Alain Barthelemy’s Coiled Monofilament Sighter Construction

As some of you know, I spent a couple years figuring out the best way to make the coiled mono. Some of you even have my original designs. I could probably make a few bucks selling these things, but I think my karma will benefit more from a bunch of grateful fishermen instead. All I ask is if you use my ideas, especially in any formal publication, please cite my name as the original designer. I originally learned about the coiled sighter from Aaron Jasper and Loren Williams, but I figured out the construction myself.

Large Coiled Sighter
(1) Take a Bic pen and remove the ink and the end cap, you should be left with a hollow tube.
(2) The best monofilament I have found in terms of coil memory and visibility is Ande IGFA Tournament mono, 16lb test, H-Viz yellow. You can buy this at good saltwater shops, and the they also sell it at the big box BPS stores.
(3) Take the pen cylinder and drill a hole in one end. Clinch knot the Ande in that hole.
(4) Put the Ande 1/4lb spool on a spindle for free spin, like you would do if you were spooling up a spinning reel.
(5) Put the end of the pen cylinder without the knot into the chuck of a variable speed cordless drill. Don’t tighten the chuck too much.
(6) Start the drill slowly, while keeping the tension on the mono with your off hand. It is easy to guide the mono on to the pen in perfect adjoining wraps.
(7) Wrap the whole pen and stop the drill.
(8 ) Cut the mono, but leave a 3in tag hanging.
(9) Take a 3/8in O-ring from the plumbing store and use it to cap and stop the tag end nice and neat.
(10) That’s it, the “pen” is ready to boil

(1) Use a small sauce pan and bring water to boil
(2) Boil the pen for 6 minutes at full boil
(3) Take it out, put it on a paper towel and freeze overnight to set the coil.

(1) Simply peel (roll) the O-ring back over the tight coils for about a quarter inch.
(2) Cut the coil off the pen with your nippers.

(1) No need to micro-rings or loops.
(2) It is simple to use the Davy knot to tie these on. For explanation of this, look at the Trout Predator Online site. Basically, you are making a stop knot in the sighter and knotting the other material on the “upstream” side of the knot.
(3) People complain about these knots all the time. Practice and you will get it right. The knot is very strong, I landed 10lb carp this year using the coiled mono, Davy knots and 5X fluorocarbon.

Degradation due to boiling
(1) Not an issue. Even if degraded, the 16lb knot strength will ALWAYS be a lot stronger than your tippet!

Micro Coiled Sighter (better to use 12lb material for this)
(1) Use an X-Acto knife body as a pin vise
(2) Buy some large “doll pins” from the craft store
(3) Get a thin red tube that comes with a can of WD-40. You will use this tube to make stoppers.
(4) Cut the tube into 1/4in pieces
(5) Insert the eyed end of the needle into your pin vise
(6) Slide the mono through the stopper and slide the stopper on the needle in the pin vise as far as you can
(7) With as much tension as possible, wrap the coils by spinning the pin vise
(8 ) Wrap the whole thing, cut the mono, and slide a stopper over the end of the pin
(9) Boil this assembly as above

The large coiled sighter is much more useful in general. If the coils get funny when you are fishing, simply slide your thumb nail over the mono and they will return. You should be using the coiled mono as a visual, not tactile, aid in strike detection. You should almost never feel the strikes, if you do, you are using anchors that are too heavy. In general use, you should see the coils stretch, stop or twitch on a strike. The temperature and current of the water has everything to with how hard the fish strike and the detection is seen. With low water and light (size 18-22 flies), it is useful to treat the coils with Mucillin and use it as a floating indicator. When a fish hits the light flies, the first couple coils will dip down in to the water. I use this method in August and September.

If you are interested, I fish mainly Euro nymphing methods using the Loop Opti Peak rod in the 11ft 3wt version. Most of my practical, on stream training on nymph fishing I owe to Aaron Jasper, but most of the technical stuff I figured out on my own. Aaron figured out the leaders I use, but I modify them all the time. I do not ever use store-bought leaders. The origin of the flies I use are really a combination of my research along with Torrey Collins from Housatonic River Outfitters and Aaron. I would say you are all on the right track in the fly department. My motto is that “Presentation trumps specific fly patterns.”

Depending on the feedback I get from this essay, I can also explain all the ins and outs of almost anything else about Euro/French or Czech nymphing. The only things I will not divulge are specific fly patterns or leader formulas.