New se­ries: Snow­bee ad­vice

Si­mon Kidd on how to choose a sink-tip line

Trout Fisherman (UK) - - Contents -

SINK-tips have been around for a long time and can be hugely suc­cess­ful. But their rep­u­ta­tion has grown re­cently as more peo­ple see the full ben­e­fits of these ver­sa­tile fish­ing lines and the tech­niques that have be­come per­fected with them.

In­deed, this spring, both the re­cent Bob Church Clas­sic on Rut­land Wa­ter and the Home International on Chew, have been won on these fly-lines. They’re ex­cel­lent when the con­di­tions suit on both rivers and still­wa­ters.

Just like a float­ing line, sink-tips can be vis­ual and ex­cit­ing. I sus­pect it de­vel­oped as tra­di­tional silk lines be­came sat­u­rated and started sink­ing and in­tro­duced a new style of fish­ing.

It cer­tainly did for me as a lad as I‘d be­come frus­trated at not be­ing able to keep my silk line afloat, un­til I re­alised that at times my catch rate im­proved and as I changed flies and tac­tics to ac­com­mo­date the fly-line’s be­hav­iour, my catch rate could im­prove even more. Some­times I’d see a bow wave be­fore a take, at oth­ers I’d never see a take at all, the line would just tighten and a fish was on and well hooked.


So, what are they, how do they work and how should we best fish them? With mod­ern tech­nol­ogy, it’s pos­si­ble to take a con­ven­tion­ally-ta­pered float­ing line and change the den­sity of the last few feet caus­ing it to de­lib­er­ately sink at what­ever rate re­quired.

One draw­back is that the line can hinge or pivot at the point where the den­sity changes with the line be­com­ing heav­ier at that point. This causes an un­com­fort­able kick in the cast.

But by al­ter­ing the line tip pro­file and bleed of the in­creased den­sity fi­nal sec­tion, this can be sig­nif­i­cantly re­duced and shorter sink­ing tip lengths tend to also re­duce the ef­fect.

Of course, the length of the sink­ing tip is cru­cial to the fish­ing be­hav­iour of the line.

When fish­ing a float­ing line and sink­ing flies, the sink rate and fish­ing depth for the flies will be largely de­ter­mined by the flies’ weight, size, style, pro­file and length of the leader it­self it­self. With a sink­ing tip, this can be fur­ther con­trolled and en­hanced by the length and den­sity of the tip sec­tion. Wait time, af­ter cast­ing and be­fore re­trieve, will be cru­cial and ex­tra takes can be e ex­pe­ri­enced dur­ing that static or slo slow re­trieve time as well.

Speed and type of re­trieve will still be crit­i­cal, plus fly type and po­si­tion­ing on the leader pro­duc­ing yet fur­ther di­men­sions in the re­trieve. Fish high in the wa­ter, but not on the sur­face, can be ap­proached with a range of three-di­men­sional op­tions us­ing a sink-tip line, and the wash­ing-line tech­nique (hang­ing a team of flies be­tween a buoy­ant point fly and the fly-line) is a pop­u­lar method.

A Booby or FAB on the point is a typ­i­cal se­lec­tion. An at­trac­tor pat­tern and team of nat­u­ral nymphs can prove deadly on this method too and it doesn’t have to be a buoy­ant fly on the point or top drop­per ei­ther to be ef­fec­tive.


Some sink-tips are made of a clear ma­te­rial on a ‘monofil­a­ment’ core. Oth­ers, as in the XS range, of­fer vi­tal low stretch ‘braided core’ (but NOT non-stretch!). This helps avoid smash takes and los­ing less fish when us­ing bar­b­less hooks. These low-stretch lines have a neu­tral opaque tip sec­tion, as the braid can never be clear but the stretch can be an al­ter­na­tive ben­e­fit and if the fish can see the tip of the fly-line, one is prob­a­bly fish­ing too short a leader.

The green sec­tion is the sink-tip.

A fam­ily of sink- tips.

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