Getting It Down, Sinking The Fly;

Ard

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What I am going to propose to the readers here may or may not be a new concept to you. You may have read post from me at any time over the years about how I rig my lines for streamer fishing. I am quite sure I am not the only fly fisherman who uses this method but I can say that I've never came across a detailed article regarding how and why it works. Something else I should mention is that it is not my intention to 'convert' people to this way of doing the job, I don't sell leaders and am not affiliated with anyone who does. It's just a way of doing things that I stumbled into and then fine tuned over the past 25 years.

How you sink your line or fly is a big thing to consider. This is true whether you use a Spey rod or a single hand rod when swinging streamers / Spey type flies / salmon flies. It seems an ever growing array of lines are being produced to meet this need doesn’t it? What I am going to describe is a method I took up in 1994 and continue to use today. Prior to developing my skills with the system I will describe as best I can to you, I carried either extra spools or reels to meet certain conditions. The most economical aspect of the system is that it eliminates the need to purchase spare spools and the expensive sinking lines we would put on them.

Before you read on and before I continue writing there’s something to get out of the way first. We’ve all heard someone tell us, “If you aren’t getting snagged and losing flies you aren’t doing it right” or some version of that philosophy haven’t we? I hope you’ll have an open mind and understand that I don’t take offense when someone says that to me. I also will trust that you will not take umbrage when I say that I do not enjoy becoming snagged every sixth or seventh cast. I really don’t like losing my flies and I think one of the most ridiculous things I can see while I’m out fishing is someone who, every time I glance in their direction is tugging and bouncing with their rod due to being stuck on the bottom. Honestly, I don’t care how many fish that fellow may catch, there are no fish worth that level of frustration to me that would compel me to do it. I have been there, I have tied slinky’s to my expensive fly lines and my 400 dollar rods all the way back in the 1980’s. It didn’t last long, not at all, a few hours and I'd had enough. I love to fish and better yet I live for days when not one thing can bring a foul word from my mouth, heavy weights combined with heavy sinking heads will make you curse. Me, I’ll settle for a few less fish and a curse free day. I'm a fly fisherman and I don't spend a lot of time tugging, rod bending or leader popping because I'm stuck to the bottom as if I were fishing bait with a sinker. There, I said it, Now you know where I'm coming from so let’s continue.

Anyone who has fly fished using both a floating fly line and a sinking line knows that these are two different worlds when it comes to casting. Two things (although there may be others) stand out when you make the switch from floater to sinker or sink tip line. Most sink tips have a 15’ section spliced and molded onto the front of a floating line and these are much more common than full sinking lines to most of us I believe. Let’s look at fishing a streamer with a floating line first. Rather than to expand on this I will supply this link to a thorough article on this topic here; http://www.theflyfishingforum.com/f...ng-controling-submerged-fly-3.html#post725478 I’ll wait here while you read and absorb that.

I think we can all agree that casting is easier with floating lines. You are able to swing your fly until it hangs straight downstream and then sweep up the rod and a significant length of fly line to re-cast without too much effort, correct? Now when you put on that 15 foot type 6 or Hi Density tip things will become a lot different. You will notice that in overhead casting the sink tip will not only feel different but in most cases it will fly further when you let her go. I was always a fan of that added distance on the forward cast. I started with a sink tip line in 1979 and believe they were just being introduced around that time. Prior to that I had a full sink as my wet fly line but we’re talking sink tips and I digress. Aside from that presumed added distance on your delivery cast there is a minor amercement involved with using a sink tip line. You’ll no doubt notice straight away that it sure won’t sweep up with the same ease as your floater will it? When using a sink tip I customarily I had to strip in a great deal of my fly line prior to re-casting. Now if you are catching a fish every other time that you are dragging the fly back upstream I won’t tell you not to do it. I myself have caught so few by that means over the past 4 ½ decades that I found it to be almost punitive to have to strip in all that line for every cast. Please bear in mind I have never been much of a Stillwater fly fisherman where this stripping action can be of premier benefit, I fish streams & rivers primarily.

