Getting It Down, Sinking The Fly;

Ard

Manager
Staff member
Messages
21,910
Reaction score
5,086
Location
Wasilla / Skwentna, Alaska
You may be headed for deep swift water, that's the only reason I can think of for that amount of weight. We're talking 140 grains added to the end of the fly line with that.

Standard sink tip lines that were sold by Cortland & Scientific Anglers back in the 1980's are what lead me to doing things the way I do. They typically had a 15 foot sink tip welded directly onto the front of the lines head and although I could cast them a mile you had to strip in almost the entire line before you could get that tip up.

After struggling with this concept for about 15 or more years I was sitting along a large stream and thinking. I also had a few 36" braided lead heads in my jacket pocket while I was deep in thought regarding how this might be made both easier & more effective. At the time I didn't have any heavy mono with me with which to tie a quick butt section but the idea was born and I brought a spool of 25 pound Maxima the next day out.

I used the Bear Tooth Montana braided lead heads from 1994 up to about 2014 because they worked just fine. They are already constructed and come in 24 - 36 - 48 - and 76" lengths. I switched to using RIO T material and now Steve Godshall's 'Z' material because most people who fish with me were avoiding the braided lead heads. They don't look like what people are used to seeing in sink tips and so folks were not wanting to give them a try. I switched to 'T' and then people just said, "I've never seen it rigged this way" but they use them if I set them up for them.

This concept is simple. Instead of using 140 grains attached to your floating lines tip you use 4 foot od T-11 or 3 feet of T-14 which computes to 44 grains or 42 grains of weight and you place the weight 6 feet off the end of the floating line. It sinks and it sinks well because the mono butt is not trying to hold it up.

Instead of using brute strength (140 grains of T) you use your mind. You position yourself according to where you want the fly to end up at. You make the casts based on current speed and depth of channel. The casts are placed to an area where allowing for current speed and known sinking properties (number of seconds to reach 6 feet) you can accurately judge both where the fly is (because your floating line is all on the surface) and you know approximately how deep it is as it travels down stream.

When the fly and leader have drifted to the target zone where you think there should be a fish you stop the rod from following the drift downstream. You gently move the rod upstream and this action initiates the swing of the fly at maximum depth through the target zone.

Because you are using your mind and not an excessive amount of weight there will be far fewer snagged flies. It can happen in the event you swing or drift into a submerged tree that you didn't see but as far as being hooked to the bottom constantly it doesn't happen. Perhaps I miss a few fish because I'm not stirring up silt by dragging bottom every cast but I suffer very little frustration while fishing. I also have very few foul hooked fish.
 

Ard

Manager
Staff member
Messages
21,910
Reaction score
5,086
Location
Wasilla / Skwentna, Alaska
I will find a source for braided mono and let those who have posted interest when I get it. Until then I would recommend that you simply get a few packs of pre made braided loops sold by RIO at fly shops and fix them to the ends of the T material sections. Using a nail knot or 2 in order to fully insure they will not pull off is always the best way to proceed.

For the double loop connector for a welded loop fly line end you can carefully put a second loop on the end of one of the RIO braided loop sleeves using a bobbin threading tool.

As I have said throughout this thread and in the most recent post I made. This is a way to get your fly down, it isn't the only way. The use of short sections of sinking line in the middle of a leader will sink a fly and sink it rather well. It is however necessary that the individual angler be in control of the line during each drift & swing to ensure that you get optimum performance. Mending, keeping the fly down until it reaches the zone where you want it to come to life and swing is the key. Realizing that the position of the rod tip has a great deal to do with the dead drift and subsequently the speed and rise of the fly as it makes the swing is of equal importance also.

This whole style of fishing is very interactive I believe more so than even dry fly fishing. This I would attribute to the fact that you cannot see the sunken fly. You have to fish enough and hopefully experience enough success to reach a point that you know where the fly is and what it's doing even without visual contact. This is probably why I like it. It takes focus, understanding, and requires that you develop technique. In the end when I am fishing it isn't about what or how many I catch. It is about how I did it and believing fully that I was not lucky.
 

myt1

Well-known member
Messages
1,605
Reaction score
357
Location
Scottsdale, AZ
I think I have a plan to make an assortment of custom leaders based on the principles laid down in Ard's above entries.

