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EntomanSeptember 19th, 2012, 9:10 pm
Northern CA & ID

Posts: 2604
Adirman -

Would you also say that floatingline w/ shot is not as effective as sinking while fishing deep in running water, rivers and such, say, in a deep hole or something ?

No, just different. The first is more vertical with a rise on the swing or retrieve. it is also the method to use for employing a jigging motion to the fly. The latter is more horizontal and the fly will retain much more depth on the swing or retrieve.

There are exceptions, but I use sinking lines mostly in the Spring or late Fall when insect activity is down (or nonexistent). Unless the water is shallow, I will use a teeny type head to grease line or swing in the runs, usually with some kind of bugger or sculpin. In the deep holes, I'll let it sink and hand-twist retrieve along the bottom or occasionally strip it across at mid-depth, depending on how the fish respond. The deep hand-twist in pools is particularly effective during the Summer migration of the big October Caddis larvae to their pupating grounds. Another way I'll use the sinking line is with a method used by the late Charlie Brooks to present big salmonfly nymphs deep in the heavy runs. It has been largely forgotten with the ascendancy of bobbers, but it is still the best way to present giant heavy flies dead drift in deep fast moving water. By that I mean current that you can't fish comfortably (or safely) wading deeper than your hips and where the water you're covering is between 3 ft. to over your head. It is a little difficult to master and frankly not the most pleasant technique either - but it is deadly.

On western spring creeks, swinging nymphs and leeches/buggers on a clear line can be very effective at times, particularly early in the morning before the sun hits the water. Strange as it may seem, mid-afternoon between hatches if the wind comes up a little to mask all the commotion is another good time. I don't see this mentioned much by our eastern buddies, but I have to think it would work there as well.
"It's not that I find fishing so important, it's just that I find all other endeavors of Man equally unimportant... And not nearly as much fun!" Robert Traver, Anatomy of a Fisherman
SayfuSeptember 19th, 2012, 10:31 pm
Posts: 560
I like to cast. I enjoy casting. And I fish for trout in big rivers almost exclusively now with floating lines because I can control the line on the surface. When the sinking line drops out of sight in variable speed currents, it is out of sight and out of mine. Presentation/performance can be terrible. But, I have been a steelheader, and used sinking linesl at times always casting quartering down, and tethering the sinking portion cross current, and staying in contact with the line/fly. I like the teeny 24 ft heads, and use a 200 grain head quite a bit. You can take it back on a backcast, and the line tracks, and is enjoyable to cast. I use it for throwing streamers, and stripping because I am in contact with the fly again, and don't have a lot of flyline below the surface snaked all over the place. I would not use a sinking line to nymph fish for trout. But I also eliminate a lot of deep water to flyfish in the Summer/Fall months considering it spin fishing water, and not enjoyable to fish with a fly outfit. I think young anglers often don't want to give up that water thinking that is where the big one lays, and they want to fish it. I will fish deep water only in the Spring before run off when the water is cold, fish are hold up in the deep, slow water holes, and I can get my Teeny 24ft head down deep quite easily, and dead drift a streamer, or slowly strip it.
PaulRobertsSeptember 20th, 2012, 11:18 am
Colorado

Posts: 1776

I like to cast. I enjoy casting. And I fish for trout in big rivers almost exclusively now with floating lines because I can control the line on the surface....

This hits the key issue. Turbulence is the problem in moving water and the trick is to avoid it. In still water you can keep a sinking line straight enough to detect takes, but on moving water -good luck!

When I first started FF on streams I used wet flies on a hand-me-down full sinking line and a leadcore (LC) head that was affixed to the end of the fly line. It was SO limiting as to where I could control fly speed and detect strikes. Basically I had to fish very close and in either laminar flow or still water. I then went to a floating line with LC again affixed to the fly line. This was better as I could mend the line to adjust fly speed and detection. But it was still maddeningly limiting.

