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Classic Atlantic Salmon No pursuit rivals salmon rivers, flies & legacy

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Topic Review (Newest First)
04-10-2003 01:34 PM
D3Smartie you ask the guides at our camp on the Restigouche and I'll bet they will tell you its the motor. Now they dont have to pole up and down all the river. And i know they appreciate that.
04-10-2003 12:44 PM
Topher Browne


I think 'tradition' in salmon fishing is a double-sided blade: on the one hand, I love the traditional aspects of the sport--the literary history (and Frederick Hill's pet black bird), the subtleties of greased-line technique, a salmon reel with an 'S-curve' handle; on the other hand, 'tradition' can squash innovation.

Ask a seasoned guide on the Cascapedia, Restigouche, or Moisie what is the most significant technical advancement of the last fifty years, and he is likely to scratch his head.

I have long looked to my steelhead brothers on the West Coast, to Scandinavia, and, yes, in many cases, to the Emerald Isles for inspiration........


I'm only 3,000 or so posts behind you, and NOT closing fast!
04-10-2003 11:52 AM
pmflyfisher BobK

Since I am currently 0 for 17 using sink tips maybe I should just go all dry fly for GLs steelhead then I can go 0 for 0 and still have the same landing percentage of 000 in the last 12 months.

What do you think ?

Then I can look down on all of the steelheaders using sinking lines and be alone in my own class of GL steelheading elite.

I can just imagine what the GLs steelheaders would do when I show up with my spey rod, double taper floating line, running drys through the runs with 30 degree water temops. Could be a priceless experience, maybe I could start a GLs trend a new level of elitism etc.. I could tell them I am doing research for GLs dry fly steelheading book.


Oh will I will think about it, now have to go think about the content of my 3,000 th post which is imminent.

BTW, the Masters starts today, and so will my golf swing this weekend at the range.

PM Out
04-10-2003 10:26 AM
Poul My preference is for a wet fly to sink slightly faster than my line. How fast the fly sinks depends on hook size/wire thickness, sparseness of tie, materials used, and amount of additonal weight (if any). I'll try to match both my fly and sinktip (if any) to the water being fished. I like my fly to be fishing slightly higher in the water column than the steelhead are sitting. That way the fish can see the fly from further away because it's not hidden down in/ or behind the rocks, and it's highlighted against the sky. The fish have a chance to think about taking my fly without having to make the fight or flight decision they might make if my fly was right in their face. If my line and/or fly is below or level with the fish, I'm lining and potentially spooking non-taking fish. This is the same rationale for why surface presentations work so well for summer/fall steelhead: a surface fly is easily seen, but doesn't present an immediate threat. I'm just moving my fly a little closer to fish to deal with colder, murkier water. I seem to use shorter and slower sinking tips than most. The advent of fast sinking tips really seems to have effected wet fly design big time -- nobody thinks too much about how well a fly sinks anymore which I think is a mistake. In pre-sinktip times, fly sink rates were a major consideration for tiers like Jim Pray and Ralph Wahl, and probably every other winter fisher. Nobody ties a real wet fly anymore - just big wiggly streamers.

04-09-2003 11:11 PM
Topher Browne Riveraddict,

A very interesting point you make about the use of weighted eyes to match the sink rate of the line.

Mikael Frodin, Hakan Norling, and other Scandinavians have successfully experimented with a similar idea: the use of tungsten coneheads of various weights on thin diameter plastic tubes. While they do not tie completely 'in the round' as you do, their patterns are nonetheless very 'full'; they make liberal use of Angel Hair, Flashabou Mirage, and Temple Dog Hair. The wings are often very long: anywhere from 3-6 inches, depending on flows.

Scandinavian rivers, particularly those on the west coast of Central and Northern Norway, may have more in common with West Coast steelhead rivers than they do with the salmon rivers of Eastern Canada. They emanate from similar surroundings and push similar levels of water (where's Per Stadigh?).

It is interesting to me that the most successful fishermen in Scandinavia and the Pacific North West seem to have come to very similar conclusions regarding weight in flies and shooting heads. The shooting head system reigns supreme in Scandinavia. While we continue to debate the merits of long lines vs. short lines, few would dispute the effectiveness of the shooting head system (and their variations) for Winter steelhead or anadromous sink-tip fishing in general.

