Thursday, November 10, 2011

Getting To The Bottom Of It With Poly Leaders

This past week I traveled to a beautiful  river in New York State.  The regulations on this river are that no added weight, indicators or weighted flies are legal.  You may use sinking line so long as it is not a lead core type.  This is heaven for the two hand caster and I plan to return as much as possible.

The fishing is done mostly by swinging flies with single hand, switch and two hand rods between 9' and 12'6".  Six seems to be the go to weight.  In order to have the correct presentation you must vary the depth and speed of your fly according to river flow and depth of pool.  The fish will take swung flies but you must  get them down toward the bottom a bit.

The Salmon range from a few to twelve pounds.  There are also Steelhead and large Brown Trout available so the opportunities are as wide a range as the flies in your pocket.  The best flies we found for swinging had somber Bronze Malard wings with gold bodies.  I'm sure that under different conditions it would be something else.

Having the correct depth was made easy with the incorporation of using PolyLeaders connected loop to loop at the end of a modified switch style line.  I think the closet thing that is commercially available would be the Royal Wulff Ambush line.  A short head line that will make crisp yet decent length casts while standing close to the bank and under trees and bush.  In shallow locations, a hover poly could be used, and in deeper faster runs changing to a 6.1ips sinking and longer poly could be changed over in a matter of a few minutes.   Just keep the tippet on as you change and you are all set.  The other variable will be the length of your tippet.  Typically I ran the tippet at about three feet.  If I wanted to ride a little higher, I just added another foot or so with a Double Surgeon's Knot.

This is a great system that turned over larger size flies with ease and made overhead, switch and Skagit style casting easy.  They also cast very well with single hand rods and offer an added push of distance and line speed.  The AirFlo company was the first to make these tapered specialized sinking leaders and created them for improved casting accuracy as well as sinking.  I first started using these PolyLeaders while fishing the River Tay in Scotland about eight years ago.  No one fished without one.  They were not in any store that I could find in the States at that time.  Now every major line company and fly shop has a well stocked supply.

Another application and reason to carry PolyLeaders would be for the angler who wants to make sure that all bases are covered when nymph fishing.  As you have your fly line ended with a small loop you can high stick with or without an indicator and weight and then change over to a poly in a very fast time.  I often fish one set up at the top of a pool a different rig for the deeper middle and am willing to change for the tail out.  It is always optimal in only one perfect style at that moment and the challenge is to get it right as much as possible.

There are some anglers who confuse these new style leaders with sinking heads that are clunky and do not cast well on single handed rods.  They will get you down to the bottom when made from T-7 to T-14 and should be used as a line extension and not a leader.  Longer length tapered mono leaders or knotted tapered leaders should be attached to the end of these sections.  I use them as cheaters with Skagit lines when I need to go down deep and fast.  Cheaters are used to make sure that the length of your fly line head is always the same so your casting stroke can be constant.  But that's a topic to itself and for another time.

Weather you are a nymph fisher with weights and indicators or a swinger of streamers you can make your set up do both with the same rod, reel, spool and line by the use of PolyLeaders.  This is very inexpensive to give a try and will add an extra piece to the puzzle.


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