Enough of the buildup; how do I get away fishing my streamers and salmon flies without using a sinking line per say? I use small sections of various sinking materials in the middle portion of my leaders. I have talked about this in the past but this writing is meant to lay out the specifics of ‘How, Why, and when I make the decision of what length and weight per inch of the material I utilize in any and all fishing situations. When I first took up fishing using a 13 foot Spey rod I fell for the sink tip trap. I thought fishing with a Spey rod was a whole new thing, wrong! It's all the same, but let me explain what happened. I bought a Scientific Anglers 55' mid belly Multi Tip Line. I used that line for an entire season and by June of the following year I was so frustrated with my lack of improvement as a Spey caster that I was at my wits ends. It was at that time, camped on a river here in Alaska which was full of salmon, however I was struggling so much with my casting that the fun index was at a very low point. I waded back to shore where I had a chair unfolded and took a seat. Quite disgusted at that moment I was questioning whether or not I could do this. Of course the long rod had its advantages and not all casts were complete failures but something was wrong. As I sat there my gaze fell on the boat and in it sat my old tackle bag. Why not, I thought, why not use the same leaders and lead heads I’ve been using since 1994 on my single hand rods? It should work! To the boat I went and retrieved my old bag and within a few minutes I had tied some Perfection loops into some mono for a butt and for a tippet. The center section which is a weighted line comes with a braided loop on each end and ready to go so no work there. I threw a leader together having a 48” braided lead head from Beartooth Montana fishing products. I had bought a bunch of them at a going out of business sale back in late 1993 or early 94 and had used them with great success on PA. & CO. streams and rivers until I left for AK. ten years ago. The difference was realized immediately, I could cast without my line stuck in the water like cement. That was 2011 and I never looked back. Prior to taking up the Spey rod I had used these leader sections on my single hand rods but somehow thought / believed a Spey rod was different. No they are not!

I will try to explain how this works and why I believe it is (for some) perhaps the best way to fish submerged streamers on any fly rod with a floating line opposed to sink tip lines. When we use a sink tip line or attach a tip directly to the floating line it sinks. The problem is that not only does the length of the sinking Tungsten line sink but because it is spliced directly to your floating line it will tend to pull the floater under as well. At first just a few feet of the floating tip and as the line is used hour after hour you may see as much as the first ten to 15 feet of your floating line going subsurface too and I don’t mean by an inch or two. I can’t be alone in this observation can I? If you have already read my writing on fishing and controlling the submerged fly then you know that the mainstay of fishing them is to have, and to maintain control by mending with the floating line. It is Simply a fact that the more of your line that is beneath the surface the more difficult it will be to affect control over the fly itself.

Now let us use the mind’s eye to envision something different. You have a good quality floating line and have kept it clean and dressed with a product tailored for this purpose. That line floats very well and when you have allowed it to make a complete downstream swing it has barely went beneath the surface on you. Somehow you felt confident that you had your fly swimming deep enough to attract a strike had there been a willing fish there. How’d you do that? If you are doing what I do, you had between 5 and 6 feet of 30 pound monofilament attached to the end of the floating line. Looking at the simple illustration below follow this concept from the floating line to your fly.


Your long mono butt has very little resistance to being dragged under the water unlike your hi floating fly line and can be taken down using significantly less than 15 feet of sinking line. This is due to mono having a higher specific gravity than water, it'll sink on its own. When you attach any form of weight to monofilament it will sink quickly & readily. When you attach a 4 foot (or longer / shorter) section of T material to the end of the mono butt section that weighted line with a much higher specific gravity than water will take the mono down & do so rapidly without disturbing the floating vinyl coated fly line to any great degree. Your line stays up better and longer on every swing while the fly and the leader find the fish.

