Sinking line on flats [Archive] - Fly Fishing Forum

: Sinking line on flats


highway61
01-23-2008, 10:23 AM
Here's another question regarding the use(s) of a sinking line. I have been reading Richard Murphy's new book, which btw is a great read and has been enormously helpful. In it he writes about the use of sink tips on flats. He differs from other authors on this subject who advise the use of a floating or intermediate line. Rich's advice is based on the idea that it is critical in flats fishing that the line get to the bottom as quickly as possible lest it spook approaching stripers and on the way they forage. He reasons that intermediate lines takes too long to descend. I have been using intermediate line and have had some success out at Monomoy and on other flats. Of course my success could be based on the principle that my Dad often said regarding my other sport - golf, that "Even a blind squirrel occasionally finds a nut"! Soooo...I am interested in hearing what you guys have to say....I want to thank all of those who taken the time to help the new guys. Your discussions on gear and tactics have been helpful and appreciated.

Steve M.

Steve M.

FredA
01-23-2008, 10:40 AM
I have tested and verified (for myself at least) Murphy's hypothesis.

Adrian
01-23-2008, 10:48 AM
I remember Dave Pearson used to add a FS tip to his intermeiate line to get it down fast. However, as most sinking lines are very dark relative to a sandy bottom, which will also spook stripers, he used much longer leader (16ft+) to maintain stealth.

Depending on water depth, I can see a case for a fast sinking line/tip to get the fly in the zone quickly. I use a floating line almost exclusively which puts me in the "non-politically-correct" camp :lildevl:

However, when sight fishing the flats, I rarely wade deeper than my knees and most of my shots are at fish swimming in water 2ft or less. Floating lines don't slap the water like sinkers so, to me at least, there is a counter stealth argument. I also carry a couple of lengths of LC13 that I can loop on in a hurry if I want a fast sinking tip or something to get down in current.

To me, the pale grey color of LC13 actually makes it more stealthy than most sinking line formulations but things may have changed in recent years. It does slap down like all sinking lines - so a long leader is needed to avoid spooking fish.

If someone could come up with a sand colored type IV that would land softly they might be on to a winner. :smokin:

FredA
01-23-2008, 11:19 AM
In shallow hard running water I've watched a bunch of fish spook from the shadow cast by a suspended clear intermediate line (the bayside flats, with the high sun behind you, offers some great visibility for observation). Same with the floater, obviously. I'd been contemplating screwing around with a Cortland QD for quite awhile for high sun flats and did it last year. After a frustrating, windy, day casting to a ton of fish with a floater I went to the qd the next day and had a rediculously easy time of it hooking up. Presentation was to lead the fish by a long way anticipating thier path. Not much finesse but effective. Doesn't do much for honing your flatz skills though. This coming season I'm going to play with the floater and super length leaders. Bottom line (pun intended) in high sun I believe the shadow cast by the line, not the line, is the spook culpert.

Sean Juan
01-23-2008, 11:38 AM
I use the fast sinker in nearly all applications.

The fast sinker gets the fly in front of the fish's face much quicker than an intermediate, especially if the tide is running. I only use an intermediate when the fish are busting on top, or if I feel like using a popper (which was surprising effective this year.)

BigDave
01-23-2008, 03:16 PM
I have used a light sinking line on the flats - mainly because it cuts the wind better than an int or floater. It has worked for me (on a few very windy days).

Guernseybass
01-23-2008, 03:19 PM
probably a dumb question, but wouldn't the problem of clear intermediates suspending on a flat be solved if you dropped your rod tip below the water ?

FredA
01-23-2008, 04:38 PM
but wouldn't the problem of clear intermediates suspending on a flat be solved if you dropped your rod tip below the water

Not in a good current.

juro
01-23-2008, 07:20 PM
Depending on water depth, I can see a case for a fast sinking line/tip to get the fly in the zone quickly. I use a floating line almost exclusively which puts me in the "non-politically-correct" camp :lildevl:

Depending on ones perspective, it could put you in the excessively PC crowd as well :lildevl: :lildevl:

"Murphy's hypothesis" is a bit of an overstatement with all due respect to his magnum opus, since people have found the merits in a sinking line (as well as it's handicaps) since experimentation was born and I forget who 'invented' that. ;)

There are days when line type does not matter at all. Those are not the days when one should judge the merits of one verses the other. Judge on the days it makes all the difference.

