If we’re really going deep, we slip a worm weight (that’s right, like bass fisherman use) on the leader before we tie on the bug. I’m not sure how so many people came to believe this common myth. If I’m concentrating on the top six inches the water column in walking-speed current or slower, I’ll generally stick with a floating line. When using my 4 weight and I want to get down, I just put on a poly-leader and weighted fly, which sinks enough to usually get by. With an integrated sinking tip or full-sinking line, you need to continue to strip the line all the way in before you can recast. So if I wanted a head to load an eight weight rod and sink at a rate of 5 inches per second, I could buy a 30′ 8 weight shooting taper with a type 4 or 5 sink rate, i.e. Post was not sent - check your email addresses! There are multiple factors, which determine when we have our client’s use sink tip lines or use floating lines. The heavy fly is my edible weight, and the dropper is my fly du jour or hatch-matcher. Thanks. Deep-water Column: The dog-days of summer and winter’s coldest days are when we concentrate on the deepest water close to thick cover. Emulating the swimming action of many baitfish and other small fish requires the fly to be down deep, and a specialty sinking-tip line complements this method well. In order to get the proper depth, we lengthen our leaders and fish weighted flies. Full sink fly lines. The steelhead and brown trout I’m targeting aren’t typically suspended in the water column so getting the fly down deep is critical. Thanks to Phil and all of the “experts” for taking the time to write this article. InTouch 15ft Sink Tip Fly Line (RIO) Some say that Rio’s InTouch fly line is the best sink tip fly line on the market today. This type of fishing is ideal for a switch or 2 handed rod but can still be done on a single hander. The running line is aqua colored, while the sink belly is clear. I really really appreciate the response to my question. Problem is, you need to get your flies in and out of the water quickly. It features 15 ft of weight forward line. Further back near the flyline/leader connection? I use sinking lines when my plan is to solely throw streamers in deeper water for the whole day. Experimentation is the only way to figure out the best presentation. Patrick Fulkrod, The South Holston River Company (Bristol, Virginia): I love swinging soft hackles. As a result, sink tips will get down in the water column much faster than a polyleader coated with material with the same sink rate. First, let me discuss our “go-to” setups. Sink-tips are an excellent tool for consistently getting a fly deep, while keeping most of your line on the surface where it’s easy to cast and mend. I use various sinking rate lines, I never use a sink tip, always full sinking lines. When fishing for largemouth bass, a buoyant fly like a foam diver or popper attached to a sink tip will produce life like action of a diving frog. Thanks again. If I really want to get down and penetrate the lower half of the run, whether it be four feet or ten feet, I generally use a sinking tip. If I’m after a swooning action… a wounded baitfish type of action, I’ll use a sinktip line with an lightly-weighted or unweighted fly such as a Zoo Cougar, Wooley Sculpin, Conrad Sculpin, or other fly that swims as though it is wounded or in trouble. Scientific Anglers Sonar Stillwater Parabolic Sink line, for instance, has a sink 3 running line, a sink 5 head, and a sink 3 tip. I’ll look forward to many more. You can usually tell after a couple of casts if the fish are hitting streamers, as they will be very aggressive. Close to the fly? Because a large portion of the line sinks, it keeps my flies “in the zone” and in front of the fish much longer. Available lines weights for the Scientific Angler Sonar Sink 30 Clear Tip Fly range from 200 to 400 GR, with grins rates for the first 30 feet of from 13.0g to 25.9g. The floating portion is simply going for a ride with the sink tip in front, just like a shooting or running line setup. This will be a material that is usually a fairly heavy weight where it attaches to your fly line (the butt section) and will taper down in weight/thickness to the point where the tippet attaches. If you want to fish deep then you'll get 10' of full sinking material. Essential Equipment to Get Started Fly Fishing – Fly Fishing Basics, Fly Fishing Leader and Tippet: What, Why and How, Video Tip: Two Fly Fishing Knots To Know To Get Started, 10 Things I Wish I Knew When Learning to Fly Fish, The Three Main Types of Flies to Fly Fish for Trout - Fly Fishing Basics, Taking Up Fly Fishing – 5 Basic Tips for Fly Fishing Beginners, Disclosure for The Fly Fishing Basics.com. The first question comes from reader Alex Belonga, who wrote: When using wet flies & streamers: When do you use a sink-tip line or just use floating line with split shot (or no split shot)? The putty gets hung up less, casts nicer, and if it does hang up you can usually save your flies and just lose the putty. When swinging wet flies, I prefer to use one bigger/heavier fly and a dropper that is smaller and softer. Ways to Use Sinking Lines. A very important but