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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
i have just recently started trying dredging and using sinking lines for fishing pretty deep. Opinions on 8wt rod selection needed. What are
good properties of a rod for sinking lines? Fast and powerful or slower and bending deeper into the rod? I know that you don’t make tight loops with sinking lines. I’m talking about 300gr Rio Leviathan and the like. I’m using a pretty slow rod right now for it but just wondering what the peanut gallery has to say...
 

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Fly Fishing Shaman
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I use a 9wt for my dredging rod. It seems to handle the sinking lines better and has more muscle for those bigger, deeper fish. Plus it handles bigger and heavier flies than an 8wt.

I don't like ultra fast rods for that. Something fast tho, since you are always punching the winds and throwing heavier lines further. That will cause it to load further down into the rod blank (which you want, instead of tip casting an ultra fast rod with a floating line).

What ever rod you are using now that you really like, will seem faster and stiffer than your 8wt by nature since they are beefing the rod up. So what rod are you using now that you like?
 

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Funny how different anglers approach our sport - and each in his/her own manner.... All of our "dredging rods" are only set up with full intermediate lines - then we count the gear down to the level we want to fish in... We never use lighter rods - always a 10wt or above - and with great success...

For those that have never used a full intermediate... you'll find that it actually casts better than any floating line (cuts the wind better, shoots better.. the drawbacks come after the cast...). With a full intermediate, like a regular sinking line you simply can't pick it up after casting (unless you're water-hauling, allowing the line to touch the water for a moment - then immediately picking it up and shooting it a bit farther... instead of double hauling..). You have to strip the line almost all the way back to you before being able to pick it up for another cast...

We find that an intermediate doesn't require any special rod - we're using the same heavier rods you'd use for tossing flies at big tarpon with a floating line... One other minor point - the intermediates we use (Rio, SA, and others) don't take very well to a single nail knot for attaching the butt section of your leader so we use two nail knots in a row (and occasionally three, if necessary) to make sure that your heavy butt section (50lb for a 10wt, 60lb for a 11 or 12wt.. the butt on a 10wt is five feet long - on a 12wt six feet long) stays attached - no matter how hard you and your fish are pulling against each other.... Of course we're depending on a 20lb tippet to keep from breaking a fly line (most fly lines are only 30lb breaking strength - something to keep in mind for those that think a super heavy leader is the way to go for tarpon...).

Down in the backcountr of the Everglades we're routinely fishing big tarpon and other critters near the bottom in rivers that range from 8 to 13 feet (and a bit more...) - always with a full intermediate. All of our lighter rods, 7, 8, and 9wts, are set up with ordinary inexpensive floating lines... Just doesn't make sense to fish high end, expensive lines in places where there's a very good chance they'd get shredded....
 

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I Love microskiff.com!
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Funny how different anglers approach our sport - and each in his/her own manner.... All of our "dredging rods" are only set up with full intermediate lines - then we count the gear down to the level we want to fish in... We never use lighter rods - always a 10wt or above - and with great success...

For those that have never used a full intermediate... you'll find that it actually casts better than any floating line (cuts the wind better, shoots better.. the drawbacks come after the cast...). With a full intermediate, like a regular sinking line you simply can't pick it up after casting (unless you're water-hauling, allowing the line to touch the water for a moment - then immediately picking it up and shooting it a bit farther... instead of double hauling..). You have to strip the line almost all the way back to you before being able to pick it up for another cast...

We find that an intermediate doesn't require any special rod - we're using the same heavier rods you'd use for tossing flies at big tarpon with a floating line... One other minor point - the intermediates we use (Rio, SA, and others) don't take very well to a single nail knot for attaching the butt section of your leader so we use two nail knots in a row (and occasionally three, if necessary) to make sure that your heavy butt section (50lb for a 10wt, 60lb for a 11 or 12wt.. the butt on a 10wt is five feet long - on a 12wt six feet long) stays attached - no matter how hard you and your fish are pulling against each other.... Of course we're depending on a 20lb tippet to keep from breaking a fly line (most fly lines are only 30lb breaking strength - something to keep in mind for those that think a super heavy leader is the way to go for tarpon...).

Down in the backcountr of the Everglades we're routinely fishing big tarpon and other critters near the bottom in rivers that range from 8 to 13 feet (and a bit more...) - always with a full intermediate. All of our lighter rods, 7, 8, and 9wts, are set up with ordinary inexpensive floating lines... Just doesn't make sense to fish high end, expensive lines in places where there's a very good chance they'd get shredded....
I think the OP is fishing deeper water than where an intermediate would be applicable.
 

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It's funny, I just started trying to learn how to do this on Saturday. I read Bill Bishop's book and I found the fish. They were rolling and then holding at 6-8 feet in about 14 feet of water, but no luck on getting a bite. I was using a clear tip intermediate 10wt sinking line on a 9 weight rod with fairly slow action. It loaded great!

Any tips on this whole process and for flies in dark tannin stained water? I tried a tan and brown clouser, a tan roach, a mullet looking deceiver, a chartreuse and yellow tarpon toad, and a couple of shrimp patterns.

I was also thinking I might want to simplify things and just see if I can catch these guys on a mullet first and then try throwing a fly at them once i have it figured out a little better.
 

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Intermediate tips don’t work well for working fish holding deep... The moment you start stripping -the floating portion of your line causes the tip to rise and your fly along with it...

