Long leaders and sinking tips

Soundmixer

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The article in last months Trout and Salmon on using 15'+ tapered leaders with a 10' Versitip has me intrigued. I can see why a small fly would flicker enticingly and add life in the stream but surely the fly would not achieve the depth that you are aiming for.
However, the amount of rocky bottom hook ups I have had resulting in lost flees was frustrating this year, as were some of the turn overs I failed to generate! I think that 15' leaders might be a bit excessive but 11 - 12' might actually work. The salmon I caught in the Dee was taken on an 8' section of nylon on a medium sink 10' Versitip, so the tip was at a fair depth, whilst the flee was following it down slowly. This was done before I read the article.
As the norm with a sinking line or tip is a short section of nylon to draw the fly down, does anyone have any thoughts on the set up? Does anyone actually use this technique or was it made up to sell magazines?

Euan
 

Piker20

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Its also going to depend on your fly weight and leader material. Flurocarbon sinks quickly compared to maxima for example.

If I am fishing cold spring water with a tip quicker than sink4 I tend to only use maximum of 3foot leader.

In warmer water that's a good height I'll use an inty line with upto 12ft leader.

Then for floating line I try to use the longest leader I can turn over with small light flies.
 

Eminem

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It is absolutely not a gimmick and caught me salmon this year where others with the standard "8ft of brown maxima" failed.

It's major drawback is that those with poor casting technique may struggle to repeatedly land their long, tapered cast in a straight line which starts fishing immediately. Something that affects us all on any given day at some point.
 

stormrook

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I dont fish a big river but i use a rio versi tip 15ft tips when using the fast sink tips i only use a three to four foot maximum leader ,the tip pulls the fly down to the depth quickly as the river i fish is narrow ,When on the floater or intermediate in summer levels i fish a leader about eight/nine foot long.
 

Soundmixer

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It is absolutely not a gimmick and caught me salmon this year where others with the standard "8ft of brown maxima" failed.

It's major drawback is that those with poor casting technique may struggle to repeatedly land their long, tapered cast in a straight line which starts fishing immediately. Something that affects us all on any given day at some point.

I did have a suspicion that this might be useable and the fine and far off approach had been phased out over the years in favour of short and straight to depth.
I prefer traditional hairwing style flees over Scandinavian tubes because of the "fluttering in the stream" so I'll give it a go on Saturday.
Thanks everyone.

Euan
 

Eminem

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I should add that I would only employ those tactics during low, clear water conditions.
When she's big and dirty I will happily revert back to sinking polyleaders and shorter (but still tapered) tippets.
 
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Salmon fishing?...Was always taught to stick to a three quarters rule of thumb, the sink tip should be no more than 3/4 the rod length and the leader should be no longer than 3/4 the sink tip length...ie: 14 ft rod, 10 ft sink tip and 7 ft leader...
Trout fishing?....Was always taught to make the leader as long as comfortably possible to cast, and one of the reasons to spend a decent amount of money on a single hand rod as compared to a double hander ie: spend £100 on a double hander and £250.00 on a single hander as compared to £300 on a double hander and £50 on a single hander...
WARNING: the above advice is just riverbank chit chat and could be complete ******** and the poster takes no responsibility for ruining your experience of fishing:):):)
 

Soundmixer

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I should add that I would only employ those tactics during low, clear water conditions.
When she's big and dirty I will happily revert back to sinking polyleaders and shorter (but still tapered) tippets.

Agreed! I should have said that I thought that it would be for anything other than high and cold.
Boy has this salmon fishing thing changed since I wiz a young loon :)
I thought the advances in 40yrd DT floaters was cool!!

Euan
 

dexterbuchanan1

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i use 10ft tapered leaders+tippet on all but my floating shooting heads, on the floater goes 10ft polyleaders+tippet,my overall leader+tippet will be equal too or greater than the rod length im using depending on conditions and usable back space:cool: iv been using this set up for 2/3 seasons now and im happy with the consistency of my casting/turnover and depth my flies are fishing,havent read the article but it sounds interesting:rolleyes:
 

Dan Dare

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Ah, but if every yard of the sliver stream was of constant depth, and constant flow. how easy would it be to swim that wee flee by the fishes nose.
Unfortunately, to a newbie it's so flaming complicated, that sometimes I despair.
Grams, Grains, Short head, long head, skagit, switch and umpteen tips.
A key for every lock, but I've accumulated about 50+ keys.
Still. I'm addicted now, so I shall give it the old stiff upper lip. and carry on.
Tight lines.
 

