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  • Writer's pictureDonavan Clary

Sinking fly lines

Sinking Fly Lines: A Comprehensive Guide

Sinking fly lines are essential tools for anglers seeking to explore different depths of water and target fish at various levels. In this blog post, I will delve into the world of sinking fly lines, including sink tip and triple density lines, and demystify the concept of inch per second (IPS) ratings. By the end of this read, you'll have a clear understanding of how these lines work and which one might suit your fishing needs. I have spent hours explaining lines to several interested friends and clients over the years. Some get a general understanding and some do not. Don't act like you understand if you don't, ask questions. It can save you a lot of money in the end. There are literally hundreds of choices in lines and not all will work for what you need.

1. Sinking Fly Lines: An Overview

Sinking fly lines are designed to help your fly get deeper into the water column, allowing you to present your fly to fish that dwell beneath the surface. These lines come in different sink rates, each suited to different fishing scenarios. The three main types of sinking fly lines are full sinking lines, sink tip lines, and triple density lines.

2. Sink Tip Fly Lines: The Versatile Compromise

Sink tip fly lines are an excellent compromise between floating and sinking lines. These lines combine a floating section at the tip with a sinking section. This setup allows for easy casting and line control while still presenting your fly at a specific depth. Anglers often use sink tip lines in situations where they want to fish near the surface but target slightly deeper zones as well.

3. Triple Density Fly Lines: Seamless Depth Control

Triple density fly lines take sinking lines a step further by incorporating three different sinking rates along the length of the line. The line is divided into three sections: a fast-sinking tip, a moderately sinking midsection, and a slow-sinking running line. This design provides anglers with precise control over the depth and presentation of their flies, making it easier to match the feeding depth of the fish. These lines are what is most commonly used for catching large smallmouth in the river and lake. They are also the least known about. Do your research and you'll be happy that you did.

4. Understanding Inch per Second (IPS) Ratings

Inch per second (IPS) ratings are used to quantify the sink rate of a sinking fly line. This measurement tells you how many inches the line will sink per second of retrieval. For example, a line with a sink rate of 5 IPS will sink five inches in one second. Different lines have varying IPS ratings, allowing anglers to choose a line that matches the depth they intend to fish. Deeper waters may require faster sinking lines, while shallower waters call for slower sink rates.


Sinking fly lines, including sink tip and triple density lines, are indispensable tools for anglers looking to explore various depths in pursuit of their catch. Even full sink line has a place and in your gear. Understanding inch per second (IPS) ratings helps you select the right sinking line for the specific fishing scenario you're facing. Whether you're fishing in deep waters or targeting fish at different levels of the water column, the right sinking fly line can make a significant difference in your success on the water. With this newfound knowledge, you're equipped to make informed decisions about sinking fly lines that align with your fishing objectives. Happy fishing!

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