Every fall as the morning gains a fresh crispness and the evenings begin to shorten I am reminded of how much I enjoy the changing of seasons. The memories of summer fade while the flavor of Uncle Ken’s famous BBQ chicken and backyard pool parties are still fresh on my mind. The peak season of dry fly fishing is winding down, Brown Trout are on the move, and traffic around the river is slowing down. It’s time to start thinking streamers.
It’s a good feeling to know that some of the daily hustle and bustle in the shop is finally revolved around streamer fishing. Every week we will try to put up a blog post about what seems to be the most common question we receive in the shop about streamer fishing on The MO. As many anglers are starting to ready their gear to toss streamers we are getting a lot of questions about what to use. The most confusion seems to rest around the rigging of interchangeable sink tips.
Some lines come with a sink tip integrated into the line while other lines need a sink tip added onto the end to give it some sinking ability. If you have a line with sink tip that’s integrated, just add a couple feet of tippet and your ready to fish.
The majority of anglers choose to fish a regular floating line and change out their tips. This is mostly because of the versatility that is achieved with this method. You don’t need a specific reel or spool committed to a streamer line which helps the budget. All you have to do is remove the sinking tip from your system and you can nymph or dry fly fish with the same line set up. Sure, the best line to toss a sink tip might not be your best presentation line. However, the ability to change is still there.
When choosing your sink tip there are many different types to choose from. To make thing simple we only sell Rio’s Versileader in our shop. Then you only have two choices to make. Length and sink rate. We carry 6,10,and 15ft tips with sinking rates of 1.5ips,3.9ips,5.6ips, and 7.0 ips. The longer the tip the deeper you can get your fly, choose the length of your tip based on the depth you want your fly. The sinking rate of your tip should be based on the current or type of water you fish. In faster currents where it is essential to get your fly down quickly, use a faster sinking rate. In shallow flats or slow water the 1.5ips is the way to go.
Most sink tips come with a loop on one end. This is the end that usually attaches to your floating fly line. At the other end of the tip there is a clear area which is where you would attach your tippet. The easiest way to rig your system is to install a loop on the tippet end of the sink tip to easily interchange flies out on the river. A perfection loop will do the trick. Then you can pre tie a few streamers with tippet attached and a loop on the end. Out on the river there is no tying of knots in the cold, just a few loop to loop connections! Check out this video about how to connect a Versileader to your fly line.
The biggest misconception we get in the shop is what type of leader to use with a sink tip. The biggest mistake anglers make is attaching a full tapered leader on the end of their sink tip. If you put too much distance between fly and tip then the sinking effect of the tip is essentially useless because the fly will float independent from the sinking section of your rig. Use no more then 3 ft of tippet off the end of your sink tip to attach the fly. Just straight 0x or 1x is perfect for trout on The MO. It can’t be emphasized how important it is to keep your fly close to your tip!
Stay tuned for next weeks Missouri River streamer fishing tip! For some bonus sink tip study materials check out this video and information from Cascadia Fly Shop in Corvallis, OR about how to make your own sink tips out of bulk materials.