Swing sinktips deep

Discussion in 'Spey Clave' started by yuhina, Jan 3, 2011.


sinktip adjustment

  1. faster sink rate, same length

    14 vote(s)
  2. faster sink rate, longer length

    3 vote(s)
  3. same sink rate, longer length

    2 vote(s)
  4. change casting angle

    7 vote(s)
  5. change to heavy weighted fly

    10 vote(s)
  6. add weight to leader

    1 vote(s)
  7. others

    5 vote(s)
  1. Mark Horwath

    Mark Horwath Member

    I like to take a few more steps down stream, then let it swing.If it does't feel like it's fishing slow enough I'll put a heavier fly on. I find you can fish the same tip most of the day.
  2. Yard Sale

    Yard Sale Active Member

    Easy there tiger. All I was trying to say is take your time and fish it the way that gives you the most confidence, or what feels right to you, rather than just leaving the same rig on all day despite different water conditions. No reason to get all huffy....
  3. Salmo_g

    Salmo_g Active Member

    Yard Sale,

    Sorry, wasn't trying to exude a huffy or aggressive tone. Sometimes a guy will post a remark about the "right" way as though there is a right way that is exclusive of all others. If that was you, and you have the Holy Grail, I want to know! I agree that technique should be adjusted in accord with confidence.

    Did my line angle comments make sense to you?

  4. William B.

    William B. Member

    Made sense to me Salmo. If its a fast run and not to deep I tend to cast down and across mend to straighten it up a bit and let it swing. I also position myself in the river more carefully. If there is a seam at the top I will try to wade out past the slack water to get a better presentation. I shoud add I do use a weighted fly for this. I have had way more hook ups down and acoss than casting across at a 90. My reason is I fell more confident that my fly isnt wissing by at a speed that doesnt allow for a grab at the apex of the swing and it opens up a lot more river that is over looked.
  5. Yard Sale

    Yard Sale Active Member

    No worries. Last month I opened my winter fly box from last year, full of flies I thought at the time were absolute killers. They look so fugly to me now I just tossed em in a ziplock bag and started over. In other words what seems like gospel one day is old news the next...

    And you nailed it, I didn't fish those old lines. Makes sense if thats what you had to do. I was trying to say that after fishing with a couple solid dudes last year they all told me never throw above 45 degrees, ever, in winter. Then as I look around I see more and more people talk about how the good guys fish slow and slower. Then I watched my line and saw if I cast higher than that my angle sucked. Just something I have been tripping out on lately. Next week I'll probably be doing something different!

    Either way its a cool thread and I was stoked to see what other were thinking on a subject I been working on lately!
  6. yuhina

    yuhina Tropical member

    Good discussion! Gentlemen...

    well, I am a bit surprised that no one have chosen " add weight to leader". I have saw Lani Waller used "the twist on lead" to the leader in his DVD. I thought it's a great idea to add a quick weight... are there any concern not to do so? Be honest with you, two steelhead I caught this winter were all from using this micro adjustment...
  7. Chris Bellows

    Chris Bellows The Thought Train

    seriously, never above 45?
  8. Paul Huston

    Paul Huston Swinger

    I need to preface with the fact that I am lazy..... and hate having to change out sink tips.
    This will lead to trying mends, stack mends, and over pulled (yanked) reach casts to try to get the bug down. If none of this has me ticking bottom as I swing into that sassy walking speed water on the inside seam, I will change out tips.
    I hate casting Split shot and twisties, they are reserved for the last resort, or to get down into steep pocket water.
  9. Ian Broadie

    Ian Broadie Flyfishing is so "Metal"

    I chose "others" just because when I'm feeling lazy (which is most always :D) I'll change my casting angle and throw a bigger mend in for faster water. If that doesn't work I'll go for option 1.
  10. ak_powder_monkey

    ak_powder_monkey Proud to Be Alaskan

    switch to nymphs? :p
  11. Leroy Laviolet

    Leroy Laviolet Aint no nookie like chinookie

    :thumb: been useing twist on lead for a bit now...
  12. _WW_

    _WW_ Fishes with Wolves

    I chose "other" - as in all of the above and then some...:)
  13. Yard Sale

    Yard Sale Active Member

    Thats what I was told, and I did get to follow one guy down a couple runs and he was doing it. Personally I lack the self discipline most times, but I get the idea.

    As fr the quick weight thing Larimer told me he runs some of those small lead bullet weights that bass guys use in fornt of his tubes. Haven't tried it though....
  14. Salmo_g

    Salmo_g Active Member

    I fell into a system many years ago that worked in most situations, and consequently haven't done a lot of experimentation, so I'm no innovator. When I discovered the versatility of the 15' High Speed, Hi-D home made sink tip, over 90% of my winter steelhead fishing was covered with this one line. The other 10% or less was addressed by using a 10' Hi-D sink tip, a 30' High Speed, Hi-D shooting head, and lastly, a weighted fly. Most of those years I cast a single hand 8 1/2' fiberglass rod or a 9' graphite, in 8 wt. Weighted flies weren't very friendly to that set up, at least as far as casting with any style.