I have fished the Skagit, Sauk, Stilly, and Sky on two occasions (I met you once at "Schoolhouse Pool," while fishing with "Don Risotto," a.k.a. Don Giuseppe Rossano). I seldom see a river with a push of water like the Skagit in April: she's big. The Restigouche in early June is very similar, but tapers off more quickly than does the Skagit (I have also seen the Skagit in September--still a big river). The largest river in Nova Scotia is the Margaree; after a good rain, the Margaree is about the size of the Kispiox (so I am told by friends who have fished both). I would imagine that the Kispiox is a small river as compared to the Skeena in September/October or the Skagit in April.

It is not surprising to me that different river systems with different rates of flow and different angling challenges result in separate angling solutions. What does surprise me, however, is the similarity of these conclusions across separate continents; they also appear to have been reached with relatively little cross-fertilization of ideas and techniques.

Or have they?

04-09-2003 07:16 AM
juro Topher -

I'll have my west-coast tip wallet in my vest... where do we meet for coffee?

Gardener -

Thanks for your thorough response! Re: UK prices - I think you're going to have to come visit us in New England, bring a rod tube

William -

Thank you for the inspiration, but I have already been SO THERE in my mind after talking to Topher at the winter fly show and I will definitely make a pilgrimage to North America's version of A/S mecca this summer, tips or no tips.

CND rods, like all good spey rods, need a good "field testing"

Thanks, maybe we can hook up (pun intended).

Originally posted by inland

I just checked Rand McNally- Boston to Matapedia, Quebec, is 563 miles. Interstate all the way to Houlton, Maine. It can't take you more than 11 hours to get there. Fishing in June means- leave your tips at home and come prepared for some of the meanest salmon alive. If your experiences go anything like mine have, be prepared to look at steelhead in a different light. I promise

For goodness sakes, man, just do it. :hehe:

04-09-2003 07:09 AM
Gardener, Malcom - is it true that interchangeable sinktips looped onto half of a floating head is rarely used in the UK?

Juro, on the question of tips etc I think this is an area where you are ahead of us. This arises, I suspect, from the different traditions we have. Even 10 years ago sink tip lines were not very widely used over here, and had the reputation of being unbalanced and difficult to cast nicely. Full sinking lines were very much the order of the day, and probably still are for many people. We have, of course, always tended to use double-handed rods for our salmon fishing, which make the use of a full sinking line and heavy fly possible in a way that it is not with a single-hander.

By contrast, I believe the use (or renaissance in use) of the long rod for steelhead is a relatively recent thing over there. You therefore come to it without the historical baggage that encumbers so many of us in this country. I suspect also, (and maybe you will confirm this), that the use of tips was always fairly widespread with single-handed rods where a full sinker was not a practical option. So not only did you approach the ‘quest for depth’ from a different tradition, but also with perhaps a more open mind about how best to achieve it.

An ‘if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it’ attitude means that many UK based fishermen continue to use double taper lines and full sinkers, just as they have always done and their fathers did before them, and there is a disinclination to innovate. This may also be exacerbated by the exorbitant prices we have to pay for our tackle - a regular gripe of mine - which no doubt encourages us to buy things that are familiar, rather than risk trying something new. So, in answer to your question, I think the use both of tips and of modern line profiles with double handed rods is indeed much less prevalent here than there, though certainly it is on the increase and I’m not sure I’d go so far as to say they are rarely used.
04-09-2003 12:39 AM
Riveraddict Topher,
I appreciate your elaboration about weight in flies for Atlantic salmon. It is quite natural to associate weighted flies with "dredging". In my situation however, that is not the case. It takes me 30 - 45 minutes to tie most Intruders. With that kind of investment I am particularly opposed to losing them. The Intruder is a "round" profile fly as opposed to the vertically flat profile projected by many standard ties. This round profile increases surface area, and combined with large size creates a very "full' exposure to river currents. The weight is added to these flies to prevent "lofting" in the flows of the stream, otherwise they would fish at a substantially higher level in the water column than would the business end of one's sinktip or sinking line. My flies are weighted on the order of replicating the same sink rate as the sinktips that I use. I personally dislike rules such as no-weight bans. It seems quite undemocratic when, because of the inappropiate actions of a few people, prohibitive rules are implemented instead of an expansion in enforcement and fines - the law abiding majority ends up getting penalized in the process. Some anglers adapt to such bans by tying flies on overly large hooks to gain sink rate. Personally I cannot subscribe to this approach as in my experience standard salmon irons over 1/0 increases injury/mortality rates by two to fourfold (at least on wild steelhead). What really sucks about such rules is the restriction that they incur upon creativity and exploratory urges in flyfishing. More on this tomorrow.
04-08-2003 10:38 PM
inland Juro,

