When to go with a floating pattern ?

Discussion in 'Saltwater' started by Ron Crawford, Aug 25, 2008.

  1. Ron Crawford

    Ron Crawford ===

    Joined:
    Feb 4, 2005
    Messages:
    210
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Seattle, WA
    Seeking advice from those who know about fishing on top for silvers........

    I have been out about a dozen times this summer and my go-to outfit is always an intermediate line with a pattern meant to imitate a baitfish, or an attractor pattern, but always intended to fish below the surface. I have tied up a bunch of floating patterns and I carry a floating line in my pocket, but I just can't pull the trigger and switch to fishing on top.

    What holds me back is that I just think that fishing below the surface is going to give me better odds, and it's been two weeks since I landed a fish. So I don't want to make it any harder on myself.

    My question is this ..... What water, current, fish activity do you look for when deciding to fish with a floating pattern? Does seeing more jumpers mean that floating patterns will be effective? Any advice would be appreciated.

    Thanks in advance.
     
  2. miyawaki

    miyawaki Active Member

    Joined:
    Nov 29, 2002
    Messages:
    3,421
    Likes Received:
    1,290
    Location:
    Kent, Washington, USA.
    The best time to fish a popper is ALL the time, but then, I'm biased.

    That being said, it is good to start with a surface fly and if fish come to the popper but don't connect, switch to a subsurface pattern.

    You've been doing it ass backwards. The trouble with beginning subsurface is that you never see the fish and subsequently you don't know if they're around your fly. At least with a popper, at a minimum, fish will always follow or slash, or otherwise let you know they are around. Then you can switch.

    Leland.
     
  3. Ethan G.

    Ethan G. I do science.. on fish..

    Joined:
    Jun 3, 2007
    Messages:
    975
    Likes Received:
    1
    Location:
    Ellensburg, WA
    iagree Well, there you go. The master of the saltwater surface fly has spoken. I like to use poppers and floating sandlance patterns to search for fish because they effectively draw them to show themselves.
    -Ethan
     
  4. Nutty Squirrel

    Nutty Squirrel Says: Smoke Salmon not Crack

    Joined:
    Jul 26, 2007
    Messages:
    45
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Ballard, Wa
    The gospel according to Leland is correct in my limited two years of Salt Fly fishing opinion. A much more fun way to fish in my opinion and at very least the fish will present themselves with a popper rather than stripping for hours on end searching for fish with a sub surface approach.
     
  5. Ed Call

    Ed Call Uber Trill Moderator Staff Member

    Joined:
    Jun 9, 2008
    Messages:
    18,728
    Likes Received:
    3,454
    Location:
    Kitsap Peninsula
    Right now I'm envisioning me standing in the Orvis store in Bellevue, or even better, standing knee deep next to Leland in some river with an "S" when I ask about intermediate sink stripping all day then switching spools to float and popper fish when he turns to me, cocks his head to the side a bit and says Mumbles...
    I'm sold! Before I had an intermediate sink line I used a floater with sinking flies. I have never given myself the real thrill of seeing those fish at the surface trailing my flies. I'm going to go out a few times and start on top and work my way down to see what I've been missing. I'm not catching fish most of the time anyway, maybe I can at least see some in the vicinity of a poper instead of all jumping well beyond my mortal casting capabilities.
     
  6. Chris Bellows

    Chris Bellows Your Preferred WFF Poster

    Joined:
    Feb 3, 2003
    Messages:
    2,172
    Likes Received:
    1,465
    Location:
    The Salt
    it does.

    the simple answer for when you want to fish a floating pattern is when you want to catch a fish on a popper.:D

    seriously, another benefit with a floating fly, especially in areas with current... is you will learn how your fly fishes much better since you can see it. this will translate when you go back to a sinking line.

    for me. i always liked fishing i popper when i knew there were a ton of fish around. makes it a little easier, and when there's a ton of salmon around... a deeply fished clouser gets a bit boring.
     
  7. Ron Crawford

    Ron Crawford ===

    Joined:
    Feb 4, 2005
    Messages:
    210
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Seattle, WA


    WOW - That's some beautiful Zen advice there. Seriously, I get it now.
    Thanks for the sage advice - I hope to return the favor some day.
     
