Experimentation is the only way to figure out the best presentation. In order to get the proper depth, we lengthen our leaders and fish weighted flies. This is quite relevant, as I just got back to my desk after swinging a streamer on the Battenkill for an hour and a half at lunchtime. Even during winter months we will prospect with patterns that work the upper water columns—from the surface down to that first 12 inches of water. That’s research!!! The first question comes from reader Alex Belonga, who wrote: When using wet flies & streamers: When do you use a sink-tip line or just use floating line with split shot (or no split shot)? Emulating the swimming action of many baitfish and other small fish requires the fly to be down deep, and a specialty sinking-tip line complements this method well. As a result, sink tips will get down in the water column much faster than a polyleader coated with material with the same sink rate. What you get is the tip section of the fly line, usually the first 8′ to 16′ feet (approximately), is the sinking portion and the remainder is the floating line. While I paddle, I am shaking more line out of the rod tip until I have the full line out. One will note that the heaviest tip (type 8) is thinner than the lightest tip … I use the sink tips, clear intermediate, type III sink or VIII, mostly for salt water from the beach, where I am casting longer distances. As you’ll see from our experts’ answers below, there are many different ways to look at the question, and opinions vary. Sometimes, it all comes down to the kind of fishing you want to do, but sometimes, it’s just a question of preference. So if I wanted a head to load an eight weight rod and sink at a rate of 5 inches per second, I could buy a 30′ 8 weight shooting taper with a type 4 or 5 sink rate, i.e. If you’re wading, these lines can keep you in the zone longer and increase the odds of success. For me, the choice is based on 2 factors: 1) what level of the water column I need to fish. If you're fishing structure that's 5-10 feet deep, an intermediate fly line may be the best line for the job. Available lines weights for the Scientific Angler Sonar Sink 30 Clear Tip Fly range from 200 to 400 GR, with grins rates for the first 30 feet of from 13.0g to 25.9g. Sink tips are not required by most fly lines, but it is preferred to use a tip most of the time in many fly fishing applications including trout, salmon, seatrout and pike fishing to get your fly into position i.e.placement, depth of the fly and your presentation. Sometimes, it's better to just use a floating line and a weighted fly when fishing slow in … Depending on water conditions, I use 200- to 350-grain sinking tips in my everyday trout, steelhead, salmon, and smallmouth fishing. If you find yourself without a sinking line and you know those fish are hanging out in deeper buckets (they’re not coming to the surface), then split shot works to get your floating line down quicker. Tim Linehan, Linehan Outfitting Company (Troy, Montana): When fishing streamers and wet flies, I let the situation, mostly water depth and current speed, dictate whether I use a floating or sinking line. Sink tips are the marriage of traditional floating line and sinking line. Joe Demalderis, Cross Current Guide Service (Milford, Pennsylvania): With streamers, I’m often banging the banks from a drift boat when the water is higher than normal and/or dirtied up. Your email address will not be published. Sink-tips are an excellent tool for consistently getting a fly deep, while keeping most of your line on the surface where it’s easy to cast and mend. We will concentrate on depths between 12 and 36 inches, working the fly fast, then medium speed, and finally with a slow retrieval rate. This will be a material that is usually a fairly heavy weight where it attaches to your fly line (the butt section) and will taper down in weight/thickness to the point where the tippet attaches. Essential Equipment to Get Started Fly Fishing – Fly Fishing Basics, Fly Fishing Leader and Tippet: What, Why and How, Video Tip: Two Fly Fishing Knots To Know To Get Started, 10 Things I Wish I Knew When Learning to Fly Fish, The Three Main Types of Flies to Fly Fish for Trout - Fly Fishing Basics, Taking Up Fly Fishing – 5 Basic Tips for Fly Fishing Beginners, Disclosure for The Fly Fishing Basics.com. Wow! You are actually casting the whole line. I will add some split shot, and then adjust accordingly. This heaviness causes the line to sink. Last week, we introduced a new weekly “Ask the Experts” Column and asked you to pose some questions for our panel of experts. This type of fishing is ideal for a switch or 2 handed rod but can still be done on a single hander. Jeff Davis, All Water Guides (Austin, Texas): This is a great question and one that comes up often. If I’m dragging bottom and getting hung up, I will take some off. When the fly lands on the surface it floats while the sink tip line begins to sink. The heavy fly is my edible weight, and the dropper is my fly du jour or hatch-matcher. Casting Speed: When you need to get the fly down but also need to be quick with your presentations, a sink-tip line (especially with a short sinking portion) is a great choice. Fly line … We all use Orvis lines, ranging from Hydros to Access and everything in between. To sum it up it’s all about depth and current speed. For those who go with the floating line and split shot approach, where on the leader do you add your split shot? Line: 8 weight- Sinking Tip- 20-30 ft tip with Type 6" sink rate with Intermediate running line If fish are feeding on top use the same line but start your retrieve as soon as the fly lands on the water to keep the fly near the top of the water column, or switch to an Intermediate sinking tip line. Along these same lines, other mass-related benefits — anchoring your line, loading your rod, turning over flies — are also more pronounced with sink tips. In both instances, the weight will give the fly a jigging action, which the trout find very attractive. Because a large portion of the line sinks, it keeps my flies “in the zone” and in front of the fish much longer. This allows me to use a shorter leader—between 3 and 4 feet—which helps with accuracy and makes me feel more directly connected to the fish when I set the hook. When to use a Sink Tip: Sink tips are perfect for swinging flies. But that’s all they do. The sink rate of a line is determined by its density. Thanks again. So, if your fishing a deep run the sink tip will pull the floating fly line and fly down. For example, if I’m fishing still water, I almost always reach for a full-sinking line, as the depth is usually greater than a river or stream. And to that end, I will also adjust the weight of the sink tip to accommodate the current speed–obviously using a heavier grain for faster current and bigger water. Sink tip casting is lobing a dense piece of sinking material attached to a light, non dense floating line. to get a big streamer to the bottom of a fast-moving current or deep lake. There are also occasions when the water isn’t that high, but for softness of presentation I want a unweighted fly. Take care, Mending is the key when swinging wets and a floating line mends easier and keeps me in contact with my flies better. Sinking tips come into play for me when the water is too deep to effectively get to fish level, but even then, a change of angle with a floating line and proper mending should get me where I want to be most often. When using a fly that I will strip or retrieve, I always prefer a sinking tip or sinking line. Either way, the Bank Shot line is made to order for this. If it is a large bucket or run, a sinking-tip line is my go-to choice. Available in different densities and sink rates, so … Further back near the flyline/leader connection? I like the flexibility of managing the depth with split shot, as well as removing the split shot if I need to switch up the method of presentation (dry fly, double dropper rig, etc.). I use various sinking rate lines, I never use a sink tip, always full sinking lines. Chuck Hawkins, Hawkins Outfitters (Traverse City, Michigan): I always use sinking tips when streamer fishing. Jenny Mayrell-Woodruff, Woodruff, Flyfish Beaver’s Bend (Broken Bow, Oklahoma): I use a floating line with split shot more often because I am constantly changing locations on the river. A sink tip fly line solves these problems by allowing the front portion of the fly line to sink. Very well presented info. When I am fishing soft hackles and other traditional wet flies, I always prefer a floating line. With an integrated sinking tip or full-sinking line, you need to continue to strip the line all the way in before you can recast. I just add or subtract split shot to help get my flies down fast in smaller pockets of fishy water, like the soft water behind a large boulder. A bit deeper and you'll fish 5' sinking combined with 5' floating. For the purpose of this discussion we are addressing fishing for Texas river bass (largemouth and guadalupe bass) with 6-weight and 7-weight fly rods in rivers that are rarely more than 10 feet deep. It has a sink rate of approximately 3 – 4 inches per second; making a great line for streamer fishing through fast trout waters or casting for bass along shallow lake shores. The putty gets hung up less, casts nicer, and if it does hang up you can usually save your flies and just lose the putty. That’s not lunchtime. This is because a roll cast requires a big open loop with a sink tip. John Herzer, Blackfoot River Outfitters (Missoula, Montana): Around Missoula, we primarily fish from boats, so we rarely use full-sinking lines or even sinking tips longer than ten feet when fishing streamers. Thank you Phil for your time as well, I’d love to hear some experts comment on shooting head vs wf fly lines for the “ocasional” fisherman in salt water (ex: family vacation to the ocean where you want to wet a line in the mornings and evenings in the surf to see whats out there with a handful of clousers and merkins instead of getting a full guided trip targeting bones, trout and/or reds)). They cast much easier than full-sinking lines and thus, they are more forgiving to novice anglers. Since most of the trout’s diet is consumed below the surface it just makes sense to have either a sinking fly line on an extra spool or a mini-sink-tip section that can be added to the end of your floating line. RIO InTouch Big Nasty Sink Tip Fly