Odds 'n' Sods of Information and Opinion

Fishing full sinking lines and shooting heads

Fishing Full Sinking Lines and Shooting Heads:


Not many people fish full sinking lines, yet they can be quite valuable when flows are high, the current is fast or the water very cold. A lot of what is written below can also be applied to intermediate Skagit setups.

Full sinkers are more difficult to lift and that alone discourage some people. However, there advantages in the right situations are such that the extra nuisance of lifting them is more than compensated by the way they fish. Basically a full sink line can fish deeper and slower than a sinktip system. If you need to deal with heavy currents that are ripping your sinktip and fly out of the zone, a full sinker can keep the fly there longer. In cold water, the full sinker swings more slowly, allowing lethargic fish a chance at the fly.

Full sinking lines are capable of sinking deeper and faster than any sinktip system available. It takes a little while to adjust to the tremendous "get-down-ability" of the full sinking line. Consequently, slow and fast intermediates, medium (Type 2) and fast sinkers (Type 3) will likely cover the majority of the rivers in a watershed. The Type 4, 5, 6, and 7 heads are only really needed to deal with very fast currents and/or significant depths in the 10' to 20' range. as an indication, I’ve lost flies to the bottom at depths greater than 20' while fishing the heavy currents of the Niagara River using from Type 5 through to Type 9 heads.


So if we’re going to run out and buy some full sink lines, don’t make the mistake of buying the fastest sinkers, for unless you’re fishing a river like the Niagara, they’ll be useless in most trout, bass or steelhead water. Start with the intermediate and slow sinkers in the Type 1/Type 2/Type 3 range as they’ll fish most typical river situations quite well. We should progress to the fastest sinking lines only when we have a specific deep water need.