rather confusing part of streamer fishing is the use of sink tip lines. While sink tips can get a fly down, sometimes you’ll need more umpf! However, you will need a really buoyant point fly to keep everything on top, as smaller patterns can be dragged under. I also find that novice fly anglers, with proper instruction, can handle a large streamer much easier when they have the weight of the sinking tip helping them deliver the fly. Sometimes, it all comes down to the kind of fishing you want to do, but sometimes, it’s just a question of preference. It’s also less of a hassle for me to use rather than adding a bunch of split shot. If needed, I will add a small split shot to help fly get to to the right depth. The rule of thumb is to shorten the leader down to as little as 3 or 4ft if you're fishing a heavy sink tip as you don't want the fast sinking tip down deep and the fly still riding high because your leader is too long. It has a sink rate of approximately 3 – 4 inches per second; making a great line for streamer fishing through fast trout waters or casting for bass along shallow lake shores. Rarely, we use floating lines with split-shot when using streamers. Since 1856. That’s said, there’s a lot of good advice here. We let the following factors determine our set-ups: water temperature, time of year, time of day,  water clarity, and water flow (CFS). Very well presented info. So, if your fishing a deep run the sink tip will pull the floating fly line and fly down. This RIO Fly Fishing Tip shows how to quickly turn a floating line into a sink tip by attaching a VersiLeader. If you find yourself without a sinking line and you know those fish are hanging out in deeper buckets (they’re not coming to the surface), then split shot works to get your floating line down quicker. The water is quite low, so I fished a sparse marabou streamer on a floating line and no split shot. This heaviness causes the line to sink. Take care, Sometimes, it's better to just use a floating line and a weighted fly when fishing slow in … For me, the choice is based on 2 factors: 1) what level of the water column I need to fish. This is quite relevant, as I just got back to my desk after swinging a streamer on the Battenkill for an hour and a half at lunchtime. If you're fishing structure that's 5-10 feet deep, an intermediate fly line may be the best line for the job. The poly-leader act somewhat like a light weight mini-sink tip. I fish the exact match to your river, only mine is up in Canada. If you find yourself in shallow water, a floating line with no split shot will work well if the fish are hitting your streamer or wet fly. Our go-to set up is usually a 6-weight rod with a 4-foot fluorocarbon leader with an unweighted diver or streamer pattern or a 7-weight rod with a 4-foot fluorocarbon leader with a weighted (barbell-eyes) crawfish pattern (e.g., Ghetto Craw) with a mono weed guard fished with a slow retrieval rate as deep as possible and right next to the heaviest cover. Wow! They cast much easier than full-sinking lines and thus, they are more forgiving to novice anglers. Nymphing Guide Streamers Guide. For those who go with the floating line and split shot approach, where on the leader do you add your split shot? The floating line will give me the ultimate in sensitivity to ensure I can detect the lightest of strikes. I try to avoid adding weight to the leader and prefer to get flies deeper by mending and using a longer tippet section that will get down quicker. With a higher fishing sink tip a 5ft to 6ft leader or a 10ft leader with … to get a big streamer to the bottom of a fast-moving current or deep lake. This setup also gives me the ability to “high-stick,” keeping line off the water and giving me maximum feel and control in water with complex currents. Either way, the Bank Shot line is made to order for this. And, 2) the type of streamer action I’m after. Your email address will not be published. The part of the fly line that sinks is coated with powdered tungsten. When using sink tips, you can just strip to where the sink section begins, start your cast, double haul once, and then shoot the line forward with limited effort. When it comes to the river, if you’re fishing deeper buckets and faster currents, the weight of the sinking line will allow your wet flies to remain deeper and not float to the top as quickly as floating line would. I like the flexibility of managing the depth with split shot, as well as removing the split shot if I need to switch up the method of presentation (dry fly, double dropper rig, etc.). Sinking tips come into play for me when the water is too deep to effectively get to fish level, but even then, a change of angle with a floating line and proper mending should get me where I want to be most often. Our boat rods are rigged as follows: We usually have four rods rigged and ready—2 rods rigged with floating line and 2 rods rigged with a sinking-tip line. I use the sink tips, clear intermediate, type III sink or VIII, mostly for salt water from the beach, where I am casting longer distances. Thank you so much to all of you who took the time to answer, and especially ‘Ask the Experts’ for setting