it adds so much weight with such a small amount of product.

I hate that it costs 3 microbrews plus tip to refill when I run out (or spill the entire container on my now tungsten-heavy carpet).

All you have to do is add a touch of this powder to the UV curing liquid, mix it up, apply it to the fly, light it up with the UV lamp, and you're done! 

Tungsten UV powder fly

Granted, it looks like a bird pooped on your fly temporarily...

Streamer fly tied by Brita Fordice

... but once it's set you can easily add your normal Fish-Mask and Living Eyes on top, or finish the fly off by wrapping over it.

3. Boring old cone.

Brita Fordice fly tying coneBrita Fordice fly tying cone

I know, I know, flies have worked for years with boring ol' cones – why change that?

I like cones, but it doesn't mean I can't update the technique in which we tie them onto the fly. 

And like all other great inventions (cell phones, push up bras, and breathable waders to name a few), a little updating can be a very positive thing.

In the above fly, I've purposely hidden the cone one-third of the way down the shank. All you can see is a tiny bit of shine behind the Living Eyes, which works as an attractor too.

Quick review

A muffin top is just as unattractive on a fly as on a person.

Next time you want to add a little weight to your fly, try one of these techniques and give your fly a new look.

Want more articles like this?

Subscribe to the Flymen mailing list at the bottom of the page.

About Brita Fordice:

Brita Fordice fly fishing guide Avid AnglerGrowing up on the Stillaguamish River in Washington state, Brita learned to fly fish at the age of 8, and taught herself to tie flies at 10. After living in both Alaska and Idaho for a few years, she moved back to Seattle in 2004 and has been an employee and guide with Avid Angler Fly Fishing Outfitters since. Her passion lies in guiding Puget Sound beaches and hunting cutthroat and salmon off the sand with baitfish patterns she's created. Follow her on Instagram: @seafly907. If you're interested in booking a guided trip, email her at: britaf@avidangler.com

  • Post author
    Brita Fordice
  • fly tyingfreshwatersaltwaterstreamer fishing

Comments on this post (7)

  • Dec 03, 2020

    I Interesting post. I have been wondering about this issue,so thanks for posting. https://reellifegear.com

    — Michael Crichton

  • Dec 03, 2020

    It’s great to here from the other half…wish there were more like you in this sport….keep up the
    great work

    — john kowalski

  • Dec 03, 2020

    Loved the great info in this article and the humor.

    — Samantha

  • Dec 03, 2020

    This info was far better than expected. I’ve been searching for a way to have Clousers and such sink uniformly instead of nose-diving. Learning about those tungsten strips saves me from strapping solid tungsten TIG electrodes to the hook shank.
    Good stuff!

    — Jack

  • Dec 03, 2020

    I don’t normally weigh my flies, Yea I will put a bead on a nymph – but for the most part I don’t weigh the fly! I can add weight to my leader or if I really need to get down deep, split shot, or a fast sink tip tend to work best for me on my waters- then there is a trick I learned from Doug Swisher over thirty years ago, use copper sleeves on a long tapered leader with a sink tip fly line! it takes a little time to rig but once you do and get the hang of it you can get the fly down were you need it to be and it all casts very well with little hang ups! its just easier to keep my fly boxes full with the flies I need, rather than tying a bunch of different weighted flies for the different conditions I might see on the stream! Of course for my inshore cold water fly fishing- I tie with a lot of weight- Clouser Minnows come to mind! And well no weight other than the hook on my favorite salt water fly Surf Candy!

    — George Semel

  • Dec 03, 2020

    Hi Bill,

    We’re glad you enjoyed reading the article. The soft tungsten strands are made by Spirit River. You can link to their product page by clicking the link under the photo of the fly in step 1.

    Best fishing,

    — The Flymen team

  • Dec 03, 2020

    This is a great article. But where does one find soft tungsten strips. I’ve not seen them in fly shops or online until this.

    — Bill

Leave a comment