Lingcod Thread


Active Member
Steve -
Here in Puget Sound I have fished my 8 wt (an even a 7wt) a lot for lings with decent success. With those lighter rods I don't like weight flies. Instead I rely on my lines to reach the fish. I have been using yak hair for my ling flies for approximately 20 years and love it. Use the method shown in the vid (double back the hair) to produce 7 to 10 inch flies; in addition to the color shown I really like chartreuse and white and brown and orange. I usually tie my on 3/0 or 4/0 swaish hooks. I use kevlar thread as well though usually opt for red/orange thread and use 5 minute expoxy for increased durabiity. Lings are tooth critters that can tear flies up quickly. With the yak hair and expoy my flies usually have a life of 20 to 25 lings which is a good day here on the sound if I don't lose them sooner. I use a 12 inch bite leader of 30 or 40# mono and a 6 foot leader with 15 pound tippet.

Here is the sound have had the best luck on shallow flats (20 to 40 feet), reef tops, rock or rip rap walls and kelp beds. Here in the sound the lings get pressured quite a bit and flies can provide a nice change up. Not uncommon in late season that flies out fishing gear or even live bait on waters that can be effectively fished with flies. Not only are unweighted flies easier to cast they work really well "walking" down the walls and when coupled with spun deer hair heads (I like thumb size ones) they will hang and hover on the pause which is deadly on pressured fish.

With that 8 wt and T-14 head I have taken lings from as shallow as 4 or 5 feet down to about 50 feet. The hardest part of fly fishing for lings is find those spots where you can effectively fish. If I were going to consistently fish much beyound 30 feet I would look into using a lead core head and do away with some of the niceties of the presentation. I spend time going over charts looking for potential spots and do most of my exploring with gear and lead head jigs (way quicker) waiting to break out the fly rod for those spots I feel has the best potential for tossing bugs. With my homework done double digit days are a reasonable expectation and can often hand pick a 30 incher for the table and have taken a few over sized fish. With the increased pressure on th lings the last 5 or 6 years I have been spending more time in the San Juans.

Enjoy your efforts to expand your fly game!

I'll second Jonathan here, thanks a lot for all the info Curt. You described my main objective, 20-40 feet of water within the Central Sound area, and the gear I'll be using, 8 wt with T-14. Thanks for the leader breakdown as well, great advice. Got some tying to do and some charts to study.

Sounds like Neah Bay will have to happen at someday, I've never been out there.

Now I've just gotta buy beer for all my buddies with boats!
I have a Rio running line that I pair up with 30' shooting heads, loop to loop.

The T-14 (30' @ 420 grains) I picked up has loops on both ends, but you have to cut it back to the right length to get the correct load, unless you want the full 420 grains. I'm looking at 300-325 for my 8 wt, so I'll cut it back to the appropriate length and then nail knot 6" of 25 lb mono to the T-14 and finish it with a perfection loop for my leader conection.

I'm sure there is other ways, but this has worked great for me so far. Hope it helps


Active Member
I used running line that I had saved from an old cortland line that had neutral buoyancy. I used an Albright knot to connect the running line to both the T-14 and the backing and a nail knot for the leader connection.

Started with a 30 foot T-14 piece (a couple of us shared the cost of a spool of T-14) and after test casting cut of the appropriate amount (need to do this in steps). I ended up with a 28 foot piece of T-14 which is overlined for the rod but I usually just "cast" it shooting it with a single water loaded back cast.

tight lines

Jim Wallace

Smells like low tide.
I notice that Rio now sells the 30' section of T-14 with welded loops on both ends for suggested retail of $39.95. I picked up my 30' section without the factory loops for only $14.95 just a few short years ago. So its more than doubled in price in less than 5 years. The Amnesia was pretty cheap, too.

So I am making a convertible head system for about $20. One 20' section of T-14, plus a 4' section and a 6' section, all with loops so I can have either a 20', a 24' or a 26' head, for my 6 and 8 wt rods. I won't try to cast all 30' of it on my 8wt, since I already know that's going to be too heavy for my particular rod.

Of course if I were filthy rich and didn't have the time, I would just go out and spend the $75 or $80 on the Airflo Depth Finder and save myself the hassle of making my own.

I notice that one can get 15' sections of T-17 or T-20 without loops online for only $11.95. I'm thinking that $12 plus shipping might be cheap enough to find out for myself whether or not I can cast a 15' shooting head. Others tell me that once you cut them less than 25' or so, these heads are "clunky" to cast. Yet I read of others using only 20' and doing just fine. This makes me think that, although it may be an ugly thing to observe, I might be able to actually cast a 15' T-17 or T-20 head.
Hear is something I think is worth adding to this thread; tape your ferrules. I made this mistake last year and cracked a ferrule. When you are flinging big flies and heavy sink tips, you are really shaking things up. Tape em so no section shakes loose.

I've mentioned this before. I got a 4 piece 10 wt for lings. If it was for home waters, I should have considered a two piece.

I'm itching to go



Joe from PA
Another thing to consider is having a spare line or 2. Ling fishing is hard on your fly line (at least for me). I lost a few feet of sink tip several times last season getting my line caught up in wrecks, rock ledges, and kelp.

Jim Wallace

Smells like low tide.
Another thing to consider is having a spare line or 2. Ling fishing is hard on your fly line (at least for me). I lost a few feet of sink tip several times last season getting my line caught up in wrecks, rock ledges, and kelp.
A good reason to make your own sinking shooting heads. I couldn't afford to lose a store-bought integrated line at $80 a pop. If I get into this to where I'm losing sink-tips, I might have to buy a spool of T-14 or T-17, or find somebody to share the cost with me.

Maybe we ought to see if some of us can get together and buy a spool and save some $$ on this.
I've thinking about losing lines as well. I wish I had been able to buy the line in bulk, but he shop only had the new 30' packs @ $40. Actually kind of a waste because I'll end up cutting 3'-5' off. I wish I could have paid a little extra and gotten two lengths that would match my 8 wt perfectly.

Spool is $300 for 5oo feet. $60 each for 5 guys would give you 100' each. I might be able to swing it in a couple weeks if we get some other guys interested.

Chris Bellows

Your Preferred WFF Poster
some shops have the large spools and sell it by the foot.

you could also look for lc-13 (lead core 13 grains per foot) by cortland. i used to fish it quite a bit pre-t-14 and it sank fast and worked great. the drawbacks (kinkyness and memory) are imo exaggerated.


Active Member
For anyone interested;
We have bulk spools of: T-10, T-12, T-14, and T-18. It costs $0.75/foot or if you'd like us to rig it for you with loops it is $1/foot. We also stock 7 different varieties of running lines and three 'integrated' shooting head lines that can work very well for bottomfish. Also, I've been fishing for Lingcod on a fly since 1995 and would be happy to share some advice on lines and flies.

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