I finally got smart and put the LC heads onto the leader, ~4ft from the floating fly line, and voila! I had a rig I could control. It's a pleasure to cast (by comparison with other such heavily weighted rigs) and a joy to manipulate wets and streamers with, down and/or across.

If you want to try this rig, search "leadcore" on this site and you'll find other posts of mine detailing the rig and fishing it.
AdirmanSeptember 20th, 2012, 6:03 pm
Monticello, NY

Posts: 498
Paul;

Leadcore eh? Is this method mainly for fishing wet flies/softhackles and such instead of nymphs?
PaulRobertsSeptember 20th, 2012, 7:49 pm
Colorado

Posts: 1776
It's for fishing down and/or across. It's an aggressive rig so I always used it for larger flies: #8 up. I have never tried using it with smaller hooks.
EntomanSeptember 20th, 2012, 10:03 pm
Northern CA & ID

Posts: 2604
No Adir, it's for use with any fly you wish to fish deep with the line and fly together under the stronger currents that are higher in the water column. A short piece of weighted line in the leader fishes like a "super sink-tip" and is a much more elegant solution then stringing a bunch of small shot along a section. I agree with Paul that it is a great way to fish in slots and around obstructions like sunken logs or deep rock gardens that may tangle a long length of sinking line.. Nothing "steers" like it. I have a short piece of of TC13 (edit: T-7) with Chinese cuff loops at both ends I keep in my leader wallet for the same purpose. The point of a sinking line is that you can fish them in currents that will sweep a floating line or indicator too fast down stream from the weighted fly. However, they (sinking lines) always have to be fished under some form of controlled tension or you end up with Jere's mention of "...a lot of flyline below the surface snaked all over the place." No good can ever come from that and a lot bad, like losing an expensive fly line!:)

Paul -

Have you tried Cortland TC13 (edit: Rio T-17)? It's denser than lead core and has the feel of regular fly line. It is a vast improvement over the old Cortland LC7 (edit: LC13) lines. The shops out here that cater to steelheaders sell the stuff by the foot. Most guys cut the first ten feet or so off the tip of a dry line and make various tips up of the stuff to attach with loops of braid stiffened with Aquaseal.
BTW - I thought lead core trolling lines all used the same wire within a brand and only varied in the braid? If so, wouldn't the finer lb. test be better for your purpose?
"It's not that I find fishing so important, it's just that I find all other endeavors of Man equally unimportant... And not nearly as much fun!" Robert Traver, Anatomy of a Fisherman
GutcutterSeptember 20th, 2012, 10:09 pm
Pennsylvania

Posts: 470
Another way I'll use the sinking line is with a method used by the late Charlie Brooks to present big salmonfly nymphs deep in the heavy runs. It has been largely forgotten with the ascendancy of bobbers...


Care to elaborate?
All men who fish may in turn be divided into two parts: those who fish for trout and those who don't. Trout fishermen are a race apart: they are a dedicated crew- indolent, improvident, and quietly mad.

-Robert Traver, Trout Madness
EntomanSeptember 20th, 2012, 11:22 pm
Northern CA & ID

Posts: 2604
Sure, Tony... In a nutshell, you are standing in fast water up to your important parts with the line hanging downstream under tension (about ten feet). make a tension cast upstream and angled out a little with the rod finishing low pointed right at the fly. As the line drifts down you keep the rod pointed at where the line enters the water and raise the rod just enough to keep contact but not so much that you pull the line. A slight bow is the best I can describe it. Keep this pressure constant raising the rod higher and held over the line entry point as it comes down to you and again lowering it at the same rate as the line goes past. The rod finishes low just as in the beginning only now it's pointing downstream. Once the fly has swung to the surface, extend a few feet of line and make a tension cast back upstream to repeat the process. Once you have gotten to the point that you have to fully extend your arm and rod (usually around 30 ft or so for a 6 ft. guy with a 9 ft. rod), it's time to move to a new spot. The fly should be drifting back in a straight line inside a rod length from you or you are casting too wide. In a way it's kinda like Czech nymphing in this respect.

