The Casting Corner: Casting A Sinking Line

By Rene J. Hesse

With winter here and fish holding in deeper water, we often change lines from a weight forward (WF) to a sinking line (S) or somewhere in between, such as an intermediate sink (F/I). Rather than get much more into the types of lines, go to your local fly shop for good advice. Let’s talk about the differences in casting the sinking lines. It is very different than floating line.

The biggest difference in casting a sinking line is the start of the cast. Where the line is in the water column and how much line is out of the rod tip matters quite a bit. Sinking line tends to have a shorter head, so the ‘fat/heavy’ part of the line will generally be down deep in the water by the time you retrieve the fly. If the line and fly are sunk and you start your back cast, it will generally overload the rod. Getting the line and fly up to the surface with a roll cast, or spey cast, will allow you to move into the back cast smoothly.

Spend more time getting the line and fly in the proper position before trying to make a back cast and the false casting sequence will be quicker and easier. We are trying to lift the line and fly up to the top of the water. We are also trying to get the portion of the line that’s in the water in line with where we want the next cast to go. There are some fancy names for this type of change of direction, but the important thing to remember is the rod, line and fly need to be pointing in the direction we want to go before we start false casting. That may mean just a flop of the line out with a roll before we make that first back cast. Start that sequence with only 15-20 feet of line out.

Get to know your sinking line. A lot of them will be color coded to mark the head of the line. A hint would be to start with less than the head of the line out of the rod tip, several feet less. Let the weight of the line load the rod and shoot line into the back cast. Generally, only one false cast is needed if you have done it right.

Yep, it’s sink line time. Time to work on a little different cast.

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