Deep Water Techniques – Fly Fishing Smallmouth
When encountering deep pools, runs and other situations where you must fish deeper than five feet – certain specialized equipment will make this difficult task easier. At these times, its wise to change the fly line to a sink tip.
The end section on sinking lines are usually ten to fifteen feet and contain an inner lead core. Lines will sink at different speeds depending on the sink rate of the line you choose. An intermediate sinking line will sink at about one half foot per second. It’s important to know the rate – as you will employ a “countdown method” to determine how deep you are and when to begin your retrieve. You can also attach sinking “head” sections of lead core line, with loops, to the end of your fly line to sink it as well.
Weighted line and flies are perfect in lake fishing situations and on rivers when surface action is nonexistent or too slow. These lines take time to learn to throw. The challenge is getting the fly line out of the water and into the air without hurting someone or worse yet, yourself! You must strip them up so the fly end of the line in nearly out of the water. On a tight line pull up and back to get it in the air. This heavy line shoots well and little false casting is needed or desired. Pick it up and with an open loop, shoot it back up river. You can throw some mending loops on top of the drifting line to aid in sinking.
The intermediate sink line is easier to with draw from the water than full sink lines. On many intermediates the last ten feet of line is weighted. Some lines have a different colored section indicating where the weighted line is contained. Intermediates will work great if the water is around four to six feet deep.
Much deeper with a good current and you may consider a full sink tip line (or do like I do and reach for the spinning rod and a jig. Life is too short to try to fly fish in water that’s much deeper than 8 -10 feet.
Deep water flies can be dead drift or worked. The Clouser Minnow and any number of streamers such as sculpin patterns, Deceivers, Zonkers, etc. will work well here. Experiment dead drifting a Clouser, largenymph, or Wholly Bugger.
When the water gets cold in the fall, we go to this technique as the fish will not move drastically to chase a fly. They will however eat one that rides close to them as they hug the bottom of the water column. Many times these are big, big fish….so have your camera at hand, just in case.
Don’t be afraid to lay down the flyrod and use a spinning rod in many of these deep water situations. It’s much more practical in most cases when fishing deep and especially in cold weather.