Soundmixer

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So the next question has to be, who's leaders are you using?
I like the Leeda 9' salmon ones, stick a Riverge ring on the end and then put on the appropriate length of Barrio copolymer.
Any other preferences?

Euan
 

Stockybasher

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I've always worked on the principle that if you are fishing an "unweighted" fly, that it is the fly-line plus any tip you are using, that determines the fly's fishing depth.

In the rivers I have fished, anything more than an intermediate line, or floater with Inty tip, would be overkill, so a Float / Float- Inty line with a range of Polyleaders sees me right.

Early spring fishing (Dee) would see me use a med/fast/s fast 10ft poly and maybe 3ft of tippet. Spring/summer fishing is likely to be a Floater, 10ft Inty poly and maybe 4-5 ft of fluoro tippet.

I work on the principle that the line and tip get the fly to the right depth - the tippet merely reduces any chance of the fish seeing the tip, so don't see the need for long tippets.

When fish are running, you need to fish about 18" down to give you a potential chance against runners - eye to fly, and it allows the "resters" in the glides to come up to the fly.

Just my experience.......

Tarpon are different :):)

TL
Nick
 

Eminem

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So the next question has to be, who's leaders are you using?
I like the Leeda 9' salmon ones, stick a Riverge ring on the end and then put on the appropriate length of Barrio copolymer.
Any other preferences?

Euan

Rio 15 footers and/or Salmologic 15 to 17 footers depending on my line/rod set-up.
Because these things cost a bit of cash I tie a leader ring on the end and then another few feet of tippet which I use to attach my fly. This end section is cut and replaced regularly without damaging the factory tapered leader.
 

dexterbuchanan1

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So the next question has to be, who's leaders are you using?
I like the Leeda 9' salmon ones, stick a Riverge ring on the end and then put on the appropriate length of Barrio copolymer.
Any other preferences?

Euan

I use Bullet Tapered Leaders 70lbs/16lbs in 12m(approx)lengths ×5 on a spool
The savy amongst us could get 3 10ft leaders(only 2 tapered) per length,cheap as chips!!!
https://www.breakaway-tackle.co.uk/index.php?route=product/product&product_id=167
 
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Springer

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I always read comments like 'the tip pulls the fly down' and 'you need a short leader so the fly doesn't swim above the tip' or 'you need only 3' of leader with fast sink tips'. All of these quotes assume that the tip or line sinks faster than the fly.

I would encourage people to take a look at the sink rates of their various flies in running water, it certainly puts a new perspective on things. For example, if your fly sinks at 4"/sec and your sink tip sinks at 4"/sec then your leader could be as long as you like so long as it turns over well. Often longer leader are preferable when fishing short shooting heads.
 

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It all rather begs a question what is the correct depth to fish at? Do you measure from the surface or the bottom? How much difference does it really make? When I started we had floaters and sinkers. The sink tip was becoming popular and the wet cel 2 was about as deep as we went. The conventional view was to fish just under the surface or as deep as we could. The wet 2 is not that fast sinking so huge copper tubes were the only way o get real depth. Now we have an almost limitless choice of lines, tips, polyleaders etc as well as tungsten tubes and can fish at almost any depth, but how important is it really? Do we need several levels of midwater fishing? Do we need to scrape the bottom?

As for the OP it seems there are two basic ways to go. Long leader and heavy fly or short leader and light fly. In general for salmon fishing I like to use a leader as long and as light as is possible, but I also like flies that are not too heavy as I think they have more life. hmmmn.
 

Kane

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But the fly doesn't go so deep

It will go as deep as you want it to with line choice, fly choice or by holding back a couple of yards of line and letting it slip. If I want to get a bit of extra depth without changing lines or tips I'll normally cast and then take my couple of steps, sometimes keeping the rod high after the final delivery and letting it drop to give slack before tightening up on the line.
 
