04-01-2009, 01:11 AM
Light tippets for steelhead & salmon?
Hey all you S & S fisher's here's a post to stir up a fuss. I posted the following response to a question on the Fly Lines Forum it was quickly buried in the stack so I thought I'd post it out here so it draws some fire or concurrence. Both the original question and my rather wordy response are quoted below;
[The question] "I have typically fished strictly for smaller trout in smaller rivers. I am just finishing up a new set up (Scott A2 908-4 w/ Ross CLA 4) and am trying to figure out what size and brand leaders tippet you all typically use.
Fishing will be mainly for salmon and steelhead on medium sized rivers.
Any help would be appreciated."
I gotta tell you a few things before what I say may make sense.
One time a guy told me he had landed twenty three large steelhead in a day in November on a NY river (average daylight in November about 9.5 hours) using 4lb tippet and a size sixteen black stone fly nymph. I did the math and decided that based on my experience at landing steelhead they either swam strait to shore and unto the gravel or he was embellishing the facts. Go figure, 4lb test, 12lb or bigger
fish maybe 15 - 20 minutes. each if you don't break them off. Heck that's roughly four an hour and it would take six hours just to land them. Humm.....................
Unless you need light line and if you are using an 8wt rod I don't know why you would ever go with a light line, in other words if you are going to fish a 4 - 6lb tippet why not use a 9' 5wt. rod?
I use level fluorocarbon as a tippet for both salmon & steelhead. The lightest I go is 12lbs. and if the fish are running big make that 20lbs. For king salmon I use 25lb Maxima and usually don't snap them off. I use 7 & 9wt rods for them.
I once had a fellow stop to chat with me on the Salmon River in NY. and when he learned that I was using 25lb leader he promptly told me that I would have a diminished chance for success with a heavy line like that. He recommended that I fish no heavier than 8 - 10lb. We said our goodbyes and good luck's and he went on his way. I didn't bother to tell him that I had caught and released seven, (7) kings that morning so far and had a few come off the fly. True story! It doesn't take long to land a fish if the rod and THE TIPPET are strong enough. I would guess that ten minutes is about accurate.
So, heavy rod = heavy line, drive the hook home and lean into the fish like you mean it. You'll be able to land them before dark."
Go for it, give me the devil.