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Thread: tippet "flash"

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    South Texas

    Default tippet "flash"

    I have my DVR set to record all of the Fly Fish TV programs and noticed something interesting when watching one of them last night. I don't recall which morning it was on, but it featured our own Davy Wotton guiding Gary Taylor immediately below a dam on the White. They started out fishing the Wotton Shad, and then later went to small nymphs under indicators.

    The camera guy was doing a great job of following the nymph underwater as it drifted and I couldn't help but notice the tippet intermittently flashing/illuminating as the fly was drifting. The tippet was lit up no more than 7% of the time and seemed to be affected by the minor wave motion on the surface and how that might affect the refraction of light down to the tippet.

    I was just wondering if anyone else has noticed this phenomenon and whether anyone had any thoughts on its effect on fish and/or how to prevent it.

    Davy, do you recall if that was mono or fluoro carbon? I do remember you saying it was 6x.
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    I'd rather hunt fish than bait deer any day.

  2. Default

    Mono leaders will reflect light most of the time. Fluorocarbon leaders should not most of the time.

    From a purely optics standpoint, fluorocarbon leaders should (notice that I said “should”) be completely invisible in clear water. The idea is based upon the index of refraction (IOR) of any given material. The IOR is measurement of material density and how much that material will refract (bend) light rays passing through. It is determined by dividing the speed of light in air (or a vacuum) by the speed of light through that particular material. Now… fluorocarbon is designed to have an IOR of 1.33 which is the same as water. Because of this, when the leader is submerged, it becomes one with water and thus invisible. Light rays passing through will then not be refracted nor reflected and so there should be no reflection from light.

    OK… now get this. Fluorocarbon leaders are not always invisible in water. Why not? Well… this premise will only work if the water is perfectly clean and clear. Clear water has an IOR of 1.33... dirty water does not. The IOR of water will change if it’s off color or unclear from sediments. The speed of light will slow down in this unclear water and so the refractive properties will change as well. Now the fluorocarbon leader becomes visible because of the two different IOR’s. When this happens you can easily get leader flash from the light. Any time a light ray enters a material that is more or less dense than from which it came there will be refraction and reflection of light.

    We all know that occasionally cameras will pick things that human eye will not normally see. Certain lens aberrations will cause reflections, halos, streaks of light etc. I'm not saying this is the case with this video... but its certainly something to keep in mind. I’m not sure what Davy used but I’m sure he can shed some “light” on the subject.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    South Texas

    Default Re: tippet "flash"

    Great insights Steve. Just to clarify, the water did have a good bit of schmutz floating around in it, but it didn't look very "stained".

    I'd rather hunt fish than bait deer any day.

  4. Exclamation Re: tippet "flash"

    OK, Guys,

    Couple of issues here that are worth further discussion, in fact one of those issues l got into a heated argument with this past Saturday evening with a number of individuals.

    The way we filmed the underwater shots was with a camera lens which was adapted to a long pole. The lens looks like a microphone, and in order to see what the lens sees you wear headgear that shows you the image which is of course also recorded on tape at that time.

    The filament l was using was a 6x F/carbon.

    Now l make up my leaders in special ways to suit how l want my fly to fish. That day there was 2 units of water on the river which equates to around a depth average of 3 to 5 ft in that zone of the Dam. It was a very bright day and the water conditions were very clear at that time. In fact you could easily see fish as we floated down fishing.

    For most of this kind of fishing l do not use a tapered leader as such. I go from my fly line with a 4 or 5 ft straight length of Amnesia 20 lb, or straight mono. On to the end of that l attach a micro o ring, to that l go with the length of leader/tippet that l need to suit the depth. In the case of that day something like 8ft or more, of 6x. The indicator was attached to to 6x.
    There are reasons why l do this and they are based on spending a great deal of time figuring out how to get the best presentations that l can get so far as how the fly will track and all else that goes with that.
    Under normal circumstances you would of course either use a leader that terminates in something like 4 to 6x and attach additional the tipett length, or tie the fly directly to that.

    In the case of the show you saw l was using a 18 hook sowbug and at times will use a 20, with the addition of the smallest amount of weight l can get away with. I know for a fact that pinched on shot will at times spook the fish from taking the fly.

    I dislike the fact that a tapered mono leader will not allow the fly to sink at a fast rate, the increasing diameter of a tapered leader slows that process down. A long continuous section of same diameter such as l use more or less reduces that effect, from the indicator down to the fly.
    There are also other reasons why l do this and it is this. When you are dead drifting as the rig moves downstream it will normally do so in a way that the leader, to the fly or pinched on shot will preceed it. That means in shallow clear water that that increasing diameter of leader will be more optically seen by the fish before the fly, and again l know for certain at times that will be the reason why the fish will become wary of taking the fly.