Hook-ups can occur anywhere but usually happen when the line is below you (though the fly is usually still above you). Because of all the water resistance on the line the fish usually hook themselves though an aggressive hook-set is still advisable to move the line. The takes are interesting, usually much like a strong tug that could be mistaken for a snag, only faster and more powerful. No delicacy here, as this method requires Hi-density lines and short 3 - 4 ft. leaders to get the flies down and keep them there drifting back naturally. To keep the flies on, the tippet should be very stout. I use my 8 and 10 lb. Maxima steelhead stock. I've learned from bitter experience that even a decent fish will snap 3X co-polymer or fluoro (the heaviest I buy of the fancy stuff) like it's not even there! Since size 2 and 4 flies weighing in the range of an elephant bullet are used, the steelhead stuff works better anyway. Not a method for light trout rods. I use a 9 1/2 ft. 7 wt.

It's not my favorite method (to say the least) and you have to have a steelheader's attitude, but when nothing much else is going on or the weather is inclement, it is often the best way to approach this kind of water if it has good populations of big fish and salmonfly nymphs or sculpin. I've caught a lot of big fish using it.

Sorry, the nutshell ended up bigger than I thought it would be.:)
"It's not that I find fishing so important, it's just that I find all other endeavors of Man equally unimportant... And not nearly as much fun!" Robert Traver, Anatomy of a Fisherman
PaulRobertsSeptember 21st, 2012, 10:56 am
Colorado

Posts: 1776
Kurt, no I'm not up to date. I use 45# LC trolling line. I tried 18# but it has finer lead wire and doesn't have the sink rate.

I have used my LC heads for the "Brook's Method" but, at least in my limited experience, it paled compared to shot for nymphing under powerful flows. I think Brook's made famous a method that is not terribly efficient. JME which I admit is limited.
EntomanSeptember 21st, 2012, 1:33 pm
Northern CA & ID

Posts: 2604
I tried 18# but it has finer lead wire and doesn't have the sink rate.

Ah, I didn't know that. My only real experience with trolling line was making shooting heads with it to obtain serious depth for yellowtail in Baja years ago. Horrible to cast and fish with but it was the only stuff that worked to get that deep back then.

I think Brook's made famous a method that is not terribly efficient. JME which I admit is limited.

Well, I don't know how famous it became in actual use. Frankly, even in the region of its birth I don't nor ever did see it performed by too many anglers, let alone properly.:) Most fish it too wide in a kind of upstream dead drift presentation which causes serious issues with line control.

As to its efficiency, I've found it to be very much so when done properly. I can't explain the hydraulics involved, but for some reason it does a really good job of fishing the fly just off the bottom without too many snags or bottom bouncing (perhaps the pull of the line keeps the rig from penetrating the boundary cushion?) and the hook-ups are positive without a lot of missed fish. Once a rhythm is established, the water can be covered fairly systematically. It fishes very much like Czech nymphing, only with larger flies. I should add that I don't rig up to fish this way intentionally but rather use it as an adjunct when rigged to grease line and swing flies with my teeny line. When I come across water suited to its method, I just switch to a heaver fly and have at it.

I readily admit though it's not for everyone. I'm sure you agree that as with any other method, initial success breeds confidence which when all is said and done is the single most important factor to motivate continued experimentation. I was fortunate to have some really great days with my early experiments, which led to confidence that only increased after more practice and success. And so it goes, I guess.;)
"It's not that I find fishing so important, it's just that I find all other endeavors of Man equally unimportant... And not nearly as much fun!" Robert Traver, Anatomy of a Fisherman
SofthackleSeptember 21st, 2012, 10:48 pm
Site Editor
Wellsville, NY

Posts: 540
Hi all.
To my way of thinking, the sinking line has a place and use in fly fishing especially if you are a wet fly man like me. I find the full sinking line very effective in the spring when water depth and speed are greater. It gets the fly down to where the fish are faster, which to me, make the fly or flies more effective. I don't like adding beads to my soft-hackles and flymphs, nor do I add body weight. I don't like adding weight to the leader as I feel it inhibits the action of the fly.

