A Spinfly Line is the same texture as a fly line, rubbery and flexible. It comes in three different sizes. The smallest is 18 inches and the largest is 23 inches long. There is a tapered bulge in the Spinfly Line toward one end of it and handy loops at each end on which to tie or do a loop-to-loop handshake connection (see Knots and Connections on back page). The tapered bulge is what gives a Spinfly Line its casting weight. The end of the Spinfly Line nearest the bulge is tied to the monofilament line coming from a spinning reel or the shooting line from a fly reel. The large end of a tapered fly fishing leader is connected on the other end of the Spinfly Line. A tapered fly fishing leader comes with the Spinfly Line. A fly is then tied to the small end of the leader, also called the tippet.
All of this, except the attachment of the fly, can be done with loop-to-loop handshake connections. This makes it easy to remove and reinstall the Spinfly Line and leader as needed. To do this, the angler must tie a perfection loop in the large end of the leader and a one inch loop in the end of the casting line before assembly. Instructions on how to tie the knots mentioned in this article come in the Spinfly Line package
The Spinfly Line is large enough that it will not reel up through the guides on the rod. It is not supposed to. In fact, it casts best when left hanging a little ways below the tip of the rod. So when it is all rigged up, the angler will have the Spinfly Line hanging about six inches from the end of the rod and the leader (which is usually about 7 1/2 feet long) hanging from the end of the Spinfly Line; altogether up to 10 feet of rigging dangling from the end of the rod! A traditional fly caster is accustomed to all this line hanging everywhere, but a spin fisher is not. It is this dangling appendage that can cause some anglers to take longer than others to perfect the cast. Most want to delicately position it behind them and then cast it forward. That will work, but it works better if the rod is held out in front and then cast with the same motion normally used to get a lure to land correctly on the water. Overhand, underhand or sidearm will all do the job. Once an angler understands that the Spinfly Line and leader will follow the tip of the rod during the cast and not beat up on them in the process, they can relax into the cast and make it go.In final analysis, the leader system for a Spinfly Line, for any given type of fly or fishing, is rigged identically to how it would be rigged for a traditional fly casting situation.
THE SPINFLY CAST
What is happening during the cast is that the tapered design of the Spinfly Line together with the tapered fly fishing leader are forming a U-shaped loop in the leader. The loop lets the leader double back above the casting line during the cast. This loop keeps the fly from entangling with the casting line while the Spinfly Line carries the fly out. This is the same casting loop a traditional fly angler may work years to perfect.
The only other thing required of the angler to make the Spinfly Line cast work perfectly is that the forward momentum of the cast must be slowed or stopped before the whole thing lands on the water. This is accomplished simply by placing your index finger on the spinning reel, slowing or stopping the release of line. When done correctly, the loop in the leader straightens out bringing the fly forward and the fly lands gracefully on the water at the end of the leader and away from the Spinfly Line. If the fly is small, this should be done just before the end of the cast. If the fly is big or has a micro split shot or strike indicator (tiny fly fishing float) added, the forward progress of the line should be halted at the top of the arc of the cast
The cast needs to be a regular, gracefully arched cast. If the cast is thrown too high, the Spinfly Line and fly will land too hard and in a heap. Although this is generally not a good cast, this method can be used to good end to get a longer drift in faster water. In swift water, it doesn’t matter too much to the fish if the Spinfly Line and fly land together since visibility is somewhat reduced by the rush of water. After the Spinfly Line and fly land together, the current will carry the fly downstream of the Spinfly Line.
WHAT KIND OF EQUIPMENT IS NEEDED FOR
SPINFLY LINE FISHING?
Both spin and baitcasting equipment can be used with a Spinfly Line. A longer rod works best, but a short rod can be used too. Since the Spinfly Line cannot be reeled past the end of the rod, the leader needs to be short enough to allow the angler to reach the fish once he’s reeled it in. A fish is landed by reeling the Spinfly Line up as far into the rod as it will go, then holding the rod up at arms length as high above the head as possible.
LANDING A FISH ON A SPINFLY LINE
The angler can then reach down with a net or forceps and land or release the fish. In order to do this comfortably, the leader should not be more than 18 inches longer than the rod. So a 7 1/2 foot rod could use up to a 9 foot leader. A longer leader can be used, but the fish will have to be hand-lined to the net. The leader that comes with the Spinfly Line is 7 l/2 feet long. If a rod shorter than 6 ft. is being used, the leader will need to be shortened. The taper in the leader is critical to a good cast. In order to shorten the leader and still maintain the taper, a section can be removed out of the middle and the two pieces tied back together with a double surgeon knot. (Once again see Knots and Connections on the back page)
HOW TO CHOOSE A SPINFLY LINE?
