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Sinking Fly Line for Smallies


SKollmann
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Having a quality floating fly line for my 6-weight reel, I just received a gift certificate to Bass Pro Shop from my kids in anticipation of Father's Day. Now want to purchase a sinking fly line on an additional reel for the same rod. I understand there are different densities of sinking lines that will cause the line to sink at different speeds. Since I'm still relatively new at this sport, but loving every minute of it so far (including fly tying), would appreciate your input on the correct sinking line for smallmouth bass as I don't plan on purchasing multiple lines. If it makes a difference, I will typically be fishing the Fox, Kish and 3K rivers. Thanks.

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Guest rich mc

two suggestions. one, are you able to purchase a second spool for the reel you have. then put the sinking line on it. second, i think you can getaway with just a sink tip line for the fox and kish. kank may require a faster sink rate. i use a sink tip in the summer at shabbona when fish are10-15ft down . rich

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I agree with Rich about the sink tips. RIO makes sinking leaders in different densities and sink rates. I personally like to use the fastest sink rate. If the water is to slow for that leader then just a weighted fly should be good enough to get down. I've fished all three of the rivers you mentioned especially the Kank. In all this time I have never used a sinking line or leader while fishing it and have usually been pretty successful. On the other hand I do know someone that likes to use a sinking line on the Kank and does well with that style of fishing.

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Rich is right. And besides, a full sinker is a real chore to cast. Let me confuse you some more. Did you ever think of getting separate sink tips that you can attach to your regular line?

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IMO mike has the right idea. thats a easy fix. how deep of water are you fishing?? for carp I use a floating line all the time. I use a long leader to get my weighted flies down to the golden ghosts, it works great

 

Joe

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that is excactly the one I have. to tell you the truth I never use it. the long leader with my weighted flies works fine for me. the water I fish is not very deep most of the time. I was thinking of using that sink tip for getting down to the smallies on the big lake. that would be a situation where I might need it.

 

Joe

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Steve, my 2 cents worth (and there are others with more experience who will weigh in with heavier change) is that there are other ways to get your fly down to the fish without using sinking line, which is harder, and more laborious, to cast. You can use sinking leader, fluorocarbon tippet, weighted flies, small split shot, or any combination of the above to get your fly down. Unless you plan on fishing lakes where the smallies are hanging in deeper (> 10') water, my humble opinion is that the cons of casting sinking line (especially from a canoe) are greater than its benefits.

By the way, when are we going to get out?

Ron

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ron, to me your .02 is worth more than .02. thats the same way I look at it. the biggest thing for me is cost. I cant justify spending a bundle of money on a whole new line when there are many other ways to get done what you want to do. like they say there is more than one way to skin a cat. I cant wait to join you on the big lake as soon as I get a kayak. it looks like alot of fun. I got plenty of weighted flies for the both of us!!

 

Joe

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Steve, my 2 cents worth (and there are others with more experience who will weigh in with heavier change) is that there are other ways to get your fly down to the fish without using sinking line, which is harder, and more laborious, to cast. You can use sinking leader, fluorocarbon tippet, weighted flies, small split shot, or any combination of the above to get your fly down. Unless you plan on fishing lakes where the smallies are hanging in deeper (> 10') water, my humble opinion is that the cons of casting sinking line (especially from a canoe) are greater than its benefits.

 

By the way, when are we going to get out?

Ron

 

Ron . . . to your final question, I've only been out twice so far this Spring due to high water and cold temps. Once with 17 other ISA members fishing off Northerly Island (understand no cathes were made) . . . and again for an hour yesterday at a local pond with only a nice crappie to show for my 1-hour outing + the near catch of a 12-14 inch largemouth bass that threw the small crappie hook I was using (no surprise).

 

I do plan to join you for the outing on the private lake you're sponsoring in June . . . and as soon as the conditions improve, will have my canoe and trolling motor out. You're free to join me anytime . . . perhaps on the Nipp when it settles down.

 

Steve

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If you want to get some type of sinking line for river fishing, you should consider a sink tip line. I use the sinking leaders, and they work well for me especially in relatively short lengths, such as five feet. The sinking leaders are OK to cast, but a good sink tip line casts much better than a sinking leader on a floating line. The biggest down side for the sink tip lines for wade fishing is that you have to change spools if you want to switch to a top water fly. Sink tip lines, by the way, work very well for fishing with floating/diving flies like Dahlberg divers. The flies dive pretty deep when stripped and then slowly float back to the surface.

 

I have two sink tip lines, a Teeny mini sinktip (five feet) and an SA 10 foot sink tip. The Teeny line is great for wade fishing in rivers around here, where depths are relatively shallow. The ten foot sink tip is limiting for wade fishing in shallow rivers because the sinking portion is a bit too long except for deep holes. I have used the longer sink tip line when fishing from a canoes/boats in rivers and lakes where I need to get the fly deeper.

