Getting Deeper [Archive] - Fly Fishing Forum

: Getting Deeper

Sean Juan
10-24-2006, 03:30 PM
I had an interesting conversation today with the fly shop dude from Fishing the Cape that gave me a lot to think about and I figured I'd mention it here.

I went in to the store and asked about fishing deep fast water. I was asking about casting heavy long heads - like those 600 or 700gr super-duper fast heads. His reply was that a long head typically cast with a two handed rod - is heavier than say a 30' 400gr head, but its longer and thicker so with that increased surface area its more effected by the current. The end result is that there is very little if any difference in fly placement from casting a 700 gr 40' head vs a 400gr 30' head.

He also went on the say that functionally speaking the type of situation where you have to go deep in fast water is not a good place to fly fish.

I'm trying to adjust my fishing for bigger fish. I know there are several places where big fish can be caught that are more fly-rod friendly (like the flats or creek mouths) there the challenge is probably more geared towards not catching schoolies - I can remember several occassions where I'd cast ahead of a big fish only to have some punk snatch the fly the moment it touched water.

I believe (perhaps wrongly) that the best chance to catch a large fish comes from fishing fast water that is at least close to deep water during times when bait is present.

I love making little hypotheses and testing them, Carl Sagan would be so proud...

10-24-2006, 03:48 PM
I respect the pro opinion, however after years of firsthand experimentation my findings have been dramatically different and I don't walk away from deep and fast. Of course a line's surface area does play a minor role BUT twice the distance and twice the mass is not going to be offset by differences of a couple hundreths or several thousanths of inches.

For example I spent a couple of years figuring out a spot called Big Girl Bar, in Chatham. Many have caught great fish there including our own mayor of Chatham John Morin but it was inconsistent. Eventually I found a predictable pattern and in one morning the forum guys hooked several 40"+ fish on the fly and landed half of them before the parking tickets could be written in the lot. Exactly where, when and how was posted on this forum - in very fast water and the fly had to be as deep as possible in fact on the sand.

Rip Trip at the South Monomoy Rip is another perfect example. Last time I fished the big heads on the two hander down there it was significantly more capable for the task.

These are some of the fastest and deepest spots you will ever flyfish. They are also where some of the biggest fish will be caught on a fly from shore. The fly must be on the bottom and is quite deep in fact it's too bad we can't down deeper. To say big fish do not inhabit very fast very deep currents schoolie mentality IMHO.

This is also where the two hander provides a distinct advantage.

10-24-2006, 04:44 PM
Approaching an order of magnitude difference between a couple of hundredths or several thousandths of an inch (editorial wisecrack :lildevl: ). I would think thin and dense, maybe a head of T14, would be best, plus throw a bunch of slack into the drift. Density rather than wieght of the head is key I think. Not sure it's my favorite type of fishing except for when you occasionally hook up with a nice fish.

10-24-2006, 04:53 PM

I was too lazy to check (at work)

OK so what is the diam diff between a 600 grain and a 300 grain head?:lildevl:

10-24-2006, 06:04 PM
T-14 cast up current and mend,and mend some more.I also if possible will walk along side the drift to keep any possible drag from developing.This also can be accomplished with a floating line,long leader and split shot.:hihi:

10-24-2006, 07:29 PM
You can get down OK with the long heads but you never are down as far as we hope, unless you are in a boat and are moving with the current thus reducing drag and lift as you are moving with the current. Go to the canal one day when the tide is ripping 4 knots and cast a 30' fast sinking head. You will be down maybe 3 feet and as soon as the line starts swinging the current lift will bring it up even more. Drag and lift really affect fly lines. Rips can sometimes be used to your advantage to help actually pull a line down , as the water comes off the rip it will pull your line down.

You can also back mend like crazy but controlling the fly can become an issue. Nowadays if I need to get down I just put a 15' leader on a floating line with 4 split shot and get down as far as my sinking lines ever did.

Yes big fish are in deep fast water but do not give up on the top of the water column either . I would be willing to bet the vast majority of the big bass caught are caught in the top 5 feet of water by gear and fly anglers alike. Learning patterns and the where and hows of big bass seems to be the trick as they are in all sorts of water. Or just follow Paul around on the canal :)


10-25-2006, 06:56 AM
Sean Juan, this is an interesting discussion. Let me recount for others, something you know all to well. There is a guy on this forum, Basses from the UK, that landed 42 keepers during the month of September. In fact, 15 were landed in one day!

