I Made A Video About Technique;

Hardyreels

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I have rigged and fished streamers, classic salmon & steelhead flies, Tubes and Shanks for many years quite differently than my contemporary's. In October 2016 we made a video hoping to share it with those who may find it interesting.

The first 3 minutes are there for a reason. They show only a man making 4 casts I believe. The reason was two fold, one to demonstrate the ease and speed of the casting and secondly to show the leader turning over.

I have written text versions which explain who I do what I do in years past and link them here for you if you want a deeper explanation.

They even have drawings that you may get a smile out of; link > How I Get My Flies Down;

Second Text Article; link >Fishing - Controling The Submerged Fly;

Remember the first 3 minutes may have you wondering what is this about....... Video Link > Streamer Fishing Techniques by Ard Stetts - YouTube

Please do ask questions, and let me know what you think.

Ard
 

bankwheel

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Had a quick look, seems really good to me but I will need more time to digest the information. brilliant that you took the time to make this pal, will post more once I've watched it a few times
Cheers
BW
 

Hardyreels

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Thank you,

You'll have to trust me when I say that this was not a vanity project. Hardly so now that the world gets to see how dorky I am about fishing :)

Over the years I have had so many questions ask so I tried to write things out for the asker's. This still left gaps so finally I ask my lovely wife Nancy to help me with doing this.

When all done I then noticed that I failed to explain the "why" for the strange rigging. For that reason I still recommend the text version 'How I Get My Flies Down' because it lays it out plainly albeit a long read.

I'll look for comment or questions,

Ard
 

Nobby

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Enjoyed the video very well explained.

I will definitely giving this a try next season.

Many thanks

Nobby
 

Hardyreels

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Hi Nobby,

I don't pass this off as a one size fits all technique but if you take a read through the How I get Flies Down article it may make sense to you if you cast mid or long belly lines. I use lines between the 45' integrated Super Scandi and 70 foot long belly lines so there is plenty of control with them.

That white line I was demoing with is a Javelin custom line that a friend from there in Durham UK. sent to me. That one is a 65 full line.

That fishing story I put on the other day; I use this system in all sort of conditions. I was fishing in 5 to 6 foot of depth there with a reasonably fast flow and both touching bottom time to time and catching fish that were near that bottom. That rig was 6 foot 50 pound mono - 4 foot T-20 - and almost 4 foot of 12 pound mono to the fly.

My main attraction is and always has been that it is so much easier for me to re-cast than a 15 foot sinking head.
 

keirstream

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. That rig was 6 foot 50 pound mono - 4 foot T-20 - and almost 4 foot of 12 pound mono to the fly.

My main attraction is and always has been that it is so much easier for me to re-cast than a 15 foot sinking head.

There is nothing better to fish than a full length spey or integrated floating line. I get that. It is always easier to control the travel and speed (and as has been demonstrated, depth) of your fly using this method.
However, I don't find a 15ft sink tip as cumbersome on an integrated head as I do a Spey line which obviously has it's limitations due to profile etc.
So my interest would be in the limiting factors of your approach, Ard.
For example, does your system limit the effective use to 6 feet and under of 50lb mono? If so, you are looking at a 10ft tip in total plus tippet plus links. with 4 ft of T20 in the mix that seems quite a bag to throw off any spey line comfortably. Even without contemplating 15ft. Any normal one anyway.
So then the question is, how does your Javelin compare to standard Spey lines off the shelf? Can I assume, not really as the forward taper will be much shorter and bulkier, more akin to a head?
Don't take the wrong inference out of this Ard, I am curious about any technique that makes life easier and I also get the superior sinking qualities of your set up against longer conventional tips.
I just wonder if the advantages are outweighed by the convenience of off the shelf systems. There appears an awful lot of preparation required, not least making the braided links although I suppose, once they are done, they are a fixture.
Thanks once more for taking the time and the effort, and good luck through the dark and I guess violent winter at times up there.
 

Hardyreels

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Hi keirstream,

Something I would ask everyone to understand is that I don't put this technique forward suggesting it as a one size fits all remedy for fishing success. It is just what I do. It requires willingness to tinker, to experiment, and to adapt the cast to accommodate the leader. If you have a way that works then by all means stick to it. If you are easily frustrated by things then this is not a way to stay calm.

I'll try to answer your questions without filling the entire page but I doubt I can keep it sort :)

I began doing this in 1994 but back then I used 3 foot braided lead heads of which I'm not sure of the grain weight. I tried this because I had been using a standard Cortland sink tip line on my trout rod. There were 2 things about the sink tip I noticed. One was that it was harder to drag up & out of the water than a plain floating line although once up I could hurl it very well. The second thing noticed was that because the sink tip was connected direct to the floating portion of the line it (the tip) tended to pull a significant length of my floating line under with it. This second trait called for a great deal of line to be hand stripped in prior to being able to cast again.

