Intermediate lines!

Discussion in 'Stillwater' started by WA-Fly, Oct 21, 2012.

  1. Drifter Active Member

    Posts: 1,635
    Ratings: +648 / 2
    I hear you IRA i'm finding it very hard to put the indi rod down. I fish a lot more with dry lines and long leaders for shallow under the surface fishing on the west side then the east. but it's hard to beat the presentation of the indicator, nymph, chiro set-up.
  2. Jim Wallace Smells like low tide

    Posts: 5,663
    Somewhere on the Coast
    Ratings: +544 / 0
    Other than that I can actually fish down to 12' or 15' depths in a lake with my clear intermediate if I'm patient enough to wait for a couple of minutes or so, and then s-l-o-w-l-y (really slowly) troll my fly at that depth (try that with a long leader off a floater), there are other differences in using these lines.

    I don't usually fish dries when using my intermediate, although one can actually apply flotant to this line and make that work.

    When using a floater to strip something like Reversed Spiders in the surface film for searun cutts that are coming to the top to hit my fly, I find that sometimes there is enough small debris floating on the surface that it keeps fouling my hook and wrecking my presentation (common in the pools near the head of tidewater in my local tidal creeks, as the incoming tide moves in a lot of junk), so I want to get slightly below this. I'll use my clear intermediate, which will let me get my line under the surface debris and where I can still see my reversed spider and see the fish take it.

    The intermediate line also lets me fish my fly deeper if I want, just by letting it sink a bit before retrieving.

    When paddling through the estuary and up a tidal creek, I am often trolling a streamer or baitfish pattern. This works better for me if I'm using an intermediate line and a long leader, as I often paddle (and troll) at cruising speed to make time. A floating line would result in my streamer dragging in the surface film where it will pick up debris. I suppose that if the surface were clean of debris, I could drag a slider or baitfish pattern across the surface OK, but that is rarely the case if I'm paddling on an incoming tide. Might work on the outgoing tide, as there are areas with clean surface water that magically appear when the falling tide moves the debris back out.

    When trolling back out, I'll often troll with a long leader and my floating line, as that is often just before or during the low tide, and I'm usually moving with the current in shallower water over some sort of bottom structure. Quite often all the surface debris is gone at this time. Keeps me from snagging up the bottom when moving fast in the same direction as the current. I hate to see my backing when I snag up!
  3. troutpocket Active Member

    Posts: 1,785
    Ellensburg, WA
    Ratings: +335 / 0
    I take it you don't have an intermediate? The biggest advantage for me, fishing mostly in the Basin lakes, is the ability to keep a tight line on windy days that would blow a giant belly into a floater. And on calm days, retrieving a floater causes a big disturbance on the surface that puts down fish. Intermediate lines cast better in the wind than floaters (smaller diameter) and allow you to get downright surgical in your exploration of the water column (mine has a 1" per second sink rate). Keep your bug unweighted and retrieve right away if you want to stay shallow. Count down a bit and add a weighted bug to explore down to 10'.
    BajayFlyingFish likes this.
  4. Stonefish Triploid, Humpy & Seaplane Hater

    Posts: 3,861
    Pipers Creek
    Ratings: +1,264 / 1
    One other thing to consider is that not all intermediate lines are the same.
    What I've observed is even though two different lines might have the same 1" per sec sink rate, one will sink faster then the other. This can hold true even with the same line.
    I had one Cortland clear camo that sank nice and slow and another that sank like a rock.

    Years ago SA made a very slow sinking intermediate sink line. It was a turquoise color. I ended up dying my green because I didn't like the color. When I first bought it, I could have sworn it was mis-labeled and was actually a floater. It would float on the surface for a bit before it would start sinking. It took probably a good minute for it to sink a foot. It was a super effect line for when fish were taking bugs just below the surface film. It outshined the clear camo intermediate by a far distance in those situations. I wish I could find another line line that fished like that.
    Starman77 and troutpocket like this.
  5. Mark Mercer Member

    Posts: 1,146
    port orchard, wa
    Ratings: +516 / 0
    Good point Brian, I've also found different intermediate lines sink at different rates. I sometimes wish my 40+ int. sank a little bet slower. My friend has a Rio hover and I think that might be just the ticket in situations like you mentioned.
    I'd like to try one out.
  6. troutpocket Active Member

    Posts: 1,785
    Ellensburg, WA
    Ratings: +335 / 0
    The slowest sinking intermediates that I've tried are the Rio Hover and Cortland's 444 "ice blue" intermediate line that was mostly replaced years ago by the clear camo. I've heard good things about Airflo's sixth sense slow intermediate lines but haven't fished one.
  7. Irafly Active Member

    Posts: 3,692
    Everett, Washington, USA.
    Ratings: +1,101 / 1
    I have an old floater that acts like a "hover" now that I'll sell to someone cheap. :)
    Mark Mercer likes this.
  8. Jim Wallace Smells like low tide

    Posts: 5,663
    Somewhere on the Coast
    Ratings: +544 / 0
    Yesterday, at the lake I fished, all ya needed was a clear intermediate line and the right fly. That could have been any fly, for all I knew, because I never had to change up. I bit off my searun cutthroat streamer, and tied on a lake bugger that a little voice inside my head told me might work. It was an impromptu concoction devised after a couple of beers. Size 8. Gold beadhead, etc (you know, the mandatory black marabou tail, some sparkle chenille and black saddle hackle). I am now calling that thing the "Narwhalsawzall Stocker Clocker," and probably due to no fault of its design. Dang!

