Comparison of hovers and intermediate lines?

Discussion in 'Stillwater' started by charlesasmith, Feb 11, 2013.

  1. charlesasmith Chuck

    Posts: 34
    Portland, Oregon
    Ratings: +1 / 0
    Has any one fished the following lines and be able to compare the sink rate and holding depth? I am trying to find a line that will stay in the first few inches of the water column, but not take forever to break the surface tension. Would prefer a clear line, but that is not going to happen with most of these.

    1. Cortland Clear Camo
    2. SA Mastery GPX Hover (1"/sec)
    3. Rio Hover
    4. Airflo Sixth Sense Slow sink (0.5"/sec)
  2. troutpocket Active Member

    Posts: 1,776
    Ellensburg, WA
    Ratings: +326 / 0
    If the top 6" of the water column is your target zone, take a look at Rio Midge Tip or other short ghost tip lines. I fish the Rio Hover as my primary intermediate line. With an unweighted fly I can easily keep it in the top 2-3 feet on a long cast and slow retrieve, which is perfect for working over the tops of submerged weeds. If I need to go shallower than that I switch to a 3' clear tip.

    Cortland makes a variety of sink tip lines (3, 7, and 10' tip lengths) using the clear camo as the tip material. Might be just what you are looking for.

    A few observations on other intermediates: SA Stillwater and Rio Aqualux have similar sink rates and sink about twice as fast as the Hover line. Cortland Clear Camo splits the difference; faster sinker than the hover, slower than the aqualux.
    GAT likes this.
  3. GAT Active Member

    Posts: 4,009
    Willamette Valley, OR
    Ratings: +2,592 / 0
    I agree with troutpocket, I think your best best is a sink tip as he mentioned. I own one of the Cortland clear sink tips and there are times it does work better than a full sinking, clear, intermediate line. So I carry four lines for stillwaters: intermediate sinking (clear), sink tip with a clear head, dry line and a very fast, full sinking line.
  4. charlesasmith Chuck

    Posts: 34
    Portland, Oregon
    Ratings: +1 / 0
    I do have both 7' and 15' clear sink tip lines. However I do want a full sinking line and thats why I asked about the lines in my first post. The reason is being that I can't stand the S shape that develops in a floating section when using a very slow, short retrieve, especially when fishing nymphs just below the surface. Can't feel the take. It used to drive me nuts when fishing gulpers with a floating line. I could see the take, but the fish spit the nymph before I could set the hook. I will be getting a very fast, full sinking line sooon. Not sure if I need one faster thatn a 7 sink rate. I do have a type IV.

    I Appreciate this site and the responses of the knowledgable people who contribute to the still water sport (my faviorite way to fish for trout).

    Chuck
    Jeff Dodd likes this.
  5. troutpocket Active Member

    Posts: 1,776
    Ellensburg, WA
    Ratings: +326 / 0
    I get into the situation you describe a few times each season. I start by trying a nymph or small leech on my full intermediate and strip it fast to keep it near the surface. About half the time, that works. When it doesn't, I switch to the 3' clear tip. I agree the wind can put a belly in the floating portion of the line but working my position relative to the wind and fish can make it easier to deal with (casting across and down wind at least makes it predictable what my line will do). Also the benefit of the short sink tip is ease of picking up and recasting. Since you want your bug in the top few inches, you'll be picking up and recasting after 10-15 seconds anyway. It's a fun way to fish when you can pick your fish and see them take.
  6. Irafly Active Member

    Posts: 3,618
    Everett, Washington, USA.
    Ratings: +1,052 / 1
    Again, no joke I have an old floater that acts more like a hover now. I might just consider it as a viable line now after fishing and watching the effectiveness of troutpockets hover.
  7. GAT Active Member

    Posts: 4,009
    Willamette Valley, OR
    Ratings: +2,592 / 0
    Yeah, I suppose running over an old dry fly line a few times with studded tires on a Hummer is an option to create your own slow sinking line. :)
  8. Tim Lockhart Working late at The Office

    Posts: 1,934
    Mill Creek, WA
    Ratings: +267 / 0
    ..or you can go the other route for the same amount of fun. I bet I'm not the only guy with a Type II FS that ............. just .............. won't .................. sink. Wait and it breaks the surface, then abruptly hits the binders.
  9. Nick Clayton Active Member

