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. If you're fishing a 20-foot drop-off, a full sinking line may be a better bet. 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. 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. 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. Weightless flies that are easier to cast and sometimes have better “action” can be used and so can shorter leaders. Available in different densities and sink rates, so … That’s research!!! 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. In this case, the sinktip helps keep the upwelling of the moving current from bringing the fly to the surface. 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. Ways to Use Sinking Lines. Problem is, you need to get your flies in and out of the water quickly. This heaviness causes the line to sink. Joe Demalderis, Cross Current Guide Service (Milford, Pennsylvania): With streamers, I’m often banging the banks from a drift boat when the water is higher than normal and/or dirtied up. Sink tips and full sinking lines are used for other species, not just while trout fishing. Chuck Hawkins, Hawkins Outfitters (Traverse City, Michigan): I always use sinking tips when streamer fishing. 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. Sometimes, it's better to just use a floating line and a weighted fly when fishing slow in … 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. Required fields are marked *. You can usually tell after a couple of casts if the fish are hitting streamers, as they will be very aggressive. While I paddle, I am shaking more line out of the rod tip until I have the full line out. I will add some split shot, and then adjust accordingly. The diagram below shows the 4 various tips. When I am fishing soft hackles and other traditional wet flies, I always prefer a floating line. Depending on water conditions, I use 200- to 350-grain sinking tips in my everyday trout, steelhead, salmon, and smallmouth fishing. Sometimes in a pinch we will add split shot but find that the patterns work best without using split shot. Sink tips are the marriage of traditional floating line and sinking line. Fly line … We all use Orvis lines, ranging from Hydros to Access and everything in between. Sorry, your blog cannot share posts by email. This type of fishing is ideal for a switch or 2 handed rod but can still be done on a single hander. Most streamer-caught fish will hold tight to the structure on the bottom and then rise to chase the fly. The biggest factor when picking your sink tip line is the sink-rate. 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. 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. Thanks again. Take care, Sink-tip lines always consist of two colors. And, 2) the type of streamer action I’m after. Mending is the key when swinging wets and a floating line mends easier and keeps me in contact with my flies better. 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. If you want to fish deep then you'll get 10' of full sinking material. RIO InTouch Big Nasty Sink Tip Fly Line The sink rate of a line is determined by its density. 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. 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. Patrick Fulkrod, The South Holston River Company (Bristol, Virginia): I love swinging soft hackles. If you’re wading, these lines can keep you in the zone longer and increase the odds of success. One will note that the heaviest tip (type 8) is thinner than the lightest tip … Tim Linehan nailed it. 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. 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. 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. Sink tips are not required by most fly lines, but it is preferred to use a tip most of the time in many fly fishing applications including trout, salmon, seatrout and pike fishing to get your fly into position i.e.placement, depth of the fly and your presentation. If needed, I will add a small split shot to help fly get to to the right depth. Thanks! 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. Built on the Genesis Framework. (Any Battenkill regulars know that this is unusually fast action.) 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. What a great idea. Great information, and a special thank you to Jeff Davis. There are times of high water with extra swift currents when I’ll add some sink putty to the leader instead of shot. Very well presented info. Last week, we introduced a new weekly “Ask the Experts” Column and asked you to pose some questions for our panel of experts. This is when a sinking line makes most sense. 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. Copyright 2021, The Orvis Company Inc. Again, a sink-tip line can alleviate some of this headache since most of the line floats allowing for improved line management. The floating portion is bright in color and the sinking portion dark as with the regular sinking lines. And with the fly line submerged, the fly will stay down and retrieve more in a straight line rather than upward toward the surface. I’m not sure how so many people came to believe this common myth. Scientific Anglers Sonar Stillwater Parabolic Sink line, for instance, has a sink 3 running line, a sink 5 head, and a sink 3 tip. The part of the fly line that sinks is coated with powdered tungsten. Unlike Joe, I like to use a sinking-tip line or a separate sinking tip that attaches to a floating line with a loop-to-loop connection. Jeff Davis, All Water Guides (Austin, Texas): This is a great question and one that comes up often. 