Long Lining W/ A Spey Rod

Discussion in 'Spey Clave' started by HauntedByWaters, Dec 15, 2008.

  1. HauntedByWaters Active Member

    Posts: 2,750
    Bellingham
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    Keeping in mind that the #1 priority with hooking winter steelhead is slowing the fly down, I was wondering how many of you long line and if so, do you have a special sink tip for this?

    Lately I have been thinking of having a 20-25' tip in my arsenal for dangling and swinging a fly from directly upstream in the deeper, heart of riffles. Have any of you ever done this?

    I like the idea of fishing smaller rivers with a spey and basically walking the dog straight off the rod tip, way down stream, directly through the parts of riffles that attract moving winter fish.

    I have been doing this with a standard Type 8' 15' tip and it definitely isn't quite right. It works great with a cast/mend and slight drift to sink, as in the normal swing, but I am talking about a sink tip that can keep the fly near the bottom while under 100% tension in the heart of a steelhead riffle lets say 3-5' deep.

    Anyway, any thoughts or comments on long lining for winter steelhead are welcome. And your preferences as far as sink tip length and type (T14 or whatever) are especially welcome.

    Thanks all!
  2. herl Member

    Posts: 877
    the other washington
    Ratings: +1 / 0
    I'm not sure I understand the technique/situation you are describing, but full sinking or sink/intermediate scandi heads work great for slowing down the fly in general and reducing the tendancy of the fly to rise through the water column under tension.
  3. bhudda heffe'

    Posts: 1,949
    basement
    Ratings: +111 / 0
    try a guideline intermediate , they're at All about the fly.
  4. HauntedByWaters Active Member

    Posts: 2,750
    Bellingham
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    Long lining is basically fishing straight downstream with the line under tension.

    A gentleman I fished with a long time ago from Newfoundland who grew up fishing Atlantic Salmon showed me the ins and outs of it.

    He wouldn't even cast, he would stand upstream of a riffles and reel backwards and feed line into it. He would than move the rod tip around to swim the fly. He would also strip in some slack to throw a mend to lead the fly even further outside the arc of the rod.

    I have done this for trout with great success but am yet to get a steelhead on it.

    I just thought there maybe some guys around here who have a method for doing such fishing with a spey rod.
  5. herl Member

    Posts: 877
    the other washington
    Ratings: +1 / 0
    I do that sometimes using my normal line set up, which is a Guideline DDC connect scandi head (intermediate belly w/ interchangeable 15' compensated sink tips). I feel like intermediate belly goes a long way toward keeping the fly down.. no fish to show for the dangle method though..
  6. sothereiwas Member

    Posts: 304
    Issaquah, WA
    Ratings: +0 / 0
    The first time I used this method I was fishing the D. I had fished down to the base of an island. The current from the side channel entered the main river at abouth a 30 deg. angle creating a seam. Inside the seam was a stillwater eddy that had a muddy bottom that was to deep and sloppy to wade and to broad to cast over. I stood at the top of the seam and feed line, making mends to swim the fly back and forth as I walked to down stream.

    It works for steelhead. But I dont think that there are a lot of scenerios that I would use it in.
  7. HauntedByWaters Active Member

    Posts: 2,750
    Bellingham
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    I have very little knowledge of Scandi anything so I will have to look into the intermediate heads you are talking about.

    If the belly sinks as well as the sink tip, what rivers/situations was the intermediate belly intended for?

    Thanks for the help, I used the same Windcutter line on my spey rod for the last 10 years until very recently so I am not a spey geek or anything with lots of knowledge on all this stuff.
  8. herl Member

    Posts: 877
    the other washington
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    I've only been spey fishing for a couple years myself.. I started with windcutter and it's a great line but I found myself wanting to be in more direct contact with the fly, especially when fishing deeper. With a floating belly and sinking tip I felt there was too much play in the system - under light tension, there's slack between the fly and fisher, and under more tension the fly is always chasing the floating belly up out of the fishy zone. You can use a heavier tip to get around this, but it seemed too complicated to me.

    The full sinking or intermediate/sinking scandi heads can be used to fish the exact same water. The difference is you would use a s2/3 (type two sink at rear/type 3 sink at tip) head to get down to the same water as you would normally fish w/ a windcutter and type 6 or 8 15' tip.

    For shallower applications you just loop on a full floating head.

    The drawback for these types of heads is that you have to strip in all the shooting line (just like Skagit). Unlike Skagit, it is harder to throw giant weighted flies this way - so I don't use really big flies.

    I'm not expert, to be sure. Check out this website for all you would ever want to know about fishing these types of heads: http://www.hooked4life.ca/glsteelhead/Home.html
  9. HauntedByWaters Active Member

    Posts: 2,750
    Bellingham
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    Well that is just it.

    I have hooked a lot of nice steelhead with oddball setups because they allowed me to fish water that is frequently passed over or not fished completely with a standard setup.

    If there was less angling pressure I wouldn't consider it but with the amount on the rivers these days fishing the same flies as me in the same waters as me with the same setup as me (more or less), I am thinking about targeting the unusual and difficult holes in an unusual way.

    All in all, it is something new to try and that is the fun part for me.
  10. shotgunner Anywhere ~ Anytime

    Posts: 487
    45th Parallel NW Michigan
    Ratings: +23 / 1
    DDC - Dual Density Connect

    I'd guess the right weight RIO 24' Big Boy looped on your WC body could work for you.

