Imagine you’ve made a great cast on a laid up tarpon. Your long smooth strip gets the fish moving but just as her gills flare your fly hooks a piece of turtle grass. Game over, the fish of a lifetime peels off and goes away. Weed guards also allow an angler to fish when there’s junk in the water. With the VinceGuard flies can even be fished in heavy seaweed even thick lily pads.
On occasion weed guards can be fish guards too. Anything getting between the hook point and the fishes mouth can either bounce off a fish or freak the fish out before he inhales the fly. Our weed guards are constructed to minimize this possibility.
We use to different types of weed guards the Single Post and bent VinceGuard.
The VinceGuard is made from a piece of 60lb fluorocarbon bent so the flattened end is in line with the hook point. This is an incredibly effective weed guard almost never fouling. Even better is how sensitive it is, seldom do fish bounce off of it. We use this weed guard on flies that will be stripped through the water column. Fished on the bottom weeds sometimes get caught in between the hook and weed guard so we avoid using it on crabs and other flies that might be crawled through the weeds.
We use 20 lb hard mono for our Single Post weed guard. It is tied in to point straight up or
leaning a little forward and trimmed to just reach the hook point. It won’t click on the hook
point when compressed maximizing the hook up potential.
Foul guards help keep the material in the tail or rear collar of a fly from wrapping around the hook. Tailing materials like rabbit and saddle hackle easily foul in windy conditions or when the angler throws a tailing loop. Once material wraps around the hook the fly swims poorly and the profile is ruined; the fly no longer looks like food to the fish. We have three ways of minimizing the amount of fouling.
All of our rabbit strip tailed flies have the in-line foul guard. It’s a piece of 20lb hard mono looped through a hole in the rabbit strip and tied into the shank. This allows the rabbit to move naturally while stiffening the part of the strip nearest the hook.
On feather tails and short rabbit strips we us a loop guard. A hard mono is tied in on top of the tailing material, looped around and underneath and back capturing the material in the loop.
When possible we design flies so there is stiff often synthetic material protecting veiling the hook gap. This keeps loose fibers from getting caught up around the shank.