Swing the Fly Issue 2.4 Spring 2015 - Page 41

that I fish. The Rio Spey Versileader, Airflo PolyLeader or Orvis PolyLeader are examples of this style of product. Sinking leaders are low in diameter and can be cast with a wide range of line types. While a Skagit head will deliver a sinking leader effortlessly, I enjoy using a head with a lighter feel and smooth transition for delicate casts. I may also use a slightly weighted fly to allow it to sink at the same rate as the tip. In small water the swing is short so getting the fly to the proper depth quickly is important.

A ten-foot leader generally balances nicely with a switch rod outfit and covers most runs and pools encountered on smaller rivers and streams. Sinking leaders can also be used on light two-handed rods. Leaders shorter than ten feet with an appropriate sink rate can be effectively used to cover more acute holding areas such as pocket water or dramatic drop-offs. Most sinking leaders are packaged with loops at both ends. But for leaders that do not have a front loop or for shortening the overall length of the leader, simply folding over the tip and lashing it down with tying thread will produce a strong, low profile loop for connecting the tippet section.

A well-balanced light switch rod is a joy fish – a scaled down of version of a full two-hander that meets perfectly with the small flows. Steelhead relate closely to structure in these places as even subtle changes in depth can constitute holding water. Swinging through water that appears too shallow but consists of cracks and crevices in the bottom can yield surprising results as a silver ghost appears from nowhere with a forceful grab in an attempt to dislodge the switch rod from your hand.