Secret Weapon Mount

I haven’t had a lot of time of late because of one thing and another….but that’s another story.

Anyway, some of my recent blogs have raised a few questions; in particular about the Secret Weapon mount. The method to make the mount is well documented in many books and has been discussed on a number of occasions on various forums and in magazines. However, for those that aren’t acquainted, to give you a brief rundown, I’ve put together a small sequence of images and an explanation. You’ll have to forgive the ‘changing light’ in the images. Moving the camera in and out has caused a few issues with light levels. They’ll hopefully get the message across though.

To get a better picture of what we’re trying to achieve, take a look at a photo of a secret weapon that I’ve previously posted:

Blue Black and Silver Secret Weapon

Just to make it clear, the ‘Secret Weapon’ isn’t a fly but a hook mount. The hook mount can then be applied to any combination of materials or even fly pattern that you care to imagine. It has been evident in various forms for over a century. The thinking behind it was that with more hook points, the chances of hooking a fish would be greatly increased. In more recent times, it’s become a standard mount when chasing seatrout purely because they are such an elusive and acrobatic fish. By todays standard it looks a bit archaic especially when we consider the catch and release argument. I have to say though that I’ve never had any issues returning a fish that I’ve caught using one of these mounts and quite often the fish slip the hook; sometimes with uncanny regularity. The way I see it, it’s just long-range catch and release anyway! Right, back to the mount.

I’ll explain the why’s and wherefores as I go along but we have to first discuss the hooks. Since there are more variety of hooks than ever before, it’s a bit of a stab in the dark to see whether a mount will ‘work’ so generally I stick to the tried and tested. In this instance, the front hook will be a Size 6 longshank and the treble, to balance it will be at least 3 times smaller; a size 12. Of course, this formula is quite general and depending on the hook types used, you might need to go smaller or bigger one size on the treble to get the proportions right and the balance of the mount.

So, initially take a suitable treble and wind on a couple of wraps of tying silk:

Treble

Next, take about 6 inches of stiff nylon and wrap it around the rear of the treble. Put one end up through the hook eye and the other down through the hook eye. Trap the nylon with tying silk down to the bends of the hook:

Nylon

So here’s dilemma no1! What strength and type of nylon? There’s a couple of things to consider here. Too heavy a gauge and it’ll cause the body to be too bulky and (as you’ll see later) when we pass it through the eye of the front hook, it’ll partially block it and thus cause issues when you thread a leader through! Too light a gauge and although it’ll overcome the previous issues I’ve mentioned, it won’t be stiff enough to support the treble and whilst casting, the treble will hinge on the mount and tangle either in the dressing or wrap itself around the front hook.  There are a number of ways to get around these issues. For this mount, I’ve compromised and gone for 14lb nylon which isn’t too heavy nor too large a gauge. Later on you’ll see how to slightly stiffen it.

Tie the nylon all the way down and back to the eye. Finish with a whip finish.

Finished Treble

At this point, I usually varnish the treble to secure the whippings. You can of course dress the treble with tinsel, add a hackle or even use a different tying silk to complement the dressing or even create a hotspot. It’s your fly so do it as you wish. So that’s the trailing treble done. I usually get a production line going and tie several dozen trebles before moving on to the next part:

Trebles

Next place a suitable single in the vice and run tying silk to just above the hook point. Offer up your flying treble and catch the trailing nylon in with the tying silk.

Suitable single

Now to add the treble…..and straight into dilemma no.2!

Treble Distance

How far away do we need the treble?! Once again, too far and the nylon regardless of gauge will hinge. Although fishing in darkness is never an easy affair, one sense that will tell you when things have gone wrong is your sense of hearing. If the treble isn’t sitting properly, you’ll hear a change in sound as you cast. The problem is usually similar to the photo below:

Hinging effect

Not good and it severely compromises the ability of the fly to hook fish effectively. What we need to do is to shorten the distance between the front hook bend and the treble. Overall, I find that from the  bend to the bends of the trebles a good length is around the same length as the shank of the front hook. Overall, the mount will be about twice the front hook shank length. So….

