September 23, 2011
By John Larison
Looking for a wallet of sink-tips that all cast uniformly but sink your fly to different depths? Check out Rio's MOW tips.
For years steelheaders have been chopping 30 meter rolls of sink-tip material into 3 to 15 foot sections and splicing them to floating lines to create a wallet of sink-tips that could be applied to various water conditions. Matching the size of the sink-tip to the mass of the floating section was the trick; a mis-match would mean awkward turnover and sloppy presentations.
Now, thankfully, Rio is doing that work for us, providing uniform sink-tips that turnover gracefully (not a word often associated with sink-tips!) and come in three densities--T-8, T-11, T-14--with six sizes in each density to match the most common water conditions.
I spent this past year fishing the T-11 and T-14 sizes and found myself using the six sizes in the following situations:
--10 ft floating tip: When fishing a weighted streamer across a slow pool or in a slower run with big boulders.
--7.5 ft of floating line seamlessly integrated into 2.5 ft of sinking tip: When trying to slow the swing of a fly across fast broken water.
--5 ft of floating line seamlessly integrated into 5 ft of sinking tip: When targeting winter lies less than 4 feet deep in slow to moderate water, or when fishing a faster summer run in sunlight.
--2.5 ft of floating line seamlessly integrated into 7.5 ft of sinking tip: My most commonly used size. I used it most times I wanted a sink-tip, from hitting winter lies 4-6 feet deep to swinging fast runs during summer sunlight.
--10 ft level sinking tip: When fishing very fast summer runs, when fishing winter lies 4-6 feet deep under a faster current.
--12.5 ft level sinking tip: When fishing winter lies 5-12 feet deep, especially those with strong current over top.
The tips loop in to your Skagit head with ease, and because of their nearly uniform design, cast identically, allowing an angler to change tips without making many adjustments to the casting stroke. I often found myself starting at the head of the pool with one tip, switching to a tip with a longer sinking section in the middle of the pool, then switching again near the tailout.
Unfortunately, Rio isn't yet making these tips with T-17, which is becoming a standard tip in my arsenal. (For turning over bigger flies and for pulling big flies down through heavy currents).
Also, a set of six tips retails for $149.95, which is prohibitively expensive for many anglers. An angler unable to spend that kind of money can buy two tips, the 5ft float/5ft sink and 10ft sinking tips, and reap the benefits of the MOW design in 75%-85% of the runs they fish. Having additional sizes will mean more fine-tuned presentations, but these two tips can often be made to suffice, especially if an angler adjusts the length of the leader and the weight of the fly.
High marks to Rio on this superb product.