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Coldwater Fly Fishing Trout, Salmon, Steelhead, etc...

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Old 08-22-2011, 01:35 PM
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Default Re: Light tippet or not...

I've used Rip's approach all my career. "always use the heaviest tippet possible"
Heavier leader lets you keep the play-time short.
Playing a fish for a long time isn't good for the fish, and to me, that's the bottom line in a C&R fishery. Or anywhere for that matter.
No matter how much fun it is.
The plot thickens when you face tougher trout in clear/heavier water.
I don't like leaving hooks in fish, so since we can't use too heavy a leader, we work on honing the set with lighter leaders. Very fast, but soft.
This takes some practice. OK, quite a bit....fishing the same rod alot, helps.
Early season I'll go big, since they can't see the leader in off color water.
Right now, it is tough. If I use 5x and a larger fish takes, the fish has the advantage.
If we go 4x we may not get takes from a fish of any size, but I can get them to the net.
I'm talking sub-surface fishing here...
Fishing dries is even worse.
I've mentioned before that the main turnoff (Given a drag free drift.) to fish on the surface, is the leaders shadow.
Sinking monofiliment into the film, is the secret.
You can use heavier tippet, and they can't see it. Fish 5x instead of 6x, etc....
Lay your leader on the surface in very shallow water (8") and check out the resulting horrific shadow on the bottom. Get rid of that shadow, and you will catch more fish.
Try it, and see.
If you dry guys want to go roots, in the UK they call the secret sauce, Fullers Earth.
They've been doing the dry fly thing long enough to know.
Using a wetting agent on my leader allows me to fish 4x with a dry, on heavier "smarter" fish.
Advantage fisherman....
Be good to them.

Jim

Last edited by Bigfly; 08-22-2011 at 02:00 PM.
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Old 08-22-2011, 02:19 PM
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Default Re: Light tippet or not...

I'm surprised it hasn't been mentioned yet, so here I go. I also subscribe to using the heaviest tippet I can. Two keys to using heavier tippet are: 1- Good presentation resulting in drag-free drift; 2- Using a non-slip mono loop knot ( http://www.orvis.com/orvis_assets/files/Orvis_Knots.swf )to attach your fly, which allows the fly to move with the micro-currents rather than acting like it's stuck to a 2x4. These two things have brought me much success with larger fish and smaller flies.

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Old 08-22-2011, 02:27 PM
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Default Re: Light tippet or not...

Kelly, I mentioned #1, and "the knot" is so automatic, I forgot it. Good catch.
Takes a little practice to make them really s-m-a-l-l.
Makes the fly go from dead, to lively...I use it on nymphs and dries.
Jim
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Old 08-22-2011, 02:32 PM
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Default Re: Light tippet or not...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bigfly View Post
Kelly, I mentioned #1, and "the knot" is so automatic, I forgot it. Good catch.
Takes a little practice to make them really s-m-a-l-l.
Makes the fly go from dead, to lively...I use it on nymphs and dries.
Jim
Yessir, I consider it one of the best things I've ever been taught in flyfishing.

Kelly.
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Old 08-22-2011, 03:39 PM
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Default Re: Light tippet or not...

If the fly is acceptable to the fish, I believe most refusals are due to micro drag. The thinner the tippet, the limper it is and this is why I think light tippets are used on drag wary fish. You can reduce drag also by using a longer tippet. So the variables are tippet diameter vs tippet length. The goal is drag elimination.

But I also believe that tippets and their effect on the water surface can be seen and noticed by the fish.

What do I mean by this? Tippets have sheen, they reflect light. Any reflective surface draws attention. Can the fish recognize this reflection as abnormal so that it will refuse a fly based only on this? I think in some situations, over very wary in heavily fished waters, it does occur.

Tippets also have mass regardless of how thin they are. They float on the water surface and they depress it, tilting the water surface just a bit. This causes refraction of the light just like the hackle points that support a fly. This refraction also casts a shadow on the bottom of the stream. I do believe some fish notice this when they are feeding in flat clear water situations that are heavily fished and especially when they are in shallow water. In the shallow they are extremely spooky anyway.

That is why over in Europe where the fish are extremely heavily fished, they use leader degreasers to remove the sheen and get the leaders to sink just below the surface. I think if you can make the leader less apparent to the fish, that is a good thing and I can't think of much of a downside to lowering visibility.

