re-opening sinking line thread [Archive] - Fly Fishing Forum

: re-opening sinking line thread

04-17-2007, 12:00 PM
Hey guys, since maybe my last question on the sinking lines thread went unnoticed Im repeating it on a new thread (maybe Ill get more attention that way!!)

this is what I wrote: "doing some "research" I find most sink tip lines are between 6 and 12 feet of sinking line, the rest is floating.
Would it not be the same to buy a sinking leader, given that they also come between 6 and 12 feet?
That way I only need my WF floating line and attach the sinking leader whenever I want, any reasons why this might not be such a good idea???"

this is what Dble. Haul wrote: "I'm not sure what you mean by "sinking leader". A leader is either mono or fluoro, and the only way to make it sink is with a weighted fly and/or added weight in the form of shot or twists of lead or tungsten.

A sinktip line will penetrate the water column much, much better, and you'll have a more direct line to the fly that you are fishing so you can feel sublte takes."

this is what I wrote back: "I mean for example a Rio "powerflex" sinking leader, theyre made of some "polymer mixture". They look like a short piece of regular sinking fly line, and you add about 15 inches of tippet to it.2

thank you all and pardon the insistence...

Dble Haul
04-17-2007, 02:37 PM
I will reiterate my point:

A sinktip line will penetrate the water column much better than any leader system, and give you better contact with the fly to feel strikes.

04-17-2007, 06:00 PM
ok thanks, sounds right.

04-17-2007, 06:53 PM
I tried the "poly leaders" in a number of situations and have fished the hybrid sink tip systems (home made) for many years. Then there is the full sinking head, per the Rio Deep Sea or Airflo 40+, etc.

As one might imagine, the full sink goes the deepest, the hybrid a good compromise, and the sinking poly-leaders the least.

The full sink offers no line control but a deep sink rate, the hybrid very good line control qith moderate sink especially early in the drift, and the polyleader the best control but the least sink (in fact surprisingly little if you really observe it)

In current, density and diameter affect sink rate. A fat line tends to sail up in the current, but slow currents and still water even fat lines with moderate density will sink to the bottom.

My experience with polyleaders is that they are nice for stillwater and soft currents but IMHO people are fooling themselves thinking they are penetrating fast currents. You have to stand there with someone swinging the fly down next to you to see how little they are actually riding down in the current. The perception from the far end of the rod handle is not the same.

Line management and a spare low water tie on a big iron hook tied to a long leader from a floater gets surprisingly deep in fact I tick the bottom often this way, even snag up in moderate currents.

What kind of fishing are you doing? Lakes / streams / sea / etc?

04-17-2007, 09:03 PM
I fish mostly for trout in a fairly large river and occasionally on still water. I much prefer a sink tip line Vs. adding a sinking tip/leader (Rio Powerflex type) to a floating line, but I must admit that I've used the sinking leaders on occasion, typcally in a situation where adding a sinking leader is faster than changing spools or reels. The key for me is the water that I'm fishing, as Juro and Mark have said, (current speed and desired depth to attain etc.). Many sinking leaders are tapered and the density is not the same all along the length of the leader so depth control and line swing become an issue. Many sink tip lines come with a 25-30 foot long sinking tip (Wet Tip Express 150 gr. by SA). For my 5 Wt. rod/fast action I typically cut the tip back to 12-15 feet and make a loop at the end to attach a leader & fly. I also make loops at each end of the cut-off piece so that when conditions call for a deeper presentation, I re-attach the cut-off section back to the 25-30 foot length. I do the same set up on my 7 Wt. rod but with a 250gr. sink tip So in my experience with both set ups, a sink tip line is mostly always better than the sinking leaders. But it also depends on how much fishing you do. I do about 250 days a year on the river so having the additional spools and sink tip line(s) is a great benefit. I typically have 3 rods set up when I'm drifting. If I'm shore wading, then I bring one rod, two spools (floating and sink tip) and my extra sink tip length, that usually covers 95% of my needs. I recently recommended the sinking leader set up to a friend who typically fishes 5-8 days a year on the river and maybe 2-3 days on still water. He did not want to spend the extra $$ to buy an additional spool and line. It works for him but he is now considering the additional expense because he misses out on fish that I can get to where he cannot! So this is not a one answer question, like everything in our sport, there are more "It Depends" than "This is it" answers. But do not assume that a sinking leader will do the same as a sink tip line.

04-18-2007, 10:02 AM
french creek you fish 250 days a year?? i envy you. im probably fishing around 35 days a year

juro im fishing streams and rivers with a wf floater, and the average depht is usually the same as the leader (10 feet), but the currents are strong and even with a bead-head wooly bugger i just cant get it down fast enough, my guess is that i cant cast and make the line hit the water with enough slack for the fly to sink, so the current is problaby lifting my fly, even though im mending upstream.