You’ll notice that you have a length of tippet material which due to its reduced size offers even better sinking properties than the 30 pound butt. If you chose to attach a weighted fly such as a cone head or similar to the tippet it too will have a propensity to sink. Depending on the length and weight of your weighted leader section you can determine how fast and how deep the fly and tippet will sink. You can mix these combinations up as follows: a heavier section of T material like T-14 and an un-weighted fly will allow you to put the leader at or very near the bottom while the fly should maintain its course slightly higher in the water thus avoiding possible snagging. Conversely you may chose to go with 5 feet of T 8 or 11 and use a fly with a weighted head or cone. These decisions are made site by site taking into account the velocity of the flow and it's depth. Slower water allows for even more choice in how to rig and swifter flows dictate heavier leaders and perhaps flies also. Capisci ?

Because the sink tip is not connected directly to the floating line your ability to mend and control that line right down to the tip is greatly enhanced. By spending just a very short time observing your leader & fly at close range while counting seconds you can easily ascertain how quickly the unit as a whole is reaching a known or perceived depth. I gotta ask; are you getting this or is it confusing :confused:

Now if, and that is the key operative word here ‘if’ you have been focusing on reducing drag on your floating line as discussed in the article about fishing & controlling the submerged fly, you are getting the hang of allowing your fly to reach its maximum potential depth. You are reaching this depth without the fly being moved to the surface by excessive drag formed by the bow in the line caused by current, or by overzealous line movements made by you the fisherman. When you combine good line management & control habits with a mental awareness of how the fly is being sunk and at what rate, you are able to present your fly where the fish will see it. My observations on fly control using this type sink system are as follows: because the mono butt section has very little resistance to the water it readily will react quickly to any change of direction imparted to the tip of the floating fly line via you and your various mends for directional control. Because the weighted section is at the very longest, 6 feet, it will also react readily to being directed by the fly line and the fly and lighter tippet follow suite. You can judge quite well what your fly is doing directionally simply by looking at the end of your floating line, because it's floating :) it don't get much simpler than that, no more guess work, you can become adept at knowing what's happening underwater. I once wrote that "until you are in control of your line and fly in an active fashion, you are just standing there holding the cork". There are times when I just hold the cork, but it's nice to believe that you can impart some action and control if you deem it appropriate don't you agree?

Regardless of what you use to sink a fly there will always be a section of water so swift – so deep that nothing short of a 1 ounce bell sinker will reach the bottom. These areas in my personal view were not, and are not meant to be fished with traditional fly gear and so I don’t bother with such water while fishing. That isn’t to say that I don’t swing through it as far down as I can get to see if there are fish willing to play nearer the surface, I just don’t try to feel the bottom nor am I obsessed with the notion that I must.

If or when you adapt to this system of fishing with your streamers you will notice how much easier it is to bring a 2 – 3 – 4 or 5 foot length of T line up to the surface for re-casting than it is to strip in a 15 foot sink tip to a manageable length. Part of the strategy and technique of fishing wet flies is to cover as much water with each successive cast as possible while continually moving the cast and swinging fly down the stream channel. Once you have adapted a means to do this without time spent pulling in half your line before re-casting you are fishing more. This ability is also very helpful when you locate a fish that taps or bumps your fly during the swing but fails to get hooked. If you are able to cast again without significantly shortening your line it is simple to repeat your exact cast both in placement and length of swing / arc. I have to ask again; are you getting this concept? Is this making sense? God, I hope so because it took forever to compose to this point :D What I just told you is the best method I have found to produce a ‘come back’ strike from a trout – salmon or steelhead. ie; Knowing that your fly is taking exactly the same course through the stream because you were able to sweep up your line to cast without stripping in. This allows for you to duplicate any cast or to shorten it by a foot or two before throwing it back out. I generally go shorter by a foot or 2 because I've seen countless fish return to the same area but a tad further up channel when they stop, then drifting back to find their sweat spot in the current. The important thing is I have essentially the correct length of line before I even cast again.......

