Sink tips - what else do I "need"? - Spey Pages
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post #1 of 22 (permalink) Old 10-14-2018, 01:32 PM Thread Starter
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Question Sink tips - what else do I "need"?

This year represents my first foray into fishing for trout on the Spey rod and it has been a blast. I am still surprised that I catch decent numbers of fish with a swung streamer (compared to my usual cast and strip approach) and I am keen to continue to explore the possibilities. I started off with a basic outfit (Echo TR 11'3" 4-weight) with a 300 gr. Commando head and a pair of Commando sink tips (96 gr. S3/4 and 9 gr. S2/3), along with a floating tip. I have gotten into the habit of switching tips to match the water depth or velocity I'm fishing and it seems to work decently, with the S3/4 getting most of the work during higher flows and the S2/3 getting more once flows dropped.

Here's my question - what other sink tips should I consider buying? I found that the S3/4 sometimes seemed not quite enough to fish the deeper/faster runs of the rivers I've haunted of late. I am hoping to make at least one trip to the N. Platte in Wyoming this fall (it's just on the ragged edge of day trip range for me) and if I'm going to drive for 7 hours roundtrip, I'd like to be sure I have the necessary gear to make it a productive learning experience.

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post #2 of 22 (permalink) Old 10-14-2018, 01:54 PM
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If you are totally happy with the way the head and tips you have now cast, or are at any rate not interested in experimenting further ATM, then you can simply match their weight and length using DC (density compensated) tips, but ones that sink faster. I don’t have any comando tips, and perhaps the also make faster sinking ones too, but I will assume they are 10’ - if not recalculate the gr/ft - but at 10’ that tip will be about 9 1/2 gr/ft. That is about the same as a 9wr Rio replacement tip. Those come in 6ips and 8ips (grey and dark green color tags) as well as ones in the sink range you already have. So if you got yourself 6ips and 8ips 9wt 10’ rio replacement tips then that would give you two faster sink settings that should cast virtually the same as the tips you have. Like you said, you will not always need that much, but it is good to have. I know I definitely use the 6ips a lot on a trout spey. Hope the idea helps a bit. It’s nice to have a full set of sink rates of the same length so you can switch gears on the fly to see what works best. You will definitely find different trout swinging spots where ALL those sink rates will work best, even on relatively small rivers, so nothing crazy. The 8ips might be for especially fast and/or deep holes.

Ps. Not the range you are thinking about above, but they also make those in INT (~1.5 ips, clear). Those are pretty awesome for trout as well.
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Last edited by Botsari; 10-14-2018 at 02:16 PM.
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post #3 of 22 (permalink) Old 10-14-2018, 04:31 PM
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I find myself looking for the "good water" that matches my setup vs the setup that matches any water. I do have a wide range of tips, but if you want to fish 15 feet deep holes, a swung fly kind of isn't the best approach usually, in my personal opinion. That s3/s4 commando tip should get you pretty deep in trout water if you cast it across, put a big mend or two in and let it dead drift and sink before starting the swing. They do make faster sink rates, though (s5/s6), which they call bucket.
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post #4 of 22 (permalink) Old 10-14-2018, 09:25 PM
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S6 would be the equivalent of t8 for the sink rate. Still what Id call in the ”medium” range. Not all swing fishing is finessing the fly into a certain depth at a certain spot for a few seconds. A lot of swinging, even for trout, is searching. To not have at least an s8 in your pocket somewhere when you go out to explore, or for new conditions even at places you know, is a serious disadvantage. And there will be, I guarantee, certain places and times where it will be the only thing that works.
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post #5 of 22 (permalink) Old 10-15-2018, 01:45 AM
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Sounds like you could use a straight 10 ft. T8 tip add your own loops or the replacement pre-made or MOW T8 equivalent. My home river may not be as deep as yours especially this low water fall time of year but our resident browns are eager and holdover bows are active. I've found the light MOW tips 5/5 and 7.5/2.5 are money to cast across, mend up and drift until the swing starts down & across. These tips will slide over mid river rocks and drop swimming nymphs and buggers/sculpins into the holding slot. A wider river with long deeper fast runs (Grey Reef?) might need a fast sinking tip. Maybe get a 30 ft. chunk of T8, make tips of 8, 10 & 12 ft. and save some bucks over pre-made stuff. A Commando head will turn those over just fine.
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post #6 of 22 (permalink) Old 10-15-2018, 12:53 PM Thread Starter
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Thank you all for the replies - I now have a better idea of what I might want to add to my tip "wallet"!

"Prescribing swung flies to the Colorado fishes"
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post #7 of 22 (permalink) Old 10-15-2018, 02:38 PM
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I use the OPST Riffle and Run tips for probably 90% of my trout streamer swinging (when I'm not just fishing a mono or intermediate poly). I usually only go heavier when water temps dip below 42 degrees. I will say that the T-8 can get you a fish or two in those conditions when the fish aren't moving more than a foot or so to the fly. There are always some exceptions, but I'm usually searching water that is at most 5 feet deep and moderate current, especially in the winter. Make yourself a few T-8s in 5, 7, 10, and 12 ft and I think you're in pretty good shape for the heavy stuff.
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post #8 of 22 (permalink) Old 10-16-2018, 12:14 PM
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When I started out, I had damn near every sink tip from floating to s8. I spent more time changing tips than I did fishing. You can get more depth out of a slow sinking tip if you know what you're doing, than you can out of a fast sinking tip if you don't know what you're doing! Learn to mend line & work with the current.