IMHO the clear intermediate has the broadest application across the various situations that may arise. Sometimes a sinker is better, sometimes a floater is better.

One can choose to be a specialist or a generalist. One thing I know for sure, if you are a wading angler and use an intermediate you think about all this a lot less than you do when using a sinker or floater. I think there's a message in that.

Viva la' difference.

flydoc
01-23-2008, 07:36 PM
Thanks to input from "flats rat" Jim Simms, I carry one of each (an intermediate and a D3 sink)- I'll use the intermediate in calm shallow (below the knees) water, and the sinker in deeper/moving water.
Flydoc

PEC54
01-24-2008, 12:26 AM
Floaters with clear sink tips with long leaders ,or a floater with very long leaders .And the direction of the sun/shadows is always taken into consideration.:D

FishHawk
01-24-2008, 06:20 AM
I use a sinking line all the time and have no problem hooking fish on the Flats.
I do use the intermediate also. But have had better luck with the sinker.
FishHawk

highway61
01-24-2008, 07:29 AM
Juro,

What you say makes alot of sense and was verified by the diverse repsonses to my question. Since I am relatively new to fly fishing I am looking for useful info that will help me improve. Eventually I will have to sort through all this stuff and find what works for me, just as all of you have done. Learning about new techniques, tactics, and gear is part of the beauty and fun of this sport. At last years Marlborough show I went to Alan Caolo's presentation on flat fishing. He recommended using intermediate line. So when I read Murphy's book I wondered what you all do. I guess the lesson is that there is more than one way to skin a cat or should I say there is more than one way to filet a fish.:D

Steve M.

titleguy
01-24-2008, 07:55 AM
Iused to be a die-hard intermediate guy, partially forced by financial constraints, but also by what I perceived to be its "versatility". I have no decided for a variety of reason that the "right" sink tip has broader applications that the intermediate. My solution last year for both my 9 wt and my 10 wt two hander was to go to the rio versa tips. I have heard complaits about the casting of the lines, hinging etc., but I found them to be very effective and cast well. Plus, you get 3 real sinking tips and a clear intermediate and very fast changeover. Last year, I fished a 350 on both the 9 and the two hander almost exclusively with good results. :razz:

RayStachelek
01-24-2008, 09:27 AM
I've been telling them Cape guys for 15 years now to use a full sink line in shallow waters. That's what I have been using in Barnstable or Brewster flats.

Two reasons:

We fish from a boat so the sinking line stays at the bottom forcing the fish to keep his eyes looking forward not up. We disguise our location better since we are at the surface floating.

Secondly, since the Cape flats are mostly sand, the line and fly dragged over helps promote a sand eel explosion my moving particles. Gets them rev'ed up!

juro
01-24-2008, 09:39 AM
As mentioned earlier, wading and fishing from a boat are two different animals thus the qualification that "while wading"...

Again I have found that there are times when one line is much better than another but other times when it does not matter at all.

It takes a regular schedule of many days over years to determine which those are not the samplings gathered on occasional visits. If I had one and only one line, it would be a clear intermediate. Your results may vary. Luckily we are not by any means restricted to one line design so it's a moot point.

The discussion is good though, and the best line is the one that works best for you!

Is it spring yet?

Adrian
01-24-2008, 09:48 PM
'Horses for courses' of course.:smokin:

The sunk line devotees would do well to heed FredA's advice - i.e. "give 'em plenty of lead". Otherwise you may experience a phenomenon that Big Dave calls
"THE MOSES CAST"
Yes folks, you too can create a "parting of the schools" :lildevl:

juro
01-25-2008, 08:21 AM
haha

Then there's the DETOUR cast, which means the entire school makes a synchronized turn around the 'clothesline'.

Or the dropback cast where the school does a 180 and runs for it's life. The line does not even have to touch the water for this cast, the flailing arms do the job by themselves.

And who could forget the QUIET TODAY cast where the angler wades into the lane up to the armpits and never sees any fish. So he starts blindcasting on the flats. The fish however, see everything.