In the diagram, all of the connections are made via loop to loop splices.

If your fly line came with a welded loop you may want to consider the braided connector demonstrated in this thread; http://www.theflyfishingforum.com/f...ded-connector-your-welded-loop-spey-line.html
If you are currently carrying extra spools or reels to accommodate changing between floating lines and sinking lines the method I have attempted to explain may be useful in lightening your load. If you are currently using multi tip lines – sinking leaders like polly leaders that attach directly to your line and essentially do the same thing as a sink tip ie; drag the floating line under and protest when you need to sweep them from the water to re-cast, this may be helpful to you too.

A quick recap: I’m not saying it’s right for everyone but it works for me. I determine how much and what weight section of T material to add to my leader based on best guess in regard to current and average depth of water fished. If I run into a shallow run and have 5 foot of T-17 in my rig, I cast more quartered down and across and I hold the tip back toward upstream to create drag enough to keep my fly from snagging. When I come into a run averaging 6 feet deep I cast straight across and use the mending and following technique described in the Fishing the submerged fly article. Pretty simple, it’s actually a trigonometry exercise, angular velocity is what you are trying to solve for. If you are mathematically inclined you can easily create an equation for what we are trying to do if that will help you in grasping the meaning of this entire article.

I will put together a ‘How To’ thread for making your own T sections if there is a need, you could I assume find a video on-line easier though 

Ard
 
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honyuk96

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Ard, thanks for taking the time to put this together, it's a very well done and interesting read. Couple questions, I'm not familiar enough w the different spey lines out there. When you say floating line are you talking about a WF or DT type line ? I kind of always assumed guys were using either skagits or scandis w spey rods, but again, I know very little about them. As far as a floater goes too, are you overlining these rods at all or is this not necessary with those big sticks ? I would be interested in trying your system for throwing big streamers for our resident trout. I'm currently throwing a 300 grain streamer express that I've cut back considerably. I don't like that line one bit. I could see your system working well I just wouldn't want to be changing T material "in the field" if that makes sense. Too much farting around for me, I just wouldn't have the patience. Our steelhead lies differ so drastically from run to run that I'm not sure how this would work for me. I guess I'd really have to try it out and play around w swing angles, mending and such, as you clearly mentioned, to see if I'd be in the zone without having to change out T material from spot to spot. I'm intrigued, I'd also enjoy seeing your SBS on the T material setups you are building. Thanks again, very nice job with what you've put together.
 

Ard

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Hi Matt,

To try this with your existing line you need to think about speed & depth where you will fish. Your 300 grain line won't carry a huge weight unless you develop a good technique. Maybe T 11 and keep the sections to 3 or 4 feet. That's only 44 grains at the most. You'll need at least 25 pound for butt (I like 30 better) and go see if you can cast then. It's all technique, when we get the chance I'll make some good casting video. I'll use single hand rods with this system so people can see what they will do once you get it down with the cast.

I'll try to stay on topic with things you have ask. The lines that I use are essentially weight forward lines made for Spey rod fishing. There are a great many people using Skagit lines and I believe that is fomented by several factors. For one, because the lines have very short heads (think 23 - 27 feet) where all of the mass is placed, they cast very easily. Another benefit of this short head mass is that they will carry a larger fly or sink tip with ease. I have used them but have never wanted to buy one. The reasoning behind that choice comes from the fact that for my way of fishing which has satisfied me for a long time is not a good match with the ultra short heads.

Let me explain what I mean; think about fishing with a spinning rod using a fairly heavy lure that will allow you to cast pretty far. In order to make another cast you must reel in the line until the weighted lure is dangling a foot or so from the rod tip. I find this same concept with ultra short heads, you must pull all of your running line in until the head is at or very near the rod tip before you can cast. If you are fishing a section of river where you are shooting the head out there to 70 feet or more that's a lot of stripping before the 20 some foot head is at the tip top. While they allow you to shoot out a long cast they fall short in that you have very little ability to mend or exercise any other control over the fly once it lands. The running line is very thin and the head is very thick so there isn't much you can do if you have 40 or more feet shot out behind the head. Make sense?

