Like most things in fly fishing, the answer is "it depends." There are 4 main factors.Do I have to have a dedicated sink tip line or can I use a wf line.
Like most things in fly fishing, the answer is "it depends." There are 4 main factors.
1. It depends on how deep you want the streamer to "fish".
2. It depends on how fast the water is or if it is still water (lake).
3. It depends on how often you are going to fish a streamer.
4. It depends on how effective you want to be vs how much money you want to spend for extra spools and other fly lines. Remember that sinking lines come in various sink rates depending on how fast and deep you want the line and fly to be.
There is no question in my mind that the proper sinking line is always as or more effective than a floating line. The reason is that when you pull or strip in floating line, it will pull the streamer up out of the depth zone it is in.
So if you are fishing a deep pool or in still water that you want to fish at depth, you cannot do it with a floating line. In a lake, you may never reach the level the fish are at if you are limited to a floating line. So lake fly fishers that use streamers or streamer like swimming damsel fly nymphs will use a sinking line.
In a river, the faster the water, the higher the streamer will be with a floating line because the drag on the line will lift the streamer.
With a sinking line, the same water velocity cannot lift the heavier and thinner sinking line as much, so the steamer will be deeper in the water column. A full sinking line allows the fly fisher to target a specific water depth by counting down sink rate before beginning the retrieve. Plus when the fly is retrieved, it swims level and not up at an angle.
When then should you use a floating line? Use a floating line if you are fishing water that is no deeper than waist high and moderate flow, or knee deep and fast flow; AND you only fish streamers occasionally OR you cannot afford a separate flies system.
You can also use a hybrid weighted poly leader or loop to loop sink tip system to convert a floating line into a hybrid sink tip system. You can also use casting techniques and line mends to get your streamer deeper.
Cast up stream and stack mend loose line into the drift to allow the streamer to sink deeper before beginning your retrieve.
There are situations where you will need a full sinking line. If you are going to use a floating line with a weighted poly leader, you will limit your streamer fishing to those situations where this type of set up is effective.
Many streamers these days can be rather large. I'm not sure what your skill level is. For a sinking line, you may find a 6 or 7 weight a "little" easier to cast. The biggest difference is those rods (7 wt preferred) will be able to handle a wider range of streamers. If you get a second rod, your 5 weight will likely get converted to a floating line rod for drys and nymphs. So yes! A floating weight forward line would be a very good choice for your 5 wt rod.I'm very appreciative of this convo.
Last week I got a 5wt with a sink tip line specifically for streamer fishing. It has taken some getting used to while casting but it gets the streamer down and keeps it there even in fast current.
The guy at Orvis sold me on that rather than the sinking leaders
I think I might get an extra spool with a floating line for this five wt
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So I plan on fishing for nymphs and streamers in trout streams with this setup. I already have a 4 and 5 with both floating lines that I can fish dries with. I'm also going out to Montana this fall and will use my 6 a lot. For where I fish now I usually don't fish in water deeper than 10ft but it would be nice having my nymphs staying where they need to be. My only concern is throwing hopper patterns or terrestrials on a 5 wt.
I agree with TS47 that my reply was only for streamers and that a floating line with or without a strike indicator will be fine for nymphing.I think the set ups we've been discussing are for streamer fishing only. With nymphs, you can simply add split shot to your regular leader. With nymphs, typically a floating line is fine.
I can vouch for Ard's "leadhead system". It's simple, it gets it down just like a sinktip, and most importantly it cuts down on carrying extra junk that you don't need. I am aspiring to live by the KISS principle and simplify my fishing this year. So far, so good.Whether you use a sinking leader or line depends on how deep the water is, how deep the fish are and how fast the water is moving.
A sinking leader, or even better one of Hardyreel's "lead head leaders", only cost $10-15. If you think you may have the conditions to use them, you should try one on for size. The worst thing that could happen is you catch more fish!
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