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post #1 of 16 (permalink) Old 12-12-2001, 11:06 PM Thread Starter
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Originator: joecurrDate: 12/12/2001 7:06 PM
I'm a relatively new member and a beginning spey caster here in the Bay area. I have been developing and practicing my casting skills at the casting ponds in Golden Gate Park with the help of a few members of the GG Angling Club. I've also had the two hander on the Deschuttes several times this past fall with reasonable success fishing a dry line. My first (and I'm sure, not my last) big struggle and fustration came when I took the rod to the Babine in early November and tried casting with some of the heavier sink tips. By the way, I have a 2001 Sage 9140-4 Traditional and a Rio Windcutter 8/9/10 with interchangeable tips. Casting with these tips was a challange to say the least; casting with heavier grain tips was immpossible for me. The guides in BC  said the rod is too soft. As a novice I am loath to blame the equipment and feel more coaching and practice with the sink tips is the answer. But I would love to have some feedback on the rod. Thanks...joe
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post #2 of 16 (permalink) Old 12-13-2001, 12:13 AM Thread Starter
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Originator: cootDate: 12/12/2001 8:13 PM
Hi : Your experience with heavy sink tips paralelles my own .It is
virtally impossible to make a true spey cast with tips which in 15 foot
length weigh almost 1 oz or 400 grains. I have found that these can be cast
by using a relatively stiff overhead 14 or 16 foot rod. You need to
amputate the fine tip of the windcutter line taking off about 20 feet of
tip to which you apply hollow braid loops. The sink tip is connected to the
heavy section of line .From the downstream hang you can lift and throw
about 40 feet of line straight out across stream as one would do in the
Anderson underhand spey. From this position you can make a backcast and
forward cast shooting running line to achieve casts of 100 feet.
I have been told by knowledgable Scots gillies that they do not attempt to
spey cast heavy sink tips but rather use a medium rate full sinking line
when they wish to dredge the bottom. They first make a roll cast downstream
to get the line tight and get it up to the surface,then the make a normal
spey cast.
Bud Smithers
Kelowna BC

