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Deeper water fly fishing


Norm M
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Over the last few weeks with the lower water on my flow I've been getting fish in faster water and in channel areas that are deeper with a good flow. In that same period I have encountered guys fishing flys that I attempted to steer toward the areas that were producing.

 

Most gave it a shot but a few said that it was too hard to fish deeper and/or faster flows. One guy said that he would have to go buy a whole new set of line to get down.

Now I thought you could buy tippets that sank and add them to your line without buying a whole spool of line that sank. I also know about Clouser minnows and ways of weighting flies by wrapping lead on them.

 

What I would like to know is it actually harder to fish faster and/or deeper water if you have the proper fly gear ? My initial reaction was that these guys were just not willing to change which is an affliction fisherman of all gear types suffer from.

I thought I'd ask as I prolly should have give them the benefit of doubt as I don't know for sure if it is harder.

 

I did run into one guy who was using dry flies who said it was only sporting to cast to rising fish. I've heard that is the way they do it on chalk streams in England but it seems that on a river as wide as mine while fishing for a species not as prone to rise to flies that he was really limiting himself unnecessarily. I admire his sticking to his ethical point of fishing but don't completely understand it.

 

I'm not looking to turn this into a spin vs fly fracas but rather trying to satisfy my curiousity.

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Guest rich mc

having used a sink line for the first time this year , i can say its just an adjustment in casting and in feeling the retrieve.. its not as much fun but an angler has to do what it takes to get to the fish... its just like spinnerbait anglers that just target 1-3ft of water but wont slow roll it deep along the bottom. one method pete anglers limit their success to only the window that tactic is working . rich

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You can't do much about that dry fly purist. However, there are a lot of ways to get a fly down deep some of which you mentioned. Weighted flies, sinking tips, and sinking lines are all out there though all require extra effort and skill to use.

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Guest airbornemike

There are many options if you have to go deep, the biggest thing youre gonna give up is strike detection. I've used many differeft types and they all have there place, for my style wade fishing ninty percent of the time I use a floating line with a straight nine to twelve foot long floro carbon leader and a small pouch of various density/length loop to loop sink tips. I also have full sinking lines, intergrated sink tips.....I usually reserve these for lake style fishing and opt not to travel on the stream with a whole other line set up.

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hey norm, i fly fish the state park quite a bit. I've found over the years that one fly can do it all except for top water. It has a 5/32 tungsten bead head and action whether its fished real slow or hopped and also if its swung. I've found that the best producing for me is to cast up river and let the fly drop by mending and stripping in slack line. If your not occasionally getting hung up you're probably not deep enough. I've tried a little heavier cone head but I think it makes the fly drop to quickly and not flow in the current as life like. 9' or less leader a little flourocarbon tippet which helps with the sinking because of its density and thats it. with this i can fish deeper channels, holes, 1' deep weed lines and flats off to the sides in the slack water. in my mind i fish the fly as if its a cray that got caught up in the current or a dying minnow. and thats all she wrote. by the way my favorite is pockets in the weed lines with topwater or just subsurface with a flashdancer when the waters up a little more.

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Thanks for the input. I thought that with whatever method you used to get down the technique would be to lead your target area enough that your lure had time to sink to the desired level by the time it arrives on target. That is just basic river sense.

 

What I didn't know was how hard this was to manage with a fly and how it affected your sense of feel.

 

As for the dry fly purist, I just figured he was like the guys who say they would rather catch one fish on a topwater to ten on anything else. Dedicated but a tad off thier rocker.

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Another good way to get/keep a fly down is to cast a weighted one across & slightly downstream & doing an air mend with either a curve cast or upstream v-cast.Either mend will put the fly well downstream of the line allowing it to sink without drag which tends to lift it off the bottom.After mending, repeatedly flip small amounts of line out the rod tip which will extend the downstream drift to cover more water while the fly remains ahead of the line preventing drag.At the end of the drift strip in the excess line in preparation for the next cast holding it in loops with your line hand.Either flip the excess line upstream just as you start the next cast or continue to hold it in your hand & shoot it out incremently with 1 or 2 false casts if you can do so without its tangling up.This takes some practice but makes longer casts while wading in current easier than overcoming drag on the excess line during the cast as the current pulls it downstream especially with lighter 4-6wt rods.It also keeps the line from catching on grass /weeds when casting from shore.