I just checked Rand McNally- Boston to Matapedia, Quebec, is 563 miles. Interstate all the way to Houlton, Maine. It can't take you more than 11 hours to get there. Fishing in June means- leave your tips at home and come prepared for some of the meanest salmon alive. If your experiences go anything like mine have, be prepared to look at steelhead in a different light. I promise

For goodness sakes, man, just do it. :hehe:

04-08-2003 10:35 PM
Topher Browne

Juro San,

I carry a good whack of tips in the Fall--all Rio Density Compensated 15' tips--to make sure I am able to fine tune my setup to changing conditions.

In the cold water of the Fall, I like to get down a bit but not so far as to run a fly at the precise depth of holding fish. If I start ticking bottom with a fly, I change to a lighter tip.

Two years ago on a Fall trip, I saw others foul-hook a tremendous number of fish. The water was low and to a man, they all had Type V and Type VI integrated 15'-24' sinktips.

It got real ugly.

04-08-2003 09:38 PM
juro Topher, Gardener, Malcom, et. al. -

Thanks for the excellent posts. In my years as a die-hard steelhead angler in the pacific northwest, the use of variable density sinktips on hybrid heads (e.g. versitips, but homemade) was the ticket to controlling the depth of the swing and thus I rarely if ever used a weighted fly. I could see the merits when the fly dressings are pronounced enough to warrant 'countermeasures', the intruder for example, but most of my dressings are suitable to be fished on tips and they have been quite successful in soliciting the strike over the last two decades.

Two questions:

1) Gardener, Malcom - is it true that interchangeable sinktips looped onto half of a floating head is rarely used in the UK?

2) Topher - When you mention carrying a broad range of tips for use in the maritimes, are you referring to tips for hybrid lines or tungsten polyleaders to attach to the end of a full floating line?

thanks in advance
04-08-2003 09:14 PM
C'mon, Hal....

I expected better than that out of YOU! Rather than figuring out how to get your fly down to the fish, give it up????
That's the answer I would expect out of a chorus girl.The answer is surprisingly simple - use a silk line and treat leaders with mud!

Going back to golf??? And what do you do when your scores start to go up? Buy different clubs???Try some other sport???

Most of us look forward to the CHALLENGE of the sport. If it was easy, we would have given it up a long time ago.

What are you going to do with your spare time. You can't tie golf balls for fun. Maybe carve tees??:hehe:

I guess you must be at least 10 years older than me! Mentally, anyway! Especially if "instant gratification" is required!

04-08-2003 06:31 PM
pmflyfisher Malcolm,

Yes I will clear it out, must have been 5 people that tried to PM this afternoon, I hope I did not excite to many people.

Oh well I am a man I can take it.

try again

PM Out
04-08-2003 04:51 PM
Willie Gunn
Dental lead

if you are stuck drop me a line (sic) and clear out your pm box.

04-08-2003 04:22 PM
pmflyfisher Malcom,

I see using that dental film I have heard about for fly weight. Have to discuss this with my dentist and see if he will part with some to me. I have been a good customer over the years, letting him max out my dental insurance each year and go on his warm golf trips, etc... He is not a fisherman.

No sinking lines ! I don't think I could continue as a steelhead fisherman. No lead weighted flies or lead on the leader OK but sink tips could not do with out it.

Then I would be going back full time to golf for sure.

PM Out
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