    Not sure if you also noticed Cliff that the fly also preceeded the shot, that is due of course to the shot weight. And there are reasons for that also.
    In fact l have just written a long article relate to what takes place underwater when you are dead drifting, and the influences of surface drift, how that relates to this. Other factors related such as water speed, depth, distance you have the indicator from the fly, distance from the indicator to the fly line addition of weight with fly or other, wind directions, up or down stream, how you make the initial presentation, do you use a tuck cast or a laid out flat, how you control that drift and so on, All of the above in some way are related to the effects of good dead drift presentations.

    So far as dead drift techniques are concerned, F/carbon leaders serve no purpose for me, as it is very difficult to regulate a more exact depth that the fly will fish as the leader will of course continue to sink, and in the case of using a indicator will of course either cause that indicator to sink lower or the distance between the indicator and the fly line will also be caused to sink.
    If l use it then it will be part of my rig below the indicator, it serves no purpose above it, by this means l can regulate what l want my fly to do by way of its presentation at depth to the fishes eye level. How fast or slow it will achive the regulated depth that l wish it to be for the most productive period of that drift. In the case of wade fishing versus boat drifting it is a very different matter of course. Wade fishing is short line drifts, boat fishing is normally long line drifts, maybe a 100 yards or more !

    I do use both F/C leaders and filament for other techniques.

    There are some other reasons why l form my rigs this way, and some reasons why l do not, fishing for surface feeders for example when l want pin point accuracy, then l will use a configuration of a tapered system to the fly.

    The issue l had a heated debate about was related to the post by thefullcreel.
    And it was related to the visibility of filaments underwater.
    One of the persons at this discussion was adament the F/C filament was invisible underwater, and that you would catch more fish if you use it. As you have read in the post the odds of that are very remote indeed under normal fishing conditions, one that l totally agree with.
    I do not buy that theory, what l will accept is that the greater degree of sink rate may well enhance the fly to fish more productivly and that you may be able to lesson the amount of additional weight for the fly to maintain at the productive depth. That's why l choose to use it.

    It has nothing to do with the fact that l belive it is less visible to the fishes eye, and that such things as line flash do not take place ,as l know that it does.

    I made the statement to the effect that he was more or less saying to me that if l used regular mono that there would be fish he could catch and l could not. !!! Figure that one.

    I can only say this that l spent some time doing some underwater tests with a friend of mine, l in my scuba gear he in the boat. We messed around with a number of different types of filaments, by definitions of diameter and color.
    I have also done the same in fish tanks.
    My honest conclusion regarding that is this, at least from the humans eye perspective.
    There was no filament that l could not see at a given range, but some of those given the overhead light conditons and the perameters of the body of water, degree of clarity, made them less or greater so far as that visibilty was concerned, dependant on the color of that filament.
    One fact l know for certain is this, and it is the fish can see far better than l in its own enviroment. I have no doubt whatsoever that in any situation when filament, nylon of F/C causes undue adverse visibility that you may well get refusals to your fly. Certainly the influence of light play a very important part in this factor, coupled with the color tones of the body of water at that time.
    And l have changed the mono l have been using at that time. if l am not happy with the aspects of high visibility in that body of water.

    Perhaps someone should produce a chart which on a given day of fishing will allow us to determine.

    Color and diameter of line to use, based on the other two factors related which are of course overhead light conditions and the color of the body of water we are fishing at that time, is the fish looking to ward a dark background such as the shore line, what is the relative angle of that light to the fishes eye,and all other factors and influences, and so on !

    Might even tell us what fly to use to catch the fish. !!

    Any of you guys have further comments related to mono versus F/C lets here them. It is a very interesting subject.

    My conclusion to this argument is this. I do not belive that my ability to catch fish has improved since F/C became available, by any significant amount, other than the fact that F/C has allowed me to re-think how l would rig up for a given situation.
    In fact l can tell you that l have rigged up 2 rods, one with and one without F/C and drift fished the same zones of river. Other than the adjustment of how l rigged up with mono or F/C they are more or less the same.

    I am not convinced that there is any real advantage one way or the other, at least so far as trout fishing is concerned.

    I am also in the perfect position with the many clients that fish with me to rig up two rods by a different manner and see for myself which deal is working the best on a given day. And have them change over during the course of that day as l know that there are circumstances that one angler will way outscore the other for some reason.
    May be the way the tackle was set up or the way one angler fishes compared to the other.
    But if the two rigs are set up identical then there has to be some resoning for that difference.

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