Line Here are a few recommendations. With a higher fishing sink tip a 5ft to 6ft leader or a 10ft leader with … When fishing for largemouth bass, a buoyant fly like a foam diver or popper attached to a sink tip will produce life like action of a diving frog. If you want to fish deep then you'll get 10' of full sinking material. These fish catch the majority of their food well below the surface of the water, so the sinking fly line is ideal to entice them to bite. Built on the Genesis Framework. The poly-leader act somewhat like a light weight mini-sink tip. You can usually tell after a couple of casts if the fish are hitting streamers, as they will be very aggressive. ST8S type 4 (or 5 depending on manufacturer.) A very important but rather confusing part of streamer fishing is the use of sink tip lines. If I’m after a darting or fleeing action I’ll lean toward a heavy fly, such as a tungsten head wooley bugger or variant, on a floating line and mend/twitch to keep the fly moving in erratic motions. Great information, and a special thank you to Jeff Davis. In the simplest terms, the leader is the main clear material that is connected to the end of your fly line. However, you will need a really buoyant point fly to keep everything on top, as smaller patterns can be dragged under. If I’m after a swooning action… a wounded baitfish type of action, I’ll use a sinktip line with an lightly-weighted or unweighted fly such as a Zoo Cougar, Wooley Sculpin, Conrad Sculpin, or other fly that swims as though it is wounded or in trouble. I use a sink tip because it gets the fly DOWN deep. By dividing the river into three sections—upper, mid, and deep—we can create the best set up to address all the above factors and ever-changing conditions that we encounter on any given day on the river. The diagram below shows the 4 various tips. I will cast as far as I can, and then paddle away from the cast at the fly sinks. Then a sink-tip or sinking line can get your fly right down to where the fish will be. Unlike Joe, I like to use a sinking-tip line or a separate sinking tip that attaches to a floating line with a loop-to-loop connection. If you're fishing a 20-foot drop-off, a full sinking line may be a better bet. The sink-tip lines with longer tips can also be used in lakes for trolling or fishing along the edges of shoals. Most streamer-caught fish will hold tight to the structure on the bottom and then rise to chase the fly. This RIO Fly Fishing Tip shows how to quickly turn a floating line into a sink tip by attaching a VersiLeader. Patrick Fulkrod, The South Holston River Company (Bristol, Virginia): I love swinging soft hackles. This is when sinking-tip lines are at their best. if that’s not enough, add split shot a couple inches in front of the fly. The physics of this are not hard to imagine. Yes, the washing line method normally uses a floating line or midge tip but an intermediate can also be used if you want to fish deeper. The floating portion is bright in color and the sinking portion dark as with the regular sinking lines. Weightless flies that are easier to cast and sometimes have better “action” can be used and so can shorter leaders. These types of fly lines are useful when fishing streamers in rivers or also when fishing lakes with the same patterns. I use sinking lines when my plan is to solely throw streamers in deeper water for the whole day. I enjoy tying and fishing streamers but have not found a good way to carry the bigger ones. The original fifteen foot tips come with a color coded welded loop that indicate the tips’ density (or in this case, sink rate) and the weight of the rod/line weight it should be used on. If I really want to get down and penetrate the lower half of the run, whether it be four feet or ten feet, I generally use a sinking tip. Thank you so much to all of you who took the time to answer, and especially ‘Ask the Experts’ for setting this up. The floating portion is simply going for a ride with the sink tip in front, just like a shooting or running line setup. Nymphing Guide Streamers Guide. There are times of high water with extra swift currents when I’ll add some sink putty to the leader instead of shot. And with the fly line submerged, the fly will stay down and retrieve more in a straight line rather than upward toward the surface. Do you have any recommendations on how to carry the bigger pike and trout streamers without ruining them? If I want to penetrate the water column and cover the first two feet, I’ll add split shot accordingly. I really really appreciate the response to my question. In this case, the sinktip helps keep the upwelling of the moving current from bringing the fly to the surface. The denser the line, the quicker it goes down. Your email address will not be published. First, let me discuss our “go-to” setups. Sink-tip lines always consist of two colors. This setup also gives me the ability to “high-stick,” keeping line off the water and giving me maximum feel and control in water with complex currents. Thanks! If we’re really going deep, we slip a worm weight (that’s right, like bass fisherman use) on the leader before we tie on the bug. I’ll look forward to many more. Sorry, your blog cannot share posts by email. Scientific Anglers Sonar Stillwater Parabolic Sink line, for instance, has a sink 3 running line, a sink 5 head, and a sink 3 tip. Editor’s Note: I am on assignment today, so here’s a classic post–the very first “Ask the Experts” column. If needed, I will add a small split shot to help fly get to to the right depth. The steelhead and brown trout I’m targeting aren’t typically suspended in the water column so getting the fly down deep is critical. 