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Discussion Starter #1
Hey OM,

Good advice from Sean - and I'm taking it because this is a good topic. Dana's not monitoring the site very closely right now - he's avoiding his computer and taking some R&R. I know this because (1) he posted a message on the Spey Clave saying he would and (2) he's been down here in WA fishing a lot lately:devil:

Anyway, I haven't tried the sinking leaders yet but their biggest claim to fame is that you just knot a perfection loop at the end of your leader butt and attach them (or your mono leader) there instead of having to cut your flyline 15' back to accomodate sinktips.

I know that Dana and Kush even use them in the winter, but tell me it's a bit difficult to turn over the heaviest sinking leaders (those Type VI ones) when they're attached as a leader to your mono butt.

I'm sure they'll respond eventually. Many of us leave the board for periods of time. It's not because we don't want to respond or are ignoring anyone, it's just that we may not have computer access if on vacation or just want to take a break from the electronic ratrace:D

I know I'll be gone for several weeks the end of August and the beginning of September and probably won't even look at a computer the entire time. Just in case anybody cares :confused: or has a question they think I should answer.

Anybody else out there using those sinking leaders?

DS
 

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Thanks DS for starting this topic, the Old Man (and I) could use the discussion.

From my novice position, I see it like so:

It seems that to effectively present your offering to Mr./Ms. Steelhead you often need added weight to the terminal end. You could use weighted flies, sinking leaders, sink tips or combinations of these to get the fly down towards the bottom.

I am beginning to think that weighted flies don't always project the more natural action one would wish. Sink tips are fairly expensive and compel one to cut their floating lines to accommodate this added weight. Sinking leaders give one a weight advantage without cutting line or diminishing the fly's more natural action.

Weighted flies often cast terribly, the loops you install on your cut line often hang in the guides when fishing close, and sinking leaders seem to suffer from neither of these faults.

I'm sorta experimenting with the virtues of these sinking leaders (and weighted flies, sink tips) and the jury is out. But then again the jury has been out all year from a success point of view. :chuckle: ...but I have found them far more pleasant to cast than the other alternatives.

ws
 

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Discussion Starter #3
excellent summary!

I agree - the only drawback I've heard to the sinking leaders is that they get to be a bit hard to turn over and hinge at the leader juncture with the heavier versions.

I do know that sinking leaders have been used to get the fly down successfully on the Skagit in winter, so they must be doing a pretty good job.

Hell, when the fish aren't biting I'm either practicing my casting or testing new equipment to keep me entertained. It's "par for the course".

Good Luck!!

Brian
 

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Me,Me,Me

Well I usually put my big foot in my mouth before I look both ways. I bought that sinking leader for my 5wt. I know it's not spey fishing but this is where Dana used to hang out. I wanted some input so I wouldn't look stupid when I was fishing.

As I am reading these posts it seems that it doesn't cast right. It won't turn over. Well I cast it out in my back yard and into the kids pool and I didn't have any problem with it turning over,but I didn't have a fly on it.

I guess I will have to take it to the closest river and give it a try.
 

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I started using sinking leaders about 15 years ago when the airflo products first hit the north american market.At that time Sue Burgess made available a kit of 6 different diameters of hollow braid and a system for homemade tapered hollow braid leaders. They also marketed a sink paste which could be applied to the hollow of the braid and allowed one to modify the sink rate by applying different amounts of the paste.
Subsequently I started inserting fine lead wire into the hollow of the braid and by changing the amount and placement of the lead could vary the charcteristis of the leader.
More recetly I have gone to the Airflo sinking leaders on a mono core .These do an excellent job within their limitations. The extra fast sink rate salmon models in 10' length I find are good for water depths of up to 6 feet and moderate currents using standard brass tube flies.
beyond these conditions however I still find that I need sink tips cut from 550 grain deepwater express or even from 850 grain to get down on the rocks in the heaviest flows of the Thompson.
 

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Old Man & Watersprite,

DS is right, Dana is taking a hiatus and I've been holidaying, fishing, hollidaying and now guiding (fishing) and I think tonight will be my 6th night at home since the end of June.

He's also right about Dana and I using sinking leaders. Brian was talking about his small tubes waking when he tries to fish them in a smooth surface flow. This bugged me as well, until I put on an Airflo Intermediate Poly-Leader, it is clear and it just gets the fly an inch or two under the surface - I haven't used a regular leader since - I've even fished wakers with it as it won't pull the Boob Tube under.

As for getting down for late fall on the "T" or spring fishing the Type IV and VI polyleaders have all but eliminated actual sink-tips from my arsenal. On a typically shallow river like the Squamish I've found the Type IV perfect and the Type VI too much sink for the flow conditions. I did use a conventional Type IV 15' tip a few times on the Skagit this spring, but generally found the poly leaders more than sufficient to present flies to these relatively active fish. I believe that their very narrow profile makes up for their lack of grains - they sink well.