this up. The physics of this are not hard to imagine. There are several reasons: a sinking tip gets the fly deeper, I can fish much shorter leaders, they allow for greater accuracy than fishing a longer leader on a floating line, and it’s easier to throw a sinking tip than it is to throw a heavily weighted fly with a floating line. This is because a roll cast requires a big open loop with a sink tip. A sinking fly line is used to fish nymphs and streamers. One of your first questions is probably what is the difference between a fly fishing leader and tippet. Thanks! Again, a sink-tip line can alleviate some of this headache since most of the line floats allowing for improved line management. Here are a few recommendations. Low water is the only time I fish this particular set-up; for most of the season, I prefer a sinking PolyLeader and a three-foot section of level 2X or 3X. Sink tips are MUCH harder to cast than a full sinking line. I will add some split shot, and then adjust accordingly. As you’ll see from our experts’ answers below, there are many different ways to look at the question, and opinions vary. Most streamer-caught fish will hold tight to the structure on the bottom and then rise to chase the fly. Casting Speed: When you need to get the fly down but also need to be quick with your presentations, a sink-tip line (especially with a short sinking portion) is a great choice. Sink tips just perform so poorly compared to full sink lines. These types of fly lines are useful when fishing streamers in rivers or also when fishing lakes with the same patterns. The lead / tungsten core of a sinking line dampens the sensitivity. Maggie Mae Stone, The Tackle Shop Outfitters (Ennis, Montana): When using wet flies and streamers, I always think about the depth of water I may be fishing and the speed of the current. This is when a sinking line makes most sense. Going too Deep - An intermediate line may cause the fly to go too deep for where you're fishing, especially when casting long and stripping slowly with a full intermediate. This is when sinking-tip lines are at their best. For the purpose of this discussion we are addressing fishing for Texas river bass (largemouth and guadalupe bass) with 6-weight and 7-weight fly rods in rivers that are rarely more than 10 feet deep. Do you have any recommendations on how to carry the bigger pike and trout streamers without ruining them? Yes, the washing line method normally uses a floating line or midge tip but an intermediate can also be used if you want to fish deeper. Tim Linehan, Linehan Outfitting Company (Troy, Montana): When fishing streamers and wet flies, I let the situation, mostly water depth and current speed, dictate whether I use a floating or sinking line. If I am fishing faster-paced pocket-water, where I need to get my flies sunk fast but don’t fish them for a very long time before picking up and making another cast, a long tapered fluorocarbon leader off a floating line is my best friend. Sorry, your blog cannot share posts by email. Under those conditions, a sinking tip with fluorocarbon leader is the ticket. Along these same lines, other mass-related benefits — anchoring your line, loading your rod, turning over flies — are also more pronounced with sink tips. Stefan Woodruff, Ellensburg Angler (Ellensburg, Washington): When I’m fishing streamers or wet flies, the decision whether to use a sinking-tip line or a floating line with split shot on the leader depends on the type of water I’m fishing. RIO InTouch Big Nasty Sink Tip Fly Line That’s not lunchtime. If you’re wading, these lines can keep you in the zone longer and increase the odds of success. John Herzer, Blackfoot River Outfitters (Missoula, Montana): Around Missoula, we primarily fish from boats, so we rarely use full-sinking lines or even sinking tips longer than ten feet when fishing streamers. Copyright 2021, The Orvis Company Inc. Great information, and a special thank you to Jeff Davis. Last week, we introduced a new weekly “Ask the Experts” Column and asked you to pose some questions for our panel of experts. Sink tips are the marriage of traditional floating line and sinking line. Jenny Mayrell-Woodruff, Woodruff, Flyfish Beaver’s Bend (Broken Bow, Oklahoma): I use a floating line with split shot more often because I am constantly changing locations on the river. If it’s significantly higher, I’ll use a sinking tip, if not too high, a floating line is fine. And it’s full of great insights and info. Built on the Genesis Framework. When using a fly that I will strip or retrieve, I always prefer a sinking tip or sinking line. The biggest factor when picking your sink tip line is the sink-rate. Jeff Davis, All Water Guides (Austin, Texas): This is a great question and one that comes up often. Depending on water conditions, I use 200- to 350-grain sinking tips in my everyday trout, steelhead, salmon, and smallmouth fishing. (Any Battenkill regulars know that this is unusually fast action.) Thank you Phil for your time as well, I’d love to hear some experts comment on shooting head vs wf fly lines for the “ocasional” fisherman in salt water (ex: family vacation to the ocean where you want to