About ten years ago I started using body weights of different shapes, which became part of the hook and which started to solve some existing problems...
When you are flyfishing with the wet flies or nymphs you often need to get down into deep and strong streams or deep pools where the biggest fish usually lie. For this reason we usually weigh flies in the body with lead or other types of wire and of different diameters, which we tie along the hook shank.
At the time of my active competition career, between 1981-82, I started using different body weights, which were the only variations possible at that period. About eight years ago I started using body weights of different shapes, which became part of the hook and which started to solve some existing problems.
The first attempts at the development of the fly hook with an added lead cylinder were not completely successful, because they imitated only stages of the larvae in a straight hook. Even weighting the hook with a ball or an oval imitated only some kinds of nymphs, the development went on. By combining various possibilities I finally managed to find an ideal shape of weight for various kinds of nymphs. The shape of the weight is now a universal one for tying wet flies, fish fry, goldhead nymph's etc. A drop shape is the ideal. It may be moved on the hook shank to various positions.
Drop-shaped weights imitate the head part of many nymphs quite well, particularly the nymphs of the upwinged flies. These represent, in our river conditions, an important part of the food for trout and grayling. A poured drop of lead concentrates a large amount of lead in a small lump, much more than turns of lead wire. Thus we can make our flies reach to where we need them more easily.
The use of tiny nymphs of upwinged flies in deep water is the ideal solution for artificial flies. A drop-shaped weight has solved other kinds of problems as well. The Colourful marking of a drop increases a micronymphs attractiveness. Upwinged fly nymphs have a tendency to stand on their head when on the bottom of the river; strategic use of the drop can imitate this situation.
Another use of a drop-shape is for the tying of the smallest fish fry possible. Its size can be modified according to the size of the hooks used, between 4 - 16. Using small size hook say between 12 - 16, we get a very efficient midge pupae. These are a very favourite food for trout and grayling in both still and running water. I have achieved very good results with hooks weighted in this way even with quite common patterns of flies.
I have recently developed a small lead head for use on the bend of the hook. This serves as a base for the tying of the classic midge pupae. With the final colouring of the weight, we may imitate perfectly each development stage of the insect and the fish fry. We use the usually available acetone and spirit colours, these we paint with epoxy varnish after drying, and this ensures the greater durability of the flies.
A part of these experiments lead to the development of the weighted gammarus hooks, where lead is poured along the hook shank. The problem of insufficient weight using lead wire was substituted by using this simple method, and more lead on the hook ensures that even the smallest flies can get to the bottom, even in deep and strong streams. The shape of the weight can be made to imitate perfectly, not only, shrimps, but also caddis or stone fly larvae etc. (By flattening the shrimp body using flat fliers). Before tying a fly or nymph it is recommended that the surface of the lead is made rough using a file, to prevent the thread from slipping on the surface of the weight. Weighted hooks in sizes between 6 &16 serve us for tying most of the Czech patterns of weighted caddis larvae and shrimps. It is possible to create the required flies without the use of tying materials. Using the lead underbody on the hook and the appropriate acetone colour spray and spirit colours together with a finish of epoxy varnish to protect the colours when in contact with the stony bottom of the river.
Another pattern developed from this group of weighted flyfishing hooks, represents a hook with a cone-shaped head. This was developed for tying weighted streamers for colourful river and lake lures. A cone-shaped weight in the front makes it possible to easily tie streamers and lures. Because the weight imitates the head of a lure or fish fry, we paint the eyes with fluorescent colours. Weighting the hook at the head end gives that very attractive movement, which imitates the movement of the larvae or an injured fish.
A few words about fishing effectively the flies and nymphs tied on the above mentioned hooks. It is necessary to get used to fishing with weighted flies. Because they are weighted we could lose more while fishing, because they get hooked behind stones and in water plants.
The fishing itself is quite simple, you may fish either upstream, upstream across or downstream and below you. It is essential to maintain contact with the flies at all times in order to recognise a take. Often this is gentle, but the fly is usually well fixed in the mouth of the fish.
Small nymphs on the drop-shaped hook fish very well in all waters. In deep water up to 1.5 m it is better to use hook sizes of 12 - 14, for shallow and slow water, sizes 14 - 18 are better. When fishing big waters with deep streams, then I recommend the use of hooks between 8 - 10.
The construction of the leader is important. It should not exceed 1.75 m when used upstream. If you chose to fish downstream, then it will be necessary to increase this to about 2.5 m. We may cast out across the slower stream, or lead flies with a slower stream. For smaller nymphs we choose lighter leaders with a diameter of say .08 - .012 mm and this is matched with lighter rods of say, 2.40 - 2.75 m. Flyfishing lines with ratings of AFTM between 2 - 5. For bigger and heavier nymphs we use rods between AFTM 4 - 7 and lengths between 2.75 - 2.90 m.
When still water fishing with midge pupae, we usually place a weighted pupae at the end of a long leader, where it can act as a sort of anchor. Then we use leaders of 0.16 - 0.18 mm in diameter and rods of about 2.90 m and an AFTM of 5 - 7. We let flies hang in the column of water and fish them very slowly. When we fish with fry in still or slowly moving water, it is necessary to move the fry by jerking movements. This gives the impression of an injured fry. In fast moving water, we usually fish the sides of the stream, and places behind stones in deep streams.