What tip should I start with?? This is easily one of the most asked questions I get one a day of winter steelheading. With most of my trips in the winter time taking place on the Sandy river, I have adapted my Sink tip wallet to fit the fishable water of the Sandy during a diversity of water levels. The truth is I only carry 8 sink tips and 5 of them are the same, I also use that one the most so I forget to get them off peoples rods so I need the extras.
The first and main sink I use to not only fish with myself but to guide with is about 11 feet of T-11. Give or take 6″ this is my go to sink tip. This tip lends itself well to easy manipulation, and it carries enough mass to turn over any of the flies that myself and my clients need to entice a potential winter steelhead. Now from one piece of water to the next i may fish weighted to un-weighted flies this can help either to slow the swing down more to combat the surface currents or to gain a few more inches of depth. For any angler fishing the Sandy or rivers like the Sandy in search of winter steelhead, this is a great tip for general searching.
Now with only 3 other tips in my tip wallet these are the tips I use in when things are less than perfect or went times are tough. I am going to start with the heaviest. the heaviest tip in my wallet is 11 feet of T-14. This is for very fast high water or the deeper river channel that holds a fish to often not to have this tip ready to at least give him a chance!
Next on the tip list is 10 feet of T-8…That’s right lighter! For some reason or another the common thought process is that deeper is better. I can tell you that I might not agree with that. I have spent plenty of time casting sink tips to steelhead on double handed rods, that it has become known to me that days spent tying on new flies because I chose to sacrifice my hours at the vice to the river, maybe as payment or trade for the experience I guess. the deep is always trumped by the speed of the swing. The slower fly wins, especially on rivers like the Sandy river. I still lose a fly or two don’t get me wrong. Just more to the fish now.
Last but not least is the sleeper tip of winter time for me, the ace in the hole so to speak. I hide in the depths of the dark colored leader, and old Rio DC 10 wt. type 3 cut to 10 feet. this tip is for places to over all shallow for most of the modern tips Spey anglers are throwing. So in turn many of the place i use this sink tip seldom get fished. the secret places are almost as secret as the fact I have this tip on me. Lets just say low riffle water and tail-outs are the focuses of the uses of the particular tip, but not all!! I have to keep you guessing.
I hope this helps some of you out there as to what might help you hook a few more chromers this season. Happy New Years from AWA.