The more experienced flats angler will know the STATUE cast and the NO-CAST.

The statue cast is made without any visible movement of the legs, arms, or mouth - swiveling only the eyes and is designed to drop the fly about 6 feet to where the biggest cow you've ever seen has appeared from nowhere while you were picking your nose.

The NO-CAST is made when the fish is too close for a statue cast, so you stand there and enjoy the view as it cruises by, giving you 'the middle fin'.

Adrian
01-25-2008, 08:30 AM
:hihi: Just spit my coffee all over the keyboard .........

Sean Juan
01-25-2008, 10:23 AM
Actually I think I see a theme....

How many of the Sinking line crowd fish more on the Bayside or North of Cape Cod

Vs

How many of the non-sinking crowd fish primarily the Southside or South of Cape cod.

I don't know everyone's habits and most people probably fish both but I suspect that the guys who fish the flats that have bigger heavier tides have learned the value of the full sinker where the guys who fish the flats where the tides are smaller have learned to value the non-sinker.

Just a thought

luckyt
01-25-2008, 12:25 PM
Juro, I see why you are a guide. You have all the right casts nailed as far as timing. Great read..

BigDave
01-25-2008, 01:30 PM
Let's not forget the LEAPER CAST which is executed by fallling off the bow of a poled skiff while casting to a passing bonefish. Adrian has witnessed this rare maneuver first hand. Generally followed by the MOSES, DETOUR and QUIET TODAY.

Smcdermott
01-25-2008, 01:57 PM
One of my favorites (and certainly guilty my first time out to South Beach) is the Rookie No-Cast. That is where you stand there watching a school of a hundred keepers mosey down the flat commenting on the huge numbers of fish in front of you while your guide/partner yells "CAST...CAST...CAST".

juro
01-25-2008, 01:58 PM
OK Sean Juan get serious why dont you... ;)

You're half right in my opinion, but opinions are like A**holes... you know the saying.

The bayside fish make pushes into the shallows on the start of the flood but late in the flood the water they are in is well beyond what the wading angler can comfortably (safely) fish, thus it's almost always a boat show not counting the +/- period around the low when all shore anglers fish that side, except for Mike Oliver in 2008 perhaps.

From a boat the line always wants to rise and the fish although sometimes will most often will not when they are grubbing noticeably along the bottom in said depths often 6 feet or more.

Sure they come up top once in a while, but most often you see them buzzing like giant cockroaches on the bottom and the one who stays down hooks up the most.

In these conditions a floater is useless, an intermediate is limited and a sinker is best.

But if you know where the fish terminate their push especially dawn / dusk you don't need a sinking line ever even from a boat, and a floater is probably best, with an unweighted fly (similar to tailing bonefish).

Same flat, same tide different pack behavior.

Clearly for every pack hunting the edge of the peat grass there are dozens cruising the flooded plain in 6 feet of water so boaters are smart to play the numbers with a sinking line.

Although we are conditioned to fish the bottom of the tide, observe the channels especially where they merge near shore and give those spots a try in the evening or morning calm. That's when I have seen the most tailing activity.

In summary, trying to categorize the fishing by a line type is bass-ackwards. It's much wiser to classify the line by the fishing.

Actually I think I see a theme....

How many of the Sinking line crowd fish more on the Bayside or North of Cape Cod

Vs

How many of the non-sinking crowd fish primarily the Southside or South of Cape cod.

I don't know everyone's habits and most people probably fish both but I suspect that the guys who fish the flats that have bigger heavier tides have learned the value of the full sinker where the guys who fish the flats where the tides are smaller have learned to value the non-sinker.

Just a thought

sean
01-25-2008, 04:16 PM
Full sinkers are for losers. I classify the fisherman by the lines :devil: :devil: :devil: :devil: :devil: :devil: :razz: :razz: :razz: :razz:

In all seriousness I think you can fish any line in any condition. Some lines may just be easier to do it with than others. I will fish a tip before a full sink cause I like the control and knowing exactly what my line is doing.

Mostly a floater though as I fish 95% at night when the big girls tend to mosey about in the upper water column more often than during the day.

-sean