Sinking Lines and Streamer Tips
If you’ve ever been curious about sink-tip or sinking fly lines but didn’t really know when a good time to use them was, well, now’s the time. The big browns that everyone wants a photo of have started migrating up the river systems, pairing up and preparing to spawn. It’s a great time to throw your big streamers. Not only do big fish eat big flies, but when fish begin to spawn their behavior also becomes more aggressive and territorial. The fish will chase streamers not only out of basic hunger but also out of aggression. A great way to deliver those big streamers down quickly to those bigger fish is by using a sink-tip or sinking line.
There are a few different kinds of sinking lines. For river and stream fishing, density compensated lines work well. The density compensated lines will sink tip-first and will get deeper than the streamer tips. These lines are often the choice when swinging big articulated flies or trying to cover ground. These lines vary in their sink rates depending on tip length and line size.
Streamer tips are another great choice for fishing streamers, but perhaps have slightly different applications. Streamer tip lines are floating lines with a short sinking tip, usually 3-15 feet depending on the line size and manufacturer. The floating line makes it easier to pick the line up off the water when beginning your backcast. Thus, the streamer tip lines are great for pounding the banks with a streamer from a boat, when often times the fly is delivered on the bank and then only a few strips are made before another cast is made. Streamer tips are also handy when searching water that may not be that fast or deep.
If you’d like to fish streamers with a sink-tip, but don’t feel you would use it enough to get your money’s worth out of a more specific line, there are also sink tip extensions available. This is a great way to temporarily turn your floating line into a sink-tip. These extensions are usually 5-15 feet, depending on the manufacturer and line size, and also come in variety of sinking rates for whatever depth you’re trying to target. They have welded loops so it’s very easy to take them on and off, and they’re only about $5-$10 apiece.
There really is nothing like stripping a streamer this time of year, seeing a flash and then feeling a tight-line strike, and then working a big brown up to the surface to expose its brilliant fall colors. If you’re looking for that fish-of-the-year, this is the time to do it, and fishing streamers on sinking lines is a great strategy for it.