Apr 9, 2014

Airflo Sink tips, Polyleaders and the New FLO tips


If you are fishing a Two-Hand (spey) rods today than most likely you are familiar with Airflo Products. Airflo is a UK based Company and has been in the business of constructing high quality PVC free lines for over 20 years. Airflo has brought us technology such as ridged coatings for less friction, polyurethane coatings, welded loops, low stretch cores and density compensated fly lines. Many of these technologies can be found in all manufactured fly lines today.

Airflo Two-Hand Spey lines

Skagit Compact, Skagit Rage, Skagit Switch and Skagit Intermediate Compact. These lines have pioneered the Northwest Steelhead Skagit scene and the standard to which all Two-Hand lines are measured by today. They are the result of several brainiac's including the US Airflo distributor Tim Rajeff and infamous Steelhead guide and Spey cast instructor Tom Larimer. Calling these pro-anglers "Spey Junkies" is not even acceptable today. These guys' passion for anadromous species and swinging flies with two hand rods far exceeds your average junky!

So what's the deal with tips?

One of the biggest questions we get everyday is what tips do I need and how do I use them. This is going to be my attempt at bring some clarity to a grey area.

NEW FLO Tips

Buy separately or as a kit
FLO Tips are a 10' spey tip with welded loops on both ends and are especially useful for skagit heads. The first 2.5 feet is intermediate density while the remaining 7.5 foot is sink material which comes available in T-7, T-10, T-14 and T-18. The T numbers represent grains of tungsten per foot so the bigger the number the heavier the tip is. The advantage of adding an intermediate section to the tip is first it smooths out your cast much better than just going from your floating head to a sink tip. The other advantage is they sink more evenly therefore keeping better contact with your fly. The four densities are also available in a FLO Tip kit complete with leader wallet. To use the FLO Tip just simply loop onto you skagit head and loop a piece of tippet of your choice to the other end. Most of the time we will fish with Maxima tippet in 10-15 lb rating.

Custom Cut Tips (CCT)

Designed by fisherman for fisherman
When you need to get a fly down there is no better way than to go all out sink tip. Airflo builds some great tips and has ideal choices for the angler needs.
Custom Cut Single Tips come in all sinking densities from T-7 thru T-18. They can be purchased in lengths of 10' or 18' with a color coded identification loop on the butt end. They are made to be cut on the tippet end to your choice of length. Its your choice what you want to do with the tippet end. You can tie in a loop or nail knot a tippet section to it. You could also fold the end over and make you own custom loop. A great advantage of these tips besides making your own custom lengths is that you can actually save a couple bucks over the competition if you willing to craft your own loop.
Item
Length
Tungsten - Grains/Foot
Sink Rate
Loop Color
CCT-T7
10'
T7
7" per second
White
CCT-T7
18'
T7
7" per second
White
CCT-T10
10'
T10
8" per second
Orange
CCT-T10
18'
T10
8" per second
Orange
CCT-T14
10'
T14
9.5" per second
Brown
CCT-T14
18'
T14
9.5" per second
Brown
CCT-T18
10'
T18
11.5" per second
Black
CCT-T18 18' T18 11.5" per second Black
Custom Cut Singles Specifications

Are you with me so far? Get ready for another curve ball!

20' Custom Cut Tips have factory welded loops on both ends and come in two sizes which are CCT200 and CCT330. Before I go into what those numbers represent let's answer the question of why 20 foot? If I had to pick a baseline length of what a sink tip should be that number would be 10'. Ten foot in most cases will cover your needs. The idea of the 20' CCT pack is to cut the tip in the middle and come out with two 10' sections both with a factory loop on one end. The advantage of this offering is a very economical way to acquire two tips. Just like the CCT Singles you build you own loops on the tippet end and your ready to fish. You can buy four or five steelhead flies with the money you save with this custom tip. Additionally you have the option of cutting to custom length such as 9' and 11' or 8' and 12'.

Item
Length
Tungsten - Grains / Foot
Sink Rate
Loop Color
CCT200
20'
T10
8" per second
Black
CCT330
20'
T16
10" per second
Black

The 200 and 330 numbers represent the total grain weight of the 20' tip. The easy way to understand this is to divide the length into the total grain weight. IE; 200gr / 20' = 10 grains per foot or T-10. 330 comes out to 16.5 grains per foot. I guess this is why you see it listed as T-16 in one place and T-17 in other places. Generally it is referred to it as T-17.

Polyleaders (poly what?)

Polyleaders differ from regular leaders in a couple different ways. A standard nylon or Fluorocarbon leader is a single tapered strand of material made to transition from the thick fly line to the thin diameter tippet. A polyleader does the same thing but constructed differently. It starts with a level core of nylon and a polymer coating is applied to that core providing mass and density.

What's the advantage?

The advantage of the polyleader is the butt section can have mass and density similar to your fly line but without the stiffness of a thick nylon or fluorocarbon found in regular leaders. The benefit is better energy transfer from line to tippet. Another advantage a polyleader has is the polymer coating density can be adjusted to make leaders that float, hover or full-on sink. Have you ever wished you could add a sink tip to help get deeper, well you can with a polyleader and these leaders work for single hand fly lines as well as spey lines. A polyleader can be used anyplace you would use a regular leader.


Uses for Two Hand

Polyleaders come in different lengths and densities
A polyleader is especially useful for two hand fishing with dry lines such as a Scandi Compact or a Skagit Rage. Two hand casting relies on water friction to load your rod and regular leaders don't grip water very well. The mass of a polyleader grips water much better so you can achieve a solid anchor point to load your rod for a cast.

Another advantage of a polyleader while fishing Two Hand Switch rods for Trout is I now have a mini tip system that I can adjust my sink according to my needs. This is especially useful when smallest T-7 sink tip is too much sink for the water I'm fishing. Once looped onto line I just add the desire amount of tippet and tie on my fly.

Gorge Fly Shop currently stocks the Salmon/Steelhead polyleaders in 5', 10' and 14' lengths. These are the go to sizes for dry line steelheading. You can visit the Rajeff Sports site to see all available polyleader sizes. While most of these are not currently listed on our site don't hesitate to call (541-386-6977) or email (info@gorgeflyshop.com) us and place a special order. More sizes may be stocked in the future depending on your request.

Storing tips can be a pain and often times they get lost or damage when shoved into you pack or vest pocket. If you use a lot of polyleaders, sink tips and shooting heads it would pay to have one of the convenient storage options such as the Airflo Leader Wallet or the Airflo Head Bag. They are price right and can really help cut your tip cost by keeping them stored neatly and you always know where they are.


That's all for now. I'm sure we'll have some new sink tips to talk about again soon...If you find yourself with more question than answers after reading this post than please give us a call or write a comment on this post. We'll do our best to get you "Lined Out".


Gorge Fly Shop Internet Sales Manager | Product Specialist

"Fly Fish the World with Us"

2 comments :

  1. Greg, I noticed the new Rio MOW tips are built with a low stretch core for better sensitivity and hook sets, What kind of core are Airflo tips built with?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Devan, I glad you asked! Airflo builds all their sink tips on Low Stretch 30lb Airflo Power Core Braid. It's the same braid they use on most of their fly lines and spey heads so it is a proven technology. Airflo has always used this material on their sink tips.

      Delete

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