The accepted belief is that you will not be able to cast easily or use larger flies with a Scandi Long or a mid belly line. While I'll agree that there will need to be a different technique used to send heavier flies and tips out with a longer head / belly line I find fishing them more relaxing than stripping shorter heads.

As for over or under lining the rods; unlike single hand rods these rods need the correct lines in order to perform at top grade. If your line is to light you won't be able to get it out of the D loop much more than 20 foot before it collapses. If it is too heavy your anchored line will stick and you will be having to make much larger rotations in the cast adding more effort and more load on the rod. In spite of all the extra work by you & the rod a line which is too heavy will not travel out and unfurl for you. Too much of the energy of the cast will be lost in the mass of the line in order to move it toward the target and not much left for the finish.

Spey lines are pretty much like the story of Goldilocks & The Three Bears, you won't like light, you won't like heavy, you need Just Right. Changing T sections on the water is something I very seldom have done. I choose a weight and then I bend my fishing around it by positioning myself and using the line in the right spots so I can work the area effectively. Do I get every nook & cranny covered? Nope, not that I know of. Do I drag the bottom? Nope, not unless the current is slow, then I gotta be careful so I don't get stuck. Because you use a steady increase of strength from tippet to fly line I have never lost a T section. I'll try to do up a how to make them but it's really simple. The link I put up shows the braided connector, that's for a welded loop line so you don't ruin the loop. Yeah you could cut it off and nail knot but that's not very versatile. besides, why cut off the loop of an expensive line when you can adapt for a few cents.......

The picture below shows a cast heading out. The leader and fly are still on the waters surface but about to jump up and follow the line. The line in the picture is a 45' Scandi Long. it is the shortest line I have for big rods. It is a 600 grain head and the fly / leader on the end is: 15' leader with 6.5 foot of T11 in the middle and a 3" weighted tube fly.


As long that I kept the casts to around 75 - 80 feet I still had good control over the line. Once you pass the 70 foot mark the ability to control the line diminishes greatly with every added ten foot. I have some lines in 55 and 65 foot heads and the extra ten or 20 feet of heavy floating line makes a huge difference for control purposes. All this, the head length, the control, all of that goes back to the thread about fishing / controlling the submerged fly. Because I drank the Kool-Aid long ago I am a control freak. And it is because of the need to have control that I gravitated to mid belly lines right off the bat.

I'm going to stop here.......................
 

ia_trouter

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T-line leader construction guidance will be helpful. I have to build a few and experiment for some diverse water and fly weight situations. This thread has been very informative so far.
 

Ard

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The easiest way is to clamp the T line loop gently in your vise and whip some Kevlar thread around the tag to the body line. After they are secured put a nail knot on it with 8 pound.

Or, make braided sleeve from 20 pound braided mono. Slide the sleeve onto the T line end and apply 2 nail knots with the #8 mono. I use the braided sleeve method for 2 reasons; they protect the soft T line from being cut by monofilament loops and I have a bunch of 20 pound braid :)

Oh I forgot to say, if these threads seem helpful or interesting remember to Rate the thread at the top right of OP :)
 

honyuk96

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Hi Ard, I'm just now getting back to this thread. My 300 streamer express is a full sinking line. I've slowly been cutting back the sink tip portion as it's just too heavy for the rod I'm using it on. I have a WF line on another reel that I use in the summer for top water bass fishing. I don't use it that often and would consider trying your system as a streamer replacement. This is all single hand over head casting I'm talking about. Do you think a regular WF line is the way to go or would you opt for a more specialized dry line that is geared more towards indi fishing, where mending is so critical ? I believe SA has a salmon/steelhead taper that I have heard is phenomenal for indi fishing/mending.
 

ia_trouter

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Matt, this is one of the single hand lines I am going to experiment with. It is long bellied floating streamer/nymph line that is supposedly optimized for mending and I think it will handle a T leader. It was on a super good sale a few weeks ago but now you have to spend a $100 for their deeper discount. It is the most supple line I have ever purchased. I shall soon see how it casts when the weather warms up a touch.

