DIY Coiled Sighter

by Phillip Dobson
(Butte, MT)

Strike detection is vital when fishing flies below the surface, whether they are weighted nymphs or unweighted wet flies. Most of the time, one can simply follow the end their Hi-Vis line, but that method doesn't work in all cases. A coiled monofilament sighter improves visibility and responds in a very sensitive way to subtle strikes. It's also easy to make and use.

I've tried a variety of material and wrapping methods and have settled on the following: I use fine bi-color mono wrapped around a fly-tying shank. For me, this strikes a balance between visibility and subtlety.

The first thing I do is cut a length of indicator monofilament. I'm using Hanak Bi-colour material, which is approximately equivalent to 4.5x tippet diameter. The color changes every foot and a half, so I simply cut at the midpoint between changes.

I then tie the mono onto the top of the shank. I like to have a length of the mono follow parallel to the shank, so the finished coil is nicely aligned. Whip finish and cut the thread.

Next, wrap the mono. Your coil should have a nice even color split. I use hackle pliers to hold the line while I start the thread in the back. Tie the coil off and lash the line parallel to the hook shank again. Whip finish and it's time for heat treatment.

To set the coil, immerse it in boiling water for five minutes or so, then immediately put it in the freezer overnight. Carefully (!) cut the thread and slide the coil off of the hook. Incorporate the coil into your line using knots and/or tippet rings and go fishing. You should find that you can easily see the motion of the flies telegraphed into the movement of the coil. You can even slap some floatant on to use as a very sensitive floating indicator for lightweight flies.

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