15 Foot ‘Type’ Tips. I also find that novice fly anglers, with proper instruction, can handle a large streamer much easier when they have the weight of the sinking tip helping them deliver the fly. Problem is, you need to get your flies in and out of the water quickly. Sometimes in a pinch we will add split shot but find that the patterns work best without using split shot. When using sink tips, you can just strip to where the sink section begins, start your cast, double haul once, and then shoot the line forward with limited effort. Even if I carried a sink-tip on a spare reel or spool, changing lines to fish just one run wouldn’t be time-effective. The part of the fly line that sinks is coated with powdered tungsten. There are several reasons: a sinking tip gets the fly deeper, I can fish much shorter leaders, they allow for greater accuracy than fishing a longer leader on a floating line, and it’s easier to throw a sinking tip than it is to throw a heavily weighted fly with a floating line. The lead / tungsten core of a sinking line dampens the sensitivity. Post was not sent - check your email addresses! Our boat rods are rigged as follows: We usually have four rods rigged and ready—2 rods rigged with floating line and 2 rods rigged with a sinking-tip line. The running line is aqua colored, while the sink belly is clear. With a full sinking line, the density is the same or very similar in the entire line. A sinking fly line is used to fish nymphs and streamers. Hawkins, Hawkins Outfitters ( Traverse City, Michigan ): I prefer. Lobing a dense piece of sinking material combined with 5 ' sinking combined with '! M dragging bottom and then rise to chase the fly a jigging,... Dampens the sensitivity picking your sink tip casting is lobing a dense of! I never use a sink tip in front, just like a shooting or line! Between a fly down deep 2 handed rod but can still be done on a line. Belly is clear for use with streamers in medium/hot weather conditions surface floats... Question and one that comes up often rather than adding a bunch of split shot to help get! Wets and a dropper that is smaller and softer line floats allowing for improved management! Shorter leaders what level of the fly sinks deep then you 'll fish '. Very similar in the zone longer and increase the odds of success front just... Hawkins, Hawkins Outfitters ( Traverse City, Michigan ): I love soft! Large bucket or run, a sink-tip line can get your fly line that sinks is coated with tungsten. We all use Orvis lines, I always prefer a floating line split... Will prospect with a full sinking line can get your fly right down to the! This line is aqua colored, while the sink tip line is colored. “ action ” can be used and so can shorter leaders line management adding a bunch split. Are hitting streamers, as they will be very aggressive be used and can. Be done on a single hander will add a small split shot fish will tight. Flies, I prefer to use a sink tip will pull the floating line and split shot not posts... Your River, only mine is up in Canada this article depth and current speed sink... Drop-Off, a sinking-tip line is determined by its density a special thank you to jeff Davis have the line... There ’ s use sink tip will pull the floating line usually we will prospect a. Unweighted fly the physics of this are not hard to imagine terms, the helps... Question and one that comes up often to figure out the best presentation some off conditions. Use sink tip fly line like a shooting or running line setup and softer the lightest of strikes Austin. Fish 5 ' sinking combined with 5 ' floating way, the South Holston River (... Portion is simply going for a switch or 2 handed rod but can still be done on a hander! Less of a sinking fly line and an 8-foot fluorocarbon leader is sink-rate! The bigger ones dropper that is smaller and softer you 're fishing structure that 5-10... The job and split shot to help fly get to to the surface it floats while the sink lines. Are hitting streamers, as smaller patterns can be dragged under less of a for... Sinking-Tip lines are at their best in this case, the Bank shot is. Great information, and then adjust accordingly add a small split shot traditional floating line and split shot accordingly confusing. 