With regard to the aforementioned hinging, I have only found this to be a problem with the Type VI poly-leader. Furthermore, I experienced the inability to turn the beast over most clearly with my Accelerator as it collapsed the "Power Hinge", the Accelerator managed the Type IV perfectly and other designs handled it well.

I recieved a new Airflo Long Delta line and was reluctant to cut it right away (hoping for a future looped version!) so I fished it with polyleaders this spring, it was great and it managed the Type VI reasonably well. This in my opinion is the real advantage of the sinking leader concept - you retain the characteristics (and overall length) of an uncut dry line, yet you can fish it like a sink tip!

I am sold on the poly-leader concept and have about three full sets kicking around in my vest and gear bag.
 

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airflo polyleaders

Considering equal conditions which will sink the fastest in swift water: the 10' extra fast sink trout polyleader which is thinner or the 10' extra fast sink salmon/saltwater polyleader which is thicker but seams heavier?
 

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Hi Sleepy: I tend to go with the 10' salmon leader in extra fast sink not so much because of the heavier weight but because of the heavier mono core which i think is necessary to turn over heavy 2/0 and 3/0 flies which you need to get down deep.
 

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Sleepy,

I will go with LA on this one. In addition to his reason I prefer the Saltwater poly-leader due to its 40lb mono core. I did have some breakage problems that resulted from attaching the 15lb Maxima tippet I prefer to the lighter monocore. I finally got around it by nail knotting the tippet to the poly-leader. This has not been a problem with the heavier core of the Saltwater version.

Interestingly, the first poly-leaders I used came from Loop and they had factory loops at both ends (hmmm) which made tippet addition easy with a loop, as well as the ability to add a second poly-leader if for some reason you needed more sink. Though the Airflo and other North American ones are easier to find (and I'm told they are all made by the same manufacturer) I still prefer my original double-looped Loop Poly-Leaders.
 

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Kush, LA;
thanks for the info. I agree that core is easy to break on the trout ones. After I ran out of core material I whipped a loop with the end of leader which has worked well. The steelhead waters closest to me are small, some tiny and the fish are mostly under 10lbs. I think if I threw in a 2/0 or 3/0 fly the fish would either take off back to the lake or try to mate with it. Large bright paterns do work well when the streams are flooded though.
 

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I've tried Airflo Superstrong polyleaders with Maxima tippets, and the core of Poly has been always cutted, with no dependance of knot type. Then, I use Airflo braided salmon leaders - they are stronger on the connection with any tippet materials including fluorocarbon and have a better turnover.
 

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Welcome Alex,

It's good to hear from our fishing friends in Russia. I did experience the core breakage you describe with Airflo Poly-Leaders, I nail knot directly to the poly-leader and then put a loop 6" down from that and loop the rest of the leader/tippet to it - it seems to work very well.
 

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poly leaders

i used the regular salmon 10ft airflo super extrafast sinking for a year. tied a nonslip loop in the bottom end.looped my umpqua flouro leader to that loop and had no problem.tried the extra strong version this year. did the same thing and not a problem.
beau
 

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I've broken the cores as well.

Now I simply cut off the mono core, then tie a nail knot (actually a snell or whip-finish knot, because it's at the end of the line you don't need a nail or tube) with 12lb Maxima in the doubled leader, creating a strong, quick & easy loop in about ten seconds.

If I find my "tip" is too long, I'm not above cutting it back and tying a new loop.

Poul
 

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This is a late reply to this string but here you go. You should be aware that the core strength of the PolyLeaders varies for the different models. The 'trout' leaders use a 12# core; the 'salmon/steelhead' use a 24# core as do the 'saltwater' versions. There is a 14# core in the bonefish models, and 40# core in the tarpon models but these are designed with stiffer mono, and coatings to withstand the heat of those fishing conditions. There are 4 sink rates of 'salmon extra strong' PolyLeaders which have a 40# core - designed to be used with the very heavy tippets common in Europe.
One of the specific design advantages of the different core strengths is in the turnover characteristics - the line weights suggested for the trout models is 5-7 wt., for the salmon/steelhead 8 - 10 wt., and the extra strong 10 wt.+. I've used the trout wt. successfully on 4 wt. - 8 wt., the salmon/steelhead from a 6 wt. up, and the 'extra strong' as a substitute tip on an 8 wt. interchangeable tip spey line. They do work best on the range of line weights suggested.
On sinking leaders I tie a 3 or 4 turn surgeon loop knot in the core extension and then loop my tippet onto that. On the clear leaders I'll usually tie on a piece of mono or fluoro, of the same or slightly less breaking strength than the core, with a 3 or 4 turn surgeons knot, and then add tippet from there.
The only knot breakage problems I've had is when knotting soft/limp mono directly to the core of the PolyLeader. If that is what you want to use, lubricate well and pull slowly to minimize heat.
 
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