    Now that I fish nearly 100% with a two handed rod, weighted flies really aren't a problem to cast any more, so I have a lot of dumbell eye and conehead flies in my box, and weighted flies are an option that I'll use a lot. Earlier we talked about casting angles, and because I have more sink tip options (type III - VI and T-8, 11, 14), I find that I don't resort to the upstream angled cast so often, since it isn't needed much with the faster sinking tips and or weighted flies.

    Getting deep isn't as much an issue as it used to be because of more advanced fly lines. I try to fish holding water no more than 6' deep, and that lends a lot of ease in getting a fly into the strike zone. It's those occasions when the holding water is 8 or 10' deep, or faster than walking speed, getting a fly into the strike zone is challenging. When we had slower sinking lines and didn't use weighted flies (weighted flies and any weight on the leader used to be illegal under fly fishing only regulations), we called such locations "conservation drifts," meaning that we didn't expect to be able to fly fish them effectively or at all. That was water best left to conventional gear fishermen.

  15. yuhina

    yuhina Tropical member

    In my last trip, I accidentally ran out of weighted flies, thus I created the emergency "tungsten sucking leech" like you described... see photo.
  16. yuhina

    yuhina Tropical member

    Nice story! Steve,

    I was wondering do you prefer weighted fly plus shorter sinktip combination or unweighted fly + long sinktip? I felt I get a better control and feel when using weighted flies. Thus I am thinking to built myself a 8' -T 17 to replace the 10'-T14. what do you think?


    SPEYBUM Member

    Two years ago I change the way I fish .
    I went to full sinking shooting heads and never looked back.
    I fish the water IMHO better, slower and more thoroughly.
    The real question am I catching fish.
    I did away with the floating line drag produced by surface tension and by simply changing my angle of cast reach the water with a more effective presentaion.

    By varying the end diameter of the sinktip I can use big flies.

    NOTE: To turn over heavy sink tip the base line (floating or Sinking) should be one line size bigger in grain weight than the Sinktip you are trying to use.

    So if you want to deep and stay there longer I would use one of the New multi density sinking Scandinavian shooting heads.
    For the Snoqualmie my home River I use a 3/4 density and 156 grain sink tip for 8/9 on my 13ft 3 in First Addition Zpey.
    This gets me down where I can lose as may flies as I care to lose.
  18. ralfish

    ralfish Active Member

    Thanks, highsticking in close in fast water is the number one over looked winter steelhead method IMHO.

    No loss of control of the scandi head whether using tips or full or partial sinking heads. For the water that I like to fish, a full floating head of around 30' with 8- 12' of T8-T10 on a short leader, weighted or unweighted fly gets down just fine. The key is to slow it all down and pay attention to your fly design. Many bugs I see are way over dressed and to compensate for the added effect of faster water on the fly (not allowing it to sink) huge lead eyes have to be added. This adds to the casting suck factor. Keep it sparse, you still can have lots of movement in a fly wihout over dressing, and they will cast much better and still sink quickly.. more importantly, get and keep you in the zone longer
  19. Salmo_g

    Salmo_g Active Member


    Overall, I prefer unweighted flies. They cast easier and better, even with a Spey rod. I think they often move better in the water, but there are enough variables at work that I'm not over confident with that feeling. I like 15' sink tips because I have so much experience invested in them and know that they will perform well under a wide variety of conditions, and they are now readily available in that length without my buying shooting heads to chop. Where the 15' tip and unweighted fly tends to fail in winter work are the smaller streams or pocket water. On sizeable rivers like the Sky, Sauk, and Skagit, there's plenty of room to place, mend, and fish say 60' of line such that the 15' tip sinks and fishes appropriately. As streams get smaller, even on much of the NF Stilly, that line is less effective for winter work.

    I found a few years ago, by accident, while fishing a small river, that I could fish very effectively with a floating line, basically my short belly Spey line with the sink tip removed, and 10' of 8# leader, a size 4 unweighted fly, and one number 7 split shot. I still haven't gotten over this, having spent so many years using fly lines of all sorts and no lead. But a single #7 split shot on 10' of leader will put a fly right in the strike zone of 6' of walking speed steelhead holding water that my sink tip line simply cannot. Part of what surprised me so much is that I began with two #7 shot, and couldn't avoid hanging up. I'm amazed at how little lead can be so effective. (Having seen drift fishermen using 2" of pencil lead, and doing so myself, I underestimated what split shot can do.) So a weighted fly or leader sure has its place if the stream channel morphology is not conducive to fishing a sink tip line with unweighted fly.

    As for replacing T-14 with 17, I cannot say. I never used any T-anything until buying some T-8 a few seasons ago, and I find that I don't use it much because I hang up too much when using 15' of it. I've only used T-14 last summer on the Kenektok River for kings, where the fish are in 6 - 8' of water with a stiff current. Not being used to it, I had my hands full with 12' of that and dumbbell weighted flies. I know T-14 is popular among winter steelheaders, but I don't see myself making much use of it unless it's in short lengths. I recall Ed Ward saying he uses 6 and 9' lengths of it mostly for steelhead, 12' for kings.

  20. Andrew Lawrence

    Andrew Lawrence Active Member


    Thank you for your input on this subject! I am curious as to where you place the number 7 split shot on your leader. Or in other words, how far away from you fly do you place the split shot? Most of the smaller coastal rivers that I frequent during the winter are low and clear during most of the season. Hell... I am willing to give the split shot a try.