Not all good water is suitable swing water. Edit the water to suit your tackle, or edit your tackle to suit the water. When all else fails & you feel you just have to put a fly through a run, split shot will save the day. It ain't pretty, & it will raise the hackles for some, but it works.
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post #9 of 22 (permalink) Old 10-16-2018, 12:45 PM
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“You can do more with x - 2 with experience, and/or a brain than you can do with x” is a truism in many fields of endeavor.

But so is “you can do more with x with experience, and/or a brain than you can do with x-2 and the same.”

Still, I very much AM a fan of the whole minimalist Tenkara-style purist mode (when the mood hits) of one fly, one rod, one line, no reel - adapt to do it all. But I certainly haven’t mastered it yet.

While it is very much implied in the ABOVE post, sometimes it can seem a bit ingenious to tell the new guy this since it took a whole lot of experimenting and playing around with stuff to get to the point where you can make it all happen out of thin air. And it can seem more like the master making fun of the beginner than helping him. Maybe people who do this a lot should be required to post a picture of the accumulated contents of the fly fishing part of their man cave.
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post #10 of 22 (permalink) Old 10-16-2018, 04:11 PM
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I'm a fan of the MOW 5/5. Actually the one I use a lot is a MOW 2.5/5. I took a 2.5/7.5 and cut off 2.5 of the T8 (66 grns total). I like tips a little shorter.

You can dig down a little with this tip if you take 2-3 steps down after the cast/mend.
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post #11 of 22 (permalink) Old 10-16-2018, 08:32 PM
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Not to denigrate the novice at all. Rather suggest the K.I.S.S. method as it results in more time fishing with what you have. Which equates to figuring out how to make it work.

Tenkara? We did that when we were kids. Back in the day, it was called a cane pole.

The accumulated contents of my man cave go back at least sixty five years. Some of it has sentimental value only to me. It's mine, it's paid for, a lot of it is not made anymore. I'm a pack rat. My kids will get to deal with it someday.
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post #12 of 22 (permalink) Old 10-17-2018, 04:09 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JDJones View Post
Not to denigrate the novice at all. Rather suggest the K.I.S.S. method as it results in more time fishing with what you have. Which equates to figuring out how to make it work.

Tenkara? We did that when we were kids. Back in the day, it was called a cane pole.

The accumulated contents of my man cave go back at least sixty five years. Some of it has sentimental value only to me. It's mine, it's paid for, a lot of it is not made anymore. I'm a pack rat. My kids will get to deal with it someday.
Yup, when I was a kid you could make a Tenkara set up in a few minutes. Cut a green switch, tie on some nylon, grab a rusty hook from the old mans tackle box and steal a couple slices of Wonder Bread for bait. You could catch brook trout till your arms fell off with a green switch and a bread ball.
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post #13 of 22 (permalink) Old 10-17-2018, 04:45 AM
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ha ha... awesome.

we would fashion hooks from paper clips to send minnows flying through the air...
when I was 6yrs I was going to open a restaurant serving minnow burgers...
drew up a menu, the van, everything.

thank fudge I became a builder instead, hey.

cheers,
shawn
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post #14 of 22 (permalink) Old 10-17-2018, 10:12 AM
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GHalliday——-You sure dredged up a memory with the Wonder Bread. Small hooks with grandfather’s bamboo fly rod (some kind of small black bait casting reel to hold braided line) and a tiny dough ball caught many a fish. Golden Shiners in particular, as big as the hatchery trout, put a bend down into the handle.

Botsari & JDJones——-Tenkara and K.I.S.S. method references will help remind me to stay in the pleasure zone when on the river. Kind of like SRC did when thrashing the OP for three weeks this past September.
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post #15 of 22 (permalink) Old 10-17-2018, 11:56 AM
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More than anything, I just enjoy catching fish on the lightest tackle I can get away with, and I suppose that is a type of purism. The beauty of becoming a swinger of flies (or a diehard dry fly person or whatever) is for me more about catching fish on your own terms, and is less about how many fish you're able to catch. Tenkara was mentioned, but I think anytime we do this, we are delving into the Japanese Zen art tradition, of art for the sake of liberating the self, not for the sake of its end product. As I recently read Modern Steelhead Flies, nowadays we have the luxury of forums like this, where information and opinions are so readily available. People who came before had to learn more experientially through trial and error, or through one on one interactions with other anglers. Those who came before them were even more limited and relied even more on self-discovery. Indeed many of us are old enough to remember fishing before the internet and were active participants. It's not that we don't still do this, but it is nice to have a resource where people can share their experiences. There's also still a certain amount of fun to be had by NOT asking and still using trial and error, which I also still do frequently. By asking for people's opinions, the poster has already decided he might not want to buy every single tip made by man. He can now read through our above opinions and decide for himself how deep he wants to go. (Pun intended)

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