Steelhead sink tip max leader length question

#19
To me this seems an example of paralysis by analysis. There is but one absolute in determining leader length. At no time should the length of your leader be shorter than the distance between the tip of the fly line and the eye of the fly.
I understand that concept but if you happen to swing past a fish wont they see that big old sink tip and possibly the fly line itself fly past them?
Or for that matter, wont a fly guy swinging his rig before you scare the heck out of the fish? To me a fly line and sink tip is way more noticeable then say a guy fishing a leader and sinker like a drift rig or float rig.
 
#20
Fixed it for you. I know many successful steelhead anglers that tie their offering right to their terminal tackle using braid...yes braid, like 50 lb test.
Years ago on a well known River, in a notorious hole, I felt I was being low holed by an angler on the far bank. My younger aggressive side kicked in, and I began firing casts at his feet. He decided to return the favor and sent something resembling a double spey at me. His, I don't know, but say Rio windcutter, landed in a heap, not far from where I stood. Smack dab in the middle of the pile of line, lay a hideously dressed purple skunk thing. Shortly after that pile had landed, long before there was any tension of a swing, a steelhead nosed it's way through the heap of line and ate the skunk in the surface film. A half hour or so later he and his his "high-fivin" buddy released that wild b-run.
 

_WW_

Geriatric Skagit Swinger
#21
I've always thought a steelhead that is "leader shy" is going to be "fly shy" also. In the typical scenario of casting and stepping through a run, if done properly, the first thing a steelhead will see is the fly. If that doesn't generate indifference or a take, I doubt the leader will have much affect either way.
 

Salmo_g

Well-Known Member
#22
The reason I'm thinking of a long leader and a weighted fly instead of a sink tip and a short leader is because the idea of a large thick sink tip swinging past a steelhead must scare the stuffing out of them. I feel I sink tip should not be seen at all cost.
I think there are conditions under which steelhead are spooked or put off by the presence of fly lines and also leaders and flies. Those conditions are likely to be low clear water and heavily pressured fish. Undisturbed fish aren't bothered, and as mentioned above, will eat a fly tied directly to the sink tip with no leader at all. To think what you think ignores the many thousands of instances where steelhead take flies even though they also see lines and leaders. Steelhead are trout and are sight feeders. They can see fly lines and leaders, even fine leaders. They just aren't bothered by them under favorable fishing conditions.
 
#24
There are other set-ups that work. There's a gentleman named Ard Stetz up in Alaska and he uses a floating line. He then ties on a 4' or 5' section of leader, then a 5' or 6' section of T material, and then a short section of tippet. I've made and cast a similar set-up and they seem to cast rather nicely. The first section of leader sort of floats but then is dragged down by the T material to the desired depth. The tippet is short; maybe 3' and keeps the fly down in the desired depth. Seems to me that that would work quite well. Don't know if that might be helpful but it's always worth a try.
 
#26
I think this is a needlessly over- complicated
Issue that overlooks the fundamentals of steelhead fly fishing.
We are looking for the most aggressive fish.
12 feet of t 11 is pretty much the only tip you need. Everything else can be adjusted for by casting angles and fly weight and to a small extent leader length.

My advise is to not overthink it and cover as much water as you can then be happy with whatever the river gives you.
 
#29
I think this is a needlessly over- complicated
Issue that overlooks the fundamentals of steelhead fly fishing.
We are looking for the most aggressive fish.
12 feet of t 11 is pretty much the only tip you need. Everything else can be adjusted for by casting angles and fly weight and to a small extent leader length.

My advise is to not overthink it and cover as much water as you can then be happy with whatever the river gives you.
Rob, that's a great way to look at it. My problem is I like to over think stuff. its my way of learning and its fun.
Coming from a drift fishing background I know where my lure is at because I can feel the lead ticking bottom.
When I fly fish with sink tips I really have no way of telling how far I am off the bottom till my line is at the hang down and only then do I feel or catch the bottom. by that point I am in shallow water and little current.
How can you tell what depth your fly is at when its halfway thru the swing?
 
#30
By the way, I am learning a lot from you all. Everyone has been very helpful, thank you all!
Had I known I would get all this great info all at once I would have separated the questions into 2 or 3 new posts.