1. Each leader will start out with three feet of 30 lb. Maxima. I will tie double surgeon loops into each end.

2. The middle section of the leader will be five foot lengths of either T-11, T-14, T-17. or T-20. I will weld loops on to each end of these sections using a heat gun and the technique described in the video on the Rio website. https://vimeo.com/117008675

3. I will attach one end of the Maxima using a loop-to-loop connection to the floating fly line, and I will attach the other end of the Maxima to one end of a length of T line, also with loop-to-loop.

4. To the second loop in the section of T line I will attach a three foot Cutthroat Furled Spey leader, Spey Leaders. This will be a loop-to-loop connection as well.

5. The Cutthroat leaders have a swivel on one end and to this I will tie a piece of tippet two to three feet long.

6. To the end of the tippet a fly is finally tied on.

Does this even make sense?

Cheers, Rick
 

fredaevans

Well-known member
Messages
11,301
Reaction score
112
Location
White City (tad north of Medford) Oar-E-Gone
I think I have a plan to make an assortment of custom leaders based on the principles laid down in Ard's above entries.

1. Each leader will start out with three feet of 30 lb. Maxima. I will tie double surgeon loops into each end.

2. The middle section of the leader will be five foot lengths of either T-11, T-14, T-17. or T-20. I will weld loops on to each end of these sections using a heat gun and the technique described in the video on the Rio website. https://vimeo.com/117008675

3. I will attach one end of the Maxima using a loop-to-loop connection to the floating fly line, and I will attach the other end of the Maxima to one end of a length of T line, also with loop-to-loop.

4. To the second loop in the section of T line I will attach a three foot Cutthroat Furled Spey leader, Spey Leaders. This will be a loop-to-loop connection as well.

5. The Cutthroat leaders have a swivel on one end and to this I will tie a piece of tippet two to three feet long.

6. To the end of the tippet a fly is finally tied on.

Does this even make sense?

Cheers, Rick
Save for one or two things this will work out better than you hope. One thing is the length of the butt section between the end of the fly line and the top end of the sinking section. The exception to this may be the use of a very heavy weight forward/blunt fly line (if a tapered tip, cut it off:thmbup:).

I've used a similar set up for years and the 'shot' of butt material is limited to 12 to 18 inches or you'll get one heck of a hinging factor going on.:starwars:** The other factor that (appears) to 'weight in' (bad pun I know) is the fly line has to be as heavy (grain wise) OR MORE than the sink section you're tossing. 'Mass in the A$$' sort of thing. ;)

Other than the 'nip the tip' you have a fully operational dry line and all the bits needed for a sink tip. As a side note, if you want several tips (you probably do) put them in heavy plactic zip lock bags and mark the info (length/grains) on the bag with a felt tip marker. As another side note most of us don't bother with a tapered commercial sink tip .... expensive as heck and the taper brings little to the Party.

** What this shot of leader material does is allow the sink tip to sink away from the floating fly line! The floating part wants to do just that, float ... and it will keep a substantial amount of the sink tip close to the surface (counter productive).
 

myt1

Well-known member
Messages
1,605
Reaction score
357
Location
Scottsdale, AZ
Fred, thanks so much for getting back to me on this. I'm bound and determined to figure this stuff out.

So, if I understand you correctly:

I should shorten the length of the 30 lb Maxima leading from the end of the fly line to the end of the T Line from three feet to one, or one and a half feet.



I was planning on using 8wt Rio Indicator line with the above profile. Are you also suggesting I cut off about ten feet of the end of this line?

Thanks, Rick
 

Ard

Manager
Staff member
Messages
21,910
Reaction score
5,086
Location
Wasilla / Skwentna, Alaska
Couple of points:

1. I use the braided loop / sleeve connections on the ends of the T material because the mono will cut the soft vinyl tungsten line.