 

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Like JoeD I believe that a 9' leader on a floating line and weighted flies are sufficient for the vast majority of subsurface fishing on our local rivers.For deeper,faster water just go to a heavier fly and/or add shot and perhaps increase the leader length by adding a little more tippet.Don't make the mistake of compromising casting performance by using a level leader for these more difficult casting conditions.Using sinking lines will deter you from surface fishing which is not only more fun but often more productive especially for big stream smallies.For lake fishing depths of about 15' or less a sink tip line is ok.You'll need a full sinker to go deeper which is the best choice since you can use it for the shallower depths as well.They're actually ez to cast as long as you start the pickup cast with a shorter length of flyline than you'd do with a floating line.Since the leader needs only to be about 4'long it is easier to cast than a longer one.Another advantage to a full sinker is its thinner diameter combined with its added weight will be less affected by wind.

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Steve, have we succeeded in confusing you yet? Oh, what a tangled web we weave, when a fly line we will retrieve.

 

 

You're a poet, and you don't know it . . . or do you?!?

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Once again I dare to butt heads with ronk. Nothing is hard or laborious if you know how to do it correctly. A sinking line is EASIER to cast than a floater. It is thinner and has less air resistance and shoots a mile with minimual false casting. Get an integrated shootinghead line and you can out cast any floating in in two back casts, no matter if you make ten backcasts with the floater. The ONLY draw back with a sinker is if you are wading, the line will tangle on everything if you don't use a shooting basket. From a boat, it's a piece of cake to cast, gets your fly down and more importantly, keeps it down. Any fly on a floating line or sink tip will start to rise from the bottom with each strip that you make. A sinking line stays down the entire retrieve which should be to your rod tip. Do not try to roll cast it up, all you do is disrupt the water. Fish often follow streamers all the way back and hit as you lift them from the water. Two false casts and the entire head is outside the guides, one more and let it rip for up to ninety feet. Try that with a standard floater. Like anything else new that you try to do, it helps to have a competent teacher or be willing to go thru some hard times trying to figure it out. We fish the Roanoke River for stripers. We have three guys simultaniously casting 300 gr shooting heads from an eighteen foot boat and we have never tangled or hit each other on the casts. Plus we're getting fifty plus fish a man a day caught on the bottom at twenty feet down. In fact, dozens of boats were all doing the same thing too. It must not be that hard to do, just practise.

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Once again I dare to butt heads with ronk. Nothing is hard or laborious if you know how to do it correctly. A sinking line is EASIER to cast than a floater. It is thinner and has less air resistance and shoots a mile with minimual false casting. Get an integrated shootinghead line and you can out cast any floating in in two back casts, no matter if you make ten backcasts with the floater. The ONLY draw back with a sinker is if you are wading, the line will tangle on everything if you don't use a shooting basket. From a boat, it's a piece of cake to cast, gets your fly down and more importantly, keeps it down. Any fly on a floating line or sink tip will start to rise from the bottom with each strip that you make. A sinking line stays down the entire retrieve which should be to your rod tip. Do not try to roll cast it up, all you do is disrupt the water. Fish often follow streamers all the way back and hit as you lift them from the water. Two false casts and the entire head is outside the guides, one more and let it rip for up to ninety feet. Try that with a standard floater. Like anything else new that you try to do, it helps to have a competent teacher or be willing to go thru some hard times trying to figure it out. We fish the Roanoke River for stripers. We have three guys simultaniously casting 300 gr shooting heads from an eighteen foot boat and we have never tangled or hit each other on the casts. Plus we're getting fifty plus fish a man a day caught on the bottom at twenty feet down. In fact, dozens of boats were all doing the same thing too. It must not be that hard to do, just practise.

Craig

Has tying all those Fodders hurt your eyesight re "butting heads"?If you reread my post you'll see we agree that casting a sinker is ez.For several years I stillwater trout fished with a type IV Sci Anglers full sinker designed for 6-8wt rods on my 7'9" IM6 4wt sitting down at water level in a floatube. Despite the lightness of the rod and the most disadvantageous "casting platform" consistently good casts of 68-70' could be made with no more than 1 false cast.I started the cast by rollcasting a short length of line to get it airborne.Hence no surface disturbance.While casting a sinker is ez it's not as pleasant as casting a floater and I abandoned it after finding that I did just as well for the trout with a floater a longer leader and a weighted fly.All things being equal most flyfishermen would certainly prefer a floating line to a sinker not only because it's a more pleasant caster with both light and heavy rods but also because retrieving most of the line in order to cast isn't necessary and water mends are facilitated.