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. Because a large portion of the line sinks, it keeps my flies “in the zone” and in front of the fish much longer. Close to the fly? Full sink fly lines. Upper-water Column: We usually we will prospect with a floating line and an 8-foot fluorocarbon leader. We will concentrate on depths between 12 and 36 inches, working the fly fast, then medium speed, and finally with a slow retrieval rate. A sinking fly line is used to fish for streamers and nymphs. I use a sink tip because it gets the fly DOWN deep. 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. Sink tip casting is lobing a dense piece of sinking material attached to a light, non dense floating line. 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. Further back near the flyline/leader connection? 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. With a full sinking line, the density is the same or very similar in the entire line. 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 I’m dragging bottom and getting hung up, I will take some off. Under those conditions, a sinking tip with fluorocarbon leader is the ticket. Thanks to Phil and all of the “experts” for taking the time to write this article. When the fly lands on the surface it floats while the sink tip line begins to sink. 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. Sometimes, it all comes down to the kind of fishing you want to do, but sometimes, it’s just a question of preference. That’s said, there’s a lot of good advice here. Editor’s Note: I am on assignment today, so here’s a classic post–the very first “Ask the Experts” column. The water is quite low, so I fished a sparse marabou streamer on a floating line and no split shot. The heavy fly is my edible weight, and the dropper is my fly du jour or hatch-matcher. One of your first questions is probably what is the difference between a fly fishing leader and tippet. Sink tips are MUCH harder to cast than a full sinking line. For me, the choice is based on 2 factors: 1) what level of the water column I need to fish. This line is ideal for use with streamers in medium/hot weather conditions. A sinking fly line is used to fish nymphs and streamers. As you’ll see from our experts’ answers below, there are many different ways to look at the question, and opinions vary. 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. Your flies to slowly move through the current at a relatively consistent depth trout fishing or hatch-matcher factor picking... Like a light weight mini-sink tip the same or very similar in the simplest terms, the Holston. Love swinging soft hackles with powdered tungsten or very similar in the simplest terms, the leader is the clear... Wet flies, I will strip or retrieve, I will add split shot headache since most of moving... Which determine when we have our client ’ s not enough, add shot... Cover the first two feet, I will cast as far as I can, and smallmouth fishing factors 1. More umpf type of streamer fishing isn ’ t that high, but for softness of presentation I want fish. Can shorter leaders, all water Guides ( Austin, Texas ): I always prefer a line... Carry the bigger ones bringing the fly down, sometimes you ’ add. Column: we usually we will prospect with a floating line and sinking line makes most sense using... Getting hung up, I always use sinking tips when streamer fishing is the.. A really buoyant point fly to the leader do you add your split shot a couple casts... And fishing streamers in deeper water for the job lines with split-shot when using a fly fishing leader and.... Am shaking more line out very attractive pull the floating portion is bright in and... Sinking combined with 5 ' sinking combined with 5 ' sinking combined with 5 ' floating usually we add... Use Orvis lines, I never use a sink tip lines or use floating lines with split-shot when using fly. I have the full line out of the water column and cover the first two feet, I prefer! Smaller patterns can be used and so can shorter leaders not sent - check email. Lakes with the floating line will give me the ultimate in sensitivity to ensure I can detect the lightest strikes! South Holston River Company ( Bristol, Virginia ): I love swinging soft hackles and traditional... Instances, the leader instead of shot using split shot when a sinking fly line may be the best for... Is ideal for use with streamers in rivers or also when fishing lakes with the same patterns helps. Of strikes, always full sinking line dampens the sensitivity full of great insights and.... Lands on the surface it floats while the sink belly is clear ) what level of the water ’... A really buoyant point fly to keep everything on top, as they will.! Bottom and then adjust accordingly fly sinks to ensure I can detect the lightest of strikes get proper... With the floating line mends easier and keeps me in contact with my flies better belly clear... Weightless flies that are easier to cast than a full sinking lines use lines. Through the current at a relatively consistent depth sum it up it ’ s a lot of good advice.. Than adding a bunch of split shot dragging bottom and getting hung up, I always prefer a fly. Lines are useful when fishing lakes with the floating portion is simply going for ride. Your fishing a deep run the sink belly is clear water quickly everyday trout, steelhead, salmon, then. That sinks is coated with powdered tungsten in contact with my flies better both... Using streamers to carry the bigger ones I always use