2. If I were only in need of one foot of mono butt prior to the section of sinking 'T' material I wouldn't bother with a mono butt at all. The reason for this is simple, if I only need a foot then there will be no technical advantage to having a butt at all. I would connect the T line directly to the floating fly line.

You see, the whole theoretical gain in using the mono butt in lengths of 5-6 feet is to provide that much (5-6 feet) of depth / sink for the T line without having a negative affect on the tip / front taper of the floating line. One foot of mono butt would have such a small net affect on the tip of the floating lines ability to stay on the surface that one might be better off skipping the concept entirely.

For shallow water conditions of 2 foot or less I generally stay with my same rig and just cast with a much sharper angle down and across. This allows for the fly and leader to both begin the cross current trip as soon as they land resulting in very few snagged flies even with the long butt and weighted section in the middle of the leader.

I hope that helps to sort out some more questions.
 

ptarmigan

Well-known member
Messages
382
Reaction score
15
Location
Anchorage by way of DE Maine..
Hey Ard, have you had anybody use this system with Skagit casting? I really like the concept behind this and will be trying it out soon. Not needing a long and heavy tip is appealing but wondering if the short tip will be enough for the sustained anchor.
 

Ard

Manager
Staff member
Messages
21,910
Reaction score
5,086
Location
Wasilla / Skwentna, Alaska
Hi Matt,

The closest thing I have to Skagit length heads are some 37' Beulah Elixir lines that I use with 11'6" seven weight rods. Because the rods are shorter and are used on smaller waters they fish like a 13' rod with a 45 or 55' head.

In theory the advantage to using my system is that when incorporated with longer floating line bellies this allows the tip of the floating line to remain floating as opposed to connecting a ten foot or longer sink tip direct to the loop on the lines tip.

This makes mending more effective and allows for easier line pick up (sweep) to set up another cast. Easier because there is less sinking / weighted material in your front end.

With a Skagit head of say 18 - 24 feet followed by an ultra thin running / shooting line I would not be able to imagine any tactical advantage being gained by going to the shorter sinking section being spliced into the mid section of your leader. When you make a 75 foot cast with a 24' head followed by a very light shooting line the act of trying to 'mend' that head is not really too effective. It can be done, I've done it but usually it results in such a drastic movement of the head in an upstream direction that the fly is pulled, almost ripped back to the surface and you lose whatever deapth you had achieved prior to the mending action.

With the longer heads which have a heavier integrated vinyl running line welded right onto the back end there is greater mending possibilities and therefore the ability to make movements to the floating line without adversely affecting the drift and sink of the fly as you do it.

I guess the short answer was that this is more effective with mid Spey or super Scandi lines with bellies between 45 and 55 feet. Sorry for the ramble but I always feel an answer should be somewhat detailed........

Ard
 

ptarmigan

Well-known member
Messages
382
Reaction score
15
Location
Anchorage by way of DE Maine..
Thanks Ard, that's the info I was looking for. I picked up a 11'6" switch rod the other day and am planning on putting on a Rio switch chucker line on it. I think with the head length of it combined with the "handling" section, your system would work. I'm going to give it a shot next week down on the Anchor and the Kasilof. Really looking forward to swinging for May Kings!

On another note I just signed my wife up for a 9 hr beginners course with Pudge Kleinkauf. I'm trying real hard to be a teacher but am finding it difficult at times to "start at the start" and not get technical. I think this course will be great for her as I've only heard good things about it and Pudges' ability to teach. Really looking forward to fly fishing with my wife!
 
  • Like
Reactions: Ard

FlyFlinger2421

Well-known member
Messages
545
Reaction score
25
Location
Timbukto
Consider using a two fly rig with the point fly being a "booby" fly (i.e. a fly with a short piece of cylindrical closed foam tied crosswise the same way you would tie in dumbell eyes. This fly will raise both flies a short distance off bottom.
 
Top