Day in and day out, Simms’ Crest Hoody is a consummate companion from river time to beer-in-hand recline.
A hoody, indeed… for friends in need. Day in and day out, Simms’ Crest Hoody is a consummate companion from river time to beer-in-hand recline. This logoed incarnation delivers durability in the form of split-stitch double-needle sewing on all seams, and offers a sanctuary for cold hands with its standard kangaroo pocket. Throw on the fleece-lined hood, powered by heavy-gauge drawcords, to take the bite out of a mid-fall breeze.
Generally wading boots should be sized one size over your street shoe size.
Korkers KGB wading boots can be purchased with two different sole combinations.
($209.99) - Comes with two pair of soles - IdroGrip and Felt
($229.99) - Comes with two pair of soles - IdroGrip and Studded IdroGrip
Korkers Guide Boot incorporates the comfort and technical functionality previously found in Korkers wading boots, while enhancing stability and durability. Extra durable rubber, mesh and laces were added along with a TPU cage and Vibram Idro Grip outsoles, significantly raising the performance of this guide-level wading boot.
We don't know all the features yet but we're sure its got some!
Outside, the robin settles its little toes on the swollen bud of the rhododendron. Her song is like a doorbell that wishes for us to swing it wide, and gallantly step out into the arms of spring. We are happy to oblige. As the mercury rises here in the Pacific Northwest, so too does the fury of the Steelhead. We lace our boots with the invigorating knowledge, that there may be aggressive fish in the river this day. Our fingers and toes are thawed out from winter’s harrowing torment. We are refreshed and focused and we wade ready for the pull from one of these ghostly migratory fish. The planets move a little closer together and we cast our lines into a horizon of opportunity.
March and April constitute the 2nd half of the winter steelhead run, and many rivers during the month of May will see the start of the summer run. It is a fine time to get on the water with thespey rod. Some of the value rods that we are most excited about are the Ross Reach Seriesand the Redington CPX. A little higher on the pay scale – It’s hard to beat the responsiveness of the Loomis NRX, or the unmatched smoothness of the Winston BIIX. Looking for a guide? Check out the Guide Page for bios on some of the most respected instructors in the Pacific Northwest!
From all of us here at SteelheadBum we hope you have a wonderful spring season. Thank you for your support and your business.
It's that time of year again when tree's are lit, bellies are full . We would like to give thanks from all of us here at SteelheadBum, we hope you and your loved ones have a wonderful holiday season. Thank you for your support and your business.
combined with Spey rods have changed our approach to sink-tip fishing for
steelhead.We now have the ability
to fish heavier sink-tips and bigger flies than ever.However, with this change has come some confusion.With the wide range of sink-tip
materials available, how do you know what’s right for your fishery? More so,
how do you know what’s right for your Spey rod?Many of us have old shooting head wallets stuffed with sink-tips
from Spey lines from past eras.Here at SteelheadBum, we’re often asked if these old sink-tips can be
used on the newer Skagit lines.Many folks also seem confused by how long their tips should be.We hope to answer all of these
questions and more in this article.
Sink-tip Grain Weight
In order to start talking about how to match sink-tips to
your Spey rod, we need to understand a little about sink-tip grain weight and
density. The weight of fly lines
and sink-tips are measured in grains.One grain equals 0.06479891 grams.Before we loose you by getting too technical, the important thing is to
realize is most sink-tip packages will tell you how many grains you’re dealing
with.For example, Rio’s T-14 sink-tip material is 14 grains per foot.That
being said, a 10’ sink-tip of T-14 would weigh 140 grains.(14 grains x 10 feet = 140 grains)Besides T-14, Rio also makes T-17, T-11, T-8 sink-tip material.These
sink-tips come in 30’ rolls that are designed to be cut into different
lengths.For example. you could
cut the 30’ roll into three different sink-tips of 12’, 10, and 8’ in
length.The package comes with
three braided loop sleeves that are secured to the sink-tips once cut.The loops must be nail knotted and Aqua
Sealed (flexible glue) before using them.Airflo offers two sink-tip materials, CCT200 (10 grains per foot) and
CCT330 (16 grains per foot), both of which are designed to be cut to
length.(CCT stands for Custom Cut
Tip)The Airflo material comes in
a 20’ length with factory loops on both ends.You cut it somewhere in the middle and end up with two
sink-tips with factory welded loops.In 2010, Airflo is coming out with Custom Cut 18’ sink-tips with a factory loop on
one end.You can cut it down to
whatever length you desire.As an
added bonus, the loops are color coated for different sink-rates.For those of you that don’t want to
deal with braided loops and Aqua Seal, go with the Airflo Custom Cut Tips.Both Rio’s “T” series and Airflo’s
Custom Cut Tips are impregnated with Tungsten and sink extremely fast. Rio also makes 15’ sink-tips in Type 8, Type 6, Type 3, and intermediate sink rates that come pre-looped.
