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Old 11-29-2008, 11:48 PM
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Default Fishing with Sinking Lines

I have been doing a lot of reading lately and a common thread I am coming up with is that most fish feed subsurface and you need to get down to them to catch them. Even more so now that the weather is colder. Some of the things I have read by guides, etc... have said that their catch rate has gone up by as much as 4x when using sinking lines. So I have some questions about fishing with sinking lines especially during this time of year (late fall/winter). In still waters is it best to go with a full sink line? By stillwaters I am mostly referring to small bodies of water such as ponds (including community ponds) and <50 acre lakes. Is there a rule of thumb about how deep it needs to be as to when you go with some form of sinking line versus just weighted flies? For example if the depth is no more than 5' do you just use a long leader and weighted flies? Is it just a matter of the depth being more than the length of your leader? If fishing for stripers in rivers/moving water is it best to go with a teeny type line? Basically I am looking for a primer on fishing deeper with sinking lines. Thanks!
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Old 11-30-2008, 01:46 PM
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Default Re: Fishing with Sinking Lines

I think that if you aren't needing to fish more than 5' deep in a stillwater, then weighted flies on a floating line make the most sense. The downside to this is that each time you strip the flies towards you, they will be climbing towards the surface. Its hard to know exactly how much they are coming up, and how fast they are dropping back down, so this isn't the most precise way of fishing.

Using a full sink fly line with mildly weighted flies is more precise way to fish a given depth, but then you are faced with picking the proper sink rate for the depth you need to fish. Full sink lines work fairly well when fishing still waters because you are less likely to be wading and don't have to worry about the current sweeping the sinking line under your feet and around your legs and such.

When needing to fish a streamer a given depth in moving water, I think shooting heads or Teeny-type lines are the best option. Casting is a bit simpler (strip to the color change, roll cast to put it on top, back-cast, and let the forward cast shoot to the position needed), you don't have sinking running line under your feet, and you have more control of your swing/drift by mending the floating portion of the line.

The sinking leaders that have come about in the last few years offer many of the same advantages and the flexibility of simply adding them to a floating line. The downside to them is that you have a floating line fighting against a sinking leader, and this creates an angle in your connection to the fly. This can make it tougher to feel the fish, but one can learn to work around this challenge.

All of the different tools/techniques have a place and work best in different situations. I'd say if you want to fish most effectively in stillwaters, you need an assortment of sinking lines. To fish moving water, I think you can get by with a floating line, a fast sink and a xtra super fast sink sinking leader, and maybe a 150 or 200 grain Teeny-type line to really fish deep effectively.
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