Weed Guard

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We have all done it.
You take your time and create this great looking fly. This fly may be a hair bug that took 2 hours to tie and it's your first one that looks like what you had in mind. You float down your favorite smallmouth river and cast the fly into some good looking heavy wood cover and the fly gets hung up. The boat is still floating down the river and you are forced to break the fly off. Even if you manage to get the fly back, you have to float right into this sweet spot, spook the fish, have a snake drop from the overhead branches into your boat, stick your rod into a hornets nest, get spiders crawling on your face, and basically spend way too much valuable fishing time getting your fly back.

So now you want to put weed guards on all of your warm water flies. There are many ways to do this but here is how I do a weed guard. This type of guard has been used in heavy wood cover, thick hydrilla, and tough lily pads with great results. I never tie a deciever, hair bug, or any other large hooked warm water fly without one. You can always snip it off at stream side if needed. I have never had to.

There may be a few fish I don't hook because of the guard but I haven't noticed a big difference in my strike/land ratio.

I make the guard out of Mason Hard-Type Leader Material. I believe that Maxima also offers a stiff mono. It is a monofilament line that is very stiff and hard. All monos absorb water while being used and soften up. This stuff starts off stiff and just gets a little softer but not too soft. I prefer the 15 or 20 lb test for flies in the size 2 to 1/0 range. This stuff isn't expensive so get a few packages in everything from 10 to 30 lbl test.

1. Start Thread
2. Wrap thread down to about a third of the hook bend.
3. Wrap thread back up to where the hook shank and bend meet.
4. Take about a 3 inch section of 15 to 25 lb test hard mono and tie it to the third of the hook bend you have previously covered with thread. The pound test will vary depending on how big the hook is. The longer the hook shank, the higher pound test you want to go to get the required amount of stiffness. Don't go too thick mono because you will reach a point where the fly may be perfectly weedless, it can also be perfectly fishless.
5. Wrap the thread tight to the hook bend while moving the thread down the bend to secure the weed guard.
6. Wrap thread back up to hook shank.
7. Now tie whatever fly you want on the hook. Then bring the weed guard forward under the fly and hold against the head of the fly.
8. Make a couple of wraps to hold the guard in place.
9. Cut off excess weed guard. At this point you can push the guard upward to better expose the tag end so you can burn it with a lighter to form a ball. Then pull the guard back down so the ball is snug against the eye. This ball will prevent the guard from being pulled down too far and coming out.
10. Wrap securely while holding guard in place by the loop under the fly. Holding the guard here will keep the thread torque from twisting the mono out of alignment with the hook point.
11. Whip finish and apply head cement. On deceivers, I will then add stick on eyes and then another layer of head cement.
Now you can throw your fly into the thickest cover with confidence. While your fishing buddy swears and screams trying to get his fly back out of the mess, you can spend your time fishing instead of fooling around. I now do more fishing out of a boat casting into hydrilla and downed trees so people who go with me either use weedless flies or they don't get invited back. Having to stop fishing and disturb the best fishing spots every 10 minutes to let someone get thier fly back gets real old real fast. Nuff said.