One thing I have often seen while guiding spey fisherman is that they just wont move. I’m not talking two-stepping here but simply working a run in a methodical and timely manner. Under most conditions I prefer to move three to four feet between casts which has several benefits.
1) By steadily working your way through a run you will cover more water throughout your day than the person who only moves a couple feet every few casts. Remember, we are looking for players, the fish who are aggressive enough to eat your fly on the first pass.
2) Constantly fishing new water it is simply more interesting and I tend to stay more focused as I move though a run.
3) We are not trout fishing – you will not find a steelhead river with 2-6 thousand fish per river mile, so covering water is the key to finding fish.
I do slow down for several reasons.
1) If I know fish are in a certain area and I feel that they are not willing to move far to a fly, I will slow down my pace and work the fly with different presentations.
2) If I feel a grab but don’t hook up I will cast back to the fish, trying a couple of presentations. If this does not work I will mentally note where the fish was holding and make another pass with a new, smaller fly.
By maximizing the amount of water you cover in a day you will swim your flies through more holding lies. When searching for winter steelhead covering water can make the difference, it only takes one fish to turn your day around.
Intermediate Skagit Heads are a relatively new product to the fly fishing world and have created a stir in the spey fishing scene. Rather than a traditional full floating shooting head, these heads sink at an intermediate rate. This allows the angler to achieve a slow, deep swing that keeps the fly in the “ZONE” for a longer period of time. The sinking nature of this Intermediate head enables you to break heavy surface tension, and maintain consistent depth throughout your swing. When coupled with a Type 3 or Intermediate sink tip you have the ability to fish shallow tail-outs and riffles. On the flipside, the short length of this head allows the heaviest tips to be turned over with extreme ease, allowing you to dig deep and cast the largest flies in your box. This shooting head really shines in the high water, winter steelhead scene where the fish are holding in slow, deep “tanks” as well as choppy water with heavy surface tension. This head produces a much slower presentation than your floating shooting heads because it travels lower in the water column, instead of on top of the water.
Total head length is no longer than 29ft on the heaviest 800 grain head. You can expect the same quality welded loops that SA produces, as well as a labeling system on the head determining front/back a grain weight. The only downside to this line, in my opinion, is at the end of your swing a downstream roll cast is required to break surface tension and bring your head to the surface. Overall I was very happy with the performance of this head.
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.
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