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MCXFisher

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Long Leaders and Sinking Tips

It all rather begs a question what is the correct depth to fish at? Do you measure from the surface or the bottom? How much difference does it really make? When I started we had floaters and sinkers. The sink tip was becoming popular and the wet cel 2 was about as deep as we went. The conventional view was to fish just under the surface or as deep as we could. The wet 2 is not that fast sinking so huge copper tubes were the only way o get real depth. Now we have an almost limitless choice of lines, tips, polyleaders etc as well as tungsten tubes and can fish at almost any depth, but how important is it really? Do we need several levels of midwater fishing? Do we need to scrape the bottom?

What follows is an hypothesis for discussion, not a statement of fact.

As a general proposition - and leaving aside the unanswerable question of stimulation - the salmon's brain will go through 4 automatic steps when presented with a fly. First it must detect the presence of the fly(1); then assess it in terms of nature, movement, range etc (2); decide whether to do something (3); and finally control the mechanisms of reacting or not (4). Whether this is actually what goes on inside the salmon's brain matters little: it just gives us a practical framework for thinking about Loxie's question and fly presentation. The terminology and science used here is explained more fully in the 'Windows on the World' post on Just One Week.

Within that framework it is reasonable to suggest the correct fishing depth is that which places the fly where the salmon can detect it (1) and react in a timely fashion within its 'radius of action' (2).

1. Detection is influenced by the colour and turbidity of the water; the depth at which the fish is lying; the ambient light level (and its brightest component) and angle of incidence on the water; the interaction between light and turbidity (back-scatter); the angle of elevation between fish and fly; the fly's movement, size/shape and colour. The lateral/sideways component of movement directly influences detectability. The angle of elevation is critical in both bright and dull conditions: have a look at 'Blinded by the Light' to see its influence in August light. Similarly, in early April and October, the underwater light levels are low, and even more so for a fish lying in say 2 metres of water. If you present a fly near eye level in Window 1 at those times, the salmon's detection range will be short and the chances of a positive reaction correspondingly reduced. In essence you should aim to deliver the fly above and ahead of the salmon's sight line at an elevation around 45 degrees where detection is optimised.

2. The radius of action - how far the salmon is prepared to move from its lie - is similarly influenced by variables, both predictable and unknown. At the outset let's exclude aberrant aggressive hormonal behaviour by later-season cock fish because it's the exception not the norm. Very few salmon will normally attack a fly at ranges in excess of 3 metres. Most, and especially the hens, are programmed for energy conservation to meet their imperative of surviving to breed. In most cases the radius appears to be around 6'/2m at about 45 degrees elevation. However, that figure is influenced by the strength of the water flow around the salmon's lie and hence the size of the surrounding slack water 'envelope'. With a strong flow and a small envelope, the radius might be substantially smaller. Conversely, it may be bigger in lighter flows. Then there is the influence of water temperature. Activity declines in very low temperatures in fresh water; rises through an optimal zone; and then declines as the upper tolerance limit approaches. That upper limit varies from place to place: based on correspondence with Silverleapers, it appears that Newfoundland salmon are just getting into their stride when their British cousins have nodded off. In any event, in cooler water you need to present the fly closer to the fish (but as always, above its sight line).

Putting all that together, one might deduce that:

- In spring, with cold water and strong flows, you need to achieve a presentation depth that places the fly no more than 2-3 feet above the fish. The prevailing light levels reduce the detection range, so it is essential to control the speed of the fly if the salmon is to react in time. At this time of year the 'area of effectiveness' around your fly may be as little as 25% of what it will be in September.

- In warmer times with lighter flows, being 3-5 feet above the fish keeps the fly in range whilst quadrupling the 'area of effectiveness' of your fly.

- Scraping the bottom is probably unnecessary, and in any event reduces the effectiveness of your fly substantially. You have to get the fly right on the salmon's nose, and that's a small target in a large river (I've done it twice in the past 10 years to dredge up semi-dormant resident fish I knew to be in specific lies).

And as a concluding aside, in my experience most people over-estimate the depth of water that they're fishing. With obvious exceptions, most pools and runs in Scottish and English salmon rivers are actually quite shallow.
 

Loxie

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What follows is an hypothesis for discussion, not a statement of fact.