Understanding grain weight is important for two
reasons.First is the sink-rate,
or density, of the sink-tip.Usually, the higher the number on the package, the faster it sinks.That said, Rio’s T-14 sinks at 9 inches
per second while their T-8 sinks at 7 inches per second.However, Rio’s 15’ Type 8, Type 6, Type
3 and intermediate sink-tips are rated by sink-rate and grain weight.A
Type 6 for a #12 weight line weighs 190 grains.Conversely, a Type 6 for a #5 weight weighs 75 grains.They both sink at 6 to 7 inches per
second, but the grain weight is dramatically different.You must consider this when choosing a
sink-tip.The second reason is how
much grain weight your Spey rod can handle.If you put a 15’ sink-tip of T-14 (210 grains) on a little
Spey rod like a #5 or #6 weight, the cast would crumble.There isn’t enough energy in the rod
and Skagit line to turn over that heavy of a sink-tip.You might even break the rod!Conversely, if you put a #5 weight, 15’
Type 3 sink-tip (73 grains) on a #10 weight rod, the sink-tip would hinge
terribly.There is too much mass
turning over too fast for that little amount of sink-tip grain weight.It’s essential to understand the balance
between your sink-tips and your Spey rod for maximum casting efficiency.Below we have broken down average
sink-tip grain windows for rod weight.The “grain window” is how much weight a rod can cast comfortably.Keep in mind a faster action rod will
handle more weight than a slower action rod in the same line size.
Windows For Spey Rods
#10 Weight Rods:255 grains to 165 grains
#9 Weight Rods:220 grains to 130 grains
#8 Weight Rods:190 grains to 100 grains
#7 Weight Rods:140 grains to 80 grains
#6 Weight Rods:110 grains to 60 grains
#5 Weight Rods:90 grains to 50 grains
Remember this is a general guideline!Every rod is different.We’ve seen some super-fast action #7
weights handle sink-tips in the #9 weight range.Not to mention caster ability.A really good caster might be able to cast ten feet of T-14
(140 grains) on a #6 weight rod.These windows are based on the average medium to medium-fast action rods
and guiding experience.IE: What
works best for the average steelhead angler.
Old Sink-tips…We all have them
Many folks have sink-tips from older generation Spey lines
like Rio’s Windcutter or Airflo’s Delta Spey.Usually, they’re completely tangled up in some old shooting
head wallet.They live in our gear
bag but never get used.Guides
love it when you ask if you can use them, especially when you have no clue what
they are or where they came from. The good news is you can use these sink-tips -if they are the
proper grain weight for your rod.You can weigh your old tips with a grain scale to determine their
weight.However, many times it’s
difficult to distinguish sink densities.As a general rule of thumb, the darker the color of the sink-tip, the
faster it will sink.A dark gray
sink-tip (usually type 6) will sink faster than a brown sink-tip. (Usually type
While sink-tip weight is extremely important, we cannot
overlook length.There was a
formula in the world of Skagit that said your total length of your Skagit head
and sink-tip should be about 3 to 3 ½ times your rod length.Say what??? Not only did that formula confuse the hell out of the majority
of anglers, it goes against the point of casting Skagit heads.In an effort to create a formula to
standardize the length of Skagit heads, it made this way more complicated than
it already is.
This isn’t rocket surgery people…
Sink-tip length is a matter of personal preference and
casting style.An angler that
stands 6’4” is going to cast very different than an angler that is 5’4”.The taller angler will naturally have a
longer casting stroke.Consequently, they will probably like a little longer sink-tip, say 12’ to
15’.The shorter caster will more
than likely gravitate towards shorter sink-tips in the 9’ to 12’ range.To add to the mix, casting style will
effect how long your tips should be.Two different casters with the exact body type may cast completely different.One might have a long or “open” casting
stroke, while the other has a very compact or “closed” casting stroke.The caster with the longer stroke will
prefer longer sink-tips.Another
factor to consider in sink-tip length is rod length.A 15’ Spey rod will handle much longer tips than a 12’
Before we complicate this anymore, lets make it simple…Most anglers casting a 12’6 to 14’ Spey
rod feel very comfortable with a 12’ sink-tip.A 12’ sink-tip will cover the majority of fishing situations
for both the West Coast and Great Lakes.
