MOW tips are a relatively new offering in the fly fishing world. They consist of a section of floating line welded to a section of sinking line. Most are ten feet long and come in a variety of styles with a popular choice being the “five- five” or five feet of floating and fivefeet of sinking line. From a casting perspective, these tips cast very similarly and enable the angler to change casting stroke little between tip changes. From a fishing standpoint, MOW tips allow the angler to change sink tips less often when fishing different water types throughout the day. They do this by reducing the amount of line in the water column and by creating a straighter, more vertical angle from the floating line to the fly. This means it is easier to keep your fly in the fish zone when there are boulders and other fish-holding structure in the way of a clean swing.
The iMOW has taken my winter steelhead fly control to a new level. As with traditional MOW tips you maintain a steeper eline angle through the water column from your floating head to fly. The difference: iMOWs can be fished effectively over a wider range of depths by changing casting angle. I have been fishing the 5′-5′ iMOW heavy (t-14) tip recently, meaning five feet of t-14 with five feet of intermediate line.
Casting at ninety degrees across the river the 5’-5’ iMOW will sink as deep as ten feet of t-14, and stay there through the swing. However, with a down and across presentation, bringing the fly under tension almost immediately, the iMOW will fish much shallower than level t-14. This enables it to be fished through an entire run from the deep gut to a boulder strewn tailout. Yes, this is true of any tip, but I have found the iMOW to effectively cover a greater range of depths within the water column. This can be attributed to the slower sinking section of intermediate line that helps to alleviate the problem of the sink tip wrapping around boulders. Also, it slows the swing down by breaking the surface currents with the intermediate section. All of this combined means a more versatile tip.
The sink tip that I fish on any given day will vary quite a bit given water conditions. I have been fishing traditional MOW tips for a while and often do not find them deep enough for winter fishing. Therefore, I bring two rods: one with a heavy tip (10′ t-14), and another with a lighter tip, 5′-5′ MOW heavy (t-14). I no longer feel this is necessary as this tip has desirable attributes of both. While two rods is not a big issue in a boat, I have no interest in carrying two fully rigged twelve and a half foot rods through the Pacific Northwest Rainforest. This tip also casts fantastically; the stiff intermediate line turns over fast and straight and transfers energy through the leader exceptionally well. No one sink tip can truly cover all conditions but I have a feeling that I will be stringing this tip up on my rods consistently throughout the winter.
MOW / iMOW options:
Light: T-8 / Medium: T-11 / Heavy: T-14 / Extra Heavy: T-17
- 10′ float
- 7.5′ float – 2.5′ sink
- 5′ float – 5′ sink
- 2.5′ float – 7.5′ sink
- 10′ sink
- 12.5′ sink
- 10′ intermediate
- 7.5′ intermediate – 2.5′ sink
- 5′ intermediate – 5′ sink
- 2.5′ intermediate – 7.5′ sink