Tim Huckaby’s typical Perdigon rig for the Upper Kern & Upper Kings Rivers
Historically, 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.
But, the Weakness of that rig is that you really have to be an expert to cast it. That Beldar Stonefly Nymph is huge and heavy. Sitting in between the Huck Hopper and the Huck Green Caddis Nymph Cripple makes the rig unbalanced. It’s literally impossible to roll cast without the eventual tangles or wind knots.
When i started tying Perdigons it immediately became obvious i could put together another effective combo with a size 14 Perdigon dropped below the huge huck hopper then followed by a size 16 Perdigon…. making it just as wildly effective because those perdigons get down in a hurry…yet, much easier to cast (overhand and roll) because the perdigons are small; yet heavy.
Learn about the benefits of Perdigon style flies on this site here.
If you are an experienced fly fisher and familiar with the wild conditions at the Upper Kern (or Kings) Rivers, you may be saying to yourself: “Throwing 3 flies is crazy and asking for disaster.” Yes, it is. and to redo the entire rig is 5 knots. Overhead casting a 3 fly rig is difficult; roll casting even harder. Also, note that in a few states like Montana you are not allowed to throw more than 2 flies.
I typically lose flies on a 3 fly rig in 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 and Kings. 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.