wet a line in the mornings and evenings in the surf to see whats out there with a handful of clousers and merkins instead of getting a full guided trip targeting bones, trout and/or reds)). If I want to penetrate the water column and cover the first two feet, I’ll add split shot accordingly. Required fields are marked *. There are also occasions when the water isn’t that high, but for softness of presentation I want a unweighted fly. If you are familiar with conventional fishing methods, the leader is pretty much the same as the fishing monofilament used on … I will cast as far as I can, and then paddle away from the cast at the fly sinks. Mid-water Column: Before switching to a sinking tip, we will try a floating line with 9-foot fluorocarbon leader and a weighted (barbell-eyes) streamer pattern. These fish catch the majority of their food well below the surface of the water, so the sinking fly line is ideal to entice them to bite. The denser the line, the quicker it goes down. Sometimes in a pinch we will add split shot but find that the patterns work best without using split shot. I swung the fly just under the surface with good success: three fish on, two to hand, and several short-strikes and swirls. I use a sink tip because it gets the fly DOWN deep. I enjoy tying and fishing streamers but have not found a good way to carry the bigger ones. To sum it up it’s all about depth and current speed. A sink tip fly line solves these problems by allowing the front portion of the fly line to sink. And with the fly line submerged, the fly will stay down and retrieve more in a straight line rather than upward toward the surface. Sink tips and full sinking lines are used for other species, not just while trout fishing. What you get is the tip section of the fly line, usually the first 8′ to 16′ feet (approximately), is the sinking portion and the remainder is the floating line. 15 Foot ‘Type’ Tips. A bit deeper and you'll fish 5' sinking combined with 5' floating. If I’m dragging bottom and getting hung up, I will take some off. In this case, the sinktip helps keep the upwelling of the moving current from bringing the fly to the surface. Instead we carry a wide variety and weighted streamers. When you want your flies to slowly move through the current at a relatively consistent depth. The styles of sink tips vary greatly and consequently can leave some people scratching their head when trying to decide which fly line to put on their streamer rod. Since most of the trout’s diet is consumed below the surface it just makes sense to have either a sinking fly line on an extra spool or a mini-sink-tip section that can be added to the end of your floating line. For example, if I’m fishing still water, I almost always reach for a full-sinking line, as the depth is usually greater than a river or stream. With a full sinking line, the density is the same or very similar in the entire line. I just add or subtract split shot to help get my flies down fast in smaller pockets of fishy water, like the soft water behind a large boulder. What a great idea. When I am fishing soft hackles and other traditional wet flies, I always prefer a floating line. A sinking fly line is used to fish for streamers and nymphs. Mending is the key when swinging wets and a floating line mends easier and keeps me in contact with my flies better. Chuck Hawkins, Hawkins Outfitters (Traverse City, Michigan): I always use sinking tips when streamer fishing. Your email address will not be published. If I’m after a darting or fleeing action I’ll lean toward a heavy fly, such as a tungsten head wooley bugger or variant, on a floating line and mend/twitch to keep the fly moving in erratic motions. If it is a large bucket or run, a sinking-tip line is my go-to choice. Tim Linehan nailed it. The diagram below shows the 4 various tips. Then a sink-tip or sinking line can get your fly right down to where the fish will be. We will concentrate on depths between 12 and 36 inches, working the fly fast, then medium speed, and finally with a slow retrieval rate. Sink tip casting is lobing a dense piece of sinking material attached to a light, non dense floating line. Fly line … By dividing the river into three sections—upper, mid, and deep—we can create the best set up to address all the above factors and ever-changing conditions that we encounter on any given day on the river. This line is ideal for use with streamers in medium/hot weather conditions. Even if I carried a sink-tip on a spare reel or spool, changing lines to fish just one run wouldn’t be time-effective. When To Use a Sinking Polyleader vs. a Sink-Tip If you want to fish shallow, you'll also use a 10' tip but only 2.5' will sink and 7.5' will float. ST8S type 4 (or 5 depending on manufacturer.) The floating portion is bright in color and the sinking portion dark as with the regular sinking lines. Sink-tip lines always consist of two colors. There are times of high water with extra swift currents when I’ll add some sink putty to the leader instead of shot. Order to get the proper depth, we lengthen our leaders and fish weighted flies sink belly is clear with. 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