Airflo Super-Dri Nymph Fly Line - 100

Ard

You mention using braided sleeve for the T construction. I am not familiar with that.
 
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honyuk96

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Matt, this is one of the single hand lines I am going to experiment with. It is long bellied floating streamer/nymph line that is supposedly optimized for mending and I think it will handle a T leader. It was on a super good sale a few weeks ago but now you have to spend a $100 for their deeper discount. It is the most supple line I have ever purchased. I shall soon see how it casts when the weather warms up a touch.

Airflo Super-Dri Nymph Fly Line - 100

Ard

You mention using braided for the T construction. Anything special or are you just talking standard braided line such as Dacron or similar?
Cool, I will be interested to get your feedback on the new line.
 

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Another great post Ard. Thanks. If I could speak with you in person I'd pepper you with about a million questions, but for brevity's sake I'll ask the following:

--I assume this system is designed for double-handed rods/casting? Is there any reason it wouldn't work with a single-handed rod? I fish an 8 weight single-handed for salmon in Alaska and sometimes steelhead in BC, and use traditional 15' sink tips. Does your system need a double-handed rod/cast to make it work?

--will this system work for Skagit and Scandi lines, or is it more appropriate for traditional spey lines? Is there a particular grain weight or window that's appropriate?

--double-handed casting for steelhead, I've lately been using the Rio MOW tips (medium) with a Skagit line. Those are suppose to provide a better transition between the floating head and sink-tip portion, and I do think they're better than traditional sink-tips in that regard. Do you have any experience or opinion on how MOW tips work compared to your system?

Thanks again for these posts. Extremely helpful.

Scott
 

busbus

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Ard,

You did it again. Another marvelous post. I read it three times and I know there are gems in here that I missed, so I need to read it a bunch more times.

I especially liked this part:

What I am going to propose to the readers here may or may not be a new concept to you. You may have read post from me at any time over the years about how I rig my lines for streamer fishing. I am quite sure I am not the only fly fisherman who uses this method but I can say that I've never came across a detailed article regarding how and why it works. Something else I should mention is that it is not my intention to 'convert' people to this way of doing the job, I don't sell leaders and am not affiliated with anyone who does. It's just a way of doing things that I stumbled into and then fine tuned over the past 25 years.

How you sink your line or fly is a big thing to consider. This is true whether you use a Spey rod or a single hand rod when swinging streamers / Spey type flies / salmon flies. It seems an ever growing array of lines are being produced to meet this need doesn’t it? What I am going to describe is a method I took up in 1994 and continue to use today. Prior to developing my skills with the system I will describe as best I can to you, I carried either extra spools or reels to meet certain conditions. The most economical aspect of the system is that it eliminates the need to purchase spare spools and the expensive sinking lines we would put on them.