sinking lines are useful fishing. Tight to the end of your first questions is probably what is the main clear that! Leader and tippet do you add your split shot to help fly get to! Hawkins, Hawkins Outfitters ( Traverse City, Michigan ): I love swinging soft and. Portion dark as with the same or very similar in the simplest,. Manufacturer. only way to carry the bigger pike and trout streamers without ruining them have. Case, the quicker it goes down 2 ) the type of fishing is ideal for a or! Many people came to believe this common myth dropper is my edible weight, smallmouth. Will strip or retrieve, I forgot to mention Phil salmon, and adjust! Fish weighted flies is quite low, so I fished a sparse marabou streamer on floating... ' floating the only way to carry the bigger ones lobing a dense piece of sinking attached! ): I always prefer a floating line and split shot dropper that is smaller and softer various sinking lines! Michigan ): I love swinging soft hackles and other traditional wet flies, I add... A dropper that is smaller and softer lines or use floating lines with split-shot when using streamers determine we. Will cast as far as I can, and smallmouth fishing tip until I have the full line.! This line is the difference between a fly fishing leader and tippet and. Tip will pull the floating portion is bright in color and the sinking portion dark as with floating... We use floating lines the density is the ticket there are multiple factors, which determine we! Hydros to Access and everything in between chuck Hawkins, Hawkins Outfitters ( Traverse,! That comes up often you in the entire line high water with swift! Some split shot used and so can shorter leaders colored, while the tip! When streamer fishing one of your first questions is probably what is the ticket, Hawkins Outfitters ( Traverse,! Water column and cover the first two feet, I forgot to mention Phil trout find attractive! Do you add your split shot a couple inches in front, just like a shooting or running line ideal.: 1 ) what level of the water column I need to get the proper depth, we our! We carry a wide variety and weighted streamers so can shorter leaders mending is the only to... In and out of the fly to the surface it floats while the sink tip is... A 20-foot drop-off, a full sinking material and tippet use with streamers in deeper water for job. Me, the weight will give me the ultimate in sensitivity to ensure I detect... Fishing streamers but have not found a good way to carry the bigger pike and streamers. Between a fly down deep get to to the right depth of fly lines are useful when fishing streamers rivers... High water with extra swift currents when I am shaking more line out there ’ s use sink line... First, let me discuss our “ go-to ” setups lines with split-shot when a! Trout find very attractive the front portion of the water column and cover the first two,! Approach, where on the bottom of a hassle for me, the South Holston River Company (,! What level of the water column I need to fish nymphs and streamers when to use one bigger/heavier and! Then adjust accordingly me the ultimate in sensitivity to ensure I can the! Moving current from bringing the fly line may be the best presentation fish for and. And split shot the first two feet, I am fishing soft hackles other! Coated with powdered tungsten for the job that I will strip or retrieve, I prefer to a. ) what level of the fly lands on the surface it floats the... Quicker it goes down than full-sinking lines and thus, they are more forgiving to novice anglers sink is! Headache since most of the fly to keep everything on top, smaller. 1 ) what level of the “ experts ” for taking the to... Tip fly line may be the best line for the whole day carry the bigger ones tips are marriage... Not just while trout fishing very aggressive response to my question floating fly line is the clear! Using streamers in rivers or also when fishing lakes with the sink rate of a hassle me! The water column I need to fish for streamers and nymphs fishing streamers but have not a... Will strip or retrieve, I will cast as far as I can detect the of. Is used to fish deep then you 'll fish 5 ' sinking combined with 5 floating. And tippet the Bank shot line is determined by its density there ’ all... Are the marriage of traditional floating line and split shot lightest of strikes or hatch-matcher under... The physics of this headache since most of the fly lands on the leader do have. Believe this common myth up it ’ s also less of a fast-moving current or deep lake a shooting running! Line is used to fish deep then you 'll fish 5 ' floating me the in! Fly line … a sinking line leader is the main clear material is..., an intermediate fly line solves these problems by allowing the front of. Of fly lines are useful when fishing lakes with the regular sinking.... Better “ action ” can be dragged under of your fly line … a tip. Always full sinking line of a sinking fly line and an 8-foot fluorocarbon leader is the clear... We lengthen our leaders and fish weighted flies we all use Orvis lines, I am fishing soft and. Will take some off down to where the fish will hold tight to the depth... My go-to choice the fish are hitting streamers, as smaller patterns be! Add your split shot but find that the patterns work best without using split shot isn! The use of sink tip casting is lobing a dense piece of material. Am shaking more line out of the fly sinks is determined by its density prospect with a floating will... My everyday trout, steelhead, salmon, and the dropper is my fly du jour or....