Fly fishing, fly lines, Spey casting, Spey shooting head, dry fly drag, fly size and temperature.

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Fly fishing questions page 5.

Questions can be about any aspect of fly fishing, fly casting, casting instruction, fishing in Scotland or abroad, fly fishing courses, fishing flies, etc. The following is just a random selection of questions that have been send by readers and answered by Ally. If you have a question that you wish to ask please do not hesitate to complete the form.

Questions:

Methods of joining fly lines to leaders
Stripping fly line coatings
Spey casting short roll casts
Designing a Spey rod shooting head
Avoiding dry fly drag
Salmon fly size vs temperature

Joining fly lines to leaders
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Question: I have fished for over 20 years but find the old saying "every day is a school day" still rings true with salmon/sea trout/trout fishing! I am now hooked on Salmon fly fishing after taking it up 3 seasons ago, still to get that first fish but it is just a pleasure being on the river. My question is about braided loops for salmon fly-fishing and if you use them yourself? I use both braided loops and nail knot type monofilament loops in my trout fly lines but would like to know if using them on my salmon lines is a good idea? I would also appreciate you advice on the correct way to fix these loops to the salmon line. I currently have 30lbs breaking strain loops but I don't trust using just the supplied sleeve with them. Are there improved ways in which I can secure them using glues (i.e. Aquasure etc) which won’t crack or degrade the line in any way or would you recommend using an alternative interface between the line and tippet material? I have heard of one very experienced angler who only uses the braided section and glue without the security sleeve!

Answer: I do not like braided loops very much because they tend to be a weakness rather than a strength and they are bulky and noticeable especially on floating and clear intermediate lines. There seems little sense in making accurate tapers on fly lines and then adding a braided loop. Basically I use two methods for attaching leaders. My favourite is to use four feet or so of 0.45mm monofilament to which I would attach smaller diameter sections until I reached the diameter I want for to attach the fly. I use the grinner knot for joins because it is secure and knots anything to anything successfully and I like fluorocarbon. This method gives superb "turnover".

The other method I use is for lines that I might want to attach a sinking tip section to (I utilise pieces of running line from discarded WF trout lines instead of poly leaders or the like for sinking tips). The loops are made by stripping the coating from the end of the fly line for two or three inches and doubling it back to form a loop using the core material. I then whip the loop using fly tying thread and Zap-a-Gap glue. It is not especially pretty but it is secure and much less bulky than a braided loop. The same technique is used for the line attachment end of the sinking tip or you can use it on both ends of the sinking tip so that you can join lengths of tip together if need be. The only recommendation that I can give for my methods is that they work for me!

Stripping fly line coatings
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Question: What method do you use to take the coating off two fly lines if you want to join the cores together with a blood knot (1 a mono core the other a Dacron core)? I have tried wire strippers, 4 loop blood knots, razor knife and my thumb nail. I keep getting nicks in the remaining cores than weaken and break the core blood knot connection.

Tie a blood knot back onto a loop or make any kind of slipping loop knot on heavy nylon mono. Place the loop around the fly line folded at the point that you want the core stripped from and pull the loop tight so that it cuts into the PVC. Then release the fold and pull the nylon away from the PVC, it normally strips off clean but sometimes you need to do it twice. PVC can also be softened or dissolved with acetone nail varnish remover. I hope that this get the job done.

Answer: Tie a blood knot back onto a loop or make any kind of slipping loop knot on heavy nylon mono. Place the loop around the fly line folded at the point that you want the core stripped from and pull the loop tight so that it cuts into the PVC. Then release the fold and pull the nylon away from the PVC, it normally strips off clean but sometimes you need to do it twice. PVC can also be softened or dissolved with acetone nail varnish remover. I hope that this gets the job done.

Spey casting short roll casts
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Question: Which Spey line would you recommend for a 13 or 14 ft rod for short 25 to 60 ft roll casts with weighted flies? I fish for Steelhead and Salmon in small shallow rivers and find that the long Spey rod is an advantage for drift control. The problem is having enough fly line out to roll cast a 12 ft leader 20 to 60 ft. I have been using a WF pike taper with some success but would prefer a better roll cast option that would handle the short nymph fishing style and cast 60 to 80 ft when required.

Answer: Most if not all of the modern fancy Spey tapers have long front tapers which of course are not much good for turning over heavier flies and, that presumably is why you are using the pike tapered line which is designed for casting big flies. I think that a straightforward double taper line would probably be the best choice and if you are using only short distances you may up the line size by one AFTM size so that it loads better at shorter distances.

Designing a Spey rod shooting head.
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Question: Having just come by a second hand seventeen foot Bruce & Walker Expert to be used for early and late season fishing on the mighty River Tay in Scotland what length of shooting head would you recommend for this rod? I would class myself as an average caster.

Answer: Make sure that the line you are going to use is heavy enough to load the rod with the shooting head, it is often smart to go one or two sizes above the rod AFTM rating and allow 3 ft for every foot of rod length and a little extra for good measure to start off with. It is easier to shorten it to make it perfect than to lengthen it! Most of my lines are around 16/17 yards long depending on the weight of them. A 35 or 40 yard DT line cut in half so that you get two heads from it is a good choice.

Avoiding drag
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Question: What is the best way to sink the tippet when dry fly fishing to avoid drag on the surface?

Answer: I use fluorocarbon because it is denser than water and treat it with a mixture or Fullers Earth and washing up liquid or simply buy some sinking (degreasing) compound from a fly shop. Effective compounds are made by Loon products, Gink etc. and these will eliminate the problem with surface tension and allow the leader to sink. Unfortunately they will not avoid drag which is caused by tension on the leader. That has to be coped with by presenting the fly in such a way that there is no tension on the leader whilst it is in the fishes “presentation” zone.

Salmon fly size vs water temperature
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Question: Can you tell me what size of fly should be fished by temperature for instance at ten degrees C a size 6 at 15 degrees C a size 8 and so on. This is when fishing for salmon mainly in low water.

Answer: This chart should be helpful providing that you bear in mind that in addition to water temperature, water colour, current speed and wind all affect fly choices

temperature degrees C
8
9
10
11
12
13
14
15
16
17
18
19
20
fly size
2
2
4
4
6
6
6
8
8
10
10
10
12
leader diameter (mm/100)
35
35
33
30
28
26
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Copyright 2007 Alastair Gowans AAPGAI and FFF Master and THCI, APGAI. All rights reserved.