I knew that if I added split shot to my leader I could get down without the sink tip but that business presented problems of its own and so I used the sink tip and I fished. On a day in 1994 I was in a sporting shop and spotted these strange looking braided lead head leader sections. I removed them from the little package and examined them. They were quite strange indeed, braided mono with a thin flexible lead wire inside and a braided loop on each end. Humm........... I stood there thinking. How might these be useful? They were on sale so I snatched a bunch in different lengths and they went into my tackle supplies.

It took some time before I experimented with them. First I looped one straight to the braided loop on my Scientific Anglers fly line and although it sank and sank well it too pulled the floating line under water. I also had my doubts about what my fly was doing in relationship to everything else so I took a seat along the stream and thought things over. I had a spool of 25 pound leader because I tied my own and it was meant to be butt material and I figured I'd put a 'butt' on the line and then the sinking stuff followed by 8 pound tippet and a fly.

After the rig was built I gave it a go and again there were some things I noticed right off. One was that the tip of my floating line stayed up un the surface. Second was I could sweep up the 'mini head' with relative ease. However there was a problem, the weight in the leader changed the anchoring because it sank and sank differently than either of the ways I was attuned to using. Rather than throw up my hands and admit that this was a harebrained idea I made adjustments to the speed and timing of my casting and with a little practice I could hurl a streamer all the way to the cut bank where those wise old brown trout lived lying in wait.

Next obstacle was getting proper turn over, again changes were made in the final steps of the cast. A higher stop with a bit of drawback if needed seemed to flip the works over just fine and I should add that while the bugs were being worked out I was catching fish. The catching of fish surly helped in building confidence while trying something new and I recognize that in no small part. Over the ensuing years I made slight changes refining lengths of butt and the length and weight of those braided lead heads and learned to use heavier tippets as some monsters were lost to the 8 pound stuff..........

Then came Alaska and the need for bigger and heavier rods so I got them. With them came all the new advancements in line technologies so I bought and used conventional off the shelf lines. Because this was the Spey mentality of the USA and the market I sallied forth happy as a lark, or was I? After a few seasons I felt I was struggling with my 15 foot sinking tips. They worked alright, but every so often I would lose a finely constructed salmon fly to some unforeseen sunken collector of hooks feathers and flosses. Goes with the territory and I subscribed to that mentality as well. I was also catching fish so what's a few bad casts in the overall scope of things right? Still I felt that this was too hard for me, there were too many casts that didn't go as planned but I pressed on.

One day after many a bad cast and tiring of stripping in more line so I could get that sink tip up I hooked to a big fish and while trying to land it the welded loop of that one and only hi density sink tip broke, cut by my tippet and the fish was gone. I was camped on that run and I went to my chair and sat wondering what to do and it occurred to me; why must this be different? Why can't I do what has worked for 14 years?

The rest is my personal history, I made up a leader like the old days and I began catching fish. I made the speed and stop changes to the cast and things were good. After years of fishing this place I learned to beef up the butt and change the length to suit conditions of depth. I also began using the T and Z materials because many people were very much turned off by the appearance of the 'braided lead heads'. One thing I never forgot when I went to the T's, T-8, T-11, T-14 and so on was the broken sink tip which was made of the same stuff. This caused me to make braided loops and firmly attach them to each end of my sinking line and I conceived the braided double loop to protect the welded loop Spey lines which had come into vogue. People are more comfortable when they see the dark sinking material than something totally different so I use the T stuff now.

You ask about limitations and surly there are some. I have found many places where it just doesn't make sense to try getting a fly to the depth needed by any means at all and perhaps we all know of such spots. Too deep, too swift, the only way is with sink tip, weighted fly and I'm considering a split shot or 2........... I've adapted, I choose my fights more wisely than I did years ago. I don't spend valuable fishing time changing out tips. Going through all my MOE tips and perhaps changing a spool so I have an entirely different line to wage the assault with. I look at the river and I know the average depth and current speed. That is what I am really concerned with is "the average" I'm fully aware that there may be a bucket which is deeper and more swift but they can be dealt with. It is the average or the 90% of the conditions I think on when I choose my weight to put in that leader. Deeper and more swift = 4 foot T-20 but I stay with the six feet of butt because I'm not faced with a lot of 15 feet deep channels here. More shallow, say 2 - 4 feet and not a raging torrent = 4 foot of Z-9 or T-11. Bear in mind when I cite depths I'm speaking of the average over the entire area I intend to fish. When I need more depth or less from the same leader I get what is needed by changing my position relative to the target - I'll also change the delivery angle of my cast and further fine tune using line control / mending to either speed things or slow them to allow for more or less depth. In other words I am a stubborn type who rigs up and then fishes. When things aren't working out I don't look to the market to provide the remedy for me, I look to myself and I ask, how can I get this done. Generally I keep that leader to the length of the rod or perhaps half a foot longer. So when I use a 15 foot rod I make a longer leader proportionately to the rod as in; 6 foot butt - 6 foot T-8 and three.5 foot of tippet.

The cast below is being done with the leader I just described using a 15 foot rod. That bright spot you can see along the line is the double loop connector and the 15 feet of leader is following along behind the fly line.