    Posts: 2,855
    Ratings: +1,126 / 4
    The first few times I took out my Rio Hover line, I couldn't get the damn thing to sink for anything! I was beginning to wonder if I had been had. After the third time out, for whatever reason it started sinking properly and I have loved it ever since. My favorite local lake is quite shallow, with a weed bed covering my favorite end of the lake- The Hover line is perfect for retrieving flies under the surface film, but above the snaggy weed bed. Not a line I use every day, however I could easily see it taking the place of my Camo Lux in a pinch.
  10. Drifter Active Member

    Posts: 1,629
    Ratings: +638 / 2
    I have always wondered why anyone would buy a hover line and this thread explains a lot of reasons why. I myself rarely fish a leader on my dry lines less than 14 ft. and most times 16 to 18 ft. even when not using indi's. weighting my flies for the speed I want them to sink or "hover" I can fish just under the surface anytime I want. using mostly fluoro tippets I grease them with floatant to a point where (if need be) i want the leader to sink. I also use "sink fast" liquid on my leaders and also my clear intermediates when needed.

    Being the cheap-sob I am, I can't see spending so much on a line for just under the surface when I can do most of these things with a long leader. many times in wind the dry line will "snake" in the riffles and watching for the snake to straighten to set the hook is very easy.

    To me it's kinda like when people tie a #8 dry and then put a red or orange or white tuft of "strike" indicator on top of the fly. boggles me to ruin a pattern like that. maybe I can just see better. watching leaders for movement while fishing for sippers in lakes or watching a rise on a #8 dry seems pretty easy to me. But i'm still learning and agree with the wind sometimes making the lines move or swing or causing drag. you guy's always make me think but it's hard for old dogs to learn new tricks - but i'm trying!!!
    Jeff Dodd and jimmydub like this.
  11. jimmydub Active Member

    Posts: 197
    Mill Creek, WA
    Ratings: +61 / 0
    If I had the funds to go out and buy some new gear, I would. As it stands, I use my SA Stillwater line about 90% (or more) of the time. I have a reel with some floating line on standby, it used to be teamed up with a fully functional rod.

    I really like the Stillwater line. I might not be able to present vertically for as long as a floater, or get down to the bottom in a heartbeat as a fast sink, but the range of depths suits me very well. Depending on the density/mass of the fly, I can present in a number of ways. While not as successful at fishing chronies, it can be done. And like Mark Kraniger pointed out, you can add floatant or sink to an intermediate to expand your range further.

    I might be a touch old fashioned, as I don't like indicator fishing as much as many others. I prefer to have a straight line, one angle, from myself to the fly. Do I catch as many fish on a typical day as an indicator fisherman? No. Has my average size increased since focusing on my intermediate technique? Oh heck yeah. Also, I have never had as much success in clear water, bright light situations as I have been with the clear stillwater line. It makes a difference.
  12. charlesasmith Chuck

    Posts: 34
    Portland, Oregon
    Ratings: +1 / 0
    Nick: What is the typical distance between the top of the weeks and the surface on your shallow lake and what depth does the Hover line hold at with a slow retrieve?

    Chuck
  13. troutpocket Active Member

    Posts: 1,776
    Ellensburg, WA
    Ratings: +326 / 0
    I'm not sure there is such a phenomena as "holding depth" on a full sink line. They all continue to sink . . .it's just a matter of rate. I've been fishing the hover line for three years. The 'sweet spot' for that line is 1-6' but with a little patience and a bead head bug I've done well down to 10'. There are a lot of lakes in my area that fish well in that depth range. When I lived on the west side and fished Pass/Lone consistently I did better with my aqualux/stillwater and type III sinkers . . .just a matter of different lake types and conditions that create feeding opportunities a bit deeper.
  14. Nick Clayton Active Member

    Posts: 2,855
    Ratings: +1,126 / 4

    I'm generally fishing 2-4 feet between the weed bed and the surface. As far as the line holding, as TP says it really doesn't hold per say. If I let the line sit long enough, it will eventually sink to the bottom. It's advantage is being able to work a fly slloowwwllly through the first few feet of the water column. If I don't need to fish super slowly, I generally just use my Rio Camo-Lux, which sinks significantly faster, but not enough to make a huge difference as long as I don't need an ultra slow presentation.
  15. mbowers Active Member