THREE DIFFERENT WEIGHTS
There are three different sizes of Spinfly Line. A Spinfly Line must be matched in size to the rod on which it will be thrown. That’s easy enough since each size is comparable to the casting weight of a lure. For instance, the smallest, 1/8 ounce, is equivalent to a 1/8 ounce lure. It would be used with the same rod and casting line used to throw a 1/8 ounce lure. The other sizes of Spinfly Line are: 1/4 ounce and 3/8 ounce. The size fly that will be thrown is also a consideration in choosing a Spinfly Line. A small fly, say a size 16 to 26 hook, can be thrown with all three sizes, but the bigger the fly, the larger the Spinfly Line that must be used to cast it since the weight of the fly must not compete with the weight of the Spinfly Line which is carrying it out. The larger the Spinfly Line the further it can be cast however.
For example, a 1/8 ounce line is used primarily on mini and ultralight rods for panfish and trout and any fish that reside in small streams and ponds. The 1/8 ounce line will cast up to 60 feet depending on the fly. The 1/8 ounce lines are used on light to medium action rods for trout and bass and any fish found in medium-size streams and are the best sizes for dry fly fishing. The 1/4 ounce and 3/8 ounce are used on medium action rods for almost all fishing situations where a 60 to 70 foot cast is desirable with larger flies such as wet flies, streamers, micro-jigs, and nymphing rigs which include split shot and strike indicators.
A SPINFLY LINE COMES IN THREE DENSITIES
All three sizes of the Spinfly Line come in three models: floating, neutral suspending, and sinking. The floating model will cover the majority of fly fishing situations. The neutral suspending model sinks just below the surface and is used when the angler needs the fly to suspend in the water. This can also be accomplished with a floating line, so a neutral line is best used when the angler is trying to avoid a wake across the surface on retrieval. The sinking model helps get a fly down to the bottom in fast water. It is also used in water deeper than five or six feet, such as a lake or a deep, slow hole in a river.
HELPFUL TIPS ON RIGGING
At this point, if the angler getting ready to use a Spinfly Line already knows how to fly fish, the rest is easy. But a spin fisher who doesn’t know much about fly fishing equipment will need to know a few more details. For those new to fly fishing, leaders come rolled up. To unroll them without a tangle, it is necessary to un-wrap the large end from the rest of the leader. The rest of the leader can then be shaken out. Most leaders will have a memory of the circular shape they were stored in. This must be removed before installing it on the Spinfly Line. Pulling it quickly through the thumb and forefinger pressed tightly together will create friction on the line. The friction generates heat that will relax it. A quick run through the mouth or a dip in the stream then will cool the line in the straightened condition and further enhance the relaxation. At this point, the leader should be fairly straight and can be attached to the Spinfly Line.
The small end of a tapered leader, like the one that comes with the Spinfly Line is known as the tippet. If the breaking strength of the tippet is kept less than the breaking strength of the casting line above the Spinfly Line, there should be no reason to ever lose a Spinfly Line. If the fly gets hung on something, the tippet will give way before the casting line does.
After several fly changes, the tippet will have shortened and will need to have another section of tippet tied back on to maintain the length of the leader and the breaking strength of the tippet. About 1 1/2 to 2 feet will do it. The breaking strength of the tippet material being added back on to the leader needs to be the same as the original tippet size of the leader or smaller. For instance, if the original leader was a 7 ½ foot leader with a 5X tippet, the new piece of tippet added on would need to be 1 ½ to 2 feet of 5X or 6X.
Tippet comes in spools sized as 0X, 1X, 2X, 3X, 4X, 5X, 6X, 7X and 8X - 0X being the heaviest. The X size of the tippet refers to the diameter of the material and not the breaking strength. Each of these sizes has a breaking strength listed on the label. For instance, 6X is usually 3# test and 1X is generally 12# test. Brands vary, so the angler will need to check each one. Each time a piece of tippet has to be added to the leader, the leader itself will be getting shorter. Eventually, the leader and attached tippet will be too short to be effective and it will be necessary to attach an entirely new leader. That will probably not be for several fishing trips, so one leader should last for several outings. The best knot for tying on tippet is a double surgeon knot. The best knot for tying on a fly is a Duncan Loop or uni-knot. (Knots and Connections on back page)
If an angler just wants to fish a popping bug or a 1/300 oz. micro-jig or maybe even a minnow on the Spinfly Line, that’s almost all the information needed. If the angler wants to proceed into full-fledged fly fishing, more will need to be known about the various types of flies and how to fish them. Although the subject is much too large to cover here, a general explanation might be helpful.