What was his secret? First, he is a great caster. Second, he used T-14 to get it deep. Third, the right fly to mimic the forage for those big girls. Fourth, the right strip. Fifth, and most important, he figured out the optimum conditions to hookup.

I think the message here is that you've got to have good observational/analytical skills and a full quiver in your repertoire.

Incidentally, I know for a fact he will be back. He's got some unfinished business at that UDL. He hooked a very large that took an estimated 300 yards of braid backing and finally broke off after wrapping around an obstruction.

Sean Juan
10-25-2006, 08:04 AM
My most successful big fish rig is Rio Slick shooter, T-14 and a 20# Fluro leader no longer than 2'. My perfered areas are very similar, a relatively narrow channel, heavy current flow, and a steep drop off. I wont mention the UDL by name but its hardly a secret and in many ways its not that unique. The Canal is probably the best and most extreme example.

What I find most interesting is the number of times I've been catching nothing and then tie on a clouser with over-sized eyes and then start catching fish. I assume that the clouser gets deeper but I would imagine its a difference of inches rather than feet - enough to make all the difference in the world.

I figured that if 30' of T-14 was good then 40' feet must be that much better, a two-hander with one of those 600 - 700 gr heads even better. Even if the difference is just a foot or so it could be extrememly important. So I was surprised by his comments. I'm also surprised by a few other fly shops that advise abandonning fly gear. I'm sure a 10oz jig head would work, probably much better, and I'm sure nets and dynamite would work even better.

10-25-2006, 08:37 AM
So I was surprised by his comments. I'm also surprised by a few other fly shops that advise abandonning fly gear

IMHO not all pro shops are the same. The one you mentioned is more concerned with monomoy hype and outfitting newbies than providing any quality information in my experience.

Funny they should mention that fly gear is not effective for fishing deep fast water. Maybe they should take a pair of binoculars down to the light sometime and see whats going on to the east :Eyecrazy:

10-25-2006, 09:13 AM
Hey SJ,

Sounds to me like your get down set-up is about as good as it gets.....

Key is density, not just weight....I won't have the weights exactly right, but a 10-wt line weighs something like 300 grains for 30 feet, regardless of whether if floats or is a fast sinker, so saying a 700 grain line will sink faster than your 30 feet of t-14 (420 grains) may not be accurate.

Length will also be an issue....bit of an exageration of effect, but which sinks faster, a sinker that weights 420 grains, or your t14 line all stretched out?

Usin the mono running line also helps, by not lifting up the tail end of the line, as does the weighted fly, that provides no lag to the tip end.

That's the set-up I use (substitute Amnesia for the Rio equivalent)...current depending, I figure I can get to about 30 feet with that...


Sean Juan
10-25-2006, 02:47 PM
If density is the key then maybe LC-13 is a better choice that T-14, since its only a grain less but pretty close to being half as thick?

MarkS you hit the kernel of the guy's argument which was that a 40' head though heavier is longer and made of a flexible material. I think we can all agree that a 420 gr jig head would sink best.

I'm thinking about my fly choices - I enjoy fishing large flies, they are fun to tie and give you the Fred Sanford effect with every strike (Its the Big One!!!!) Now I'm wondering if a large fly may be acting like a drift sock, and planning the line upwards. That a sparce, weighted fly would catch more fish for no other reason then that it sinks better.

10-25-2006, 04:42 PM
SJ, its great to see you analyzing the big current/big fish situation. Here's an option for you regarding sinktips and sink rate. SA has introduced a "Custom Tip Express." It is a 35' shooting head with an intermediate running line that sinks at 7.75 ips. It weighs 462 grains: thus, 13.2 grains/foot. Kinda between T-14 and LC-13. If that is too much weight to handle, they have a cutting chart to reduce the length/grains. I cut one to 30' to give me 395 grains on a 10wt. It is pretty sweet - no real tangles and a color change between the running line and the head. Best of all its short money, $39.95.

Knowing your perseverance this season, I know you'll unravel this tangle.

10-25-2006, 04:45 PM
I think we can all agree that a 420 gr jig head would sink best.

We throw jigs 4 times that weight all the time 100 yards upcurrent in the Canal and at certain tides cannot bounce bottom.....unless we freespool....feed line into the drift for more depth.:smokin: