I'm looking for a way to get flies deep with a 3wt rod, particularly streamers, and am interested in exploring sinking fly lines for this purpose. My target fishing depth is 8-12 feet. I'm not interested in using a floating fly line coupled with lots of split shot on the leader (I've had too much frustration with this in the past), and I'm skeptical about sink-tip lines because the bend between floating and submerged parts of the line creates some slack. Anyway, it looks like none of the fly line manufacturers even makes a sink tip line for a 3wt with an 8-12 foot sinking section, but if anybody thinks a sink tip line would be the superior choice, then please say so. I know that Orvis and Scientific Anglers have sink tip lines available for 3wt rods with fast sinking front sections, but they all seem to be too short, with only 4-5 feet of sinking section.
Can anyone recommend a sinking line for me? My 3wt is med/fast action and 8'9" long. Most of my fishing would be in lakes, from shore or a boat, but if I could use it in a stream (in a slow current pool type situation), that would be an added bonus.
From what I've been able to find out, the major fly line makers only make slow sinking lines for a 3wt (the fast sinking ones start at the 5 or 6wt range). The Orvis Density Compensated sinking line is available in Class II sink rate for a 3wt which has a sink rate of 1 3/4 - 2 3/4 ips. The Scientific Anglers Stillwater (clear) sinking line has a sink rate of 1 1/4 - 2 ips. It seems like these would not be fast sinking enough to fish at a depth of 10 feet, though. For instance there are 120 inches in 10 feet, and assuming 2 inches per second sink rate, that would mean waiting a full minute to get the fly deep enough. In a stream, even in a slow pool, I can imagine that not being anywhere near fast enough. I dunno, I have never actually used a sinking line before so maybe this isn't a big deal. Can anyone comment on these lines or suggest another, though? For instance, SA doesn't specify that the Stillwater line is density compensated for a uniform sink (meaning it might be prone to line sag?). The SA line is clear and the Orvis line is not. How often would a clear line be a necessary advantage so as not to spook the fish with the line?
I would recommend that you use a higher weight fly rod if you wish to
use a sink-tip line. I personally have never heard anyone actually using a
sink-tip fly line on a 3wt rod. That rod is speciciaclly designed to throw
small flies & target smaller fish. What are you fishing for with the 3wt ?
My suggestion (that's the great thing about this forum, you can get a vast
variety of opinions on an issue & then YOU decide which may be the best
thoughts for your particular issue. ) is that you go with a heavier weight rod.
The only sink-tip I own, at this point, is for my 10'-7wt steelhead rod which
I also use for Smallies.
If you are fishing a lake or pond you may try to tie up some weighted flies
with non-lead wrap, or a beadhead, but you may have trouble throwing a
weighted fly with that weight rod.
The idea started when I was fishing a lake near my dad's house. I was targeting the larger panfish that hold in deeper water there and which readily take spinning lures fished at 6-10 feet deep. I tried a variety of flies and presentations, but came to the same conclusion. The fish were hitting hardest on minnow imitators fished at depth. Thus, I wanted to get the fly to their depth, while keeping the fly at depth while stripping in line (i.e. not having it rise to the surface on the retrieve).
Although an ultralight spinning rod is pretty fun to fish with and pretty much ideal to use for this purpose, ultimately I'd like to be able to do this with a fly rod and apply it to various other situations. I do own a 6wt rod, and I realize that I could put a sinking line on that, but that, IMO, would take some of the fun out of catching panfish, which I think are funnest to catch with ultralight tackle. Using a rod as heavy as a 6wt for a bluegill just adds an advantage into the equation that I'd rather not have.
I realize that I could get a fly down to 6-7 feet with a floating line, a long leader, and split shot; however I'm really not a fan of this approach. Aside from the added difficulty of casting with a long leader loaded up with weight, the split shot tends to fall off after a few of my (rather sloppy) casts, and when my streamer starts floating, it's added difficulty to retrieve the fly, add more weight to the leader, and then re-cast. It seems like a sinking line would make the process much simpler. Another thing is, with a streamer set up on a floating line/ long leader/weight rig, stripping line in too fast seems to cause the leader to become more horizontal and bring the fly up higher in the water column than I want it.
If you just have to use your three weight here is an idea. Take a look at the Tenny Small Rivers and Lakes line. It has a ips of 3.75. What I would do is cut a few feet off of the front of the line to reduce the loading of your three weight. You won't get a lot of distance but it will give you a higher sink rate. Use weighted flies and you should achieve what you are wanting to do. I think the 2' to 4' rating is for rivers with some currant. In a lake it should sink deeper.
Sink RateRod SizeWater Type - FishBS-100 Goldenrod
3 - 5 Small rivers & lakes (moderate to slow flow - depth to 2' - 4') - Trout, Steelhead, Salmon, Shad, Bass, Bluegill.
We think alike. I had (sold to my brother in law, so still in the family) a Scott Eclipse 3 wt and want just as you. I did have an intermediate and a TYPE II for it. It cast them fine, and I found the TYPE II was fine for the rivers for streamers and wet flies.
In fact I still use a TYPE II but I don't have a 3 wt. so it is on a 4 wt.
The Eclipse was a Med action so no way would I have gone with a 4 on it. Something you need to decide.
I am just saying it can be done and I did it for many years.
I HATE sink tips. They are just too much. Like adding 10 "BB" size split shot.
I now fish Bamboo and Glass so sink tips are NOT in the equation.
Thanks for the feedback everybody. Frank I hadn't been looking at the Teeny fly lines, so thanks for the link. The Basic Sink line is priced very reasonably for getting something to just try out. I realize a sinking line on a 3wt is pretty unconventional, but I think it would be neat if I could find something that works.
I got a chance to try a sink tip line on my 6wt the other night. Turns out my father had one packed away in his basement that he didn't even know was there. Score! It was a SA Wet Tip Express with a sinking rate of 5.5-6.5 ips. I was able to cast it pretty far with a couple false casts, but I did not like fishing with it. It almost felt like it was too fast sinking actually (felt like I was dredging the bottom, not fishing near the bottom), and my fly got snagged on sticks a couple times. So maybe the Type II or intermediate sinking lines wouldn't be such a bad thing.
Anybody have any opinions on the clear (thick mono) sinking lines?
Joni, did the intermediate line cast the same as the Type II with your 3wt, or did you simply prefer the Type II because it sinks faster?
I recently purchased the Teeny Sink Tip line for my 5-wt and it casts just like a weight-forward floating line. You need a bead-head or cone-head fly to get the fly down deep enough. I too dislike split shots. Oh and they make a sink-tip for 3-wt rods.... Jim Teeny Fly Lines
The reason sinking lines are hard to find for a 3wt is that it would be extremely difficult to get that line up and out of the water to cast. I use a 4wt for lake panfish and understand your challenge. I purchased a sinking tip and it was very effective, but takes a little more work to cast. What I would key in on is your leader material - mono floats, fluorocarbon sinks and the weight of the fly. Play with different combinations - heavy fly with mono vs. lighter fly with fluorocarbon and points between to get and keep your fly in the strike zone but out of the weeds. If the panfish are on the bottom, try an HPU (hook point up) fly. I have been playing with tying size 10 woollies with weighted eyes to make them HPU and it works.
Everyone has an opinion and some of us have 10 or 20 on the same subject.