Steelhead line question... (sink tip) [Archive] - Fly Fishing Forum

: Steelhead line question... (sink tip)

Chris Puma
06-18-2006, 12:32 PM
I'm considering getting a spey rod later this year. Right now I'm going to the spey claves run by River Run Angler to get a feel of spey casting to hopefully find out what rod is right for me.

Until then, I'd like to try getting on these rivers. I'm going to use my 6-weight for summer steelhead and was wondering about what the correct sink-tip line to use would be...

Length of sink tip: 10 to 25 feet? (is 10 foot better than 25 foot considering it's summer steelhead?)

Sink rate: I-V? (would IV be an OK bet?)

Any line recommendations or other advice would be much appreciated. Thanks everyone.

I apologize if this is in the wrong forum. Please move if it should be posted elsewhere.

06-18-2006, 12:42 PM
You should not need a sink tip for summer steelhead. The rivers are a little high right now due to recent rains but in another few days they should be floating line ready. Personally I would never use a tip after mid June. If you find yourself needing to get down a little get some airflo sinking poly leaders that you can just loop to the tip of your floating line. That will cover you in most all situations until october.

Your best bet is to just stop by kaufmans in bellevue if you can and talk with Ryan. He will set you up with everything you need to get started and will probably point you to some places to get started chasing steel.


Chris Puma
06-18-2006, 03:33 PM
sean, thanks for the advice. i'll be travelling to bellevue later this afternoon to have a chat with ryan. i haven't been to that shop location yet. just the one in downtown seattle.

06-18-2006, 09:04 PM

A floating line is all you really need from now until the rains of late October, just as Sean said.

06-18-2006, 10:37 PM
Whether to use a sink tip or not depends on where you're fishing and how "pure" you want to be.

I would regularly use sink-tips lines on the Deschutes when the sun was on the water, and found using them to be much more effective than not, under those conditions.

Bigger water with steady flows during the bright times of the day might indicate a sink-tip strategy, as far as I'm concerned.

A I or II 10' tip should be all you'd ever need. I'd favor the II over the III and especially, the IV as these lines may tend to "hinge", making for difficult casting under some conditions. Keep your leaders short -- four feet or so -- to avoid having the fly ride up in the water column.

My .02,

-- Eric

06-18-2006, 11:46 PM
I agree with the sinktip = OK party

Not only for big deep rivers but even on a spot by spot basis for one river. For instance, there is a seam in a big rapid where I frequently hook summer fish. But 50 feet away I would greaseline a fly on the tailout among the boulders.

If you are going to fish single hand until you delve into Spey, then just buy a standard floating line and cut the head back 15ft. Then buy some sinking shooting heads and cut them at 13ft from the front or so. It's not an exact science as the rods you might use will vary in their grain preferences and overhead casting is not nearly as picky as Spey casting. Loop the cut ends and you have a sinktip system with a floating tip.

This will get you fishing the rivers, but Spey fishing is so much more efficient and suited to the swing technique; why delay the inevitable ;).

Seriously though if you stick with steelheading in the wild rivers of the west it's only a matter of time.

Enjoy the journey (I sure did)

06-19-2006, 07:42 AM
I still mantain if you think a type I or II is all you need just get a super fast sinking poly leader. That wil get you down far enough for summer fishing and no chopping on the line is required...


06-19-2006, 07:51 AM
Well they say believability goes (a) experts say (b) we say and (c) I say. We each believe what we believe most and that's the way it should be because it makes us search for our own answers. To me that's the heart of flyfishing - searching for answers.

Anyway I once ran a little experiement with a fast sink polyleader verses a sinktip (8wt SA type III shooting head cut to 13') on a very clear sandy stretch using the same fly and similar leader config 3-4ft of straight 10# maxima.

Not a test of casting out and thinking it's the same but actually watching it with me own eyes. The difference in depth was pronounced.

I would say that a polyleader is between the floater and sinktip in terms of it's ability to pull the fly down and more importantly slow down it's presentation in fast water for strong summer missles holding in the whitewater.

Of course in the first hour of daylight you should be spuddling a muddler in the weaving and bobbing froth and getting them to torpedo it with abandon (as they will). Putting on the tip to hold the fly in the fast edge means I slept in ;)

06-19-2006, 09:17 AM
To get a poly leader to sink better do a butt of 30lb mono about 3-4 inches. Then loop on the poly leader. This little trick seems to really get the poly leader down if that is what you need.

