Best Way to Get Down Deep and Stay Deep

I was wondering what the best way to get a fly line down and keep it down. I have been using a 30ft Lead Core and Running Line (Annesia) but I was thinking that there has to be a better way to get my line down and know for sure that it is down.

I was thinking about using my LC Braid but I wanted to hear what you guys do first.


How deep are you trying to go?

I use a rio striper line to get down. If you wait long enough you can get the full body of the line to sink. Last trip to neah bay we were kinda screwing around in deep water, for the first time that I've ever seen my friend caught a black rockfish which had it's swim bladder pop out. I've never seen that before fly fishing, you know you have to be pretty deep to see that happen.


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I had been using a home made line using the T14 rio shooting head and the running line from an old cortland XR line (which in itself was a great line but can find it anymore). With a 28 shooting head this got down well routinely hook on the bottom in 40 feet of water and during slack tides was able to catch ling cod in Puget Sound in water as deep as 55 feet.

This last season I tired the Rio Striper 26 DC line. Have to say that I'm impressed. I went with the 400 grain tip. It was a much smoother casting line than my home made line. Could achieve about the same depths with either line though I think the home made line stayed a little deeper on the retrieve than the Rio - the differences I think is the running line. However either line worked well down to the 30 to 40 range.

Since the majority of the my deeper water fishing is for Puget Sound coho in the off shore rips the Rio has become my go to line except for that rare time I want/need a few more feet for lings.

Tight lines


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used to fish ling with a full length deep water express 880gr and a sinking running line. no limit to the depth that i could find. in fact, i have hooked up on the rock piles and actually lost the entire DWE head. the T14 has about the same sink rate but is way thinner. i think the key is a sinking running line. i also used this same set up in baja fishing the rock piles for whatever. usually these are shallower so all one needs to do is change the length of the tip, just like river fishing.


Banned or Parked
In my opinion, 90 feet is pushing the limits of what is possible with a fly line. It's not impossible, but it requires perfect current and wind conditions coupled with the perfect line setup. A thin running line will provide less drag to slow the head's descent. Cast up-current, feed a lot of running line during the descent and don't let the line get tight until you're ready to start retrieving.


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90', IF the current flows are not running hard is doable. if you plan your day to try and get into that high slack window, you can get down this far. if the current is running, i don't think you will make it anywhere near this deep. i use a 30# sinking running line, very thin, about 100'. casting is not exactly what this is about. you kind of chuck the sinking tip out and away and feed line as it sinks.

the rock piles i used to fish for ling were somewhere between 15-20 fathoms. but, again, you have to plan your timing to hit these depths. you can also set up for a drift with the current flow which will help give the line some time to get down. this is also the method i employed to loose my whole outfit, multiple times :D

keep in mind, this is not a really fun way to fly fish. i did it only to prove to myself that i could actually catch ling on a fly, and it works. in the shallower waters on the sea of cortez, it is much more fun to see what sorts of rock dwelling critters you can yard out. the big grouper are something else to tackle and often times just puff up so there is absolutely no way you can dislodge them, fun though.
This was covered in the first "Fly Fishing for Pacific Salmon" (1985) when Jim Darden told us about his technique. He used a 400-grain length of LC-13 lead core backed with Amnesia, fished the top of the tide in his area (around Bellingham) and then counted the seconds of each drop. He took a lot of chinook salmon this way.
Either T-14, DWE or LC-13 will get you down. An intermediate sinking .024 running line is a good alternative to Amnesia. It sinks well behind a heavy head and pulls straight on the retrieve. Rio has a formula for cutting T-14 as SA does for its DWE. LC-13 is, as most of you know, rated at approximately 13-grains per foot. About 26 feet is OK for an 8 or 9-weight, once you've mastered the timing. A shorter length will turn over pretty low.
Good Fishing,
Les Johnson
amnesia isn't that strong and tangles bad, it also stretches a ton at that length. I think that Ibn is correct those lines are great, they cast and sink great. They are also density compensated so when you are striping in it has a natural'ish presentation. The other line that may be of interest is a deep7 or I think that they also have a deep-10 now it is a pain to fish because it tangles ease. I have only used the deep7. The deep7 is not that durable I only fished it for a year or so before it was shot, but before it was wrecked I had good luck fishing over 100 feet at, just seeing what was possible. The line would sink faster than any line I have fished yet the only problem was I couldn't feel the bottom until I was hung up? The fix was to use a floating fly like the floating clouser. The line would slide along the bottom with the fly just off it, it worked well even over the length of the line, I could catch fish but it was hard to detect a strike and the bottom would tear up the line. Good luck with the kings.


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Sometimes other methods are needed......I like catching bottom fish from time to favorite fish to eat is Halibut.....not gonna get her/him on the fly....or least waist time trying.

Jim Kerr

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All the gear guys fish for blackmouth pretty deep, but Ive caught lots, and some damn big ones fishin tight to the beach in less than 20 foot of water. Same old story, they go where the bait is, and if you can find bait on the beach at dawn and dusk, you can catch blackmout on a 15 foot type 4 sinktip, or even a floater. I ve found the dawn bite to be the best, and you have to start in the black because by the time you can see the sun its all over. Just a thought