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Post Info TOPIC: How to fish with sinking line


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How to fish with sinking line
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Cabelas is having a huge sale online this week, so I went ahead and picked up and extra reel and 6wt sinking fly line with a sink rate of 3. I've heard great things about it and I haven't had any success using split shot, so I figured it was a worthwhile investment. 

Now I need some tips on how to best take advantage of it. Like for instance, what length leader is best? Logic would tell me a 7.5 or 9ft leader would be way too long since the line would be sinking way ahead of the fly. I have also heard it's not really neccessary to used beadhead nymphs anymore. It makes sense how sinking line is way better for high-stick nymphing, but again it seems like with a long leader you would never detect strikes. Which is my next question...how do you detect strikes when you have no indicator? Do your drifts tend to be shorter with sinking line? I need the full beginner's tutorial lol. Thanks!



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Nymphing with a full-sinking line sounds terrible. A couple reasons.

One, mending on anything other than a super short drift would be a nightmare. You'd have a huge bellow in your line and you'd have to lift a bunch of heavy sinking line out of the water to mend, ripping your fly up in the water column from what could have been a perfectly good drift.

That same bow in your line would not only make getting a good dead drift difficult, but it would make strike detection extremely difficult. Even if a fish attacked your fly on a drift that's full of unnatural drag, your reaction time would be impaired. And lagging on setting the hook loses you fish.

If you're having trouble getting your flies down in pocket water with floating line, there are ways to overcome that. Lengthening your leader, adding more shot (more than you think is necessary), using skinnier, slimmer profiled flies, beadhead flies, and lighter, tinner diameter tippet will get you down. In boulder gardens/pocket water, you need a bunch of shot to get your flies down on those real short drifts. It seems like switching to full sinking line is overkill and makes your life more difficult. But to each their own.

You could take that sinking line, put it on another rod, and streamer fish the frogish water at Putah. Would be interesting to see if that produces fish.



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Thanks for your response. It's well thought out and mirrors many of the concerns I have myself. Why is it then that there seems to be so many people that rave about sinking line increasing there catch rates and this and that? I'm not disagreeing with you, just looking for someone of that opinion. I definitely agree that sinking line has advantages for streamer fishing though. One advantage people say about sinking line is that it tends to be easier to cast than floating line loaded with splitshot, but I'll have to see for myself. I think the advantage comes on larger rivers where depths are say 6ft+ and the flow is steady enough that you need the help of the weighted line to get the fly down there. In pocket water and shallower streams it may just be more of a burden.

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I guess I neglected to mention that I bought sink-tip line, not full sinking line. In that case I guess you keep on eye on the floating part as the "indicator".

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To illustrate Coolbee's point, if you are tight line nymphing a great deal of time only the leader is in the water, the fly line could be water ski tow rope for all it mattered. If you are indicator fishing you would want the line floating to the indicator that is attached to your leader, then just enough weight to keep the fly at the desired depth. I also will choose beadhead patterns just to get a little extra depth without having to add weight. That said, if you are standing over a deep hole don't be afraid to take off an indicator and strap on a small cannonball to get the fly down. I've done this in water > 10' deep to get to the bottom of a hole and it can pay off quite nicely. At the next hole the cannonball comes off and its back to tiny split shot or none at all. Choice of shot is a matter of flow rate and depth desired. If you aren't adjusting it constantly then you need to reconsider what you're doing, unless you're fishing water that is constant depth and flow. Even then you should experiment with different depths & flies that make sense for the conditions. You should visualize the drift the FLY will follow before you make the cast, one that makes sense to a hungry fish, tailor your presentation to get that drift, and make sure there is no slack anywhere that would prevent you from detecting a strike.

I rarely fish sink tip lines, only for things like tubing or bigger water swinging streamers, but most waters I've fished I just used the floating line. That said, I need to do more fishing in waters where sink tips make sense.

Look for videos on the web that show how much mayfly nymphs swim around, up and down, as they struggle to get back down to the bottom. A sinker on a tight line helps you achieve this bouncing movement in eddies. In contrast, just let non-swimmers like midges, stoneflies, & caddis tumble on the bottom naturally with the current. Visualize & execute.

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