Before you read on and before I continue writing there’s something to get out of the way first. We’ve all heard someone tell us, “If you aren’t getting snagged and losing flies you aren’t doing it right” or some version of that philosophy haven’t we? I hope you’ll have an open mind and understand that I don’t take offense when someone says that to me. I also will trust that you will not take umbrage when I say that I do not enjoy becoming snagged every sixth or seventh cast. I really don’t like losing my flies and I think one of the most ridiculous things I can see while I’m out fishing is someone who, every time I glance in their direction is tugging and bouncing with their rod due to being stuck on the bottom. Honestly, I don’t care how many fish that fellow may catch, there are no fish worth that level of frustration to me that would compel me to do it. I have been there, I have tied slinky’s to my expensive fly lines and my 400 dollar rods all the way back in the 1980’s. It didn’t last long, not at all, a few hours and I'd had enough. I love to fish and better yet I live for days when not one thing can bring a foul word from my mouth, heavy weights combined with heavy sinking heads will make you curse. Me, I’ll settle for a few less fish and a curse free day. I'm a fly fisherman and I don't spend a lot of time tugging, rod bending or leader popping because I'm stuck to the bottom as if I were fishing bait with a sinker. There, I said it, Now you know where I'm coming from so let’s continue.
My problem is that I have not actually fished enough because I have yet t get frustrated to the point that I am having anything that resembles a bad day on the water. That said, one thing I have learned in my short time sliding down this slippery slope is I enjoy being on the water more when I haul around less stuff. I always thought you needed all sorts of gadgets and doo-hickeys and extra spools and whatnot to "really" fly fish correctly.

I have always been a little afraid of fishing bigger streamers because (a) I didn't really know "how" to fish them and (b) I thought you needed sinking line, which would require an extra spool or another reel...blah, blah, blah.

This article, along with your first one, Ard, are two of the most worthwhile posts I have ever seen on any forum for any subject.

:worthy::worthy: THANK YOU!! :worthy::worthy:

Now, to get a little greedy...I think I speak for everybody when I ask if you would consider writing up ‘How To’ thread for making your own T sections. I am sure your down-to-earth writing style and hand-drawn pictures would blow out any video or YouTube production to smithereens. I, for one, learn better with words and pictures. :D


ray
 

ia_trouter

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Don't get overly wrapped up about rod type or a specific line. You just need a line that floats so you can mend. (of course a short rod isn't going to mend nearly as well as a spey, but the T leader can be used.). I used these leaders last year on my St Croix Imperial 9FT 8WT with a standard floating flyline. Sure you will have to adjust the leader length for your water but it it's nothing overly complex. I am going to dial in my new spey rods this year for a variety of water types. Scandi, skagit and single hand rod lines.
 
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Ard

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--I assume this system is designed for double-handed rods/casting? Is there any reason it wouldn't work with a single-handed rod? I fish an 8 weight single-handed for salmon in Alaska and sometimes steelhead in BC, and use traditional 15' sink tips. Does your system need a double-handed rod/cast to make it work?

Hi Scott,

This works well with single hand rods. When I first got hold of the Beartooth braided lead heads I put them to use on a 9 foot 5 weight Orvis PM-10 rod. I used a 36" braided head with a 4 foot butt made from 25 pound Maxima, I tipped it with 3 feet of 10 pound mono and used it with feather wing streamers in Pennsylvania and all other places I fished since 1994. With that rod which I still have I can do a single handed Spey cast (snap T) and send the whole rig out to about 50+ feet. Overhead it works well also.


--will this system work for Skagit and Scandi lines, or is it more appropriate for traditional spey lines? Is there a particular grain weight or window that's appropriate?

It'll work with any line & rod. Weight wise you probably have room for up to 68 grains in the leader. That would be based on approximately 5' of T-14. For lighter T line you just have to judge what you may need. I am casting them on Scandi line now and they work the same as on Mid belly lines up to 65 feet.

--double-handed casting for steelhead, I've lately been using the Rio MOW tips (medium) with a Skagit line. Those are suppose to provide a better transition between the floating head and sink-tip portion, and I do think they're better than traditional sink-tips in that regard. Do you have any experience or opinion on how MOW tips work compared to your system?
The only time I've had a MOW on a line we were searching to find the proper grain line for a rod. The MOW tips weighed 100 grains and I was looking to see if the extra 100 would load the rod. Actually since these little sections are in the leader and seldom pass 70 grains they don't have too much affect on how your line performs. If the line is right for your rod then it'll rip one of these leaders right out of the water and it'll follow the cast like any other leader. This is not to suggest that there may not be some adjustment time to get used to the new feel and how they will perhaps require adjustments in your timing and stroke speed.

