How to Use a “Lift Kit” to Make Flies Ride Hook-Point-Up

Written by: Evan Jones

Here, you can see that the dumbbell eyes are mounted on two layers of monofilament, moving the center of gravity away from the hook shank.

If you want a fly to ride hook-point-up, the most common solution is to add weighted eyes to the top of the hook shank. And if at first you don’t succeed, simply try heavier and heavier eyes until it finally flips over. But adding more weight isn’t always a feasible option, especially when you’re targeting spooky fish in shallow water. Not only are heavier flies more difficult to cast accurately, but they land harder and sink faster, too–all of which can potentially reduce their efficacy.

Fortunately, adding weight isn’t the only way to force a fly to ride point-up. You can also try adding material (such as a doubled piece of monofilament) between the hook shank and the eyes, increasing the distance between the two. This moves the center of gravity away from shank, making the fly top-heavy and encouraging it to flip over. I learned about this modification, known as a “Lift Kit,” several years ago from Colorado carp fisherman Jay Zimmerman, but it has also served me well in shallow saltwater applications. Here are detailed instructions for creating a Lift Kit, which will allow lighter flies to ride hook-point-up:

1. Select a material that is approximately the same diameter as your chosen hook shank. (I’m using 30-pound hard mono here on a size 1/0 hook.) Cut a section twice the length of your hook shank, and fold it in half.

2. Secure the folded material onto the top of the hook shank.

3. Mount the eyes on top of the folded material. 

You can then finish the fly in any design of your choice. In the rare instance that it still does not consistently ride point-up, try doubling the amount of material under the eyes to raise them up further, like the example at the top of the page.

Evan Jones is the assistant editor of the Orvis Fly Fishing blog. He lives in Colorado.

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