As a general proposition - and leaving aside the unanswerable question of stimulation - the salmon's brain will go through 4 automatic steps when presented with a fly. First it must detect the presence of the fly(1); then assess it in terms of nature, movement, range etc (2); decide whether to do something (3); and finally control the mechanisms of reacting or not (4). Whether this is actually what goes on inside the salmon's brain matters little: it just gives us a practical framework for thinking about Loxie's question and fly presentation. The terminology and science used here is explained more fully in the 'Windows on the World' post on Just One Week.

Within that framework it is reasonable to suggest the correct fishing depth is that which places the fly where the salmon can detect it (1) and react in a timely fashion within its 'radius of action' (2).

1. Detection is influenced by the colour and turbidity of the water; the depth at which the fish is lying; the ambient light level (and its brightest component) and angle of incidence on the water; the interaction between light and turbidity (back-scatter); the angle of elevation between fish and fly; the fly's movement, size/shape and colour. The lateral/sideways component of movement directly influences detectability. The angle of elevation is critical in both bright and dull conditions: have a look at 'Blinded by the Light' to see its influence in August light. Similarly, in early April and October, the underwater light levels are low, and even more so for a fish lying in say 2 metres of water. If you present a fly near eye level in Window 1 at those times, the salmon's detection range will be short and the chances of a positive reaction correspondingly reduced. In essence you should aim to deliver the fly above and ahead of the salmon's sight line at an elevation around 45 degrees where detection is optimised.

2. The radius of action - how far the salmon is prepared to move from its lie - is similarly influenced by variables, both predictable and unknown. At the outset let's exclude aberrant aggressive hormonal behaviour by later-season cock fish because it's the exception not the norm. Very few salmon will normally attack a fly at ranges in excess of 3 metres. Most, and especially the hens, are programmed for energy conservation to meet their imperative of surviving to breed. In most cases the radius appears to be around 6'/2m at about 45 degrees elevation. However, that figure is influenced by the strength of the water flow around the salmon's lie and hence the size of the surrounding slack water 'envelope'. With a strong flow and a small envelope, the radius might be substantially smaller. Conversely, it may be bigger in lighter flows. Then there is the influence of water temperature. Activity declines in very low temperatures in fresh water; rises through an optimal zone; and then declines as the upper tolerance limit approaches. That upper limit varies from place to place: based on correspondence with Silverleapers, it appears that Newfoundland salmon are just getting into their stride when their British cousins have nodded off. In any event, in cooler water you need to present the fly closer to the fish (but as always, above its sight line).

Putting all that together, one might deduce that:

- In spring, with cold water and strong flows, you need to achieve a presentation depth that places the fly no more than 2-3 feet above the fish. The prevailing light levels reduce the detection range, so it is essential to control the speed of the fly if the salmon is to react in time. At this time of year the 'area of effectiveness' around your fly may be as little as 25% of what it will be in September.

- In warmer times with lighter flows, being 3-5 feet above the fish keeps the fly in range whilst quadrupling the 'area of effectiveness' of your fly.

- Scraping the bottom is probably unnecessary, and in any event reduces the effectiveness of your fly substantially. You have to get the fly right on the salmon's nose, and that's a small target in a large river (I've done it twice in the past 10 years to dredge up semi-dormant resident fish I knew to be in specific lies).

And as a concluding aside, in my experience most people over-estimate the depth of water that they're fishing. With obvious exceptions, most pools and runs in Scottish and English salmon rivers are actually quite shallow.

Interesting stuff, thanks. In essence you are suggesting that depth is measured from the fish up rather than the bottom up or top down? I think running salmon are often high in the water and I think it is a mistake to fish deeply for them. I once had the terrible experience of watching the boat opposite me on a good pool on the lower Tweed hook 5 fish before I had a pull. There were fresh fish pilling through in a constant stream and my ghillie had suggested a full inter as the water was quite high. The only fish I caught was a big coloured old girl. I'm convinced if I had switched to a full floater, or an inty tip I would have caught some fresh ones. I had left my other lines at the hut, and being the lower tweed you are only allowed to fish for about 10 minutes a day so as not to interfere with the Ghillie's meal breaks so I didn't have time to go back and get it. Lesson learned very painfully!

I rarely fish a full floater these days, preferring a very slow inter. I have no idea if it's better or why, but it works well for me!
 
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