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HL

In praise of short head lines and floaters

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Posted (edited) · Report post

Hi all,

I fish the (mostly) the outer Cape beaches for the months of May and June each year.

I've tried all brands of lines and all head configurations.  Over the years I have fished sinkers when water deeper at high tide.  Intermediates to get the fly and line under the surface disturbance like the books tell you.

But the last few years I have used mostly floaters - specifically the Wulff Bermuda Triangle floater (the all blue model because it has an easier shooting running line than the two tone model.

The #10 has a grain weight of 310.  The #11 has a grain weight of 417.  The #10 is light for my liking and the #11 is a little heavy - even though I use it on my rods that will handle that grain weight.

I asked the Wulff people if they had a floater closer to 400 grains.  They do - it is the Bermuda Triangle #12 "SHORT" floater - 26' head - at 410 grains.  But I don't think the difference in grain weight is that impactful  -  it is the taper.

I know all the comments about short lines:

They dump - this does not.

It doesn't throw tight loops - it does.

They don't hold a loop long enough - it does.

It is an extremely powerful line matched to the proper rod.  My go-to fly is a 1/0-2/0 (VERY) fully dressed Gurgler and this line casts it easily.

60' casts as-close-as-safe to an 18 mph wind is easy for an above average caster.

 

I use the 410 grain #12 on what might be called a very fast #10 rod.

But my favorite is the 355 grain # 11 Short on a lighter rod. I just ordered the #10 at 306 grains for an even lighter rod. 

I am purposely am not stating rod weights because that doesn't mean much anymore.

 

Bottom line - if you are having trouble casting large bulky flyies like gurglers and sliders try the Wulff  Floating Bermuda Triangle SHORT. 

Note: this is not the Ambush line.

 

Another issue people have with floaters is that there is generally a big belly to deal with in current or high cross winds.  I hate to tell you - but if you have a belly with a floater you also have one with an intermediate - but you can't see it.  At least with the floater you know it's there and can deal with it.

Regards,

Herb

 

BTW - another short you wil enjoy and that is a definite upgrade from the old line is the RIO Intouch Outbound SHORT -  I  f you like an intermediate.

Edited by HL

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HL - how does it respond to cold water? I just replaced the intermediate on my 8 weight with an SA Mastery line I use for tropics trips, it's great with a bonefish fly but larger flies are a lot of work, I could use a break, but in NH water stays chilly

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I am very happy to see this post, I recently had the pleasure of getting to meet Herb and to have the opportunity to fish beside him for about 3 hours or so, this was what I usually do when ever I meet someone on the water, I try to be observant about what other fly guys do on the water and to pay attention to their equipment and what flies they use. I always try to learn something.

 

Sometimes you see something that sort of makes you forget what your ulterior motive is when observing the other guy and that is what happened that day. When standing next to him I sort of noticed the line he used and as I watched him cast while we talked I noticed how far he was throwing and what a perfect good cast looks like. He made these casts consistently and with out any effort, I was thoroughly impressed. 

 

Now that I see his description of the line as posted above I would have to concur with all he says about the line.

 

I suspect Herb new I was impressed and that I forgot about my motive to learn as much as I could on what he was using so he actually took the time to mention and show me the fly he was using as well. Thanks Herb.

 

 

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Posted (edited) · Report post

Hi Stormy.

The Wulff Bermuda Triangle handles very well in the Cape Cod waters.  This year the water was particularly cold.  Below 50 degrees for a couple of weeks in May.  In spite of its name I would not consider it a tropical line.  I stretch my lines fully before I fish and pay attention to twists that I remove before I have a problem with a good fish on.

BTW - the RIO Intouch OB does not need to be stretched.  I used it right off of the factory spool and did not have a problem.  The new running line is great.

All other lines get stretched.

 

Hey Dick.

I also try to learn from others - and - you are no slouch in the casting category.  And I did notice that you out fished me 3-4 to one. Thanks for the comments.  

 

My friend George, who gave me most of my Gurglers because I feigned ignorance of how to tie them, said I should post a picture of the Gurglers.  Most of them are his.  I don't use bucktail (bottom fly) any longer because it is too buoyant.  George likes the back end of the fly to ride lower in the water for better hook-ups and feathers provide better movement.  The feather models are between 6 - 8 inches long. 

BTW - Out of shame - I do tie my own now.

Herb

Hey - I just remembered that the fish in the upper left corner was caught on a Gurgler in the rips near Monomoy. 

DSCN1031.JPG

Edited by HL

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Thanks HL!

  I think I'll be stringing up the Bermuda Triangle #10 for my 9 weight. I just put a 300 grain Orvis HD Depth Charge and like it a lot, I think the 310 will be  good match. That will take me completely off intermediate lines as I'll use the Sonar type 4 sink tip on my 8 and the Mastery floater, then the Wulff and Depthcharge on my 9. I have some kind of floater that I think is an SA on my 10 & 11 but I forget which model, my arm can't hold up to those rods anymore..!

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Posted (edited) · Report post

I could never image not using an Intermediate line but then it all depends on where I am fishing. Good Luck with that. I think a end of the year report on that decision would be interesting for a lot of people.

Edited by bonefishdick

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Could it be the short head  26'  into the wind, that makes it cast good.

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2 hours ago, bonefishdick said:

I could never image not using an Intermediate line but then it all depends on where I am fishing. Good Luck with that. I think a end of the year report on that decision would be interesting for a lot of people.

