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Swinging for Trout – The Tumble Rig

Posted on September 03 2015

Swinging flies for trout
The tumble rig. Photo: Kyle Shea.

We really enjoy swinging flies for trout on small spey or switch rods. Here at Alaska West, that usually means swinging large sculpin or flesh flies on or near the bottom. In other words, getting your fly down is often the name of the game.

Earlier this year, we were fortunate to spend a week with spey guru and Alaska West alum, Jerry French. He showed us a pretty clever way of keeping your flies deep while swinging for trout, and today we’re going to share it with you.

He calls it the tumble rig, and it’s a great way of adding extra weight to your rig without greatly compromising your casting stroke. Here’s how it is rigged.

  1. Tie a double surgeons loop in the end of a short length of 25 lb. Maxima.
  2. Slide small bullet weights (1/64 – 1/32 oz.) onto the Maxima.
  3. Tie a double surgeons loop in the other end of the Maxima, leaving you with the rig shown in the photo above.
  4. Loop one end of the tumble rig to the end of your sink tip and the other end to your leader.
  5. Repeat with more or less bullet weights to achieve different depths.

Because the tumble rig is positioned at the end of the sink tip, it casts better than a standard split shot added to the middle of the leader. Plus, because the bullet weights are able to roll on the leader material, the entire rig is able to ‘tumble’ along the bottom without snagging up like a split shot, hence the name!

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