sinking line

Discussion in 'Fly Fishing Forum' started by Peyton00, Mar 28, 2013.

  1. Peyton00 Active Member

    Posts: 702
    Puyallup, Wa.
    Ratings: +288 / 0
    I just purchased my first full sinking line, its a type IV wf-5-s. My Q is.... how long of a tippet is used? I was trolling wooley buggers, or dropping anchor and casting and letting it fall and stripping it in. Is there an optimum length so the bug is "inline" with the weighted line as i strip it back in? I used the 9ft tapered mono leader ( the same i use for dry flys) and it worked ok. I don't have any friends that use sinking line to ask... thanks in advance for any input and help.
  2. zen leecher aka bill w born to work, forced to fish

    Posts: 3,136
    Moses Lake, WA
    Ratings: +959 / 1
    Sometimes you want the "bug" higher. A long leader and a deerhair dragonfly nymph is a good combo. Let the line sink to the bottom and when you strip it in the buoyant nymph "darts" toward the bottom akin to a live nymph.

    For how you are describing you can use a shorter leader to get the fly down closer to the tip of the line. I never did and used the standard 9 ft leader.
  3. troutpocket Active Member

    Posts: 1,775
    Ellensburg, WA
    Ratings: +326 / 0
    Your 9' tapered leader is fine. I typically use a 7' tapered leader and add another 3-5' of fluoro tippet (1-3x).

    Another option is a sinking polyleader that matches the sink rate of your line and adding a few feet of tippet to that. I'm giving that a try this spring on my Type V sinker and it's working well. Seems to help turn over waterlogged bunny leeches better than a mono leader.
  4. Porter Active Member

    Posts: 6,411
    Kenmore, WA, USA.
    Ratings: +508 / 0
    4 - 6 feet is what I usually use with sink and sink tips when throwing leeches and buggers. That is usually on moving waters, for lakes I stay closer to 6' leader. Weight of the fly, speed of water, and desired depth all play a roll in determining how you rig up.
    I do this for leeches and buggers only....leader length longer on other type and smaller flies
    Patrick Gould and Kent Lufkin like this.
  5. GAT Active Member

    Posts: 3,983
    Willamette Valley, OR
    Ratings: +2,557 / 0
    I fish clear stillwaters and use looooong leaders. Instead of changes patterns, adding tippet material will sometimes make all the difference. This is especially true for the Cascade Lakes in Oregon.

    And I'm talking a 20 foot leader and tippet. Where I fish, using f-carbon and very long leaders can make the difference between catching trout and not. The size of the tippet material does not make that much difference but the length does.

    My fishing buddies are also wise to the situation and also use very long leaders and f-carbon tippet material.
    Krusty likes this.
  6. triploidjunkie Active Member

    Posts: 2,308
    Grand Coulee, WA
    Ratings: +1,256 / 0
    I just use about five or six feet of straight floro(pline or equal) for full sink or sink tips, and swap it out when it gets under four feet. I go slightly longer when using smaller bugs, but I haven't used tapered on anything but floating line for years. I don't think my casting or fish catching has suffered for it at all.
    Jeff Dodd, Krusty and Lugan like this.
  7. Lugan Joe Streamer

    Posts: 2,378
    Beautiful View, WA
    Ratings: +760 / 2
    I use sink tips with streamers a lot. I never use anything like a 9' (much les 20') leader. Maybe there are special situations as the posters above have outlined, but if you are just chucking streamers in an average WA lake, 7'-8' is about what I use. In a stream where I am swinging the fly across and down the current such that the fish sees the fly first and not the line, I use a much shorter piece of straight tippet around 4'-6'.
    Kent Lufkin likes this.
  8. GAT Active Member

    Posts: 3,983
    Willamette Valley, OR
    Ratings: +2,557 / 0
    Streamers are a different story. Normally, longer leaders are not required for those but there are few stillwaters I fish for trout that streamers work all that well.

    I'm not about to try and convince anyone to use abnormally long leaders. I was doubtful when an old stillwater flyfishing sage told me about the length issue and I didn't believe it could make a difference until I started trying it.

    So use whatever length you want. Doesn't matter to me. I know what works were I fish and what doesn't. Fisheries obviously vary from one to the other and I fish ones that require specific presentations. The ones you fish may not. So take my experience with a grain of salt. All I know is it works for me and my buddies and if you fish the same fisheries we do, you will not catch trout with a sinking line and a 9 foot long leader.
  9. Kent Lufkin Remember when you could remember everything?

    Posts: 7,136
    Not sure
    Ratings: +1,224 / 0
    The OP didn't specify whether he was fishing moving water or stillwater. I have almost no experience fishing a full sinking line on moving water. But I fish them regularly on lakes, usually with larger streamer patterns.

    When doing so, it's important for me to be able to have the line turn over when casting. With a large, heavy fly I find that any leader longer than about 6-7 feet makes a 'hinge' in the leader and feels like I'm trying to cast with a rock on the end.

