During the past 25 years I caught a lot of Zander on fly rod. But I never fished much for them in the winter when they usually stay in the deep holes. Last week I tried a lot of different fly line set ups to get my fly perfectly in front of their nose in a small harbour in my home town. The harbour offers me 4 to 5 meter (13 to 16 feet) of water depth.
The serious problem yet is that I need to:
a) Bring the fly down
b) To move it very slowly (they do not want to follow or take any fast fly)
c) Have an increadible good contact to the fly (straight line between fly and line hand much needed). This is in order to feel the always very gentle takes (before they spit out the fly within a second).
d) Not overline the fish with a full sunken fly line first.
My friend Hansi joins me fishing every day. He fishes with a spinning rod using very thin line in order to have perfect contact to his (drop shoted) gummy minnow. Yet he clearly outfishes me! I am sure to perfectly have my fly down at the bottom and to get the takes. Only I do not feel and thus miss most of them yet!?
Currently (since a day now) I am using a very short (4m) sinking head. It comes in sink rate 3. I designed it very short and very low line class in order to get it more straightened when having a pretty heavy fly (2 gram) at the end. I tried the normal weigthed lines but completely missed to feel any of the takes. The heavier lines shape too much of a belly on their way down to the fly!
Then I am using a very thin shooting line. In front of the sinking head I am using a little faster sinking poly leader. This is to keep the head some above the bottom (not overlining all fish). Yet I am not sure about the perfect length of the nylon in front of the poly leader. Also I am still experiementing on the size of the nylon.
Anyway the last two days I at least caught half of the number as did Hansi. So I am improving!
Still I think to miss something important!?
The next step will be to enter a swim bath and then dive down to the fly and to get a precise idea of how much time (better distance to pull) there is between the take and me realizing the take. Of course I need my friend to support me running some tests here! I think this will be the only way to fully understand the smallest details of what exactly happens down there and all the way up to my line hand in relation to the line set up I choose.
Clearly the Skagit line setup I fish in summer time failes totally right now based on too much slack between the fly and my line hand. Lots to learn here for sure!
I wish you all a happy new year and lots of fishing in 2018!
All my best
P.s.: Of course I'll do my upmost to (again slightly) beat Paul in the number of fsihing days per year. Toughest battle opponent he is indeed - always out fishing! ;)