Adding Weight (and Micro-Swivels) for Better Fishing November 9, 2018 – Posted in: Vedavoo

What fly? What tippet? Important questions. But in my humble experience, these points are moot unless you are getting the fly to where the fish are.

Packing split shot onto a leader is a necessary evil when you’re trying to get light or buoyant flies down in the currents. But the hinge points – harder casting – potential for leader abrasions – and the amount of time you spend doing it makes crimp on’s a misery. But in my case, the greatest irritation is slipping split.

Finally get it dialed – then find a few casts later you’re hanging bottom on every drift. Check your fly, and find that your weight has migrated down to your fly. Slide it back up – recrimp it – repeat. Then you hang again – and break off your entire setup – or (worse yet) free it from the riverbed just to see it fly out of the water and into the tree branches above you… where, you have to break off and start all over again.

Enter the Micro-Swivel. Built tiny but with enough strength to stop a truck, I use ones that carry 50# test and are about the size of a midge. I never leave home without them, and (unless) I’m fishing dries, I always have them in my setup. Here’s a few reasons why:


Tapered leaders are expensive – and having to retie to them forces their early retirement. Instead, tie a micro swivel at the end of your leader – and connect your Tippet to the other side. If you do have to break off, the Tippet will fail well before this connector.


I love the Bloodknot – and I’m pretty good at tying them now given the thousands of them I’ve tied. Unfortunately, break offs happen. When they do, tying new ones eat into leader and tippet length. Also, more knots, more problems (or at least more RISK of problems) – but you still need to step down those tippets between leader and fly, as you can’t skip more than a size or two of tippet without making the knot a SERIOUS risk. With a swivel in play, you can skip over a LOT of levels of tippet without weakening your setup.


When I’m streamer fishing, I’ll typically tie a single length of tippet to the open end of the swivel – and tie my streamer to this. After a few fly changes, I’ll nip this off the swivel, and tie on a new piece. I never have to cut into my leader. The same holds true for nymph rigs. Less knots means more time fishing and less time rigging.

GO FOR TWO (when nymphing)

“Just tie a bloodknot above your fly!” Sure. This works. But again, enough fly changes and you have to start from scratch. 0x… 2x… 4x.

This season, I started using a SECOND swivel – with a length of heavier tippet between them. This is where I add my splitshot. One above the upper swivel – and one above the lower one. As needed, I can add more at intervals between them. The core two pieces can’t slide down. And the others can’t go too far. When nymping, this has been a game-changer. And, like I noted earlier, this makes it possible to make a lot of fly changes without impacting the bulk of your leader.


If a fish rolls during the fight, the swivel prevents twists in the line that could lead to break-offs. Moreover, flies turn over better and keel easier. You will also see less line twists and tangles. Tippet Rings serve a similar purpose – but won’t give you these benefits.



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