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Full sink or Intermediate fly line

ba24ba24 Posts: 27 Deckhand
edited May 2019 in Fly Fishing #1
I'm looking for some thoughts or suggestions on whether to use a sink tip, intermediate or full sinking fly line. I am fishing for canal tarpon in about 8 feet of water and need to get the fly down quickly and keep it down. I am throwing to rolling fish and areas where they consistently roll. I have thrown some heavy flies ( no fun to cast) to get the fly down but I need to keep it down lower in the column for longer.  I have been fly fishing for 25 years and never needed or used anything but floating so this is new territory for me. Any help is greatly appreciated.


  • troutbomtroutbom Posts: 371 Deckhand
    I use RIO clear intermediate (1 1/2 ips) 9 wt quite a bit and like it. I have a fast sink tip(6 ips) as well but only use it if Im off shore for kings or bonito. I think it would be too much in a canal. In 6 wt I use a fast sink tip(6 ips) out west in big rivers . The clear intermediate good for beach snook as well.
  • tarpon41tarpon41 Posts: 283 Deckhand
    It's been sometime since I've tried dirty water canal Tarpon in Naples/Marco to rolling fish but when I did I used two methods with floating line: first gurgler rabbit tail then casting beyond the rolls  anticipating ... the retrieve mixed speed...allot of work and blind for one fish;  second this was an adaption from conventional gear using a 1/4 oz jig casting to the roll letting it fall... the takes came on the fall ...used a large clouser(3in) 1/0 or 2/0 with largest weights in mixed black and majority yellow buck tail 12 foot fluro leader  stiff 6 foot butt  ...cast to roll and hoping that there is a predictable roll pattern...the hit is on the fall. I did not retrieve jig it...using the second method four hours would result in one fish but a allot of casting and I don't think these were feeding fish and I just got lucky with finally hitting one on the nose
  • greenie-slayergreenie-slayer Posts: 850 Officer
    Stick to the floating line and use gurglers. You'll get alot more bites that way. I have fished intermediate and full sinking lines to mimic what i do when fishing with lures for these fish. My sinking line drops at 10ips but its alot of casting and very little results. I do best using that method when using a small white wooley ****. The gurgler is the way to go though. 
  • MRichardsonMRichardson Posts: 10,461 AG
    If you're adding another line, I'd go with intermediate as it's more versatile.
    I have never seen live bones, but I know that they are often used by rich people to decorate the interior.
  • ba24ba24 Posts: 27 Deckhand
    Great call on using gurglers. Thanks. Tried the sinking line with not much success. Had some gurglers tied from awhile ago so decided to try them. More bites in an hour than in the last 2 months. Now that leads me to my next question...How to get hookups. Why are the fish missing the fly? Am I stripping too fast? I have had many aggressive strikes but they see to just miss the fly?
  • sunflowersunflower osprey, floridaPosts: 655 Officer
    Watching fish strike at a gurgler gives you insight into how inefficient many species are.
    They swipe and fail to hook-up at an astounding rate.
    The first thing is to make sure you aren't pulling the fly out of the fish's mouth. Let them hit it good before you try to set the hook
    Make sure you slow down, or stop, and let them get it. Maybe just a twitch. Sometimes a complete stop is the wrong answer. Sometimes the right answer.
    You can also use smaller flies, and smaller hooks, for short-striking fish.

    grace finds goodness in everything ...

  • greenie-slayergreenie-slayer Posts: 850 Officer
    I am not sure why but tarpon do seem to miss gurglers more than other fish. Big mouth bad aim. Good thing about the little princes is that they are aggressive and will keep coming after it. Like Sunflower said let them hit it good before setting the hook. You should feel them pulling back on it. A super hard hookset is not needed. More often than not that just pulled the fly out of their mouth. If the fly has a weed guard on it remove it. So many people fish a gurgler with a weed guard for tarpon and then wonder fly they don't get good hook sets.

  • lemaymiamilemaymiami Posts: 4,448 Captain
    The advice I give my anglers whenever we're set up with topwater flies (whether it's gurglers, popping bugs, sliders, etc.) is that pretty generally the first hit at a topwater bug is a miss... and if you simply keep the bug working the second strike won't miss at all.... I want each retrieve to have the tip of the fly rod in the water pointing right at the bug and I don't want to see anything other than a strip strike -after you feel the fish at the other end....  This takes some doing since it's just plain counter-intuitive.. Even really experienced anglers miss a lot of topwater strikes by trying to hook the fish based on what they see as opposed to what their hand feels... Me included....

    As far as weedguards go - I try to add one to every fly or bug that I tie up... The only exception is something tied up that floats since then you either just don't need that weedguard - or the design of the pattern doesn't allow you to add a weedguard... All of my weedguards are wire as well - I don't like mono loop weedguards at all - too many strikes don't result in a hookup... Here's a pic or two of the weedguards I'm talking about....

    My  version of Norm's Crystal Schminnow in size #4

    The SpeedBug (my own original pattern) in size #1 - and no weedguard at all....
    Tight Lines
    Bob LeMay
    (954) 435-5666
  • troutbomtroutbom Posts: 371 Deckhand
    I've had a good hook up ratio with # 4 gurglers on juvie tarpon. White with maribou tail or during 'Shrimp Hatch" tan. Sometimes I go all out with adding tan sili legs and mono eyes tied in at the bend. I'm sure the tarpon dont care, paticularly since shrimp hatch is frequently not shrimp at all, but I like it. Even when they miss it's fun.
  • lemaymiamilemaymiami Posts: 4,448 Captain
    edited June 2019 #11
    Both of the bugs I’ve shown consistently take baby tarpon out of Flamingo.  Every now and then a good sized snook  likes one -but generally takes it home on us...
    Tight Lines
    Bob LeMay
    (954) 435-5666
  • ba24ba24 Posts: 27 Deckhand
    I appreciate all the input and a big thanks to everyone that suggested gurglers. They have become my new favorite fly. 11 fish in the air with 6 making it to the boat all within  an hour and a half midday all on gurglers.
  • troutbomtroutbom Posts: 371 Deckhand
    6 for 11 pretty darn good! Nice work.
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