If you are hesitant to buy a brand new sink-tip and start
whacking it apart with a scissors just because we said 12’ would work just fine,
a good rule of thumb is to start by cutting your heaviest sink-tip to the
length of your rod.Go to the
river and cast it, see how it feels.Don’t use yarn because it’s easy to cast… Tie on a fly that you’ll
actually fish for steelhead.You
can always start at your rod length and cut back six inches at a time until you
find the magic length for your stroke. It’s critical to start with your heaviest
sink-tip.This formula came
to us from steelhead guru Jeff Mischler –ex guide, producer of New Water
Productions, and overall bad-ass steelhead angler.
Once you’ve found your preferred tip length with your
heaviest sink-tip, then you can cut down your other tips to match the length
and grain weight.Let’s say your
heaviest sink-tip for your 13’6 for a #7 weight Spey rod is 12’ of Airflo CCT
200.At ten grains per foot, your
heaviest tip is 120 grains.Your slower sinking tips should weigh no more than 120 grains, and no
longer than the preferred length you found with the heaviest sink-tip.The slower sinking tips should be no
lighter than about 95 grains.That
gives you a “window” of 25 grains to work with.For your Type 6 sink-tip, you could start out with a 15’ Rio
Type 6 for a #10 weight.Out of
the package it weighs 150 grains.If we figure out the grains per foot, (150 divided by 15’) we get 10
grains per foot.If we cut our 15’
tip back to 12’, we remove 30 grains and get a sink-tip that weighs 120
grains.Know you have two
different sink-rates at the same length and the same grain weight.
Ultimately, your goal is to end up with a set of sink-tips
that fit your casting stroke and grain window of your rod.If you decide 12’ is your preferred
length, all of your sink-tips should be around 12’.By having a consistent length and weight of sink-tips, your
casting stroke won’t have to change every time you change your sink-tip.It is possible to cast different
lengths of sink-tips, however, you will
have to change your casting stroke as your sink-tip length changes.For strong Spey casters, changing
lengths is not that difficult.However, beginner and intermediate anglers will really improve by having
a consistent casting stroke.
Short Sink-tips and
Some of the best West Coast and Great Lakes steelhead guides
we know like to fish short sink-tips for specific fishing situations.A 12’ tip will have a tendency to hang
up when fishing boulder gardens.This is especially true when fishing soft winter water with massive
rocks.Another scenario is during
times of high, off-colored water and the fish are holding tight to the
shore.A longer tip will often
find the bottom on the inside of the swing. Many Great Lakes’ rivers and smaller West Coast rivers just
don’t require a long sink-tip.Problem is, if you have a sink-tip of seven feet, you have changed both
the length and grain weight significantly.Plus, a short sink-tip becomes really difficult to
cast.There just isn’t enough fly
line on the water to anchor the Spey cast.Enter the Rio Skagit Cheater.Cheaters come in lengths of 2’ ½ , 5’, and 7’ ½ in both
floating and intermediate densities.In order to obtain the proper grain weight and length,
you can add a “Cheater” between the Skagit head and the sink-tip.By doing so, you can fish shorter sink-tips
without having to change your casting stroke.To give you an example, lets say your heaviest sink-tip for your
13’6for a #8 weight Spey rod is
12’ of Rio T-14. (168 grains) A 7’
sink-tip of Rio T-14 weighs 98 grains.If you add a 5’ Skagit Cheater that weighs 65 grains (7/8/9), you will
end up with an over-all length of 12’ weighing 163 grains total.You have stayed within your preferred length
and sink-tip grain window.Rio
has now introduced their new MOW sink-tips, which come in T-14, T-11 and T-8.Each tip is 10’ long.They come in full floating, 7.5’ of
sink-tip, 5’ of sink tip, and 2.5’ of sink-tip.