I totally get that Dick! I've been using the intermediate exclusively for stripers since the early 90s! What is prompting the change for me now is that some of these "sink tip" lines have improved a lot since the old days when they were freshwater lines that hinged like a bastid on the cast. Tangles aside the Sonar sink tip 4 I'm using throws a nice loop, and sinks faster than my intermediate line but not like the depth charge. In the spots I like at higher tides I would often cast a little up "current" to get the fly down when it got to the zone I wanted to present in. With the sink tip I don't need to do that. But you're right - it depends where you fish! I fish every day about 10 minutes from my office, mostly on one of 4 areas of flats. At low tide I'm going to try using the floater to present crab flies right where the channel drops off. That technique (way different from how they do it in Maine beaches) has worked well for me in the tropics but I've never tried it for stripers, so that's the experiment really. At higher tides I think the sink tip will do as much as the intermediate has done for me in the past, maybe more but we'll see. Hoping an old dog can learn new tricks, and will report in! 

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I also used intermediates 95% of the time and a full sinker when dealing with deep water or current.

But since I have become addicted to using Gurglers I switched to the floater out of necessity. My friend George can use his RIO OB Short intermediate and still keep the gurgler afloat - I can't.

I also use the floater to fish any other fly I wish.

When using flies other than gurglers - Intermediates don't get the fly down to a drastically lower feeding zone than a floater does - IMO. 

Herb

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1 hour ago, HL said:

I also used intermediates 95% of the time and a full sinker when dealing with deep water or current.

But since I have become addicted to using Gurglers I switched to the floater out of necessity. My friend George can use his RIO OB Short intermediate and still keep the gurgler afloat - I can't.

I also use the floater to fish any other fly I wish.

When using flies other than gurglers - Intermediates don't get the fly down to a drastically lower feeding zone than a floater does - IMO. 

Herb

I've had no luck with Gurglers on intermediates either, or more to the point they don't get the same action as with a floater. In fact I've found that the smaller gurglers I use for LMBs don't function as well if I use flouro tippets just because the tippet sinks more than the mono tippet. I suppose it still "works" to an extent, but I don't get the same stream of bubbles I do with the floater/mono approach. Maybe I tie crappy gurglers though. I liked the ones you posted a lot, will try tying some like that this week...

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1 hour ago, HL said:

 

I also use the floater to fish any other fly I wish.

 

It is the most versatile line in the angler's quiver.

 

1 hour ago, HL said:

 

When using flies other than gurglers - Intermediates don't get the fly down to a drastically lower feeding zone than a floater does - IMO. 

 

If at all, especially when current is part of the equation.

 

Keep on keepin' on, Herb!

 

Steve Culton

 

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First I will state I am a Maine guy. I use sinktips almost exclusively on the flats and I generally am throwing crabs or clousers. I feel that if I were to have one line it would be a sinktip although intermediate could be a close second but I have more luck fishing bottom then any other water column. Top water can be fun and is a blast watching them slam it on top but for maine it doesn’t seem to work all that frequently. Crabs and clousers are king up here. I use a two hander most of the time so I am either using my skagit line with a sink tip or my running straight to a 27 ft piece of t17

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7 hours ago, bonefishdick said:

I could never image not using an Intermediate line but then it all depends on where I am fishing. Good Luck with that. I think a end of the year report on that decision would be interesting for a lot of people.

Well well. I headed down to my low tide spot at lunch, even though it was slack high tide. Unfortunately the wind was gusting like snot, so I had to cast right into the teeth of it, which made me pick my 9 weight. I spooled up 2 floaters last night, an 8 Mastery that is my go Bahamas etc line, and what I believe to be an old 11 weight. Given the tide I put on a bunny clouser in Ray's colors - that's the only way I can describe it. It was kind of brutal trying to cast it into the wind, struggled for 60'. One strip and I was on. After that one I switched to a craft fur fly that has been very good this season and is not weighted - it's what I've used with the intermediate and sink tips. I got 6 more over the next 40 minutes and missed a few while spacing out over a work issue (that's the one problemt with lunch hour fishing). So using the same fly I've been using on the intermediate in the same time alloted I got pretty much the exact same number of fish. I wanted to try a gurgler but I was double hauling my brains out just to get 70 - 80' and I don't think I could have done it with a gurgler in those conditions, maybe tomorrow. The only negative I could see with the floater is there was a good bit of bubble weed and other flotsam around - the intermediate would usually pass right under it where the floater did not. I think if there was much more of it I would stick with the sinker, but in actual fishing I couldn't notice much difference in results...

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1 hour ago, Theflyguy said:

First I will state I am a Maine guy. I use sinktips almost exclusively on the flats and I generally am throwing crabs or clousers. I feel that if I were to have one line it would be a sinktip although intermediate could be a close second but I have more luck fishing bottom then any other water column. Top water can be fun and is a blast watching them slam it on top but for maine it doesn’t seem to work all that frequently. Crabs and clousers are king up here. I use a two hander most of the time so I am either using my skagit line with a sink tip or my running straight to a 27 ft piece of t17

Same in NH really, and I think that's the standard approach for stripers. When I'm down in Caribbean locales though I do best with a different approach, and I'm wondering why I never try it here. It has even worked on big barracuda down there, so I'll spend a season trying that out. Probably smaller crab flies than what you use from what I've seen, but the spots I fish are filthy with quarter size crabs that are everywhere at low tide. The difficulty is that I know I can use my regular flies and catch big numbers of fish most of the time, changing means I'll need the patience to keep at it till I figure it out...It's good to switch things up though..

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