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:
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:
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:
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.
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:
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.
Now to add the treble…..and straight into dilemma no.2!
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:
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:
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:
Twice or three times will be sufficient to ensure adequate support. Once done, catch the loose end of nylon in with tying silk:
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:
Pull this piece of nylon toward the back of the hook and catch it in with tying thread:
Tie both pieces of nylon in with wraps of tying silk all the way to the eye:
Snip off the waste ends and whip finish. You now have your Secret Weapon 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:
I know it’s a lot of work but believe me, it’s well worth it.
Any questions….just give me a shout! Enjoy.