They sure swear by it in Europe.

For more information, there is a discussion and video below:

Degreasing Your Leader - August 2010 TPO Tip of the Month

Degreasing Your Leader ? August 2010 TPO Tip of the Month | The Dark Side Productions

Suggestions for best line degreaser? - Fly Fishing Forums

How do you degrease leaders? - Fly Fishing Forums
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Old 08-23-2011, 11:13 AM
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Default Re: Light tippet or not...

Silver, you called it. The conditions here require much added vigilance.
Very high pressure, clear water. Finny pros.....
My mantra: If I can see my leader, they can.
You can call it a degreaser, or a wetting agent, or a humectant. (Big word of the day.)
The point being, the surface tension is warped by the leaders weight, creating a inordinately large shadow.
5x looks like shoe string from underneath. I use the bottom shadow clinic, instead of asking clients to hold their breath and swim.
Every time I show someone, they say the same thing....OMG!
Whatever product you choose, it allows the leader to sink below/through the surface tension.
Now.... no shadow, or sheen.
A natural outcrop of clay may work for free, or you can use rubbing alcohol in a pinch..... I have wondered about t-paste.
The makers of Gerkes Gink, make a Sink as well. (Was like alcohol, but more pricey.)
Fullers earth is the Brits solution, ours is Snake River Mud. (Loon)
If you have the right bug, and a good drift, this is the solution to recalcitrant Trout.
We get better action on overcast days, partly, because the leader shadow is missing.
Use the mud, and you can get love, at highnoon......

Watched Brit and fishing guru, Oliver Edwards, mud the lower half of his emerger too. Just a thought.

Jim

Last edited by Bigfly; 08-23-2011 at 02:03 PM.
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Old 08-23-2011, 01:05 PM
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Default Re: Light tippet or not...

This is one of the best threads I've read in a while
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Old 08-23-2011, 01:51 PM
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Default Re: Light tippet or not...

Quote:
Originally Posted by silver creek View Post
But I also believe that tippets and their effect on the water surface can be seen and noticed by the fish.

What do I mean by this? Tippets have sheen, they reflect light. Any reflective surface draws attention.
The SA/3M fly line cleaning pads that I always carry in my vest help take the sheen off.
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Old 08-23-2011, 02:42 PM
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Default Re: Light tippet or not...

Two obvious and well discussed issues affecting tippet visibility are tippet diameter and the refractive index of nylon mono vs fluorocarabon. Those have been well discussed. They are the main factors affecting visibility, but they are not the only issues that can determine whether a fish notices the leader or not.

Leader degreasers are used to minimize several other factors.

First is the shiny coating or sheen of the surface of leaders and tippets. The clay grit in degreasers roughs up the surface.

Secondly, the manufacturing process can leave a thin oily or waxy coating on leaders and tippets. The detergent in leader degreasers (didn't you wonder why they were called degreasers) removes this residual coating that can prevent the fresh leader from sinking.

Thirdly, the surface tension of water can float a leader that has had been "degreased". Surface tension can float a needle so it has no problem floating a tippet. To destroy the surface tension that supports the leader, a surfactant is needed. Detergents are a surfactants so the detergent does double duty.

Finally, a compound is added that prevents the degreaser from drying out.

As Jackster mentioned, the SA pad that cleans fly lines can also remove the sheen from leaders.

Bigfly mentioned Gerkes Xink for sinking flies and leaders. It is a surfactant but it is not a degreaser or sheen remover.

For those of you that use Xink, there is a cheap substitute just like there is for Gink. Xink is a wetting agent and you can substitute Kodak Photo-Flo which is a photographic wetting agent. The active agent in Photo-Flo is ethylene glycol. Ethylene glycol is the active agent in automotive antifreeze. So automotive antifreeze can be used in the place of Gerkes Xink.

For more information on degreasers, I have posted a home made formula that you can make from stuff around the house.

http://www.southeastflyfishingforum....wn-t38654.html
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Old 08-23-2011, 02:52 PM
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Default Re: Light tippet or not...

Silver, thanks for spelling correction, I can't think of everything!
Didn't like Xink or alcohol, wears off too fast. Doesn't kill sheen either.
Was a photo guy so I tried that too.
Mud is organic, so I feel OK about putting it in the water.
Hides sheen, sinks leader, just takes disipline to use it..

Jim
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