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Tandem combinations

Joined:
2006/10/18 15:46
From Patterson twp, Pa (Beaver Falls)
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I was reading in one of my books that this guy was using a tandem of a patriot and a nymph. What's the technique of tying these together and what, if any, do you think are the best combinations.

Posted on: 2006/11/3 15:42


Re: Tandem combinations
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2006/9/11 8:26
From Chester County
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That guy was Charlie Meck. Nearly any combination works. Use your most successful dry fly and nymph as your tandem. You can match the hatch with the dry and nymph. Use a dry and emerger. If your choice of nymph is large and heavy, you may want to use a larger more buoyant dry such as a stimulator, hopper, wulff, etc.

Some may not agree, but one thing I’ve found is that tying a dropper off the bend of the hook causes a lot of missed strikes. I now tie the dropper off the tag of the dry fly, or tie the dropper from the eye of the dry fly. I do the same when using multiple nymphs or wets. I tried it both ways and have found a definite improvement in hook-ups with the lead fly. Hope that helps.

Posted on: 2006/11/3 16:22


Re: Tandem combinations

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2006/9/28 14:40
From Philadelphia
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I tie my droppers off the bend and either don't have hook-up problems or don't know that I do . I like using a #10/12 humpty as the lead on fast water and a 14 wulff in a slow run. The dropper is usually a GRHE 18/20. I use a one diameter lighter tippet for the dropper and almost never have tangles.
Coughlin

Posted on: 2006/11/4 5:22


Re: Tandem combinations

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2006/9/14 10:34
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I'm with Coughlin on the hook-up thing. When I first started using the dropper combo tied off the hook bend I wondered about this, but I don't think it's a problem. I also usually use a smaller diameter tippet for the dropper.

I'm with afishinado on the fly selection - use whatever makes sense based on the hatch or what you think might work, like you would if just using a single fly. If caddis are hatching, drop a caddis emerger or pupa from an elk hair. If BWOs are hatching, drop a BWO nymph or emerger from a BWO dry. If nothing's hatching and you like royal wulffs and BHPTs, use them together. Drop a midge pupa from a griffiths gnat. Or a san juan worm from a humpy. The only restriction is that the top fly must be bouyant enough not to be pulled under by the dropper. You can also use 2 nymphs in combination.

As far as technique, just tie the dropper tippet, as long as you want it (usually about 18 to 24 inches) to the bend of the hook with a clinch knot. To use afishinado's method, tie the lead fly on with an extra 18" to 24" tag end on the tippet, and tie the dropper to this. Or tie the dropper tippet through the eye of the lead fly (if there's enough space for 2 tippet sections).

Posted on: 2006/11/6 11:54


Re: Tandem combinations

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2006/10/25 12:30
From York
Posts: 448
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This is one of my favorite ways to fish. You can quickly determine what the fish are keyed into, dry or nymph, and eliminate what is not working.

I tie the dropper from the bend of the hook and only have issues hooking the smallest fish. Don't be afraid to mix and match species of flies. I like to use an Elk Hair Caddis with a PT dropper, especally when there is no hatch.

Steve

Posted on: 2006/11/6 12:22


Re: Tandem combinations

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2006/9/14 10:34
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I just thought about an issue that I sometimes do have with a dropper - getting myself hooked on the dropper! It doesn't happen often, but it just happened last week. It goes something like this: You pick up the fish to get the hook out, he slips out of your hand and takes off, the dropper hooks you in the finger, and the fish gets his revenge by yanking on it until you can grab the line! Another reason to use barbless hooks.

Posted on: 2006/11/6 13:09


Re: Tandem combinations
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2006/9/11 8:26
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I’ve experimented a lot with tying the dropper from the bend of the hook versus tying from tag end of the knot from the fly. IMHO, my hooking percentage goes up when tied to the tag. I theorize that the when a fish tries to engulf the fly, the tippet gets in the way and pushes the fly away from the fish. Try it both ways every time you fish and see which way works better. Even if you don’t see any difference, there are also other advantages to using the tag end for droppers:

First, one less knot to tie. You only need to tie two knots instead of three. One knot to the first fly, leaving a long tag end, and one knot to the second fly. No knot to tie to the bend, and then to the second fly.

Secondly, one less knot to fail.

Third, parachute flies when tied at the bend have a tendency not to float upright when the dropper tied to the bend inevitably slips down towards the barb.