    I just cast out and stripped out some more line until I had about 40' behind my U-12, then took a couple of light strokes of my paddle and with my line tight, just did a very slow wind troll in the light breeze, sometimes setting my rod down and taking an occasional stroke before picking up my rod again and getting ready for the grab. Had several grabs while I was reaching for the paddle or taking a stoke.
    I fished mainly in 10' to 15' depths, but picked up a couple of fatties working the submerged logs against the far shoreline in about 7' or 8', where I could see the logs on the bottom. There were a few rise rings, and what looked like a small midge hatch going off at 5pm when I was paddling back to the ramp. I picked up fish trolling over where I saw the rise rings, but those hookups may have been coincidental.

    Although I did some casting and retrieving, and that worked as well as the trolling, my arm protested, so I mainly trolled. Was using the used 9' Fenwick boron rod I picked up last Fall. The writing on the blank had worn off, so there was no indication of the weight class on the rod. Guy who sold it to me said he thought it might be a 7 wt. After yesterday, I think its a 5 wt, since it felt overlined with my 6 wt Cortland Clear Camo. Rod's action is full flex, almost noodly, but with great damping. Seems like an excellent streamer trolling rod.

    Dang! Must have been the building high pressure and pleasant conditions, combined with mass quantities of recently stocked hungry trout that had spread out all over the lake. Whatever, but I enjoyed nonstop action from 2pm til just after 5pm when i had to reel in because the trout would not let me troll back to the ramp! I released a good two dozen before I lost count, and had at least half as many more toss the hook near my boat. I probably connected with 40 trout during the course of 3 hours. Oh yes! "Non-stop action" because these feisty demons would not come willingly nor easily to the net!
    Saw only one other angler out on the lake, and he may have been having similar success. When he rowed within shouting distance, I mentioned that it seemed like there were a lot of hungry trout around. He replied that he just released about a dozen over where he had just been fishing.
    Those trout were uneducated and hungry. I had tied my fly on some 8.5# 3x with a non-slip mono loop, and that didn't even slow 'em down. I did my best to school as many as possible. With the large number brought to my net, there were a couple that were bleeding badly, so I bonked 'em. One was one of the smaller one I caught, only a 13"er. The other two keepers werre about 15".
    There were some that I released and some that got off that were in the 15" to 18" class that just went ape-shit when hooked. Jumpers! And going for big air!
    The nice weather window closed, but the fish are still there for now. Surface water temp was still at 51 F.

    All ya need for that lake is a clear intermediate line! And a Narwhalsawzall Stocker Clocker!
    Bradley Miller likes this.
  9. Brian Thomas Active Member

    Posts: 808
    Kamloops B.C
    Ratings: +122 / 0
    Those Cortland lines were very good . I have`nt tried the clear camo . The best intermediate line I now own is an Airflo something-or-other . It`s not a clear line - it`s a puky green . It casts very well . It sinks very slowly - as it should imo , instead of the type 2 rate my Rio clear line sinks at .
  10. GAT Active Member

    Posts: 4,231
    Willamette Valley, OR
    Ratings: +2,704 / 0
    I primarily fish stillwaters. Over the years, I've gone through a lot of different lines. These days, my primary line is a clear intermidiate sinking guy. I use both Cortland and SA and can't really tell all that much difference. What I have learned, with the help of a fish/depth finder, is line depth is paramount for stillwater. If I've never fished a fishery before, I'll use my fish/depth finder to see where the fish are holding. If they are holding close to the bottom, I use my full-fasting sink line (the fastest sinking available). But usually, the intermidiate sinking line will cover the bases unless the lake is deep.

