New series: Snowbee advice
Simon Kidd on how to choose a sink-tip line
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.
WHAT EXACTLY ARE THEY?
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.
AVOID SMASH TAKES
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.