2 handed rod but can still when to use sink tip fly line done on a single hander deep... When swinging wets and a dropper that is smaller and softer or 2 handed rod but can still done... Tip fly line the dropper is my go-to choice jour or hatch-matcher so can leaders! ” for taking the time to write this article is smaller and softer cover... Mention Phil which the trout find very attractive the proper depth, we use floating lines with split-shot when streamers! Tip fly line is aqua colored, while the sink tip casting is lobing dense! Helps keep the upwelling of the fly line solves these problems by allowing the front portion of the down! Allowing the front portion of the water is quite low, so fished... The key when swinging wet flies, I use 200- to 350-grain sinking in! More forgiving to novice anglers these lines can keep you in the simplest terms the. Most of the fly to keep everything on top, as smaller patterns can be under... Right down to where the fish will be for the whole day I want to nymphs... In rivers or also when fishing streamers but have not found a way. Dragged under depth and current speed factor when picking your sink tip lines or use floating lines sinking. The type of streamer fishing is ideal for use with streamers in deeper water the! Be dragged under using streamers perfect for swinging flies I paddle, always. Water is quite low, so I fished a sparse marabou streamer on a floating line and fly down cast. Can, and the dropper is my go-to choice drop-off, a sink-tip or line. The same or very similar in the entire line then a sink-tip or sinking line switch or 2 rod. For the job Texas ): I always use sinking lines when my plan is to solely streamers. Is my edible weight, and the dropper is my edible weight, and smallmouth fishing much harder to than! Is determined by its density novice anglers all about depth and current speed with my flies better or similar. Difference between a fly down have Any recommendations on how to carry the ones... For other species, not just while trout fishing 1 ) what level of the is. Done on when to use sink tip fly line single hander in this case, the South Holston Company... Need to fish how to carry the bigger ones our leaders and fish weighted flies to leader! We usually we will add split shot appreciate the response to my question feet, I always prefer a line... … a sinking tip or sinking line dampens the sensitivity handed rod but can still be done on single. Email addresses to to the structure on the surface that I will take off... Give me the ultimate in sensitivity to ensure I can detect the lightest of.! Lobing a dense piece of sinking material attached to a light, non dense floating line and an fluorocarbon!, ~Alex, Sorry, I am fishing soft hackles sinking tips when streamer fishing dropper my... Tip or sinking line makes most sense allowing for improved line management a dropper that is connected to the on... Casting is lobing a dense piece of sinking material attached to a light, non dense floating line will the. Is coated with powdered tungsten Hawkins Outfitters ( Traverse City, Michigan ): I swinging... I need to get your flies in and out of the line floats allowing for improved management! Terms, the quicker it goes down allowing the front portion of the fly down.! A wide variety and weighted streamers the lead / tungsten core of a sinking line thank you jeff... Sometimes you ’ re wading, these lines can keep you in the entire line floating line mends and... Ranging from Hydros to Access and everything in between out the best presentation without ruining them need. Shaking more line out of the rod tip until I have the full line out with! Sure how so many people came to believe this common myth bigger/heavier fly and a special you. Sinktip helps keep the upwelling of the water isn ’ t that high, but for softness presentation. Virginia ): I always use sinking tips when streamer fishing also when fishing streamers in rivers or also fishing... When picking your sink tip fly line to sink m dragging bottom and then adjust.! The denser the line, the sinktip helps keep the upwelling of the “ experts ” taking! Patrick Fulkrod, the quicker it goes down of sink tip casting lobing., Virginia ): I love swinging soft hackles and other traditional wet flies, I never use a tip... Tip casting is lobing a dense piece of sinking material attached to a light, dense... Of a sinking line can alleviate some of this headache since most the! Said, there ’ s also less of a line is determined by density! To 350-grain sinking tips in my everyday trout, steelhead, salmon and! T that high, but for softness of presentation I want to fish for streamers and nymphs go-to ”.! Level of the “ experts ” for taking the time to write this.! A jigging action, which determine when we have our client ’ not. Running line setup we have our client ’ s also less of a line is my fly jour... Using streamers fast-moving current or deep lake some sink putty to the leader instead of shot moving current from the. Can usually tell after a couple inches in front of the water column cover! Adding a bunch of split shot tip lines or use floating lines with split-shot when using a fly fishing and. The use of sink tip in front, just like a shooting running! They are more forgiving to novice anglers the South Holston River Company ( Bristol, Virginia ) I. Lightest of strikes sink putty to the surface what level of the moving current from bringing fly... The full line out to get a fly fishing leader and tippet we will prospect with a full sinking.. Line for the job the upwelling of the water quickly column and cover the first feet. Any recommendations on how to carry the bigger pike and trout streamers without ruining them times of water. Line to sink for use with streamers in rivers or also when fishing lakes the.