Initially, once you’ve offered the treble to the hook shank, trap the piece of trailing nylon furthest from you with a couple of turns of tying silk. At this point, it’s not essential to get the measurements exact:

Trapping nylon

Once done, we can now stiffen the link between the front hook and trailing treble by wrapping the loose end of nylon around the tied in nylon:

Nylon Wraps

Twice or three times will be sufficient to ensure adequate support. Once done, catch the loose end of nylon in with tying silk:

Trapped and Measured

It’s at this point that we need to ensure that the trailing treble is aligned correctly with the axis of the front hook shank and also we have the correct distance between it and the front hook. Next, we need to take one of the ends of the trailing nylon (the side furthest away from you) and push it downwards through the eye of the single hook:

Pushed through

Pull this piece of nylon toward the back of the hook and catch it in with tying thread:

Trapped Front

Tie both pieces of nylon in with wraps of tying silk all the way to the eye:

Waste ends

Snip off the waste ends and whip finish. You now have your Secret Weapon mount!

Finished Mount

Of course, you don’t have to use a treble. There are many hook combinations that can be used. Likewise, there are many ways of mounting the trailing hook and many ways of preventing it from hinging. This is what works for me. Like the trebles, I also set up a production line and complete several dozen mounts before I decide what dressing I’m going to add:

Completed Mounts

I know it’s a lot of work but believe me, it’s well worth it.

Squirrel Blue and Silver Secret-Weapon

Any questions….just give me a shout! Enjoy.


10 responses to “Secret Weapon Mount

  • allenagnew

    Some very helpful tips Alun, I wondered how you got the twist in the nylon, now I know lol. God willing, I will have a crack at a few of these. Does it matter what nylon? I have a few secret weapons were tynex was used and thought they were excellent, though I thought it was twenty lb bs. Will 14 lb tynex twisted do the job? Thanks again for the tips, good advice certainly shortens the learning curve, God bless.

    • Alun Rees

      Hi Allen. Tynex will do the job whether it’s 14lb or 20lb. Doubled as it is will make the link between the treble and the front hook 28lb or 40lb! The link that anglers forget is between the fly and the fly line which may only be 8lb or 10lb! As long as the mount looks balanced then whatever you use is up to you.

  • Chris Aldred

    Superb post again Alun, will make a few of these up later today, just need to order some hooks for the front of the flies

  • Marc Fauvet

    nice one Alun, thanks !
    i would never fish more than a single hook but your twisted nylon tip has given me ideas for some funky stuff… :wink:
    cheers,
    marc

    • Alun Rees

      Thanks Marc and I’ll look forward to what you turn out. Sharing information is what spurs us on to develop and design new stuff!

      I know the mount is a bit archaic because of the number of hook points but it’s a bit of history as well so good to share.

  • parkea2

    Great blog Alun, I have read a few write ups before but you have covered areas others glossed over. For example tips on balancing hook and treble sizing, and positioning and sizing the mount. I knew about twisting the nylon but your method is really neater then what I was previously doing. Ta Andy

    • Alun Rees

      Andy, thanks for the vote of confidence.

      Realistically, you’re trying to find nylon that is stiff enough to prevent the trailing hook from hinging and also small enough in diameter that it doesn’t compromise the front hook eye.

      I have since measured the nylon I’ve used and the diameter comes out somewhere near what more expensive nylons 20lb! So you have another variable in the equation as well as the hook balancing act…..not all manufacturers nylon diameters are equal! I think the step by step will give you the general idea but you may have to play around with a couple of mounts/hooks/nylon diameters to see what’s best for you.

  • allenagnew

    Hi Alun, slightly off topic with this question, but I cant think of any one better to ask than your self, and thats meant to be a compliment lol, but what trebles d you use for your tubes and waddingtons, the Partridge X1BR is catching my eye, any advice would be appreciated.

    • Alun Rees

      Hi Allen, as I explained in the email, the X1BR or even BL are good bets. I like the Kamasan as well because they are a good strong hook but with a needle eye. they tend to come loose from tubes and depending on what size waddington you use, sometimes, you are unable to fit the treble on because the wire guague is to thick.

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