Tim Huckaby’s typical rig for the Upper Kern River
My typical rig for the Upper Kern River is a 3x leader with a size 4 tan Huck-Hopper on top, followed by 3 feet of 4X tippet then a size 8 black Beldar stonefly nymph imitation followed by another 18 inches of 5x tippet and a size 16 Huck Green Caddis Nymph Cripple.
If you are an experienced fly fisher and familiar with the wild conditions at the Upper Kern River, you may be saying to yourself: “that is crazy and asking for disaster.” Yes, it is. Overhead casting that rig is difficult; roll casting even harder. The 3 tungsten beads in the beldar stone don’t make it any easier. Without wind it’s manageable for a good cast. I typically lose flies two ways: hung up on the bottom or when the wind blows me off course mid cast. I lose flies, but I do catch a lot of fish on the upper Kern. I’m an expert there. I take the risk because I think it’s worth it. I respect people that don’t take the risk of losing flies. They cost money. And it takes time to re-rig with 5 knots involved. I can tie up a new rig quickly upon losing the entire thing. Yes, that is frustrating. But, IMHO you have to take risks if you want the big rewards. Yes, a long 3 fly rig like the one I do is not only difficult to cast, but also risky to losing flies. Yes, it’s deadly the entire season.