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I did run into one guy who was using dry flies who said it was only sporting to cast to rising fish. I've heard that is the way they do it on chalk streams in England but it seems that on a river as wide as mine while fishing for a species not as prone to rise to flies that he was really limiting himself unnecessarily. I admire his sticking to his ethical point of fishing but don't completely understand it.

 

 

"Only sporting to cast to rising fish" That's typical of some trout guys, applying trout fishing "rules" to smallmouth fishing. Once they figure out smallies behave differently, they'll catch more fish.

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Norm, There are many ways to fish fast and or deep water with a fly but you hit it on the head when you said that most guys are not willing to change gear to do it. Is it hard? NO!!! It's like anything else in life, you have to practice it to get good and comfortable with it but again, most guys are not willing to try it long enough to accomplish that. It casts different, it drifts different, it mends different, strike detection is different but it is no way hard, just different and you must PRACTICE to get good. After five minutes, most guys are done. I went two very tough fishing years with sink tips and full sinking lines, fishing them most of the time just to learn them. Now I'm comfortable with ANY form of fly fishing, not a one method pete like most fly fishers are. If you took away poppers, most fly guys would not catch fish. Take away a full floating line and most would give up. But it's what makes them happy. They rather be comfortable with their method and catch less fish than take the time to learn something new and be able to cover more senerios. I hate to sound down on my own kind but most guys I see learned fly fishing with a floater and never progressed to anything else. Salt water and west coast stealheaders are the innovative ones who look for new methods to catch fish that previously seemed un-catchable. Most warm water guys don't like change.

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There are plenty of options for getting flies deep, but being both a fly fisherman and a spin fisherman, I think that spinning tackle is much more efficient when you need to get lures deep. To drag a fly along the bottom of five or six foot deep eddy in the middle a river with current on both sides requires that I have just the right rigging on my fly and I have to be able to cast from just the right spot. If I have been fishing with poppers, I need take several minutes to re-rig with a sinking leader and heavy fly and then move to the just the right spot to make the cast. To do all of that takes some time. If most of that river is shallow, I then have to re-rig with a standard leader after I fish the deep eddy.

 

To achieve the same thing with a spinning rod, I cut off the popper, tie on a heavy jig with a plastic bait and make a few casts through the spot without moving. Once I am done fishing the eddy, it takes a minute to tie on another bait that is appropriate for the next spot on the river.

 

When I gone out with the fly rod only, I have passed up deep spots or fished the spots relatively ineffectively because I did not want to take the time to re-rig just to fish that one spot. That is why I often wade fish with both a fly rod rigged to fish shallow wader and a spinning rod rigged to fish deeper spots.

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I totally agree that a spinning rod is much more efficent than a fly rod. My point is that you can catch that deep fish on a fly if you really wanted to. Just like you, most guys prefer not to. Since I only fly fish, I will. It's very satisfying. (carry two rods.)

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Craig

A cupl questions.When you say you "carry" 2 rods do you mean only when you're floating or when you wade as well? When you lived here I assume you fished the rivers in the Chicago area ie the Fox ,Dupe,3K etc.If so what % of the time would you say you used a floating line vs a sinktip vs a full sinker?Just curious.

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Craig

A cupl questions.When you say you "carry" 2 rods do you mean only when you're floating or when you wade as well? When you lived here I assume you fished the rivers in the Chicago area ie the Fox ,Dupe,3K etc.If so what % of the time would you say you used a floating line vs a sinktip vs a full sinker?Just curious.

 

 

 

I used to put an extra rod in a sling to carry it when I waded. I really liked (and still do) a five foot sinking tip line. I used it at least 50% of the time. I enjoy subsurface fishing. I also find that I catch more big fish where the water is relatively deeper than surrounding water, hence the liking of a sink tip. But I'll still use a sink tip in two feet of water. The floater got 30% and the full sinker was only 20% because I mainly use that when boat fishing which I probably do more than most of you. I fished a fair amount in Wisconsin too.

