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Old 07-24-2011, 08:08 AM
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Default Sink rate calculation for weighted flies?

Ok so I guess I could pull the aquarium out of storage, get a stopwatch, and do my own experiment, but I had rather just spend my time tying flies. So, how do you guys figure how fast a fly will sink when you put x amount/wraps of lead. I know this is vague but hopefully someone will be able to provide some insight.....

-Forrest
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Old 07-24-2011, 08:14 AM
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Default Re: Sink rate calculation for weighted flies?

I so rarely fish weighted flies, I've never given this much - if any - thought. But I'm thinking that every different fly would have a different rate of sink based on the materials wrapped on the hook. Hook size mattering, too, of course. Way too much science here for me.

One thing is for sure though: I would not be using lead on my flies. Two cents worth, there, sorry.
Gary
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Old 07-24-2011, 10:17 AM
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Default Re: Sink rate calculation for weighted flies?

I tie & use a lot of weighted flies, some very heavily weighted. I still use lead wire, barbell eyes, beads & cones of the various materials. They all sink differently.

But, I've never given that a lot of though either. None are ever weighted so much I can't cast them. In shallow water, if I'm using a weighted fly it's usually going to be fished on the bottom, So I just count down until my line goes slack. In deeper water, I'm usually using a sinking line, of which I know the sink rate, and again just count down to whatever depth I'm trying to achieve. The flies hardly ever sink faster than the line. I'm also primarily fishing in tidal rivers which often have strong currents. The same fly will sink at different rates because of the current, and since tidal currents fluctuate so much, knowing the sink rate of the fly in still water is of little value. I just make my adjustments in the field.

I've also been tying a long time, and pretty much use the same amounts of weight on a given size hook, so have a good idea how fast they sink. It's just one of those things you do so much there's very little extra thought needed.

As far as using lead, it's the oxide of lead that causes problems. Pure elemental lead is not soluble in water, but the oxide & other compounds certainly are.

When I use wire, I seal it with a coat of cement, not so much because of health concerns, but because I don't want it oxidizing within the fly & discoloring it. If I lose a fly weighted with lead, in the places I fish most, I feel that once it settles into the mud bottom, and is covered with slit, where there's likely not much O2, IMO it's not going to cause any problems, at least no more than what's probably already there, particularly the small amounts used in flies. However, if you feel it's not something you want to use then don't.

I have started to get away from using lead barbells, but only because I've had them break too often. I tie more with brass now. Tungsten would be better, but normally too costly, unless I can get them on sale!
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Old 07-24-2011, 12:57 PM
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Default Re: Sink rate calculation for weighted flies?

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Originally Posted by famill00 View Post
So, how do you guys figure how fast a fly will sink when you put x amount/wraps of lead. .....

-Forrest
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For my waters there is no such thing as too heavy nymph
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Old 07-24-2011, 01:42 PM
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Default Re: Sink rate calculation for weighted flies?

I can't stand casting heavy nymphs...so when I have to fish deeper in a lake or a reservoir I use sinking lines
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Old 07-24-2011, 02:55 PM
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Default Re: Sink rate calculation for weighted flies?

I use a leader that I make, the leader has a section of 'weighted' braided mono. This system has been working very well and has allowed for me to stop using sink tips which hinder my casting.

The simplest way to determine sink rate is to make a very short cast in water with a very similar current speed to which you will fish and count the seconds from contact until the fly hits bottom. Of course you must approximate the depth and work from there. My system will take an unweighted salmon fly to approximately 4.5 feet in 8 seconds.

Having this fore knowledge allows for me to plan accordingly when I chose a position from which to cast and how to control my line / fly so that I reach the area that I need to reach. The picture below demonstrates the result of knowing where your fly is at and handling it properly.

[IMG]Click the image to open in full size.[/IMG]

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Old 01-14-2012, 07:40 PM
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Default Re: Sink rate calculation for weighted flies?

I fish the Toccoa River in North Georgia, you have faster water with quick drops and fast deep slots so getting the fly deep is critical. The type of dubbin and how tight the dubbin is to me are almost as important and how much weight is in the fly. For the record my "big nasty" nymphs which I use as an anchor fly with a dropper have enough weight to blacken a toe nail if you drop it.
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Old 01-14-2012, 07:45 PM
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Default Re: Sink rate calculation for weighted flies?

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Originally Posted by zug buggin View Post
I fish the Toccoa River in North Georgia, you have faster water with quick drops and fast deep slots so getting the fly deep is critical. The type of dubbin and how tight the dubbin is to me are almost as important and how much weight is in the fly. For the record my "big nasty" nymphs which I use as an anchor fly with a dropper have enough weight to blacken a toe nail if you drop it.

My closet friend lives in Dial, do any fishing down that way?

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Old 01-14-2012, 07:53 PM
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Default Re: Sink rate calculation for weighted flies?

Beautiful area up there, I'm usually below the lake on the tailrace about 10 miles or so by car, The state runs one of our Delayed Harvest areas on that section of the Toccoa in your friends direction. Its been fishing great this winter as I have heard.
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Old 01-15-2012, 02:09 PM
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Default Re: Sink rate calculation for weighted flies?

Sink rate depends not only on the amount of lead but on the "fuzziness" of the fly. There is too much variation IMHO. A new fly will sink at a different rate than one that has been chewed up by a fish. It also varies with the hook that is used.

Secondly, sink rate is only one factor of several factors in nymphing a river. The other is how deep the water is and where the fish are. So even if you know the sink rate, that does not tell you what is important, which is how long the fly takes to get to the fish.

Fishing in a river is different than fishing in a still water. In still water, the sink rate of fly line is important because the fish may be at a certain depth in respect to the water surface. So you can count down to get the depth you want. When nymphing a river, the correct fly depth varies because you are orienting the fly with respect to the bottom and not to the surface. Even if you know the sink rate, the variations in the water depth you are fishing negates that information.

I just put the fly on and add weight to the leader until it ticks on the bottom. It is the fly hitting on the bottom that tells you when you are at the right dept. If it takes too much time, put more weight on. If you keep hanging up, take some weight off. Keep it Simple.

There are several reasons to weight a fly. The first is to give it action like a jig so weight the front of the fly heavier than the rear. The second is to have it sink level so distribute the weight evenly. The third is to weight it so that it is weedless, hook point up: weight the keel of the hook. The fourth method is to put on the maximum amount of lead keeping a natural body profile. Keep it simple and use method 4 for weighted nymphs.

The first job of a fly is to look natural. Add weight to the leader or use a sinking line to get the fly down.
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