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post #3 of 16 (permalink) Old 12-15-2001, 11:48 PM Thread Starter
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Originator: J_DDate: 12/15/2001 7:48 PM
Casting sink tips is not fun but it can be done. When using anything over 220 grains, I would highly recommend that you remove both the #1 and the #2 tips from the wind cutter line. Like mentioned previously, you have to do a roll cast to get the tip up to the surface. The snake roll will also bring it up. Some have been known to do multiple "snakes" before actually making the cast. There are many good casters in the GG club. Dave Drennon or Floyd Dean should be able to help you. There is nothing wrong with the 9140-4. some just prefer a faster action. Overhead casting is a cop-out.
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post #4 of 16 (permalink) Old 12-16-2001, 12:17 AM Thread Starter
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Originator: Nooksack MacDate: 12/15/2001 8:17 PM
   I don't have trouble casting sinking tips up to 17 feet -- provided that they're driven by a belly at least one or two sizes larger.  I've used #7 tips on a #11 belly; they work fine.
   Also, the rod needs to have a strong enough tip section.  Weak, fast-action rod tips can work with floating lines and moderate-size flies.  But an all-around spey rod needs a taper with enough upper-body strength.
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post #5 of 16 (permalink) Old 12-16-2001, 01:26 PM Thread Starter
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Originator: SpeynutDate: 12/16/2001 9:26 AM
You're right it's not the rod. When using the Windcutter sink tips with my Sage 914-3 (European action), I rarely go into whatever spey cast I'm using straight off the bat.  The key with sink tips, as well as sinking lines,  is to strip in a bit more line than you would when you're using your floater tip, roll cast once or twice to bring up the sinktip and floating portion of the line that has been pulled down below the surface, and then without hesitation immediately proceed to your single spey, snap-T, snake roll or double spey, whatever.
Generally speaking, your sink tip is buried in the water column, particularly if there's a decent current flow in the drift you're fishing, and there is simply too much pressure on the line to bring it effectively to the surface without the preliminary roll cast.  Though it's possible to skip the roll cast and go right into a snake roll if the conditions and length of line out are right as JD mentioned, but this still will require greater effort and this negates one of the biggest advantages of the two hander, which is to fish long, smooth, and effortlessly.   Good luck, you'll get it.  Speynut
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post #6 of 16 (permalink) Old 12-17-2001, 08:07 AM Thread Starter
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Originator: Fred EvansDate: 12/17/2001 4:07 AM
Thank God for the good advise!! Put a sink tip in for the first time in over a year and I was like a "Cub Bear playing with himself. Not a pretty picture ....
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post #7 of 16 (permalink) Old 12-18-2001, 07:53 AM Thread Starter
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Originator: joecurrDate: 12/18/2001 3:53 AM
It is amazing sometimes how one small piece of advice will be so important. Roll casting to get the line and tip on the surface is the key! I haven't tried this on the river yet but practicing at the GG ponds has allowed for some consistancy with the tips for the 8/9/10 Windcutter. I have a #8 Versitip with lighter grain tips for my single handed rod; I'll try these tips on the Windcutter. Thanks for all the advice...joe
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post #8 of 16 (permalink) Old 12-18-2001, 09:44 AM Thread Starter
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Originator: BrianKempkesDate: 12/18/2001 5:44 AM
Joe, the other thing that will help with your casting practice is to GET OFF THOSE PONDS and get into some moving water. GG park ponds are nice, but but they are not made for spey casting sink tips, and you will get advice from some people who don't know squat about 2 handers. Get up to the Trinity, the American, Feather, or lower Sac. and get that rod in front of some fish. You will find here in Cal. you will rarely use the #6 sink tip, I use the floater and a longer leader or the #3 which is easy to pick up. I fish the EXACT same setup you have, and i have several others in my quiver. Maybe after xmas we could hook up and fish and I could give you a few pointers. SPEYNUT gave you very good advice- he knows that of which he speaks. Whatever you do, don't cut that line up! I will show you some tips to set up that rod.  When fishing tips, remove the middle floating section(I never use it anyway). It gives you more control over your leader. [email protected]
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post #9 of 16 (permalink) Old 12-19-2001, 01:28 PM Thread Starter
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Originator: Scott KDate: 12/19/2001 9:28 AM
I fish a Sage 9140-3 European Action. I have found that casting the type 5 15 foot tip which came with my 10wt Mastery Tri tip as well as a heavily weighted fly (Starlite Leech) together generally not being much of an issue anymore when I use the Snake Roll right off the bat. Maybe I can attribute this to the fact the rod is virtually a sink tip cannon, and faster/euro action rods are better with "newer" casts like the Snake Roll/Snap T because I have actally felt the rod bend (load) for once when I properly do a Snake Roll. This relates to the fact that the Snake Roll is a very dynamic Energetic cast which puts lots of energy in your line and really gets the tip on the top of the water where it should be when forming your D loop. For Heavy tips, I personally think that the Snake Roll is one of the best and next to that would have to be in all honesty the Single Spey (although this cast is a bit tougher to do off-hand and you can't get the change of direction the Snake roll can, you can still time it however you need to, to get the line out there).
Having said that, I want to make a point that I am greatful I have subscribed to Dana Sturns newletter because in one of his articles, I believe it was titled "Refining the Snake roll" (I think? one of the more recent issues) there are two tips that I have picked up in there that I think have really improved my Snake Rolls with Sink tips/weighted flies.
In all fairness to him, I will leave it up to you to subscribe to his newsletter, I believe he might send you all the back issues (is this right Dana?) as well.
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post #10 of 16 (permalink) Old 12-19-2001, 03:40 PM Thread Starter
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Originator: Fred EvansDate: 12/19/2001 11:40 AM
Will be down in Windsor/Healdsburg area for Christmas (most of Joan's family still live in the immediate area) sooooooo 'question of the hour' is should I bring a rod to play on the Russian River next week?  Don't know if the water conditions (good-blown-etc) warrent filling up the car a bit more.
(Joan's lament, when I told her I was thinking about bringing a rod, was "all you do is fish, fish, fish .... I never see you anymore." Just gotta figure a way to get that gal interested in fly fishing. Ah, women .... Bless them all.
PS to Brian: love the e mails; some very great stuff!
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post #11 of 16 (permalink) Old 12-19-2001, 07:32 PM Thread Starter
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Originator: Rick JDate: 12/19/2001 3:32 PM
We are getting another storm in tonight through early Friday and the river is already ripping. - Maybe good for casting practice but...
We are heading up to Eureka from Santa Rosa to visit family probably early Sunday - nothing going on up there either.  A friend of mine hit the Elk a couple of weeks ago and had a number of salmon - one king went over 40#! (Not on flies).  I managed a 28# a month ago on the Chetco on flies - lots of fish/little rain early - how I wish for those conditions again!!
Rick J
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post #12 of 16 (permalink) Old 12-19-2001, 08:58 PM Thread Starter
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Originator: Peter-s-cDate: 12/19/2001 4:58 PM
Joe, I've run into similar problems as well.  The advice you've received about stripping in line and rollcasting is worth heeding.  I know nothing about your Sage but I have owned 6 spey rods over the past few years (not all at the same time <g>) and some were definitely better than others when handling tips.  I found the progressive action rods did fine, but the faster, tip action rods were always a pain to use with sunk lines.  When I attempted to pick up a sunk line, the wimpy tip would fold over while the butt section was hardly deflected.  OTOH, my current Daiwa progressive action med.-fast rod and my old progressive but slow Lamiglas picked them up just fine.  I'm strictly an average caster so it's quite possible that casts like the snake roll could've picked up the sunk lines on those tip action rods, but as I did not know of that cast when I owned them, I never tried it.
The double spey has always worked well for me when handling tips.  In earlier days, I'd use a double spey on a right running river and the same cast on my off shoulder for a left running river.  Today, I make use of the Snap-T/Circle cast on a left running river.  I allow the fly to make a full swing, letting the current raise the line on the dangle, then strip in the running line (which raises the line still further) until the floating belly is into the tiptop, then I make the cast.
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post #13 of 16 (permalink) Old 12-20-2001, 12:45 AM Thread Starter
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Originator: speycasterDate: 12/19/2001 8:45 PM