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I used to put an extra rod in a sling to carry it when I waded. I really liked (and still do) a five foot sinking tip line. I used it at least 50% of the time. I enjoy subsurface fishing. I also find that I catch more big fish where the water is relatively deeper than surrounding water, hence the liking of a sink tip. But I'll still use a sink tip in two feet of water. The floater got 30% and the full sinker was only 20% because I mainly use that when boat fishing which I probably do more than most of you. I fished a fair amount in Wisconsin too.

Craig

Was the 5' sinktip integrated into the line or did you attach a 5'sinktip to a floating line?

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Or, you can make a whip-loop in the end of your flyline, and loop an Airflo poly leader on. They come in various sink weights, but the fastest sink weight is the most effective. You can use one line, save money, and the change over is faster. I use this method on striper, and it has worked fine. On my smallie waters, there is no need to use sinking line.

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Guest airbornemike

Ok.........here is probably a dumb question. What does Craig mean by integrated? thanks.

John an intergrated tip is a floating line with a sinking front section. The sinking tip can be in various lengths and sink rates, intergrated meaning the line is all one continous piece from floating to sinking with no seperate loop to loop conections. Often these are favored by some as they dont have a "hinging affect" while casting as a loop to loop sink tip has. However you nothing is perfrect and with a intergrated sinktip you give up versatility of being able to go to floating line with the change of a line.

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So an integrated sink tip would be the same as an intermediate sinking line?

Jonn

Integrated just refers to a sinktip flyline,ie a floating line with a built in sinking tip as opposed to a floating line to which a separately purchased sinktip can be attached to temporarily convert a full floater to a sinktip if desired.When using a sinktip the "leader" consists of about 4' of tippet rather than a longer tapered leader.

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So, I have an intermediate line that I have not tried yet. Does the whole line sink on an intermediate line or just the clear colored section at the end? thanks for the help.

The entire line sinks but very slowly. Therefore its mainly used in lake fishing to sink the line just below the surface to eliminate surface chop on a windy day from affecting it as would happen to a floating line which would undulate up& down with each wave.It's also frequently used by ocean surf flyfisherman.It can be made to float by applying a gel floatant.The purpose of the clear portion is to make it less visible to the fish.

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Or, you can make a whip-loop in the end of your flyline, and loop an Airflo poly leader on. They come in various sink weights, but the fastest sink weight is the most effective. You can use one line, save money, and the change over is faster. I use this method on striper, and it has worked fine. On my smallie waters, there is no need to use sinking line.

Airflo also makes excellent flylines with unique properties.One is that unlike other lines they are non stretch making for a better hookset.While I think this would be a negative in trout fishing where most fish are lost by breakoffs of the very light 4-6x tippets typically needed for trout since the line wouldn't be able to absorb the strike/fight it's a plus for warmwater species with the stronger 1-3x tippets typically used since most hardmouthed warmwater fish are lost from a poor hookset.

Another feature of Airflo lines is that they're always "relaxed"ie they never kink or coil up.This together with the ridges built into the line results in fewer tangles when shooting line for distance.In this regard the regular Distance line is better than the 40+ Extreme Distance line whose extremely thin running line is more prone to annoying tangling.Any warmwater flyfisherman would do well to give this line a try

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Airflo also makes excellent flylines with unique properties.One is that unlike other lines they are non stretch making for a better hookset.While I think this would be a negative in trout fishing where most fish are lost by breakoffs of the very light 4-6x tippets typically needed for trout since the line wouldn't be able to absorb the strike/fight it's a plus for warmwater species with the stronger 1-3x tippets typically used since most hardmouthed warmwater fish are lost from a poor hookset.

Another feature of Airflo lines is that they're always "relaxed"ie they never kink or coil up.This together with the ridges built into the line results in fewer tangles when shooting line for distance.In this regard the regular Distance line is better than the 40+ Extreme Distance line whose extremely thin running line is more prone to annoying tangling.Any warmwater flyfisherman would do well to give this line a try

 

I will have to give it a try next time I replace one of my lines.

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