Fourth, since most flies are tied with the hackle up front and the hackle supports (disperses) most of the weight of the fly in the film, a smaller dry fly can be used. With a lot of flies (especially Catskill and parachute mayflies) tying from the bend tends to sink the dry quicker since the rear of the fly has less support.

Just food for thought. Try for yourself.

Posted on: 2006/11/6 15:30


Re: Tandem combinations

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2006/9/14 10:34
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Well, afishinado, you convinced me to try using the tag end. I do have that problem with parachutes. And it would be nice to do away with tying the knot at the bend.

Posted on: 2006/11/6 15:50


Re: Tandem combinations
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2006/9/13 12:42
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I like to try to consider presentation when pairing a dry fly with a dropper.

For instance, if I am going to use a dry that is fished actively. For instance, a caddis that is twitched and skittered. I like to pick a wet fly, over a nymph. Wets seem to do better when fished actively, so it's a good pairing.

Posted on: 2006/11/6 18:06
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Re: Tandem combinations
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2006/9/9 19:16
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Quote:

Padraic wrote:
I like to try to consider presentation when pairing a dry fly with a dropper.

For instance, if I am going to use a dry that is fished actively. For instance, a caddis that is twitched and skittered. I like to pick a wet fly, over a nymph. Wets seem to do better when fished actively, so it's a good pairing.


I think Padraic brigs up a great point about tandems. Or as I call them droppers. I fish mine off the bend of the dry. I use duns for particular hatches; sulfurs, slate drakes, caddis, and humpies as well as hoppers and beetles. From the dry I drop emergers or nymphs/pupae depending on the seasonal forage base.

Regarding presentation, I have found that putting a piece of small shot will suspend the nymph more vertically. The effect of the shot causes the dry to "tug" a little when the dropper line straightens often triggering strikes from the apparant life or struggle of the dry to stay afloat. Also a twitch can "hop" the dry again triggering strikes to the dry.

I really don't count on the strikes on the dry but use it as more of a strike indicator and "suspender" of the wetfly over multiple current breaks and cuts. But I can tell you that when you bring a caddis across a few currents with a pupae and shot below it hops across the water and trout love this. You miss alot of them because of the dropper but for me the strike on top is thrilling enough.

Good thread guys.

Maurice

Posted on: 2006/11/6 20:58
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Re: Tandem combinations

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2006/9/28 14:40
From Philadelphia
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This is a good thread. I like what Padraic had to say about pairing lead and dropper and Maurice's split shot technique makes sense. In my experience, almost always the dropper is the fly a trout will take, except in very fast water, where sometimes a fish will grab the lead fly. In truth, though, I don't use a tandem in really fast water all that often, though maybe I should use it more.
Coughlin

Posted on: 2006/11/7 13:33


Re: Tandem combinations
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Coughlin,

I should add that I met Charlie Meck at a book signing and discussed Droppers with him. He said to NEVER put weight between the flys. It causes too many tangles...but as you can see from my quote, I find untangling lines quite fun.

Seriously though, if you adjust your cast with and extra long, open stroke, it minimizes the tangles.

Maurice

Posted on: 2006/11/7 15:08
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Re: Tandem combinations

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2007/1/2 11:55
From Bozeman
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I've seen some patterns with an added stiff mono loop under the tail. I'm yet to try it, but I plan on doing so this spring. (I believe this was in the Orvis fly tying manual)

Regardless...

My favorite combos:

On some of my favorite local SEPA streams, I find that a tandem "whatever's hatching" + a size 20 or 22 foam ant does wonders. This makes for some of the most delicate low-profile takes that i've ever seen. I love it. Nothing better than a small dimple on the water 2 feet from my sulphur dry turning out to be a 16 inch brown swallowing that tiny ant.

When the ants aren't working, a green weenie or a PT does the trick.

If the fish are suspended and "being wierd" I'll usually take them with a size 18-22 zebra midge below a dry fly of choice.

Posted on: 2007/1/2 12:05


Re: Tandem combinations

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2006/9/13 22:36
From Tioga co. formerly of bucks co.
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The added loop works really well, it can also help float the dry by being a added pontoon of sorts..

Posted on: 2007/1/2 17:42
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Re: Tandem combinations

Joined:
2007/1/25 5:24
From Pa
Posts: 903
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If any of you ever meet up with Karl Gebhart tying for Jim Serio or Doug Swisher at the Somerset show, ask him to show you his dropper method. It's the neatest thing and hookup percentages go up greatly with it. I can barely tie it let alone explain it.

Posted on: 2007/4/11 19:55
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