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Leader length on sinking lines?

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Mangrove Cuckoo
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Leader length on sinking lines?

#1

Post by Mangrove Cuckoo »

Folks,

This winter I plan on experimenting with being a fly fishing bottom feeder... or maybe just seeing if I like it. :laugh:

I have an idea of where some winter fish are hanging out, but I have not been able to get them to "come up" for a fly, even when fished on an intermediate line.

I suspect I am not using the correct leader. I have heard that sinking lines work better with shorter leaders, but anything less than 7.5 feet just does not look right to me.

The fish are deep, but in this case "deep" only means 4 to 5 feet. I suspect they are belly scratching on the bottom and are a bit lazy due to cooler water temperatures. I have proven that they are there, and receptive, by casting a simple bucktail jig on a spinning rod, which has proven to be rather (disappointingly) effective... while the flies go untouched.

I may even resort to a sink tip or full sinking line, if necessary, but I will start with the intermediate again.

So... is there some rule of thumb for leader lengths on different sinking lines?
With appreciation and apologies to Ray Charles…

“If it wasn’t for AI, we wouldn’t have no I at all.”
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Paul Arden
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Re: Leader length on sinking lines?

#2

Post by Paul Arden »

Hi Gary,

I used to spend a lot of time fishing sinking lines on Stillwaters. Intermediate (after that came out) but also WetCel 2 and HiD. That dates it back!

I used to fish three flies in most circumstances (the bottom leader)
F56CEBBD-21B8-4659-A638-4F54185E9648.png
Which put the top dropper 8’ away from the flyline.

I was very surprised to learn that many people were using MUCH shorter leaders for sinking lines in rivers. I suppose if you need to get down quickly this makes sense. But if there is little current then I would think that the fly tracks the path of the line, and “goes where the line has been”.

This Wet Season I’m planning to finally set about the Jungle Perch here which can involve deep dredging around structure. I have been training myself to do this mentally by standing in long lines of people waiting for nothing, watching mindless soap operas and just staring blankly at the wall. I’ve also ordered some sinking lines. I will also play around with leaders. I’m thinking initially about 8’ but I will experiment.

Good luck with your experiment. :)

Cheers, Paul
It's an exploration; bring a flyrod.

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George C
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Re: Leader length on sinking lines?

#3

Post by George C »

Save the short leader thing for fast sinking lines in deeper water with unweighted flies in current (or fast drafts). For 4-5 feet an intermediate line, 8-10 ft fluoro leader (which sinks faster than mono or the fly line) and a sparsely dressed clouser will usually work fine.
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James9118
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Re: Leader length on sinking lines?

#4

Post by James9118 »

Mangrove Cuckoo wrote: Wed Oct 19, 2022 11:28 pm Folks,

This winter I plan on experimenting with being a fly fishing bottom feeder... or maybe just seeing if I like it. :laugh:

I have an idea of where some winter fish are hanging out, but I have not been able to get them to "come up" for a fly, even when fished on an intermediate line.

I suspect I am not using the correct leader. I have heard that sinking lines work better with shorter leaders, but anything less than 7.5 feet just does not look right to me.

The fish are deep, but in this case "deep" only means 4 to 5 feet. I suspect they are belly scratching on the bottom and are a bit lazy due to cooler water temperatures. I have proven that they are there, and receptive, by casting a simple bucktail jig on a spinning rod, which has proven to be rather (disappointingly) effective... while the flies go untouched.

I may even resort to a sink tip or full sinking line, if necessary, but I will start with the intermediate again.

So... is there some rule of thumb for leader lengths on different sinking lines?
Hi Gary,

From what you've written above about jigs working but flies not, perhaps try using a super-fast sinking line with a buoyant fly (I assume you could adapt whatever pattern you think will work with some foam etc?). Attach this with an extremely short leader, maybe 1.5ft only. When you retrieve this sort of set-up the fly obviously dives towards the bottom and when you pause, it floats back up. It's not particularly aesthetically pleasing, but it can be very effective.

James
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Bernd Ziesche
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Re: Leader length on sinking lines?

#5

Post by Bernd Ziesche »

Mangrove Cuckoo wrote: Wed Oct 19, 2022 11:28 pm I have proven that they are there, and receptive, by casting a simple bucktail jig on a spinning rod, which has proven to be rather (disappointingly) effective... while the flies go untouched.

I may even resort to a sink tip or full sinking line, if necessary, but I will start with the intermediate again.

So... is there some rule of thumb for leader lengths on different sinking lines?
Hello 😊
Is it sight fishing?
Because if not, I am 99% sure you miss all takes on the fly. Took me years to learn this.
The line sinks faster than your fly and you always have slack damping all takes.
I recommend a floating line, 2,5m leader and a fly 2g or more to start with. Then feel what happens. Without that weight you cant feel any take. Your only chance would be with those few fish not spitting your fly, butvkeepingbit and running off. Unusual, if there is fishing pressure...
The second solution is constantly fast stripping....
Cheers
B
http://www.first-cast.de
The first cast is always the best cast.
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Graeme H
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Re: Leader length on sinking lines?

#6

Post by Graeme H »

Hi Gary,

4 to 5 feet doesn’t sound too bad. That’s what most of our flats fishing is like in Australia. We often use F/I lines for this style of fishing. One line in particular comes to mind: the Rio Flats Pro with the 15’ clear section, which was requested by Morsie for Aussie conditions. That line allows for a shorter leader if you want one.

I don’t know what fish or their feeding habits but another approach to try is a clouser on a slightly long fluorocarbon leader with a series of very long pauses. This is with a floating line.

In a similar way to the method proposed be James, this presentation can lift and drop your fly during he retrieve.

Good luck,
Graeme
FFi CCI
Mangrove Cuckoo
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Re: Leader length on sinking lines?

#7

Post by Mangrove Cuckoo »

Thanks guys!

Some interesting options to try! The intermediate line and neutral buoyancy fly did not seem to be the answer.

I'm going to try the other extremes: floating line, long leader and heavy fly and (2), fast sink line (multi density) with short leader and slightly buoyant fly.

If neither works there is always dynamite! :laugh:
With appreciation and apologies to Ray Charles…

“If it wasn’t for AI, we wouldn’t have no I at all.”
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Paul Arden
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Re: Leader length on sinking lines?

#8

Post by Paul Arden »

What are you fishing for Gary? I’ve fished some heavily weed guarded flies that can scrape along the ground hook up. I think they would work with any line density but hooking up might be a problem.
It's an exploration; bring a flyrod.

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Bernd Ziesche
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Re: Leader length on sinking lines?

#9

Post by Bernd Ziesche »

Graeme H wrote: Mon Jan 02, 2023 11:00 pm I don’t know what fish or their feeding habits but another approach to try is a clouser on a slightly long fluorocarbon leader with a series of very long pauses. This is with a floating line.
Hi Gaeme,
I love listening to the Millhouse podcasts. Lots of history covered in those talks!
The Clouser minnow is a very simple fly. In my opinion it has only one reason, why it became so popular:
Weight!
As some of the old Keys guides said in those podcasts, unweighted flies were very common before.
I have done this in coastal Sea trout fishing where I live. I remember when I asked for weighted flies in "Go Fishing" (most famous fly shop in the capital of Sea trout fishing, Denmark). They had zero clue about weight in thr fly and offered none!
Weight shortens the time lack between the mouth closed and the angler to feel the fish on. Exactly why ffm often fail, when spinfishermen succeed!
Once you get this, we can succeed, too.
Regards
Bernd
http://www.first-cast.de
The first cast is always the best cast.
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