Tried and true…Sinking spey lines

Cedar, about ten casts from the put in, and setting a trend.

Cedar, about ten casts from the put in, and setting a trend.

So I have been fishing sinking skagit and scandie heads on and off for a while now, starting with the all clear intermediate ones I made myself some years back and more recently with offerings from airflo and Rio.

When I am fishing them they feel great.  That is they feel like a line that is doing a better job of fishing my fly the way I want it.  But I have not noticed a big increase in the number of grabs I am getting while using them, and for the most part, when I have one guest fishing a floating line sink tip rig, and another guy fishing a sinking line, the tried and true, skagit and a sink tip seems to do better.

I have been messing with the sinkers more and more, I really like them, (especially the ones I made myself with no floating section) and I think I have an idea why they haven’t paid off like I feel they should have.

They fish different.  It is a real change in gear, and it definitely opens up a lot of water spey fishers had not previously been able to fish effectively.  But the water I fish most, is the water I spent years figuring out how to catch fish from with floating lines.  That is, the water I fish the most, is floating line sink tip water, because that’s all I had when I learned to fish it.

So this season I have been experimenting a lot, feeling around in bigger, deeper heavier water, trying to find find where these lines fit best.  Its fun, and although I am not personally catching as many fish as I would if I stuck to the tried and true, I feel like I am on the edge of something, I am learning a lot about water I just couldn’t use before, its added quite a bit of fishing water to my favorite rivers.

Of course salmon season was a different story, these lines CRUSHED the Salmon.

shawn, with a much needed day off, THANKS GUYS

Shawn, glad he caught the plane. THANKS GUYS.

On a very related note, if you manage to find a Rio 510 sinking skagit with 12 feet of T-14 and a Sasquatch Poacher tied on, please return it.  I broke the damn thing off down there yesterday.

Jim Kerr

Rain Coast Guides

Posted in Steelhead Fly Fishing Gear, Winter Steelhead Fly Fishing Report | Tagged | 4 Comments

4 Responses to Tried and true…Sinking spey lines

  1. Joe B says:

    Very interesting, Jim–thanks for sharing. I started fishing the sinking thing after salmon fishing with you, and I couldn’t really do much with it as far as steelhead were concerned…probably because I was fishing the water the fly line box told me to fish–slow, deep stuff with weird current. I ended up cutting the back 6ft off the Airflo intermediate–the floating section–and fishing it on my short spey pole. It seems to work much better, though I try not to cast in settings where witnesses are present… not pretty.

    Anywho, can you share a bit about the water you like for these? Is it the fast choppy stuff or deeper than that?

    • raincoastguides says:

      Joe,
      Thanks for the question.
      You know, I am just using them to feel around in all the heavier faster stuff adjacent to where I have caught fish before, and at the tops of some big tanks. But I am still figuring it out. One thing I can tell you is I can get my fly all the way to the floor in some spots I never had a chance before.
      Jim

  2. Jeff says:

    Jim,
    I am wondering why this sinking rig worked so well for salmon? Is it just the type of water you fish for them vs where you fish for steelhead? Or is it that salmon just prefer this deeper presentation. Any ideas on why it works for them so well? Also, are you talking about something faster sinking than an intermediate? I only see an intermediate offered by Rio.
    Thanks Jim for all of your insights into new techniques. We all appreciate it!
    Jeff

    • raincoastguides says:

      Jeff,
      I think a big part of it is salmon keg up, finding them generally isn’t the hard part, its getting them to bite, and that means keeping the fly close to them as long as possible. I have been running the intermediates and adding faster sink tips as needed.
      Jim

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