The line is a 45' Super Scandi with integrated runner and it weighs 600 grains. Such a line was recommended to me for attaining greater distance with less work than the 70 foot long belly I had previously used on the rod. I must say, the line recommendation was a good one. Adjustments were made in timing and such but I just love it.

The fellow who took that was perhaps 300 meters up river and was just taking photos of the day. He said it looked cool and cropped one and e-mailed it to me. Those cast do turn over even with such a strange leader on them.

The Javelin lines were a small run and I can't provide specifics regarding tapers. The ones sent to me were 800 and 850 grain lines because I use an old Hardy Salmon Fly that requires a heavy line to make it work. This set up is used with hand tied knotted leaders that go: 50-40-35-30-25-20-15 with the 15 being the tippet. I use weighted Sculpins on the leader and rod which are 4 inches or longer and quite heavy. The big line will carry them to where I need them to go and with those 'Sculpin Helmets' on them no sink tip is needed. They sink like thrown stones.

I don't know if all of that answered anything but you might agree I'm not opposed to typing :) it's so hard to try explaining things in text, that's what led to the video. So many people come to where I live and are totally unprepared to fish the way you must to catch these salmon and trout. many have no line control skills at all and have never given much thought to it. The general perception is that Alaska has so many fish that all you need to do is get there and you'll have the trip of your life. That can happen, just like I might come to the UK to fish Atlantic Salmon and land in the largest return of aggressive fish seen over the past 100 years. Or not, probably best if I am prepared to do some technical fishing and hope I can hook and land at least one.

As I said 2 thousand words ago, I don't present this as The Right Way, not hardly, it's just the way I do it and I am perhaps a strange fellow :)
 

keirstream

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Spot on Ard, thanks for the time you spent answering my questions.:)
It's all a good bit clearer now and I guess the technique is not for an off the shelf spey line as I suspected.
But an integrated head?
Roll on next season, bound to be worth a try.
Where do I get my hands on the double looped connectors or are they self made? I notice you picked up the originals in a shop.
 

Hardyreels

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Always good to chat, it's been years I think but I remembered your avatar and username :)
 

Lukasz

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Hey Ard
I think I read about your technique on Speypages (not sure) few years back. That was before one of trips to Alaska and I got my father to make double braided loops and leadcore leaders and... we ended up fishing with skagit and 15ft of T stuff. We found big flies for kings rather difficult to cast with scandi heads. Maybe due to lack of casting skills but this was limiting factor for your technique.
 

Hibernicus

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Thanks Ard - great stuff and very time consuming to put together.
I'm certainly going to try it.
The set up reminds me of something similar that George Harvey wrote about in his 1990 book Techiques of Trout Fishing and Fly Tying (Lyons & Bedford, 1990) as a better solution than multiple split shot when fishing streamers.
He called the set up "mini shooting heads"!
In those days he used Cortland Lead Core in lengths of 6" inches up to apparently 8 feet!
In turn he attributed the idea to a Dr Ralph Dougherty of Pennsylvania.
Mr Harvey did not share wih us how to fish the set up!
H:)
 
S

Sink23

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That's superb you would go to all that trouble of making a video to share with others your methods and thinking. Good on you :)
 

sneakypeter

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Great, informative video Ard, nice to see a good "how too" video rather than the rather boring casting demo,s!
I,ll certainly give a big thumbs up to your leader setup, caught me some nice springers from the Hamphshire Avon. Adapted for the river, no long range casting, but very close, deep,fast water, 8-10feet or more. I used heavy braid for the first section rather than mono(didn't have any suitable!), using the double loop connectors, I tied the braid to the loop, rather than the usual loop to loop joint, stiffened it up nicely, casts really well, and the total control on the fly is an eye opener for sure.
peter
 

Hardyreels

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So glad to hear the show is being enjoyed!

One thing I should put forth is that I do not offer this or any of how I do things as a "it great for everyone" type of thing. It's just what I do and the video was prompted by many questions and requests for details so........

Interesting post about George Harvey and the other man from Pennsylvania. I had never met those men but was mentored by one of their contemporaries when I was young. The system of rigging was not a part of any of the advice I was afforded though and I stumbled onto it out of necessity.

And .............................

Great, informative video Ard, nice to see a good "how too" video rather than the rather boring casting demo,s!
I,ll certainly give a big thumbs up to your leader setup, caught me some nice springers from the Hamphshire Avon. Adapted for the river, no long range casting, but very close, deep,fast water, 8-10feet or more. I used heavy braid for the first section rather than mono(didn't have any suitable!), using the double loop connectors, I tied the braid to the loop, rather than the usual loop to loop joint, stiffened it up nicely, casts really well, and the total control on the fly is an eye opener for sure.
peter

Peter,

I now consider you a kindred spirit, bravo on your adaptation of the braid! I'll have to think on whether to try this here to see if I like it better.

Congratulations on your success and adaptation to your own waters, it's just great to hear.

Ard
 

Hardyreels

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I'm giving this a bump because the written version posted in Methods & Tactics has come to life recently.
 
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