Theres absolutly no dry fly action, you never see a trout rise, they feed on fresh water crabs and sometimes nymphs, and shelter deep in the under water rocks near the banks. Oh yeah, you rarely see them, too deep and to much current. And they rarely weigh over 800 grams.

Considering my exchange rate to the US dollar makes lines very expensive here, and that im not a professional fisherman, what do you guys think of the following outfit that your advice has help me think:
for my orvis streamline number 5 rod:
-keep my floater line
-buy a t-8 shooting head
-cut about 12 feet and put braided nylon loop connectors at both ends
-whenever i need it, connect it to my wf floating line and a regular nylon leader.

any objections, such as shootability, control, sink speed, etc.?

Geordie Shanks
04-19-2007, 10:49 AM
When I first started fishing, I messed around for a few seasons with those loop-to-loop add on sink tips that Orvis and other companies made at the time. Asolutely hellish. I was already a crappy caster (still am :Eyecrazy: ) but the massive weight difference between the floating WF and then the sink tips made the line whipsaw and pendulum like crazy. Plus, I am still not a believer in the loop-to-loop connection - I think you lose alot of your casting energy at these hinge points. I eventually got to the point where I would just "lob" my line out there. Not a good situation. I am of the opinion that it is better to spend a little more money to get a line that will work in the specific situation you are in, rather than get cheap with little add ons like I did. Much like fishing a dry/dropper, I find that you end up doing two things not very effectively rather than one thing very effectively.

I spend quite a bit of time fishing lakes in the Wind River Mountains in Wyoming and other high country areas, and I have settled on using a Type II or III (for deeper lakes where I can find a suitable dropoff) uniform sink line made by SA. Killer, killer line and a peach to cast. They cast like a regular line and are absolutely killer for lake situations. Plus, I think it gives the fly a more realistic look on the straight/horizontal, rather than "jigging" strip that you may sometimes get with sink tip add ons or floating/sink tip lines on occasion.

I use a RIO streamer tip line for streamer fishing on the Snake, Madison, Yellowstone, Henry's Fork, Green and other rivers. This line is a WF with a 6 foot, type 5 (heavy) sink tip. Perfect streamer line and again, casts pretty much like a regular line with minimal whipsaw effect. I love this line because it casts so well but the sink tip gets it down almost immediately. In 4-6 feet of water, cast, take a breath and start stripping and it is down where it needs to be. I would endorse either one of these lines for most situations. Don't know if this helps, but enjoy. Remember what its all about.

04-19-2007, 02:25 PM
supposing i wanted to give the hybrid home made sink tips a try, as Juro described, what would be the best way to connect them (a floater and a sinking tip)?
is doing it with two braided nylon connectors ok?

(im discarding nail or nail-less knots!!!!!!!!)

04-19-2007, 07:36 PM
This is the system I developed in the late 80's...

For applications where the line is not stripped into the guides I have not found anything I like better developed by anyone out there.

For shooting head applications where thin running line is attached to the thin back taper of a full head, just use loops made from braided nylon.

My design is for the thick head portion cut to loop to the middle of a shooting head without any hinge effect (see first picture in sequence).

Hope it works for you.

04-20-2007, 02:38 PM
Don't go with the sinking leader systems, they backlash when you cast because most fly lines aren't designed to have that kind of weight on the end of them. If you have a very heavy WF line then it might work, but otherwise it is not going to cast very well.

Why type of fishing are you going to be doing exactly? If you are looking to fish stillwaters then go with a uniform sink line, just pick how fast you want to get down and get a sink rate line which corresponds to that depth. If you going to be fishing rivers with streamers or something like that, then go with the sink tip lines. I would go with the line Geordie recommended, which is a type 4-6 Rio sinking tip line in a 6 ft section, tie a fairly short leader onto this and you are ready to chuck the streamers....great system. I fish this in fast currents and it has been very effective for me, I fish the type 6 and it really gets you to where you want to be quick. It may be a more expensive route initialy, but you will save money in the long run because I guarantee eventually you will tire of the sinking leader method. I have used all the different sinking leaders and they all suck, eventually I just went with the sink tip line and I won't ever go back. I doesn't hurt to have a sinking leader thrown in your vest just in case, but for a long term option the sink tips are the best systems out there.

04-21-2007, 06:28 PM
man Im stubborn. I couldnt help it and I bought yesterday a powerflex 7 feet poly leader just to check it out.
with the recommended 15 inches of tippet, it sounded like a whip, couldnt cast worth nothing.
then I put a regular leader, it cast better but only in longer casts where I can get more line out. On short casts, the line and poly leader dont get along in propelling the monofilament leader, the poly is too heavy for the line.

I went back to the tippet, put a heavy woolly bugger on it, it worked a little better...but not much better.

Conclusion: all you guys where absolutely right. Im going for the streamer sink tip line now. Please check out my thread in the gear section to see if I can get old used spools for my old and used reels...
cheers and thanks for the advice