BASIC FLY FISHING METHODS WITH A SPINFLY LINE
DRY FLIES: There are basically four different types of flies: dry flies, nymphs, wet flies, and streamers (and there are many variations of these). Dry flies are flies that are fished on top of the water, typically imitating an aquatic insect. They are usually tied with materials that float well and don’t soak up water too easily. The angler usually treats them just before use with a dry fly floatant material that helps them resist soaking up water. Dry flies usually need to be dried off in-between casts by whipping them back and forth in the breeze. This method was the hallowed territory of the traditional fly fisher until now. To do this with a Spinfly Line, the angler simply reels the Spinfly Line up as far as it will go into the rod tip. If using an open-face reel, the casting line should be held against the spool with a finger while flipping the bail open. On a closed-face reel, push the trigger and hold it down. The fly can then be whipped back and forth over the head to dry it. On the last forward thrust, release the casting line on the open-face reel, or the trigger on a closed face reel, and finish the cast as usual. A floating Spinfly Line is used in dry fly fishing.
NYMPHS: A nymph is a small fly designed to be fished on or near the bottom of the body of water. This is accomplished either by creating the fly using small amounts of weight in the tying process or by adding a very small weight, or split shot, to the leader.
shot is added either right at the nymph
or a foot or so above it on the leader, depending on how the angler wants the
nymph to ride at the bottom of the stream.
A small float, or strike indicator as it is known in the fly fishing
world, can greatly increase most anglers’ hook setting ratios. A strike indicator is usually put on the
leader a foot or two below the Spinfly Line.
It can also be placed further down and closer to the fly to help suspend
a nymph at various levels under the surface.
Depending on the size of the fly and the size of the strike indicator, the closer to the fly it is placed, the higher the fly will ride in the water. One of the very best, patented, fly fishing, strike indicators on the market, The Jerk! Alert, is included in the package with the Spinfly Line. Since fly fishing requires that the angler keep up with the moment-to-moment changes of aquatic insect life in a stream, a successful angler will spend a lot of time changing flies and changing the level of where he fishes a fly. The Jerk! Alert Strike Indicator lets the angler put the indicator on or take it off or move it up and down the leader to various positions without having to, one more time, take his fly off. It is reusable. A floating Spinfly Line is generally used, but a sinking Spinfly Line is sometimes going to be required as stated earlier if the water is too deep or too swift. When a sinking line is used, a strike indicator is generally not used.
Both dry flies and nymphs are usually fished by casting them into the stream and letting them drift naturally with the current, although both may sometimes be twitched a little to make them appear alive. When properly done, the drift is called a drag-free drift. If the current between the angler and his fly is different than the current the fly is in, it will catch the line running between the angler and the fly and cause it to pull or drag the fly unnaturally. This can be avoided by occasionally lifting the end of the rod and lifting the casting line back upstream or downstream as needed without disturbing the Spinfly Line or fly. Lifting it downstream or upstream will depend on whether the current between the angler and the fly is faster than the fly or slower than the fly. This technique is called line mending and is common in traditional fly fishing. Since the Spinfly Line is so small compared to a long, heavy, fly line, a Spinfly Line angler can get a much longer drag-free drift than a traditional fly fisher, and sometimes line mending is not even required.
WET FLIES AND STREAMERS: A wet fly is generally created (tied) without weight, and specifically designed to ride just below the surface of the water. It is not treated with floatant to make it float. A floating Spinfly Line or a neutral Spinfly Line can be used with wet flies. A streamer is typically any pattern that imitates a baitfish rather than a fly. It’s rare to find one tied on smaller than a size 12 hook, and they go on up from there to 5/0 and larger for salt water. Most freshwater streamers are generally around sizes 8 to 1/0. They are usually fished without adding a weight or strike indicator to the line. All three models of Spinfly Line can be used to fish a streamer, although a floating line is most generally used. Wet flies and streamers are typically fished by casting across and downstream of the angler and then adding a tiny, stripping action to the retrieve as the fly swings back across the stream. In traditional fly fishing language this cast is called “across and down”.
