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Adjustable Indicator Rigs

Posted on August 12 2014

Strike Indicator Rig
Simple.. But effective. Photo: Kyle Shea

We’re on the back half of our season here in Alaska and that can only mean one thing.. It’s steak and eggs season! This time of year, our resident rainbow trout are taking full advantage of the continuous supply of salmon parts tumbling down river. Therefore, we ‘match the hatch’ and fish our share of flesh and egg imitations.

Getting down and dirty is the name of the game when fishing flesh flies or beads for trout and often times we fish our flies under an indicator to ensure a nice ‘drag free’ drift. We’re big fans of ‘thingamabobber’ style strike indicators for their buoyancy and castability (relative to classic yarn indicators). However, rigging a thingamabobber in the typical fashion of looping it up and over usually leads to a kinked leader and an indicator that must be removed in order to be adjusted.

Well, we stole a page out of Alaska West guide Jim Palmersheim’s playbook for a super clever way to rig strike indicators. No kinked leader, easily adjustable, and a great reason to hold on to that old fly line. Check out how!

  1. With an old piece of fly line, make a simple 3-4 turn nail knot onto the butt section of the leader. Clip both tag ends.
  2. Thread the thingamabobber onto the leader.
  3. Make a second 3-4 turn nail knot onto the leader with fly line below the indicator.
  4. Slide both nail knots up against the indicator.
  5. To adjust, simply slide the nail knots to the desired depths.

Note: Due to the ‘sticky’ nature of fly line, and the fact that we prefer knotted leaders (of level leader material) the nail knots do a great job at securing the indicator during casting, hook sets, etc. However, if using knotless tapered leaders, this technique does not work quite as well due to the changing diameter of the leader material.

More Tricks With Fly Line

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