Fly line confusion

Posted by: spokey9

Fly line confusion - 06/29/17 10:39 AM

This'll be my first year trying to target salmon on the fly. I've done some bass fishing years ago with a pre rigged rod I had bought. I know the basic overhand cast and nothing else. I really wanna target Chinook this season and the river I plan to fish has a typical sized fish in the mid teens to low twenties with a good shot at fish over 30lb.

I've already got my rod it's a 9wt 9'6" Fenwick hmg and I'm waiting on my reel to be delivered, it's an okuma integrity. Now I'm hunting for a good line to use but there's so much of the terminology I just don't understand. Most of the water I'll be fishing is in tidally influenced sections of the rivers with a fairly slow current speed and about 6ft depth. I plan to fish intruder style flies with a strip pause retrieve because I've had some success twitching Marabou jigs there in the past but conventional gear is tough to fish because of the lack of depth.

I could really use some advice or suggestions on which line or what I should​ be looking for in a line for these conditions. My budget for a line is about $50 mainly because I don't wanna get too deep into my fly rig and find out it's not something I enjoy to be honest. Any help would be much appreciated.
Posted by: NickD90

Re: Fly line confusion - 06/29/17 04:27 PM

How deep do you want your fly in that 6' of water and how fast do you want it to sink? Since you are targeting Kings, I'd imagine you'll want to be within 1' of the bottom.

You'll need to learn to double haul so you can punch those larger Intruders. Single hauls won't generate enough rod speed (load) to push those large flies.

My early best guess for you would be to get a standard Weight Forward (WF) floating line and then a set of sink tips of varying lengths and sinking rates. 9W 444 Cortland Classic Floating Line (WF) matched up with Rio ST's in type 3 / 6 / 8. Or a Rio Versi Tip II package that has all of the above in one package

$50 isn't going to get you much. You'll need to at least double that for lines alone and then get some good Rio leaders.

Let me know if you need more help. Start practicing your double haul
Posted by: NickD90

Re: Fly line confusion - 06/29/17 06:11 PM

Watch these videos:
Posted by: stonefish

Re: Fly line confusion - 06/29/17 08:51 PM

Rather then a full length fly line, you might consider a mono running line with a OPST Commando head and a poly or versa leader to achieve the depth you want to swing.
The OPST guys are located in Tukwila and can answer what questions you might have.
I know a few people that are using this combo on their single handed rods and like them.
Any of the local fly shops can help you as well.

No disrespect to Nick, but I'm done with Rio lines until they do something about their durability. Too bad because I really like their tapers.
Airflo and SA are much more durable lines in my opinion.
Good luck,
Posted by: NickD90

Re: Fly line confusion - 06/30/17 06:18 AM

I hear ya Stoney....twas just giving examples of types of lines. I do like the idea of a mono-to-head setup on the surface, I've just never fished that way so I can't speak to the performance. How long of heads are they running? It would definitely be cheaper, but wouldn't you lose your head on a break off? Seems kinda risky, but again...I don't know enough about that set-up to say....
Posted by: spokey9

Re: Fly line confusion - 06/30/17 07:29 AM

I know $50 won't get me anywhere near a top end line Nick. Just looking for something that won't fall apart quickly and cast well enough to see if bug stickin' salmon is something I wanna do, because that gear addiction will kick in something fierce if I do lol.

Does running a tip off a standard line make casting more difficult?

Stone, are you talking about regular mono like Maxima? If so what on test would I use? Does a mono/tip cast fairly easily for somebody with limited casting skills?

I did buy a 10wt reel if for nothing else to get some extra backing since I'm sure any decent sized king will whoop my butt til I get over the learning curve.
Posted by: stonefish

Re: Fly line confusion - 06/30/17 08:39 AM


Watch this video.
This is the type of system I'm talking about.
Posted by: Carcassman

Re: Fly line confusion - 06/30/17 02:43 PM

When I was first introduced to fly fishing for pinks in a river the instructor had us put a lead core line of about 10' onto the regular floater. Leader attached to the shooting head (lead). Got down for the pinks and also worked on the summer runs and springers that were in the neighborhood. But, we were fishing in 3-5' of water so I don't know just how much more would be needed to go deeper. Cast pretty well one-handed; I was using an 8 wt Fenwick.
Posted by: stonefish

Re: Fly line confusion - 06/30/17 04:18 PM

They still sell lead core, though it isn't' used as much now that Tungsten lines are available.
Cortland makes LC-13.
Rio makes T-8,11,14,17 and 20 I believe.
Airflo makes T-7, 10, 14 and 18 or something like that.