USING A SPINFLY LINE ON TRADITIONAL FLY FISHING EQUIPMENT
Many streams or sections of streams now have regulations that restrict them to fly fishing only. Often, the catch and release regulations that go with such stretches of water result in bigger and better fish. If the regulations specifically state that fly fishing equipment must be used, spin fishing anglers are banned from such areas. The Spinfly Line can be the ticket to get to fish those areas, because it can also be used on traditional fly fishing gear.
A braided monofilament or other shooting line should be spooled onto the fly fishing reel. After threading it through the guides of the rod, the Spinfly Line and leader are attached to the end. The cast is very similar to a traditional fly fishing angler using a shooting head, only there is no long back cast. To cast, the angler must strip enough line off the reel to reach his target and let it lay on the ground, deck of the boat, or in a shooting basket. The Spinfly Line should be hanging below the rod tip about six inches unless he is fishing a dry fly. The casting motion will be the same as with a spinning outfit. The angler must hold the line against the rod with his forefinger during the back cast. On the forward thrust, the finger releases the line and lets it shoot across the water. If the right amount of shooting line was stripped prior to the cast, it will stop the forward momentum of the line when it comes to the end. If the angler misjudged and stripped too much, the forward momentum of the line will need to be arrested at the end of the cast to get the leader assembly to properly turn over.
GENERAL COMMENTS CONCERNING SPINFLY LINES
This has been a generalized description of how to use a Spinfly Line. Anyone interested in further pursuit of fishing a fly should acquire a good book on fly fishing and read the chapters that deal with leaders and flies, knot tying, and fishing strategies. The chapters having to do with expensive fly fishing rods, fly fishing reels, fly line and backing, and the exhaustive casting requirements that go with them, can be ignored. A good book on aquatic insect life and flies and fishing techniques to match will help greatly. As can be seen by the above discussion, an angler can use a Spinfly Line to acquire the ability to cast a lightweight lure or a jig smaller than the ones he already knows how to fish with his spinning equipment without getting too carried away with fly fishing details. Or he can use it to open up a lifetime of learning the art of fishing flies.
Many anglers who are traditional fly fishers also spin fish. Those that do will discover that the Spinfly Line opens up some tight areas to them that couldn’t be adequately fished with traditional fly fishing gear. The Spinfly Line doesn’t require a big back cast, so areas with high banks and trees in the background are not off limits as they can be to fly fishers. With the superior line mending capabilities of spin casting line, Spinfly Lines make it possible to fish across varying currents of water into quiet eddies unreachable with traditional fly fishing lines. By letting a Spinfly Line orient itself with the current, a fishing tactic impossible with a fly line, it will slow the drift down to match the current on the bottom of the stream where the fish are holding. This technique will greatly increase fishing success. Weighted flies sink faster without the heavy fly line to pull against, thus requiring only one-half to one-third the weight normally required. As discussed earlier, this makes casting much easier. Not having the heavy fly line on the water also lets the angler detect more strikes. In heavily fished areas, a fly line falling across the water is an instant telegram to the fish that an angler is there. Spinfly Lines look more like a tree branch falling from the trees above the stream. In areas where even a tree branch might spook the fish, the incredibly long drag-free drift of the Spinfly Line mentioned earlier lets the angler cast a little upstream of the fish and stealthily glide the fly to the fish. Fishing from a boat or float tube is much easier. It’s also much easier to make a long cast with a Spinfly Line and therefore reach more fish. And wind doesn’t pose nearly as much of a problem to a Spinfly Line cast.
Spinfly Lines are great in both fresh and saltwater and have been used to catch trout, bass, smallmouth bass, panfish of all kinds, carp, walleye, pike, stripers, blues, false albacore, grayling, steelhead, salmon, redfish, speckled trout, tarpon, and bonefish among others. They open up a whole new world to the spinning angler, and with proper care, a Spinfly Line has a long fishing life. They should never be rolled up. In fact, they come in a reusable storage tube, or they can just be hung up when not in use. If the angler wants to store them on the rod, it can be done by hooking the fly in one of the upper rod guides while leaving plenty of slack in the casting line. Then the leader can be looped around the leg of the reel foot before taking up all the slack. The Spinfly Line should then be straight against the rod. They should never be stored sharply bent at the rod tip. The Spinfly Line can be periodically cleaned with a mild soap and water, but standard fly line cleaners should never be used. Properly cared for, a Spinfly Line should give years of fishing fun. Compared to the hundreds of dollars and years of practice required by traditional fly fishing, that’s a real bargain!
Knots and Connections