  8. Chris Bellows

    Chris Bellows Your Preferred WFF Poster

    Joined:
    Feb 3, 2003
    Messages:
    2,172
    Likes Received:
    1,465
    Location:
    The Salt
  9. jcnewbie

    jcnewbie Member

    Joined:
    Aug 28, 2007
    Messages:
    854
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Kent, Washington
    Oooh Geeez! :beathead: Me too! Been doing it all wrong....again!:( I was even stupid enough to fish Leland's popper with an intermediate OB line because I didn't know if I should use my floating trout lines for "salt!":eek: Yeah, yeah, I know, dumber than the average newbie fur shure!:rolleyes:

    Even when you read a lot, including this forum, there is no substitute for direct, personal mentoring by more experienced fisherman than yourself and since I fish alone, the learning curve is exceptionally steep.....but slooowly I'm learning little tidbits here 'n there and might even catch a fish or two some day...:eek:!

    JC:) ...ever the optimist:D
     
  10. ChrisW

    ChrisW AKA Beadhead

    Joined:
    Jan 14, 2004
    Messages:
    493
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Seattle, WA.
    I think the best time to use a surface pattern is when there is a slight ripple on the water. If it is glassy smooth it often makes fish wary. I have had a popper start to produce just as the water changed after a breeze came up up. But if its really choppy the fish may not see your pattern amongst the surface commotion or the wave action will mess with your retrieve and make it look unnatural. A full intermediate line like a Streamer Express gets the whole setup under the waves so you can direct the retrieve. It also helps to get underneath the surface if there is a lot of salad in the water.

    I have also had some success fish a sinking line on bright days when I feel the fish are feeding a little deeper.

    Don't underestimate the benefits of fishing a weighted fly like a clouser with a floating line however. This keeps your fly just under the surface and you will still see some of the strikes and follows. Often the strikes will be a little harder when the fly is nearer the surface resulting in more secure hookups. Sandlance will also travel just below the surface too and I think fish can see your fly easier when it reflects against the "ceiling". Plus it makes it easier to switch to/from a surface pattern because you don't have to change lines.

    CW
     
  11. SpeySpaz

    SpeySpaz still an authority on nothing

    Joined:
    May 30, 2008
    Messages:
    2,037
    Likes Received:
    148
    Location:
    Roy, WA
    don't beat yourself up too bad, JC...
    the floating fly/sinking line trick is a "secret weapon" to some, maybe they're annoyed you put it out there! LOL:beer2:
     
  12. jcnewbie

    jcnewbie Member

    Joined:
    Aug 28, 2007
    Messages:
    854
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Kent, Washington
    Oh goody...now I feel much better, thanks for that, Spey:rofl:!

    But now that I've committed the ultimate sin and revealed my "secret weapon" (that doesn't seem to work btw....bawling:!). I better not see anybody else usin' it on the beach or I'm gonna be mighty upset :(...especially if they're catchin' fish an I'm not :p ;)!

    JC
    _____________________
    A mind, like a parachute, works better when open.
     
  13. SpeySpaz

    SpeySpaz still an authority on nothing

    Joined:
    May 30, 2008
    Messages:
    2,037
    Likes Received:
    148
    Location:
    Roy, WA
    "aaahhh, weedhoppah, you must seek the eelgrasss, not the rocks, to make it work."
     
  14. jcnewbie

    jcnewbie Member

    Joined:
    Aug 28, 2007
    Messages:
    854
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Kent, Washington
    Yes, Master....but how does one hold one's mouth, Master?

    JC
     
  15. Saltman

    Saltman "Just Fish!"

    Joined:
    Jan 25, 2007
    Messages:
    112
    Likes Received:
    13
    Location:
    WA
    Home Page:
    Cool photos Topwater!!! In my opinion fishing poppers is the ultimate in saltwater fly fishing. It equates to primo dry fly action in the fresh... Nothing better than seeing the fish explode after a fly on the surface. Clouser's are hard to beat, but you ususlly only see the fish you hook. If you want to fish poppers, with the current number of returning fish, this is definitly the time of year to give it a try. :thumb: