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Hooked4life
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2,085 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Out yesterday fishing the Catt in NY and I spent the day using Airflo's FLO tips. They made me think about an issue that I usually deal with automatically: the matching of sinktip, leader and fly to get the desired presentation. Using these FLO tips made me go through the process of fly and leader selection with more thought.

A set of FLO tips gives us the choice between using T7, T10, T14 or T18 10' sinktips, all made the same way vs. the way most of these tips are constructed using all the same weight of T material and all weighing the same. This post isn't a debate about which is the better approach, rather it is about the consideration of which weight of tip to use along with the fly and leader. The FLO tips just made me consider the question with a bit more attention than usual.

In the past, my sinktip sets didn't produce quite as large a range of depth choices in one set, so I'd use the sinktip set for fine adjustments. Yesterday the fine adjustments were accomplished through fly and leader choices, a strategy that offered more options.

This blog post goes through it in more detail http://www.hooked4life.ca/h4l/blog_and_tech/blog_and_tech_files/light_heavy_tip.php but the essential is this -- thinking of the fly, leader and sinktip as one package, put together to do a specific job for the river conditions in front of us.
 

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Dom
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3,157 Posts
Well put together Peter.

In regards of long leader, sink tip and heavy fly - I think this is method would only be acceptable if leader used is just plain thin mono. Heavy long leader would restrain sink for the fly and tip at least to some degree. Thats why in my book it goes out the door.

Another thing... To me what Airflo and some other European based companies did with their skagit tips does not make sanse. Each tip for a particular skagit head needs to be within certain range and not just differ in sink rates. I really do prefer level sink tips when depth control is critical and MOW concept is awesome even though I would love them to be a bit more stealthy in regards of color.

But any of this and more can be done with dry line that is if fly is heavy enough. I really like Ard's (Hardyreels) method and thats incorporating short sink tip sections into dry line leader, much like adding split shot... I've used similar concept before and you might be very surprised how much weight even longer belly lines can carry.

Many ways to skin this cat.
 

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Dom
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3,157 Posts
Another thing...

I have to add that using slower sink tip and fast sinking fly is useful application for deep pockets and "snaggy" bottom runs. I use it a lot.
 

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Hooked4life
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2,085 Posts
Discussion Starter · #4 · (Edited)
Well put together Peter.

In regards of long leader, sink tip and heavy fly - I think this is method would only be acceptable if leader used is just plain thin mono. Heavy long leader would restrain sink for the fly and tip at least to some degree. Thats why in my book it goes out the door.
It is for this reason that I always use thin fluorocarbon leaders, never thick mono. I've run some tests and found that fluorocarbon sinks at least four times faster than mono. Long, thick mono can be resistant to penetrating the surface tension. Before I started using fluorocarbon, when using trout gear I've seen my fly sink, the sinktip sink, yet I was still able to see some of the mono leader stuck in the surface film. It would take a little while for it to finally disappear. This sort of behaviour made me a fan of fluorocarbon.

My typical long, fluorocarbon, sinktip leader can be anywhere from 8' to 15' (usually 8' to 10') made of roughly equal parts 15 lb., 12 lb., 10 lb. I probably fish 8' to 10' leaders the vast majority of the time. Its my default length.

Another thing... To me what Airflo and some other European based companies did with their skagit tips does not make sanse. Each tip for a particular skagit head needs to be within certain range and not just differ in sink rates. I really do prefer level sink tips when depth control is critical and MOW concept is awesome even though I would love them to be a bit more stealthy in regards of color.

But any of this and more can be done with dry line that is if fly is heavy enough. I really like Ard's (Hardyreels) method and thats incorporating short sink tip sections into dry line leader, much like adding split shot... I've used similar concept before and you might be very surprised how much weight even longer belly lines can carry.

Many ways to skin this cat.
I was initially skeptical of the FLO tip approach as I have a bunch of homemade Skagit 10' and 15' tip sets that I liked to use, plus a load of standard 15' factory tips. But now having given the FLO tips a good workout, I have to say that when fishing a large creek with some fairly broad ranges of depths and flows, the FLO approach made a lot of sense. They're one of those things that have to be tried to be appreciated.

The sinking section in the leader works. I've tried a couple of other techniques that work as well: long, skinny fluorocarbon leader + very fast sink, downforce flies together with a 'managed' turnover and using the front end of a trout full sinker as part of my leader system. It basically extends the front taper of the Spey WF floater. Works best on short heads. When I first tried this some years ago, I was using a Windcutter + 15' of trout type 3 + 10' of mono. Worked surprisingly well and more or less turned my 55' head into a 70 head'. These days we can use a long PolyLeader for this job, but back then we only had 10 footers.
 

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Hooked4life
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2,085 Posts
Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Just to add - the sink of a weighted fly is not impeded significantly by a long, thin fluorocarbon leader. They go down like a rock. The clumsy casting of a heavily weighted fly on very long leader is the only thing that holds me back from going really long.

If we really want to penetrate as fast as possible with a cone head or dumbbell eyed fly, then use a non-slip loop knot. Then on hitting the water, the fly will immediately go nose down and straight down fast.

Watch how deep a fly runs off of the end of a long, fluorocarbon leader when the back end of it is held at the surface. Whatever depth the fly is running at with the back end of the leader at the surface, it do at least as well if not better with the same leader, when running at depth on the end of a sinktip.
 
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