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This is a segue off of "the which style of casting do you prefer for Atlantic Salmon" thread, where the subject of why steelheaders don't use full-sinking lines was briefly touched upon. Number one reason in my experience is that sinktips can be controlled THROUGHOUT the entire swing. This has been explained before on other threads on this forum, so I'm not going to re-explain this part. Another reason - versatility - one given sinktip length/fly combination can be fished through a wide variety of water conditions, more so than can full-sinking lines. This eliminates wasting a bunch of time rerigging lines/flies to accomodate specific conditions. If you fish a river with minimal fishing pressure, or where regulations guarantee that the water you are fishing is "protected" from encroachment by other anglers, then this probably won't be an issue for you. However, if you have a dozen drift boats coming down the river pulling plugs, floating pink worms and jigs under bobbers, PLUS other competing foot-anglers pitching spoons, swinging flies, etc. - then you had better be able to cover as much water as possible as quickly and efficiently as possible to have a hope for catching a fish.

Which do you prefer to use and why?
 

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Ed,
Due to Willie Gunn's posts re full sink lines and his reported ease of "one roll cast to the top and single spey away," fishing I though they were worth a try.

Last week Frank Chen at the GGACC loaned me his Carron 11/12 sink tip and Poppy loaned me another, an Ian Gordon "XF-extra fast" sink tip. Frank's line was spooled so I was able to cast it right away and spent about an hour with it.

I don't know the sink rate of the Carron sink tip. Its color was dark blue, as is the IG.

Using a T&T1611, it took three roll casts to bring about 65' of line to a point where it could be cast. This is a rod that will Snap-T a BigBoy500 without any roll casts.

My conclusion from this limited test is that the time saved stripping [when using a full sink or very long belly sink] is offset by the time wasted roll casting. The effort expended on this particular line leades me to believe that users of these lines are super Scots, and/or are using comparatively slower sinking lines, and/or are casting short lines. A casting lesson would probably help me.

I would like to try this again with a 2 inch/second [practically speaking an intermediate line, isn't it?] that apparently is common in the UK.

The above disadvantages accrue to the full sink user before being in a position to experience the problems you describe. IMHO, there would be no "Spey revolution" in the US without the lines developed by PNW Guides.
 

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#&%*@^# Caster
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Well Bob I will respectfully say you were not doing it correctly if it was taking that many rolls. Also being in still water will make it difficult. These lines need to be on moving water to help the line start lifting on the hang down. I was lucky enough to have Ian Gordon and Malcolm give me a little lesson last year and the key is to go slowly. You know how Simon says do not cast a tip until it is at least half way out of the water. Same with these things. It takes a slow slow lift and then the roll. You then have to immediately go into your cast or it sinks again.

That being said they are not as easy as tips to cast. Once you practice a little they become more manageable. I think Ian said even with the fast sinkers it should only take on roll to get it up and into a cast. Time spent doing a snap-t and rolling it up is about the same so I do not think there is any time advantage either way.

I used one up north last year (75' head) on a couple runs and have mixed feelings about it. In the majority of water I fish in the PNW I think tips are a better choice. I have never fished for Atlantics but from what I read they are not bank huggers like steelhead. These guys need full sinking heads to get down and stay down in the middle of the river. Tips will not do that as well.

I still think there are some runs that can be covered well with a full sinking line. Guys are out there doing it with short scando heads which are a lot easier to cast than the UK sinkers. A couple years ago I did pretty well in the winter for me using the RIO tri tip scando line and did not feel like I was not in control of the line and actually like the ability it gave me to get down in the zone and stay there with no mending needed.

It does come down to versatility though and I would never leave home without a tips line. Cannot say the same for a full sinker.

-sean
 

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We had the fastest sinking ian gordon line on. It was defintely cleaning the botton of the casting pools :)

I do not want to make it sound easy. It defintely takes some practice and I do think there is something in the water over there for them to be able to fish them all day long...

-sean
 

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scandi ?

sean, can you elaborate on your exeprience with the rio scandi head, perhaps comparing to other lines, etc...
think i may just pop for one..
 

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I absolutely prefer tips for the reasons mentioned in the original post.

I do sometimes use a full intermediate line to break through the surface. I have a couple of non-traditional runs (slooooooooooow) that I fish and the intermediate works better than a floater if there is a very strong upstream wind. Last week, this was just the case and the floating line would pretty much sit there in the wind-driven surface current. The intermediate gets under all that and allowed the fly top swing through. This change helped me to pick up two fish that day. Admittedly, this is a special case.