    With a Guideline DDC head kit you trim the rear of head to tune in your prefered working/casting weight. New they're 44' and will work full length near the designated line class weight. If cutting [tuning] them back much purchase a higher line class. All is covered great through the link Herl provided. Much simpler than it sounds.

    The Intermediate body cuts through and gets below heavy surface currents greatly reducing line drag. Your swing slows very noticably vs tip off a floater. Comes with 3 tips 2 others available optional.

    Good luck
  11. doublespey Steelhead-a-holic

    Posts: 596
    Bothell, WA
    Ratings: +22 / 0
    When longlining you want your ~fly~ at the deepest point of your setup. If you use 24' of BigBoy you'll end up hooking your sinktip around every protruding rock in the riffle.

    The trick is to use a lead-eyed fly and a short leader. You probably don't need any more than your 15' of Type 6. The key, as you've already figured, is to move it veeeery slowly across the face of the steelhead. No different than trout except for the winter steelhead's slower metabolism.

    I've heard Harry Lemire discuss this - he believes that even winter steelhead will move up a couple feet in the water column to strike a fly if it stays in front of them for an extended period of time.

    I don't use it much for winter fish, but used to do it all the time with streamers for trout back on the east coast streams. It was immense fun to swim a maribou muddler from a shallow riffle down into the tangled rootwads, hold it there for a bit, and then swim it back out. Often a big brown would come boiling out to smash it as it tried to escape.

    Tight Lines,

    Brian
  12. HauntedByWaters Active Member

    Posts: 2,750
    Bellingham
    Ratings: +105 / 0
    AHHHH!

    That is exactly what I am talking about. I posted this thread to see if anyone out there does this as you described basically, but for winter steelhead.

    I realize that steelhead are usually on the move but there are places they pile up, even natives, I know a few of them. Usually they aren't conducive to the swung fly because of the way the flows are, and usually they aren't even conducive to bobber fishing because it is a deeper, slow pocket under the moving water. Even if you could penetrate this zone, your fly would be whipped around. I want to calmly lower a fly into this spot and work it back and forth. This is obviously location specific but I will have to try it this season.

    I also figured the length of a spey rod would be more productive because the arc is that much greater.

    I have tried with Type 6 and a short leader and weighted fly as you say but it just didn't seem to get close enough but that was for hatchery fish and they definitely are tough on anything except the dead drift when they are stacked up up (most of the time).
  13. Jeremy Floyd fly fishing my way through life

    Posts: 2,567
    Quesnel, BC
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    That is one of the techiniques I use for salmon in soft seams close to the banks when you can't get close from the side w/o spooking fish. A type 6 Rio 15' with a brass or lead eyed fly on a 5 foot leader does just fine in the Skagit/Stilly/Sky..
  14. doublespey Steelhead-a-holic

    Posts: 596
    Bothell, WA
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    Just stumbled across another reference to this technique from "The Western Angler" by Roderick Haig-Brown as referenced in Doug Rose's "The Color of Winter".

    "I prefer if possible to be wading almost directly upstrem of such a place so that I can hang the fly there as long as possible, fishing it back and forth across the lie by the swing of my rod, drawing it back to me sometimes and letting it drift down again. It may be that many of the fish that take hold in such places have followed the fly around. But I have several times hooked fish after hanging my fly for a full minute or so."
  15. KerryS Ignored Member

    Posts: 6,747
    Sedro Woolley, WA, USA.
    Ratings: +1,775 / 0
    There is a somewhat smallish river up here where dangling a fly down into the root wads can and does produce some rather nice results.

    I believe Dec mentioned one such spot on the Skagit in his book although the current has increased on that side of the river making timing an issue. One must understand the levels of the river to know when to go to this particular spot. There are several other locations on the Skagit where this technique can be used. It isn't limited to small waters. I use some custom made tips with T14 and various lengths of floating line to achieve this. Although none of them are much longer then 15 feet the customized tips are able to get a fly down into a deep hole.
  16. Jeremy Floyd fly fishing my way through life

    Posts: 2,567
    Quesnel, BC
    Ratings: +322 / 0
    Kerry,

    There is a nice soft seam around the corner above that rootwad (if you are thinking of the same one) and just above the commonly fished section, that the fish get pressured into. It is nearly unfished except by me. Everyone skips it to re-pound the same spots.
  17. _WW_ Fishes with Wolves

    Posts: 1,926
    Skagit River
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    Trust me, Kerry's been there.
  18. Jeremy Floyd fly fishing my way through life

    Posts: 2,567
    Quesnel, BC
    Ratings: +322 / 0
    Yeah I have had a few guys who were fishing the nice riffle between there and the stumps mention that only a couple guys have fished there, and they were all fly guys. I would be surprised if you local boys didn't have a good line on that stretch of water.

    Using that long line technique, cept back bouncing a bead/glo-bug through there by letting line out, is money. Especially for silvers.
  19. HauntedByWaters Active Member

    Posts: 2,750
    Bellingham
    Ratings: +105 / 0
    My buddy is thinking about writing an article called "Back Bouncing With A Fly Rod". Think that will get published?
  20. floatinghat Member

    Posts: 294
    near enough to Seattle
    Ratings: +3 / 0
    Jason,

    Are you casting straight down into the target area and then just holding the fly?