I look at it this way. Long before we had all the modern fly lines and synthetic coatings, lines were silk. In order to make them float, they had to be treated, polished, etc, however, the wet fly man had no problem. The line, left un-coated, sank quite well. Leaders, made of gut, were soaked in soak boxes to make them sink.

So, it makes sense, under certain conditions, the sinking line IS an excellent tool to add to your bag of tricks if you like fishing wet flies as I do.

Mark
"I have the highest respect for the skilled wet-fly fisherman, as he has mastered an art of very great difficulty." Edward R. Hewitt

Flymphs, Soft-hackles and Spiders: http://www.troutnut.com/libstudio/FS&S/index.html
EntomanSeptember 21st, 2012, 11:06 pm
Northern CA & ID

Posts: 2604
Good points, Mark. I'd forgotten about the old tackle, but you are absolutely right. I don't use the clear sinkers with fluoro leaders (which probably approximates it the best) on freestones as much as I probably should. While their obvious use for lakes is often discussed, they are also rarely mentioned regarding spring creeks for some reason. They are excellent for fishing soft hackles and pupal imitations on a controlled swing when a dry line would cause too much surface disturbance. An interesting note is that I've often noticed you can swing a submerged clear line near or through rising fish without putting them down. That's not something I can say about a dry line.:)
"It's not that I find fishing so important, it's just that I find all other endeavors of Man equally unimportant... And not nearly as much fun!" Robert Traver, Anatomy of a Fisherman
AdirmanSeptember 23rd, 2012, 7:36 am
Monticello, NY

Posts: 498
I'm sure this has been discussed before so, forgive me, but I was wondering if you guys prefer to use a sinking and/or sinktip specifically when euro nymphing. I normally use sinktip line and think its reasonably effective but have used floating as well and find virutally no difference in # strikes,strike detection etc. I wonder if the same could be said if using full sinking? I'm going to speculate that the lack of difference is due to the fact that with the euro method, you almost have no flyline on the water anway 90% of the time. So, floating, sinktip, sinking probably wouldnt matter much at all unless fishing deep runs or pools right?

Thanks,

Adriman
PaulRobertsSeptember 24th, 2012, 11:02 am
Colorado

Posts: 1776
I'm sure this has been discussed before so, forgive me, but I was wondering if you guys prefer to use a sinking and/or sinktip specifically when euro nymphing. I normally use sinktip line and think its reasonably effective but have used floating as well and find virutally no difference in # strikes,strike detection etc. I wonder if the same could be said if using full sinking? I'm going to speculate that the lack of difference is due to the fact that with the euro method, you almost have no flyline on the water anway 90% of the time. So, floating, sinktip, sinking probably wouldnt matter much at all unless fishing deep runs or pools right?

Thanks,

Adriman

That's what I was thinking too -the similarities between Czech and Brook's -although the rigs are quite different.
AdirmanSeptember 24th, 2012, 5:40 pm
Monticello, NY

Posts: 498
I've heard of the Brooks method before but don't really know what its about. Isn't it pretty much like high-sticking in deep turbulent water with big flies and alot of weight?
EntomanSeptember 24th, 2012, 7:38 pm
Northern CA & ID

Posts: 2604
No, the only thing they have in common is that both fish flies deep. High sticking is vertical using the weight of the flies and/or shot to counteract the pull of the current on the leader in the upper faster layers (hopefully). Too little weight and the flies are swept along too fast and too far above the bottom - too heavy, and the flies will bog down and sink below the boundary layer and stall (or snag). The Brooks method works by getting a length of line down horizontally in line with the current and drifting down just at the boundary layer of dead water next to the rocks. The fly is also horizontal and "pulled" behind at a pace much slower than if the line were closer to the surface. The pull from the curve of the line angling up through the faster currents as it drifts down is just enough to keep it there without the line settling into the rocks.