Making a roll cast before starting into whatever spey cast you’re making is the key with dense sinktips and/or weighted flies. The short-headed lines like the Windcutter make sinktip casting easier. I’d suggest making an easily-visible mark at the rear end of the head portion of the line (just before it tapers into the thin running line). Making the roll cast with a few feet of the belly inside the tiptop will bring the sunken line to the surface more easily. Then you can let a few feet out for the actual fishing cast. If you're using a dense tip longer than about 18', I'd suggest taking off the midsection of your line. Otherwise, a 15-18' sinktip should be manageable, no matter what the density, with the rod you have. Those tips are in the 150-200 grain range and should be quite castable by removing just the floating tip.

I also can’t let those comments about casting at the Golden Gate ponds go unchallenged. It is easier to learn on moving water, but also quite practical to do on ponds as well, including with sink tips. If you can make the cast on still water, it’s much easier in moving water, with the current helping plane the line to the surface at the beginning of any cast. The measured distance marks at the casting ponds also don’t lie, and many a visitor has been disappointed at his "100-foot" casts turning out to be more like 80-something. Jimmy Green, the legendary rod designer and spey casting guru from Washington has built a pond in his yard for both speycasting practice and competitions. It’s not perfect, but it does show that speycasting on ponds works fine.

As to the level of casting and help at Golden Gate, the comments are seriously uninformed. There are probably more competent speycasters at those ponds than you’ll regularly find at any other place you can name. Maybe you didn’t know that Mel Krieger lives a few blocks away from the park and casts at the ponds frequently, as does Mariusz Wroblewski, who ran the Ponoi Atlantic salmon camp for 6 years and is a tremendous speycaster who spent 6 years in Russia guiding and speycasting for salmon. There are also a bunch of lesser-known folks, some of whom have been speycasting and fishing for steelhead with spey rods for 15 years or more, who are excellent casters, helpful and competent teachers and who have helped many others get started. You can go out there most any weekend and find some of them there. The notion that the casters at the Golden Gate ponds are just a bunch of casting purists who never get their feet wet or don’t understand real fishing and casting is just baloney! You just need to meet the people and ask a few questions and you’ll find out who knows their stuff.

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post #14 of 16 (permalink) Old 12-23-2001, 04:52 AM Thread Starter
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Originator: BrianKempkesDate: 12/23/2001 12:52 AM
I have heard of Mel Krieger, Mariusz, and other that hang out at the GG casting ponds, but there others that will remain nameless that offer their advice for "free" that will confuse a beginner more than taking one paid spey lesson. Having a lesson from Mel is worth paying for.
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post #15 of 16 (permalink) Old 01-01-2002, 03:48 AM Thread Starter
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Originator: Ol RichDate: 12/31/2001 11:48 PM
I was out this weekend with my 14' St Croix 9/10 and a WindCutter 8/9/10 with interchangable tips.  I have the Upgrade #2 tip on and could cast a Type 6 sink tip as long as I roll cast to get the tip on top of the water.  The roll cast seems to be critical for me.
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