    Posts: 200
    Jupiter, FL / Victoria, BC
    Ratings: +81 / 0
    I'd say that's practically true although with the density of the line and the density of the water (temperature and composition effects) at the line's depth varying as the line sinks you could theoretically end up at a depth where the buoyancy force exactly balances the weight and the line truly hovers, but that would be a tough thing to control! :)
    In the field IMHO one should be able to adjust sink rate to the preference of the moment by cleaning the line with appropriate soap to get it to sink faster (breaks through surface tension much better with a little soap residue AFAIK) or adding an appropriate floatant to slow down the sink rate.
    Jeff Dodd likes this.
  16. Irafly Active Member

    Posts: 3,618
    Everett, Washington, USA.
    Ratings: +1,052 / 1
    Or you could fish an indicator and hang your bug right where you want it. Hmmm? Bowers, I think I'd like to try this on those snook.
    Nick Clayton likes this.
  17. mbowers Active Member

    Posts: 200
    Jupiter, FL / Victoria, BC
    Ratings: +81 / 0
    Wouldn't your retrieve be limited to dead slow with the indicator to keep the fly at that depth? Could the indicator put the fish a little off if it's only a foot or three overhead? I think you could get a faster / stealthier retrieve with a sinking line at the desired depth.

    Feel free to try whatever you want on the snook: there's always another dock nearby if they flee the indicator. :) I think the indicator might work even better over some oyster bars with some super smart sheepshead.
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  18. Irafly Active Member

    Posts: 3,618
    Everett, Washington, USA.
    Ratings: +1,052 / 1
    Your retrieve is not limited to just super slow but even when you retrieve quickly the fly really doesn't move any different then if it were stripped by a sinking line. Most bugs that fisherman fish do not move quickly anyway and trout are not as reactionary as other species so the do nothing approach often works better than anything else.

    As for an indicator spooking the fish, maybe, but no more so than a fly hitting the water and better yet in shallow I can place the fly in the zone before the fish is there and then leave it there and wait for the fish to move to it. I've fished chironomids inches under an indicator in shallow and fish still haven't figured out that the thing floating on the surface means danger.

    For the snook, I was thinking of one specific situation when the tide was running out from right to left and we were hooking fish without a strip by just casting right and letting the fly drift with the current. It was hard to maintain depth at that point and I was thinking an indicator would have been the best application in that moment. In fact I even developed a little white shrimp pattern for just that case.

    The sheepsheads I caught took much like a trout eating scuds off the bottom at Rocky Ford. I noticed them eating things off the sides of pilings so I placed a shrimpy thing on the piling in the areas where the fish would move to and waited until they were close. I'd twitch the fly and they'ed pick it up. Man those things have crazy teeth.
    Mark Kraniger likes this.
  19. Drifter Active Member

    Posts: 1,629
    Ratings: +638 / 2
    Ira, I move my indi's super fast when I get a nudge and the indi does not go down (trout fishing) I strip 3 to 6 inch strips( 2 or 3 of them) super fast so the fly "RUNS AWAY" and "RISES" like the natural nymph rising to hatch. I know chronies don't move fast but everything else they "chase does" I had to show this to a couple of friends and more often then not they would get the fish to come back a lot more times than letting it sit! My friends just were not moving the indi fast enough to make the fly rise. if you do not move it fast enough it will just slide sideways and doing it right after a nudge is very important so the "BOLT" of the fly catches the trouts eye.

    The way I see it is that everything runs (or swims) when something is trying to eat it!

    Example: I wake up in my tent and bigfoot is nibbling on my toe and all you will see is tighty - whities-- zig-zagging though the forest trees at a high rate of speed! :eek: Whats great is we are all different!!!
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  20. troutpocket Active Member

    Posts: 1,776
    Ellensburg, WA
    Ratings: +326 / 0
    A "eureka" moment for me a few years back was finding that I caught more fish when I slowed down my presentation with my intermediate when it was clear the fish weren't in a "chasing" mood, and adding some quick strips to my indicator presentation when they didn't respond to a "do nothing" approach. And this can change by the hour!