The best way is to make your own heads. Buy bulk material, cut to length and add loops.
With all the different sink rates, you can pretty much cover anything you'd fish.
Posted by: NickD90

Re: Fly line confusion - 07/01/17 01:34 AM

Originally Posted By: Myassisdragon
CM! This would likely be the least expensive way to go. Nail knots used ?

And, this is a stupid one, do they still sell lead core line ?

Any chance that the newer W/F sink tip lines would fill this bill ? The medium flow 3 to 5 foot deep runs you noted ?

Heads and sink tips are basically fancy "leadcore" in pre-determine weights and lengths. You just swap em' out as needed over your running line.

It's easy to make cheap bulk heads from LC. That's how we did it long ago before Jim Teeny started his thing and they became commercially available. All you need to buy are the replaceable nylon loop-to-loop connectors for each end. A nail knot would work, but you'll want to be able to change out heads as conditions call for it, so speed loops are the way to go. The only knot I ever tie is directly to my fly.

You can use a W/F sink tip and add small heads if you want. But if you only had one line to buy, buy a do-it-all WF floating line and add bigger heads. It also depends on how you want to fish. Swinging flies, stripping flies or nymphing? But that starts to complicate things a bit for several reasons. Spokey wants to strip flies, so that's the context I am going with.

As an extreme example, I've fished most of the Rio T class lines Stonefish is referring to above for DEEP pool nymphing. Key word nymphing, not stripping. Heavy, heavy tips. 16 - 20" in / sec sink rate class heads. You can pretty much go as deep as you want with proper rod and line handling skills (and current). 6' deep is nothing really. I'm talking 20 - 25 foot deep slow pools where I hear some big browns or a King or two might live wink. But those heavy lines are exhausting after a full day of fishing, not just from casting, but from mending, highsticking and Leisenring lifting all damn day. Plus you gotta be right over the fish (the inverse of Spey fishing) and the fly may only be in the zone fishing for 1 - 2 seconds. It's a lot of work.

One of my favorite fishing moments in Washington was going up to Reiter on a busy winterrun day and busting out my Scotty 5wt loaded up with a heavy Rio depth charge to a size 12-2xl bright red stonefly nymph (a trout pattern that I re-tied into steely colors). The crowd snickered until I promptly nymphed up a nice 5-6 pound hen on like my 5th cast. The look on their faces was priceless. Like...what just happened and how? grin
Posted by: spokey9

Re: Fly line confusion - 07/01/17 07:59 AM

The biggest reason for wanting to strip is I've seen the fish react to lightweight twitching jigs (like 1/16 oz). From my experience kings like a more horizontal jigging motion than say coho. It's so hard to get a jig that small into the zone and work it effectively with a gear rod that's set for fish that size. And dialing down my gear to fish it leads to long, albeit fun fights that tend to exhaust wild fish I encounter too much for my liking. I'm hoping that by using a fly rod I'll be able to present a fly tied similarly to small to medium sized twiching jig in that horizontal twitch by stripping. Also think I'd be able to put enough pressure on the fish to land it before it's completely spent so I can release any wilds in much better condition.
Posted by: ColeyG

Re: Fly line confusion - 07/02/17 06:00 PM

I've been using Rio's Switch lines and their new Switch Chucker as "do it all" lines on both Switch and single hand rods for a while now and I like them quite a bit. I use the MOW tip system for changing between full floating and various sinking tips. This is as close to a one line system as I've found for quick tactics changes with minimal fuckery.

I usually overline my rod by at least one weight for a little better Spey casting performance. The chucker casts pretty true to weight though.

Some of the confusion that can arise with regard to fly lines is a result of mixing and matching terms.

Starting at the fly working to the other end of the line, it seems like the common nomenclature for the parts and pieces of any given line system is as follows:

-running or shooting line

Lines like a weight forward floating would have the head and the running line incorporated and may or may not work well with tips depending on the configuration. Many Skagit style lines come with head and running line built together while others connect tips, heads and running lines loop to loop.

As Stonefish mentioned, there are lots of options for running lines out there. Mono or braid are common as the low diameter shoots very well, but I find them hard to hold onto and manage. I like the running lines made by rio, there are two diameters and I find them easier to hold onto.

Good luck.

Posted by: ColeyG

Re: Fly line confusion - 07/02/17 10:20 PM


Any junctions, loops or knots, will create noticeable drag running through your guides, but you should be casting with all of these junctions well outside of your guides with the exception of perhaps your backing knot if you have one. You won't notice any loss of distance due to aerodynamics.