The Perfect Spey
Set-up for Steelhead
We asked the steelhead guides associated with this website
what the most popular Spey rods were in there boats for both summer and winter
fishing.A 13’ to 13’6 for a #7
weight rod seamed to be the average stick most clients show up with. Some good examples are the Sage 7136-4 Z-Axis, the Winston 7133-4 BIIx, the Burkheimer 7133-3, and the Echo 7130-4 TR.We asked them what sink-tips
they would want for a #7 weight in both winter and summer.Here it is…
12’ of Rio T-11 (132 grains) or Airflo CCT T-10 (120 grains)
12’ of Rio #10 weight Type 3 (103 grains)
12’ of Rio #10 weight Type 6 (103 grains)
7.5’ of Rio T-14 MOW sink-tip
If you know the river you’re going to be fishing requires
heavier and longer sink-tips than your seven weight can handle, you might
consider packing a #8 or #9 weight rod instead of the #7 weight.To see what professional guides fish on
the best steelhead rivers in the country, check out the Steelhead Guides page.Each guide page has recommended gear
for their fisheries.
Hopefully we’ve given
you some insights into selecting the right sink-tip for your Spey rods and
Skagit lines without confusing the hell out of you.If you have any other questions, please feel free to give us
a call or shoot us an email.
We’ve all been in the situation where a steelhead grabs our
fly but doesn’t fully commit to eating it. The aggressiveness of the grab can range from a hard pull to
a soft tick. Standing on the high
banks of the Deschutes, I’ve watched steelhead eat surface and near surface
flies many times. It’s amazing how
a steelhead can grab a fly, then violently twist and turn then drop the fly
without the angler ever feeling more than a tick or a slight pluck. Here are a few things to consider when
you find a player.
Outside of the grab, you may also see a boil if you are
fishing on or near the surface.
This is the telltale sign a fish just rushed your fly and kicked away at
the last moment. The grab and/or
boil might come seconds after your fly lands or on the “hang down” after your
fly completes its swing. All of
these movements towards the fly should key you into how aggressive the fish
is. If a fish gives you a hard
pull and a good boil early in the swing, you can assume he’s pretty amped up
and is an aggressive player.
Conversely, if you get a soft pluck at the end of your swing, chances
are that fish is a little less aggressive.
Once you’ve assessed how aggressive the fish is, it’s time
to bring him back. Your first
thought should be to mark to exact spot you are standing. Find a rock you can identify near your
feet. Next, remember “the rule of
three”; never show a fish a fly more than three times, and always switch at
least three times. So, you’ve
shown the fish the fly once on the initial presentation. -Make another cast. If he eats, great, if not, take
one-step down river and give it to him again. You’ve now made three casts with the same fly; it’s time to
change. Step back up to your
original position and tie on a smaller, darker pattern. One of my favorite comeback flies is my
Brazilian. When you tie the new
fly on, don’t reel in your line!
You want to know exactly where that fish is and have the right amount of
line to go right back at him. On
your first cast with the new fly, it sometimes helps to fish the fly a little
faster, especially if the original grab was aggressive. Make the fish chase the fly, give him a
reason to attack it! Be sure to
watch the water where you think your fly is. Many people miss the subtle boil a fish can make when they
turn on a fly and miss it. After
your first cast step downstream one step, if the fish doesn’t eat, step again
and cast. Now he’s seen it three
times. You may raise the fish
again during this sequence. Don’t
assume he didn’t come to the fly just because you didn’t feel or see a
response. Either way, if he didn’t
commit to the fly step back up the original position and repeat with another
fly, usually something a little brighter than the first “comeback” fly, but
still smaller than the original fly.
Give the fish three more casts, three more steps. Hopefully during this process the fish
decides to climb on the fly and head for the moon. If the fish keeps coming back, keep switching your fly.
I once had a client raise a fish to a skater in a smooth
glassy tail-out. I was standing on
a high bank well above the water and could see the rise perfectly. We started switching flies and doing
our three cast sequence. Thirteen
fly changes and nine more charges at the fly and we finally hooked the fish! If you find a player, stick with him…
It might be your one shot of the day.
If he hasn’t, comeback after three fly changes, you’re
better off resuming your hunt for and active fish. Sometimes if you mark the spot and come back after you have
finished the run, you can get that fish to play ball.
As for bringing them back on sink-tips, it’s a little
different game. In most cases, if
the fish is going to come back on a sub-surface fly, they usually do so the
very next cast. If you get another
grab but no hook-up, try changing flies and using the same rule of three you
used for floating lines. However,
it’s harder to bring back a sink-tip fish than it is a floating line fish.
Next time you get that soft pull and you know you just had a
fish eat your fly but didn’t commit, switch flies and try “the rule of three”,
you’ll be surprised how many fish will comeback.