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Steelhead Addict
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23 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
Hello All,

I have a question about swinging technique. This past winter I fished a spot for steelhead a few times that looked like a real winner of a spot, but is technically difficult to fish. I have had no success in this run, but it looks like it should hold fish (its in an excellent section of the river, and is positioned in a series of runs to be an excellent resting spot in the river).

I have uploaded two "drawings" of the section of water. The first without any lines, and a second with some shots of what happens to the line when cast into an area.

There is an obvious section of deeper water (4-6 feet deep) directly along the bank (river left) with a rock slightly upstream. The main current pushes into the bucket at 3-6 feet deep along a shelf on river left and crossing this is not an option because it is moving quickly.

On the other side of this current, there is a rock and gravel bar oriented diagonally from the bank (see horizontal lines). This water moves at ~walking pace, moving towards the fast water and bucket on river left and is is shallow (2 feet or less) with some rocks.

Obviously, the area around A, with walking pace water and rocks is a possible money spot (especially if the water is up 2 more feet - but accessing this area is crazy when the water is that high). At 2 ft deep, I constantly catch boulders swinging in here. I do, however, wonder about the area in the rectangular bucket on river left because it is much deeper AND it has tons of structure between the shelf on on the bank, and rocks in the bucket. Especially in clear conditions, if I were a steelhead, I think that would sit in the bucket.

Okay, so here is my problem with swinging the bucket:

1) When I cast to A, the fly swings beautifully at first with a slight downstream belly pulling the fly across the current. However, when it gets to the bucket, a seam/push of water catches the line and stops the swing at the river right side of the bucket. If I mend into the bucket, the fast water grabs the line and lifts the fly off the bottom.

2) When I cast to B, I can swing into the upstream, river right corner of the bucket, but if I try to step any further downstream, a belly is pulled downstream, ruining the swing.

3) I have tried dropping into the bucket from above using t-14 with a weighted fly, but the fly does not swing effectively and is on the surface.

What would you do? And don't say drop a bead into the bucket... I will catch a fish in here on the swing, damn it!
 

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Off hand i have two thoughts-

a- 5 ft MOW tip of t11 or t14, and a long leader with a heavy, sparse fly. Make your cast, mend to get your swing as outlined, path of fly upstream of desired target in bucket. Keep rod tip high, and a moment before the fly swings into the bucket, drop there rod tip at a pace just faster than the current, allowing the dense sparse fly to drop into the zone.

2- Same idea with a full tip and intermediate head if the first try doesn't work.

I find few things as satisfying as getting a bump from a fish in a hard to figure lie.
 

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I have never used a Mow tip so I am uncertain of the capabilities of this system. I would put on 4 to 6 ft of T14 or T18 If T14 did not get down and a weighted fly. cast into the top right behind said rock make a puddle cast with the tippet immediately when the shooting head touched the water mend way upstream with out moving the puddle of T-line and fly then let her swing.
 

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Steelhead Addict
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Discussion Starter #4
Thanks

Thanks SLSS and rbj222 for your ideas - I like them all.

I hadn't thought to try to 5/5 mow. I think I forgot to mention that I've been trying this with a skagit head with 10 ft of t-14 or with t-11. I do have a 5-5 mow in t-14. With the 5/5's, I was thinking that they're more for maneuvering the line in boulder fields - but I suppose I can think of the current/eddy line as another object I need to duck and dodge around. Honestly, I haven't fished my 5-5 very much.

In essence, I think you're both describing that I need to keep a belly from forming in the fast water (by either raising the rod tip, or using a puddle cast) or should have some slack at the top of the bucket so the fly can sink in. This makes tons of sense.

Is a puddle cast easy to do with a double handed rod? I suppose I'd end up wiggling the rod tip as the line shoots?

