You will need to decide how thick the butt section (the section that attaches to the fly line) has to be. It should be compatible to the diameter of the fly line for the proper transfer of energy through the connection of the flyline to the leader. The diameter/poundage of the butt section will be totally dependent upon what type of fishing, rod and fly size you will be fishing. Your fly line diameter and the monofilament or flourocarbon leader material diameter are listed on the spool or line package. For example the leaders I build for these types of fishing techniques on 3 to 6 weight rods use butt sections ranging in size from .018 (20 lb) down to .o14 (12 lb).
Cut the butt section to 36 to 48 inches in length. Make a Perfection Loop on each end and connect one end of this section to the loop on the flyline.
Most modern flylines now come with a loop built into the end of the line, if yours doesn’t have a loop, make a short section loop out of the 20 lb butt section and nail knot it to the end of the flyline and put a Perfection loop as close to the nail knot as possible. If you don’t feel comfortable with this process, ask your local fly shop for assistance. The loop on the other end is to attach the next leader section and makes switching out these remaining sections much easier.
The next leader sections will all be made from fluorocarbon leader/tippet material to ensure a quick descent through the water column getting your flies into the proper feeding zones of the fish. Cut the next section in a 3x tippet size to a length of 30 to 48 inches and attach it to the loop at the end of the base leaders section with a 5 to 7 turn clinch knot. This section sets the depth of your first fly and varies based on the depth of the water you are fishing.
Using a double surgeons knot tie in the next leader section of 5x cut to 18 inches in length after completing the knot. Remove the tag that is pointing away from the flyline side of the leader with your nippers and tie in the first fly to the other tag, When using the tag pointing towards the flyline it will help in keeping the fly from tangling around the main leader line when casting.
For the remaining leader section in a size of 6x or 7x repeat this process and cut the length down to 12 inches, tying the second fly to that tag and then finish the leader by tying the third fly to the end of the leader.
The fly line and leader should roll in a steady loop as you cast this triple fly fly set-up settling into the water and getting down quickly to where the fish are located in the water colum. You use a strike indicator just above the loop/clinch knot connection or if you prefer you can leave the strike indicator off and use the “feel the strike method”, we will cove this type of fishing in a future tips and tactics blog .
When selecting the flies for this system, I always use a bigger fly on the top tag, size 8 to 12. Then the second fly is usually based on what is the best food source in the river, caddis pupa, mayfly nymphs, midge larvae, and such. The bottom fly on my rigs only varies to a couple of patterns, they would be Zebra Midges, San Juan Worms, and Scuds. I also vary the lead/tungsten on my flies to help with how they drift in the current. We will cover more of this in another blog.
I hope this tactics tip helps you become a better mutli-nymph fisherman. Most clients fishing this type of rig while on a trip with me, like the ease of casting and working through the drifts and mends.
These knot illustrations courtesy of John Sherry at www.netknots.com