    Instead, I use a short 5 foot tapered leader, or better yet, furled leader, with a couple feet of 2X tippet. Once my fly is more than 2-3 feet below the surface, the fish can't tell the difference between it and 5X and the heavier tippet helps with casting turnover.

    K
  10. Peyton00 Active Member

    Posts: 702
    Puyallup, Wa.
    Ratings: +288 / 0
    Thanks for the information. I am fishing a lake. Should i use sinking tippets with the sinking line? ALSO, I was more curious if using the long leader will have the bug swinging/flail around behind the main line?, and if a shorter leader would give it a more realistic presentation.?? I am casting and stripping it back in. Thanks again for helping this sinking line newbie with the learning curve.
  11. rainbow My name is Mark Oberg

    Posts: 1,230
    Renton wa
    Ratings: +78 / 0
    There is a sa cleartip 4wt line in the classifieds, buy it before i do.
  12. Cruik Active Member

    Posts: 459
    Seattle, WA
    Ratings: +141 / 0
    If I understand you correctly, you're worried that a longer leader might reduce the tension to the fly and thereby not telegraph the stripping action? I don't think it would have too much effect unless your leader was somehow coiling or not laying out straight in some way. I have often wondered, though, if using a long leader on a full-sink with a non-weighted fly creates a belly where the fly line is lower than the fly. In this case, I suppose it would be possible to lose a bit of sensitivity in the fly line. I have always thought that it is better to fish a weighted fly and use as short of a leader as you can get away with, depending on water clarity. If you're using a short leader (4'-6'), I just don't see the reason to have any sort of taper on it. And of course, I would use fluoro if you can swing it, though I've always used 6 or 8 lb. Maxima UG.

    As Kent said above, though, I think the biggest issue with leader length is the difficulty of casting a sinking line with a heavy fly and long leader.
  13. zen leecher aka bill w born to work, forced to fish

    Posts: 3,136
    Moses Lake, WA
    Ratings: +959 / 1
    I've used a 9' leader since I began fishing subsurface flies in 1974 and it doesn't appear I've been missing too many fish.
  14. Blue Active Member

    Posts: 1,141
    Salt Lake City, UT
    Ratings: +103 / 0


    I don't use a leader. Why? Tapered leaders aid in presentation, that is not an issue with a sinking line. I tie straight ol' fluorocarbon to the line. I will start with maybe 6' and work down from there.
    triploidjunkie and Krusty like this.
  15. Patrick Gould Active Member

    Posts: 2,356
    Ellensburg, WA
    Ratings: +688 / 1
    I generally go shorter than what's sold commercially. 2-7' depending on the situation. I'm sure there are fisheries where longer is called for.
  16. Krusty Active Member

    Posts: 906
    Spokane, WA
    Ratings: +599 / 0
    For sub-surface stillwater fishing, you regain a lot of sensitivity to subtle strikes..which occur often on the retrieve pause...by keeping your rod tip near or slightly under the lake surface....regardless of leader length. A rod held up-right doesn't transmit low energy input all that efficiently. It adds too much slack to the line.

    In very clear water, in full daylight, a long leader can be critical...not so much in more turbid or poorly lit conditions.

    As for a tapered leader...a suitably stiff straight fluorocarbon line works just fine...all it really needs to do is deliver the wetfly without a big nasty tangle or splash. Yes, you're not setting a dryfly, and the strikes occur during the retrieve, but there's no point in spooking everything at the end of your tackle system.
    Kent Lufkin likes this.
  17. Peyton00 Active Member

    Posts: 702
    Puyallup, Wa.
    Ratings: +288 / 0
    Thanks for all the responses.
  18. Lue Taylor Lue Taylor/dbfly

    Posts: 307
    auburn,wa
    Ratings: +75 / 9
    IT ALL DEPEND ON WHAT DEPTH YOU ARE TARGETING SHORT LEADER FLY GET'S DOWN FASTER LONGER STAY UP IN THE WATER COLUMN AND AGAIN IT DEPEND ON HOW FAST ARE YOU MOVING OR STANDING STILL HOW LONG YOU WAIT FOR THE LINE TO SINK. IF YOU KEEP IN MIND THAT FISH LIKE TO FEED IN 3-4 FT OF WATER WHICH IS IDEAL AND IF YOU ARE CATCHING FISH AT 10 FT THEN YOU HAVE FOUND THE HONEY HOLE OR THE LEVEL THE FISH ARE SITTING BECAUSE OF WATER TEMP AND FOOD WHICH IS KEY,ONE OTHER THING FISH CHASE SO YOUR FLY MAY START AT 15FT BUT FISH TOOK IT AT 5FT SORRY FOR ALL CAPS THE KEY STUCK OR BROKEN ON MY LAPTOP
  19. Peyton00 Active Member

    Posts: 702
    Puyallup, Wa.
    Ratings: +288 / 0
    I went back today. I arrived at 1:30. It was a very breezy day full of sunshine. Majority came on the troll. I did however pick up some fish casting and stripping in the chop. I didn't change my leader length at all. I will make a better attempt and mixing it up next time.