A friend of mine was a close friend and angling partner of Al Knudsen and tells me about the tackle they employed for winter steelhead back in the 60s. An intermediate line with a white fly "made from half of the chicken" was the favorite gear. They'd not wade past their knees and fish in real close. I think that there's just way too much traffic on those rivers today to find enough undisturbed fish in close on a regular-enough basis to make this your primary technique.
 

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Bob Pauli said:
Ed,
Last week Frank Chen at the GGACC loaned me his Carron 11/12 sink tip and

I don't know the sink rate of the Carron sink tip. Its color was dark blue, as is the IG.
Bob,
Hate to correct you again, becoming a habit.

Carron do not make a sinktip, an intermediate yes, but certainly not a sinktip.............horrible things that don't cast properly.

Listen to Sean he has it sussed.
__________________
 

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yes!

Bob,you stated `sinktips',,i'm assuming you meant full sink?,i only had a full sinker for a short while before selling back to the original purchaser(came with a rod deal),you did have to wag the rod to `get it up' and casting,,,,was weird,the more you slowed down the farther the line rolled out in front,deifinatly dif. than say a wet-tip DT,it worked!!,but it WAS dif.,and sean!!,midsummer here the steelhead are def. not near the bank,many times that's exactly where they lay,in the deepest part of a run,in fact,that's why `steelheading' is ~considered~`so poor' in many sections of the river here:lildevl: ,in mid summer=they hug the bottom/hide from the sun in slots,one trick i've used with sinktip lines is to make two quick strips in,the current usually`bags' the fly upwards and helps tremendously before i begin the lift(probably a bad tactic but works for me:confused: )the fullsink line didn't really respond nearly as easily:eek: i feel they are a viable alternative to tips though,i simply need more of them to continue my studies:chuckle:
 

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huhmmm!!

i could have used a line like that dec.30th 05':Eyecrazy: ,does the `running line' loop to the `heads' on these devils or:confused:
 

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i like full fast sinking lines when in a drift boat salmon fishing, and on a couple pieces of 2 rivers i fish when wading because they work well there. for most wading and unknown rivers i prefer a multi-tip so i can match conditions.

i played around just a little with a full clear intermediate line for summer steelhead last season. it had great promise, so that shall be 1 of this summers endeavors : see how effective the clear line is over spooky/highly pressured fish compared to a regular floating line.
 

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It's the water.

It probably matters what rivers and water one is fishing. I began steelhead fishing using full sinking weight forward fly lines, and worked harder for less success than once I began making my own sink tip lines. Overall, the most useful fly line for winter steelhead, and specifically the north Puget Sound "S" rivers, a fly line made with 15' of SA High Speed Hi-D ( a type IV) as a sink tip will fish about 90% all steelhead holding water accessible to any fly as well, if not better, than any other fly line. Other lines that I occasionally found useful are a 10' type III sink tip and a full sinking weight forward type IV line in deep fast slots. Alternatively, one could use a floating line and weighted fly, but weighted flies and lead shot used to be illegal on fly fishing only waters in WA State.

Sincerely,

Salmo g.
 

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and Poppy loaned me another,

Bob, Actually Poppy mailed it but FL Gator loaned it. I am interested in your experiences with it.
 

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I'll drop in a .02 cents here. I've two Ian Gordon 75' lines. One's the med. sink, the other the fast sink rate. Both are rated as 10/11's and I run them off of 15' 10 wt rods.

Bringing them to the surface (you DO need moving water) is fairly easy, just a bit of practice. What's most important (WG showed me the 'how to's') is the "lift" in front prior to doing a roll out (into moving water) to bring the long head to the surface. (Rolling these buggers up to the surface in 'frog water' will separate the "men from the boys.")

That said, these lines really DO penetrate the water collum. I suspect far, far deeper than a "regular" sink tip (system) ever could.
 

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Bob Pauli said:
Hammer & Malcolm,
The line consisted of a sinking belly and a floating running line. A 70' tip, perhaps.
Bob
The Carron sink tip you tried from Franky Boy must be home made.
Carron do not make a sink tip,they do an intermediate and a full sinker
Sink rates
Intermediate 1.7 ips head lengths 65 , 75 and 85 foot head
Full Sinker 3.7 ips head lengths 60 and 70 foot head

James Chalmers
 

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I hate to suggest you have muddled your lines. The Carron line is mono colour the IG twin colours.
 
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