Since no discussion between us should end without some disagreement I will take issue with 2 things you said.Stripping baskets were designed for saltwater flycasting in the surf not for stream wading where their use would limit wading so shallow that there'd be no point to wearing chest waders only wading pants and where there bulkiness would cause added drag in current.Instead of a clumsy limiting stripping basket the line whether floating or sinking should be hand held in loops as it's retrieved and then flipped upstream to defeat drag just as the cast is started.An even better method is to learn to shoot the line from the loops while holding them in your hand. Keeping the line from tangling often can be done with practice.

Secondly a 300 grain sinks at only 6ips in stillwater and even slower in current meaning it would take well over 40 seconds to reach 20'.Unless the Roanoke has all the flow of a catfish pond your 3 guys' lines would've gone straight downcurrent well before they got anywhere near the bottom.

Do you own a camera?

 

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Allow the boat to float with the current and the line sinks like a brick. Want to make it even weirder? I have a 175 gr line on a very fast 4 wt and it got to the bottom even quicker. It took about a fifteen count to get down. I never said that a shooting basket was an easy thing to do but in the surf, you never wade deeper than waist deep with it anyway. It helps you cast further so you don't need to wade as deep, besides the waves won't let you. Also they're not made exclusively for salt, think outside the box. It's just a tool made to do a job, not for a specific location. I rarely fish the salt and I own five different ones. Always looking for the better mouse trap. Check out west coast steelhead fishing, or shad or stripers for that matter. Sinking shooting heads rule. It's the most effective way to cover a water column. Always good to debate with you. Or as Joz would say,"Ha!"

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  • 2 weeks later...

Jim Teeny sinking line - T130. Google Jim Teeny lines. Probably the best sinking line on the market. It's not like casting old style full sink lines. I have several of Jim's lines and I can highly recommend them to any and all. I think all of the tips here are good. You can do several things to get a fly down into the strike zone: floating fly line with a long leader heavy fly (pain to cast at times), sink tips and weighted fly or lightly weighted fly (sometimes it feels as if your line is hinging depending upon line design and tip), sinking line: can be a pain, some can be a pain but you can cast a fly with no weight or very lightly weighted and get it down on the bottom where the fish are. There is a caveat, when do I use my full sink the most? On lakes to take the fly to the bottom.

 

However all of this being said, you might look into an intermediate sink line. I have them in 5, 6, 7 and 8wts for my fly rods. While I also have these weights in Teeny lines as well, I recommend the intermediate for most of the streams and rivers that you will be fishing out here. I have RIO lake lines, Courtland also makes a nice intermediate sink line. The beauty of these is that they cast like floating and take your fly down without you losing contact with what it is doing like some,well actually, most sinking lines do.

 

I have had to go deeper than six feet in most of the rivers and streams around here to find fish. But what's nice about intermediates is let's say you've forgotten your floating line and you want to fish a popper. I tie on a long leader, hit it leader with some floatant and I've got an okay floating line. It's a jury rigged sort of thing but it works when I've had a senior moment.

 

So my suggestion is that you buy an intermediate line and you can buy a spare spool or spare reel. I don't like to change spools so I buy reels. But that's a decision you and your wallet have to make. RIO lines come with loops and so you could put the line in a leader wallet and just swap out if you want to. Not the best way...but a way to consider.

 

If you want to cast an intermediate or a Teeny line, let me know what weight and I'll bring them to a bassbuggers tying session and you can throw them around.

 

 

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Stuart

I can't understand why anyone would recommend an intermediate line for smallmouth fishing to get a fly down in a lake let alone in a stream where it takes only a few seconds to complete a drift. Their extremely slow sink rate of 1.25-1.75 ips means they're designed to fish a fly just below the surface as when fishing emergers for trout or to get the flyline just under the surface so that it won't be affected by a surface chop as in saltwater flats fishing.Even a T130 sinks at only 4ips meaning in most cases a weighted fly would be necessary in a stream.

Craig

Re your reply short of adding weight there's no way that a 300 grain sinking line can be made to "sink like a brick".At best they can only sink at the mfrs sink rate i.e. 6ips.

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  • 4 weeks later...

My 2 cents.... I use a 8 wt rod usually floating Clouser line, but always have the sinking line on a seperate spool as well. I tend to fish straight down stream with the sinking line and its truely amazing the amount of strikes you will get ( i should say be aware of) fishing like this. Also pick up many Walleye with this tech. top fly's is either a large wooly bugger or helgramite type streamer. Casting isnt so bad if your not trying to cast across the whole river... like i said i usually fish this rig straight downstream into slack/fast water seams and deeper pools.

This year if the water ever gets wadable i have a new secret weapon... a tiny blade attached to the hook with a high end bearing all behind the Wooly bugger. No tail feathers, just the tiny blade fluttering. I know its not new, but its fun and looks good to me! Hope the Smallies like it!!!!

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