Fishing a sink tip in summer is like fishing sinking lines for stripers, why bother :devil:


06-19-2006, 09:45 AM
Come fish Big Girl Bar and the South Monomoy Rip with the floater and pretty flat wings :lildevl:

06-19-2006, 08:57 PM
Sinking or floating both have their applications when it comes to striper fishing,there is no right way or wrong way,its only incorrect if used in the wrong location.A floating line is more controlable,you can mend to your hearts content,once a sinking line sinks thats it all you can do is let it swing.There are places I would never think of using a sinking line,I 'd spend the day snagging bottom,and on the other hand there are locations when a floater is useless ,and it also depends on the mood of the fish,everything must be taken into consideration,there are no definite noways, happens all the time situations .

06-19-2006, 09:00 PM
I've picked up a couple of fish following others through runs. The difference, they were not using sink-tips. Right on Top or Right on bottom. That is where I like to be. If I'm not skating, I'm using type IV or VI. But That's just me, to each his own!!!:cool: :cool:

06-19-2006, 09:42 PM
I just kidding around with Juro and that guy knows how many different lines I have for stripers...

However I still maintain catching a steelhead in the summer on a sinking line always has we wishing it was on a floater...


06-19-2006, 11:02 PM
-- Sean,

When I first used a sink-tip on the Deschutes, I thought they should be declared illegal -- just too easy and too effective.

I felt like I was cheating with every hook-up.

Course, that's when the river began to overflow with hat fish.

-- cheers,


06-19-2006, 11:29 PM
I do fish a floater most of the time... but again I switch it up to meet the situation. For instance there is this hole where I have caught several summer runs in the same morning working it three times top to bottom by myself on a balmy July day. The top of the hole is a rapid where the far side is nearly 10 feet deep and rushing so as to sweep a driftboat through without so much as a stroke of the oars. I catch just as many fish out of that fast slot as I do any other part of the pool if I use a type IV tip otherwise I am wasting my time until I get to the lower third of the pool, where a sinktip is a liability in the shallows and totally unnecessary. I am sure it puts the fish off too.

The middle of the pool works either way - I've caught as many on floating lines and say a small black heron tied sparse enough to swim well on a long leader -or- a hard swung bunny rat on a light tip.

This particular pool is created by an island so I dubbed it the Island Pool and I am not alone in finding success here over the last two decades many a fish has been hooked here on a fly. Lately the gear guys have crowded it but there is plenty of river. The value of watching them is that they hook the majority from the deep fast slot so I can only imagine how many I miss with my best deep swing. Without the slightest hesitation I say the majority sit in the bucket of the pool in summer months and that can't be fished without a tip except for the edges before it frogs out.

But to Sean's point the very best hookups are the ones that take the fly with a toenail curling suck-hole in the tailout shivering the spine with the marvel of it's implosion and making us laugh that boyish giddy laugh that only a surface take can generate, one filled with equal parts disbelief and pure elation the nature of which we won't forget over all the days we fish in our lives whereby the deep takes are often mistaken for a log or rock before surprising us with a head shake.

Steelie Mike
07-02-2006, 08:04 PM
The very best hookups are the ones that take the fly with a toenail curling suck-hole in the tailout shivering the spine with the marvel of it's implosion and making us laugh that boyish giddy laugh that only a surface take can generate, one filled with equal parts disbelief and pure elation the nature of which we won't forget over all the days we fish in our lives whereby the deep takes are often mistaken for a log or rock before surprising us with a head shake.
Yes, yes yes, that sums it up just right. There is nothing like the take and fight of a hot fish that makes you act like a child. Man I love steelhead!

I personally use Type II-VI tips during the summer when the sun is on the water. I generally like to fish broken water at this time. I have had minimal luck with the dry line swing, but plan to change that this fall on the D and GR.

07-04-2006, 03:03 PM
Two types of lines that appear to get little in the way of "Press" are clear 'slime lines' and clear tip spey lines. For one hander rods (I use a 6wt) down to 4-5 feet these are a joy to cast and VERY effective as the whole thing is 'leader' if you will.

The spey line I use is a clear tip Airflo and has similar qualities, but doesn't apperar to sink quite as deep (15' tip) as the 'full sinker' slime line.

Bob Pauli
07-05-2006, 10:30 PM
My poly leader weighs over 100 grains and is very very fast sinking...but it not a tip?


07-06-2006, 01:34 PM
are lighter, and usually shorter, versions of a standard tip. So, in my view, they are a sub class of tips. They have mono core, but so does T14 and some standard fly lines.