I believe High Sticking is a technique better utilized in pocket water or deep slots around obstructions (where it happens to be my favorite). The brooks method comes into its own for use in runs too swift and deep for effective indicator fishing or flies and leader requirements out-sized for Czech nymphing. Though in terms of casting angle and line handling it is very similar to the latter, you fish it later into the drift. Effective Czech nymphing is best done leading the flies and flipping them back up after the rod comes parallel with you. With the brooks method, you're in the middle of the hot spot when the rod comes parallel and you need to fish the cast out by following the line and lowering the rod. What it looks like (if you could see it) is an upside-down back cast loop being formed underwater in line with the current as it fishes. When the loop straightens out below you it will be near the surface and ready for the "forward cast" back upstream in the form of a tension cast. Don't confuse this with casting a wet line at an upstream angle across the current which is something one should never do IMO except when fishing streamers aggressively or perhaps in very slow currents (like a pool) where stripping is to be employed from the start once the cast has settled.

Please feel free to ask specific questions on those points I didn't make clear and I will try to answer them better for you.

BTW, back when I used single-handed rods for steelhead, the brooks method saved the day many times when they were dour and not moving to a swung fly well.
"It's not that I find fishing so important, it's just that I find all other endeavors of Man equally unimportant... And not nearly as much fun!" Robert Traver, Anatomy of a Fisherman
PaulRobertsSeptember 24th, 2012, 10:05 pm
Colorado

Posts: 1776
I see the similarity in that both flies are pulled, one by the rod the other by the line. Although this could be said for any upstream nymphing rig including indicators, the difference is that the Czech and Brook's rely on feel for detection.

Do I have that right Kurt?
EntomanSeptember 24th, 2012, 10:36 pm
Northern CA & ID

Posts: 2604
Exactly. Paul. I would only add that the Brooks method is not nearly as sensitive as indicator fishing, the difference being what it lacks in sensitivity it makes up for in line inertia helping to hook the fish. There's no mysterious sixth sense involved like there is in fishing nymphs dead drift without an indicator on a dry line. Much like swinging a long, deep line for steelhead, angler responses with both are more bringing the line up and taught with the fish than actually setting the hook as is done with a surface swing or as in Czech nymphing, high sticking, and especially indicator nymphing where angler timing on the hook-set is often exasperatingly crucial. A lot of steelheaders feel bad when they miss fish as if they could have reacted differently for a better outcome (especially when it's the first hit they've had in maybe days), but the truth is there was probably nothing they could have done. It's hard to move that much line so deep in the water quick enough to make a difference. On a good set, all the angler is really doing is lifting a deep line up and mostly out of the water to better handle what follows!
"It's not that I find fishing so important, it's just that I find all other endeavors of Man equally unimportant... And not nearly as much fun!" Robert Traver, Anatomy of a Fisherman
EntomanSeptember 24th, 2012, 10:41 pm
Northern CA & ID

Posts: 2604
BTW, trying to use the Brooks method with a line different than a full sinker (or long sink tip) is problematic. I'm not surprised with your lack of interest after trying it with your LC sink tip. If you consider the dynamics involved, a super sink tip like that is about as suited to the method as it is to overhead casting. I think the "loop" forming properly underwater is crucial. The weight of the fly is important too. It should be heavy enough to form some resistance to the line to keep things straight, but not so heavy that it bogs down and hangs in the rocks.
"It's not that I find fishing so important, it's just that I find all other endeavors of Man equally unimportant... And not nearly as much fun!" Robert Traver, Anatomy of a Fisherman
PaulRobertsSeptember 24th, 2012, 10:56 pm
Colorado

Posts: 1776
Thanks Kurt. And thanks for the excellent thread all.
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