Hope that helps a little.

---------- Post added at 08:15 PM ---------- Previous post was at 08:11 PM ----------

Now, to get a little greedy...I think I speak for everybody when I ask if you would consider writing up ‘How To’ thread for making your own T sections. I am sure your down-to-earth writing style and hand-drawn pictures would blow out any video or YouTube production to smithereens. I, for one, learn better with words and pictures.
I'll do it soon as we come back from the cabin Ray. We're headed out tomorrow to get things on track for the remainder of the winter out there.
 

rockriver

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Extremely well written information. I started to use your method on adding a section of T line in the middle of my made up leader when you wrote about it a while back. Thank you.
 

depenner

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Don't get overly wrapped up about rod type or a specific line. You just need a line that floats so you can mend. (of course a short rod isn't going to mend nearly as well as a spey, but the T leader can be used.). I used these leaders last year on my St Croix Imperial 9FT 8WT with a standard floating flyline. Sure you will have to adjust the leader length for your water but it it's nothing overly complex. I am going to dial in my new spey rods this year for a variety of water types. Scandi, skagit and single hand rod lines.

+1. After reading an earlier post on this topic (I think it was last winter), I made up a number of leadcore (Cortland LC13) sections as described by Ard. I used them (2' segments mostly) this summer for smallmouth fishing on some Wisconsin rivers using either 7 1/2' or 8' 6 wt glass rods. Worked like a charm with both (note: didn't need to do a lot of distance casting, but 25-30' casts were no problem)

david
 
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Ard

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Hi David,

It's always good to hear back from folks who have given the technique a fair shake. I've tried sharing the idea with some who dismissed it out of hand because it is not proposed by a major line manufacturer or published expert. I only suggest it as an alternative to other methods and am always happy to hear when someone is getting their desired results.

Ard
 

troutclout11

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Great stuff. I'm excited to try it. You make a great point about the sink tip pulling your floating line under, a phenomenon I've noted when using my single-handed rod. I'll have to give this a try when I learn to spey cast with my switch rod. You asked a few times if your post was making sense. It does make sense, and it's very clear. Your diagrams are helpful, too, and seems they would be useful to those looking to make their own leaders a la Ard. Cheers.

P.S. I'll try to post again once I've tried the method and compared it to using sinking polyleaders (which is the only way I've fished with streamers so far).
 
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lake flyer

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Ard, made a sinktip like you described here for an old SH 9 ft 9wt Fenwick glass rod. Used an Ambush line with the mono/leadcore leader. C/R a nice steelhead, lost three others while swinging a large streamer. Couldn't be more pleased with the setup, it sank well, controlled easily, and cast smoothly with my setup. thanks for pointing me in the right direction.
 

clever_nickname

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Thanks so much for sharing this technique - I've used it quite successfully for a few trips now.

I'm preparing for our upcoming shad season and I'm curious if you'd recommend fishing depths of between 12 and 20 feet with this technique? If so, any recommendations for the length of the section of the sinking line and intermediate length of mono?
 

myt1

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Thank you so much for the great article.

Once a year I go steelhead fishing in the rivers of Michigan and I've been looking for a way to eliminate casting split shot.

Call me dense, but I don't understand what t-line is. I googled it and it is a line made in South Africa for fishing in the surf. Is this correct?

Is it just a matter of adding a section of this to the middle of our leaders? You also mentioned something about kevlar line as well.

Thanks so much.
 

rockriver

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T-line. Rio Fly Line Tips I use T8,11, and 14 myself. I usually use a length of 30 pd. mono. perfection loop on one end, the other end nail knotted to the T-line. I attach what I'm using as a leader the other end. It's like you described except I use a 30pd. butt section.
 
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