    I carry three lines, floating, intermidiate sinking and fast sinking. I use the intermidiate line the most. Once in a blue moon I might try a Cortland clear sink-tip but I've found the full intermidiate clear line works the best. All the guys I fish with on stillwaters use the intermidiate, clear line.
  11. dibling Active Member

    Posts: 104
    Green Lake
    Ratings: +55 / 0
    Reviving an old thread for the annual Xmas wish list. What brands do you prefer for clear intermediate lines for west side lakes and how fast of a sink rate should I look for? My 2013 resolution will be to improve my lake game.
  12. GAT Active Member

    Posts: 4,231
    Willamette Valley, OR
    Ratings: +2,704 / 0
    I've used both the Scientific Angler and Cortland intermediate sinking lines. I prefer the Cortland because it doesn't seem to kink up on the reel as does the SA. If I was going to buy a line today it would be the

    Cortland 444 Camo Intermediate Fly Line
    Mark Kraniger and dibling like this.
  13. LCnSac John or "LC"

    Posts: 704
    Sacramento, CA
    Ratings: +166 / 1
    Here is a question I cannot answer, maybe you can.

    The lines I use the most are my Courtland 444 Slime Line, and a SA Type II Uniform Sink. A few months ago I was stretching my slime line and it snapped about 12' back from the head. Obviously the line was gone, but until I found another I took it down to Kiene's and had a loop welded on the remaining line after the break.

    I took it out the next day and was shocked. I got about another 15' of distance out of it. It seemed to fish better and was more sensitive. It's totally improved with 12' of head gone.

    Why?
  14. zen leecher aka bill w born to work, forced to fish

    Posts: 3,261
    Moses Lake, WA
    Ratings: +1,035 / 1
    The short answer is it's now a heavier line as the first 12' of taper is missing.
  15. Drifter Active Member

    Posts: 1,635
    Ratings: +648 / 2
    Very interesting!
  16. LCnSac John or "LC"

    Posts: 704
    Sacramento, CA
    Ratings: +166 / 1
    Looking at the line profile I would think it would be lighter with the WF tip gone?

    However, that is the only answer I could gin up too, even though it makes no sense to me that the line would be heavier. I've learned to over line anything Sage, even though this rod is a Z-Axis which is slower than the RPLs. I prefer to use my 6 wt. sinkers on my 4 wt. RPL when appropriate. The only lines I've found that should match the rod wt. are the Rio Outbounds as they are already over grained.

    Update: I looked at the profile again, and you're right--about half the line gone was a taper, not the body. I wonder if there's anything detrimental about losing that?
  17. GAT Active Member

    Posts: 4,231
    Willamette Valley, OR
    Ratings: +2,704 / 0
    Yup.

    Obviously the designer of the fly line needs to snip off the last 12' of their lines to make a better product. :)
  18. mbowers Active Member

    Posts: 201
    Jupiter, FL / Victoria, BC
    Ratings: +81 / 0
    Can you please check again to see if you really lost head weight? Do you still have the 12 foot section to weigh and compare to the weight of the 18-30 foot section of the "new" line. This link http://www.cortlandline.com/products/default.asp?id=99 shows 6 in and 6 feet as the level plus front taper and then the next 5.5 feet would be main body if you lost 12 feet for reference. Is that the same taper as your line. Front taper can still be thicker (heavier) than the running line even if it's not as thick (heavy) as the main body of the line. Any taper lost that's thicker than the running line makes a lighter head and the running line is usually the thinnest part of a WF line as far as I know.

    IMHO the line got lighter and the rod got back to its sweet spot. Personally I despise over lining Sage :) unless it's for exclusively short work (usually nymphing some flowing water or pounding a popper under mangroves). Since stillwater is usually casting as far as I can, I stick with manufacturer's recommendation or even happily underline if the fly is heavily weighted (rod feels line weight + fly weight).

    One final comment on casting distance is the portion of the fly line you are shooting now has probably seen a lot less wear than the section you were shooting on before and is probably smoother so it shoots better.

    The main detrimental aspect of losing the taper is fly turnover and presentation. Unless you're throwing to visible fish that's probably not a big deal. If you could previously throw the line to within less than 12 feet of the backing then you are also that much short in your max casting / fishing distance. :)
  19. LCnSac John or "LC"

    Posts: 704
    Sacramento, CA
    Ratings: +166 / 1
    MB, I wish I had the line but no. Actually I looked at a similar line, not the one you brought up which is the correct one. I have to flip back to my original thought because it does look like I lost some weight.

    I overline because there is less line out with more grains per foot for the false cast and I can shoot further with a heavier line on a fast rod. If I am using a mid flex then that's not the case. I have tried underlining and it just doesn't work. I am not even close to a 100' cast with any of my sinking lines except for my Rio OBS which is overweight from the factory, and that one I can get pretty close, at least 85' on a good one. I'm lucky to get 60' out with my other sinkers from a pontoon or float tube which is nearly only when I use them, but that's partially attributable to a two fly rig with a big bugger and long leader I think.
  20. zen leecher aka bill w born to work, forced to fish

    Posts: 3,261
    Moses Lake, WA
    Ratings: +1,035 / 1
    A slightly less shorter answer is the first 30 feet of the fly line is heavier as the tapered tip is missing. You have the trout equivalent of a bass bug line which is a "club" tip to help turn over bulky bass poppers/flies. This is why your line feels like its casting better.