You need a full intermediate to keep your fly where you want it... As far as flies go we’re using big, mostly black feather patterns with big bead chain eyes -six to seven inches long...

Look for Tarpon Snakes... That’s a pattern I’m still drawing royalties on (since the late eighties...). I’m using my phone to write this. When I get back to my desktop I’ll post a pic or two...
 

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If you are serious about dredging then I suggest you go to youtube and watch the 6 videos by these guys
They outline the techniques they use to fish for Calico bass using 10 wt rods and VERY heavy lines (600-900grains) that they construct (there is a video describing how to construct such a line).
I've not tried it but I found it very enlightening.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Thanks for all the responses so far. I am fishing two different line set ups depending on the depth. One is a class 4 sink tip for fishing mid bay oyster reefs 4-8’ deep. This is where I used to do mostly of my soft plastic fishing for speckled trout and reds. The other line, and reason I am asking primarily, is a sink tip with an intermediate running line (Rio Leviathan). I am fishing this line around jetties. I am getting down around 20’ depending on current/drift speed.

I’ve done it enough to learn about having to strip in all but about 15’ of line, using a simple roll cast to get the line on top before casting. I have found that a slower casting stroke with a more open loop seems to be smoother. This might be simply because the rod I’m using has a moderate action. I am an intermediate level fly caster for what it is worth. I’ve got an 8wt dedicated to floating lines for my usual flats fishing. So I guess my refined question is slower tip with more backbone, faster tip with balanced power or just get another good quality rod I like and adapt? Rod make/model suggestions?
 

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That's one example... We probably use more Rio lines that SA these days -and I can usually manage to lose a line or two each season to tarpon living in very bad places (for fly lines of any kind...). I've already managed to lose one line just a few weeks ago... Pretty tough when you're hooked up and cleared the shoreline - then realize the fish has run you around a submerged tree laying in about ten feet of water... Entirely too many hungry sharks where we fish to even think about going over the side in the typical black waters to clear a snagged fly line...

Bill here's a few pics of the Tarpon Snakes we use - the only difference between mine and the commercial versions is every one of mine has a wire weedguard (a must fishing mangrove jungle shorelines and rivers with lots of downed trees and other snagging type places..). The ones I have for charters come in two sizes - the full sized version on a 4/0 hook -and a smaller version on a 2/0 hook... Tarpon less than fifty pounds will eat the bigger fly - but they're hard to hook with it - the smaller fly fills the bill for them...


this was the original Tarpon Snake that Randy Towe down in Islamorada requested - all those years ago....

Here are a few variations...

for muddy water -


I like this for both tarpon and snook - when there's lots of large sized white baits around... (herring and pilchards...) My other "white version" is usually red/white or fl. pink and white...
 

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I have an 8wt Reddington Predator rod paired with the Behemoth reel with floating line and xtra spool with intermediate line. For full sink I have the TFO MiniMag 810, 8ft rod for 300-400 grain lines, Behemoth reel and 300 grain line. I think I've got the water column covered. If I can't handle it on an 8wt, I'm outta luck.
 

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Ha the Bill Calhoun Calico video! He is my real estate agent. All we do is fish deep here in california. If you want to get you fly deep you need a sinking line with an intermediate running line...

I fish for yellowtail in 100ft water holding at 30' to 40' with a 450g line. I count to 45 and strip. A Tarpon in 12' of water is only a 10 second count or so.


8wt = 250g-300g
9wt = 300g-400g
10wt= 350g-450g
11wt = 400g-550g

The Sage xi3 9wt and 10wt are some of the best dredging rods in my opinion. Their action loves sink lines.

I currently use Echo EPR for sink lines.

The Echo boost is a cheap option rod that works well with sink lines.

Soft tips presentation rods... like an orvis recon ( a rod i love) is not a good sinking line rod.
 

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That's one example... We probably use more Rio lines that SA these days -and I can usually manage to lose a line or two each season to tarpon living in very bad places (for fly lines of any kind...). I've already managed to lose one line just a few weeks ago... Pretty tough when you're hooked up and cleared the shoreline - then realize the fish has run you around a submerged tree laying in about ten feet of water... Entirely too many hungry sharks where we fish to even think about going over the side in the typical black waters to clear a snagged fly line...

Bill here's a few pics of the Tarpon Snakes we use - the only difference between mine and the commercial versions is every one of mine has a wire weedguard (a must fishing mangrove jungle shorelines and rivers with lots of downed trees and other snagging type places..). The ones I have for charters come in two sizes - the full sized version on a 4/0 hook -and a smaller version on a 2/0 hook... Tarpon less than fifty pounds will eat the bigger fly - but they're hard to hook with it - the smaller fly fills the bill for them...


this was the original Tarpon Snake that Randy Towe down in Islamorada requested - all those years ago....

Here are a few variations...

for muddy water -


I like this for both tarpon and snook - when there's lots of large sized white baits around... (herring and pilchards...) My other "white version" is usually red/white or fl. pink and white...
Thanks Captain, that is really helpful. Like I said, I just bought two from Florida Keys Outfitters, and they are tied on 3/0 hooks. I'll have to learn how to tie the 2/0 version because many of the tarpon I see are in the smaller range. I'll do some research on the lines, seems like there's a lot to learn! If I can learn to catch these fish though, it will definitely be worth it.

Thanks again for the thoughtful reply, as usual.
 
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