I've always tried to stay tight to the fly to keep its swing at a consistent speed (though I do raise the rod tip and let out line slowly to get down in certain situations). Its going to be tricky to keep a swing going with the water being so fast, but maybe if I can swing through the eddy line a fish will be sitting there?

Do you think either of your ideas would work with a super fast sinking polyleader with a smaller hook (I can fish with a scandi head, too)? I want to go back to this spot for summer fish and with the water even lower then what I described, the only money spot might be this bucket.
 

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We spend tons of time trying to lay everything out in a straight line. I was fishing not long ago with a fellow that was doing this and it worked so well I have started using it in certain situations. I do the hard stop on the forward cast and right away follow though so the tip is low. you need to do the stop to get your rod to unload and throw your line but if you drop your tip before the line straightens out you take away the power of the cast and the sinking tip will pile up instead of rolling out. Takes some practice but it works for a place you need to get down in. Also the shorter the sinking tip the better it works. also try not to power the line when doing this put on just enough to lay out the head. You are correct you are creating time for your head to sink with out drag.
 

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Steelhead Addict
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Discussion Starter #6
I like it! This bucket is right along the bank, so I should be able to get away with using just the head, or part of the head. I'll give it a whirl and report back if any of the suggested techniques work; yet another excuse to go back: to update the internet and its tubes.

Thanks again.
 

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JD
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Technique

Situations such as described are what sets swinging flies apart from some of the other techniques. The challenge of figuring out how to swim a fly through difficult water. Different mending techniques, lines, tips, flies, all become intregal parts of the equation. Any one of which can be a game changer. :Eyecrazy::whoa::chuckle:
 

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Dom
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Situations such as described are what sets swinging flies apart from some of the other techniques. The challenge of figuring out how to swim a fly through difficult water. Different mending techniques, lines, tips, flies, all become intregal parts of the equation. Any one of which can be a game changer. :Eyecrazy::whoa::chuckle:
Well said! Mow tips are very useful sometimes. I am even going to mod some of my polyleaders to similar concept.
 

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Steelhead Addict
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Discussion Starter #9
Here's another related question for this bucket:
If I'm fishing a full 10ft mow tip, or a 5/5 mow tip, which one will maintain a smoother swing through a short bucket directly downstream with quick water on top.

I think that the full mow might stay down more and swing slower. This is because I imagine that the floating portion of the 5/5 mow will catch the faster currents at the surface and pull belly faster (both to river left and to the surface).

Thoughts?
 

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Steelhead Addict
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Discussion Starter #10
Indeed JDJones! This is what makes swinging flies fun and interesting.

Its off topic, but I sometimes think of swinging a fly similar to driving in snow - you gotta make your moves 5 seconds ahead or you're going to crash.
 

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JD
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Mow tips

There was a time when I thought MOW tips were the answer to everything. As time went on, I began to realize they were simply another tool in my kit. Each tool has it's own use for a particular application, where it will out perform every other tool in your kit. The trick is not only having a full tool box, but in picking the best tool for the job. :lildevl:
 

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Here's another related question for this bucket:
If I'm fishing a full 10ft mow tip, or a 5/5 mow tip, which one will maintain a smoother swing through a short bucket directly downstream with quick water on top.

I think that the full mow might stay down more and swing slower. This is because I imagine that the floating portion of the 5/5 mow will catch the faster currents at the surface and pull belly faster (both to river left and to the surface).

Thoughts?
I like an intermediate line and T8 or T11for these situations. With this type of set up your line will cut through the top turbulence and slow the swing down. As JD says a full tool box then choosing the right tool. Mending becomes very important as well for controlling the swing sometimes you have to mend short mends more than once to get the fly into swinging position other times if your stick is long enough you can high stick your fly into position with out mending other times you want some speed and a sideways presentation so you don't mend or you mend down stream there are many contributing factors. Mostly how you want your fly to present to the fish. These of course are only suggestions based on what I and others are interpreting from your posts. The first post I made I assumed you had a floating skagit and t line.
 
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