The Fish Magnet Gear Guide
Steelhead and Salmon Spey Fishing
By Dave Robinson
Featured Gear: Grabflies Sink Tip Extensions with swivels Review by Dave Robinson
February, 15, 2017
This will be a quick one of a great idea that Jeff at Grablies fly shop came up with. He has taken T-14 and T-17 sink tip material and made welded loops on each end of one or two foot pieces, and added a high quality swivel to the tippet end to take the twist out of your line as you cast. One thing to mention here that most people don't know is that for every snap T cast you make, you put a half twist in your line that doesn't come out unless you lay out a full cast that straightens out the line all the way to the tip and hits the rod and reel with authority! That's one of the reasons that running line sometimes gets twists in it! Adding the swivel will eliminate most of this but is especially effective if you foul your fly and it gets to spinning in the current.
Jeff makes these in one or two foot sections. I opted to buy a couple of two footers to take with me to the OP last week. Conditions were low and clear, and had been this way for a couple of weeks. The fish, if there were any would be holding in the deepest slots and buckets. Forget swinging into the bank! This would be a heavy sink tip trip. I started with my usual 10 foot of T-14 and fished through my favorite run from top to bottom. Nothing! Darn, I'm going through it again I decided and would make some adjustments. I quickly added the 2 foot piece of T-17 and the same Methow Skagit MOAL fly that I catch most of my winter fish on.
Back through again, this time I had to cast at a bit more of an angle as I would catch bottom if I casted straight across. I would love to say that I soon picked up the steelhead I was sure that held in that run ... But ... I did catch two big arm long bull trout that had me thinking I had a steelhead for a minute or two!
The case in point is that after adding the cheater sink tip, it got me down in the fish zone, and while not catching a steelhead, the big Bull Trout that hit the second time through were proof that depth mattered!
I actually love this combination as it makes a nice transition down to the fly. In other words, the cheater will sink faster than the rest of the tip, so the first thing to tick bottom is the cheater, not the whole tip! So I would use the t-14 cheater on a say a T-11 tip or the T-17 cheater on a T-14 tip, etc.
In conclusion, these cheaters work as intended, are high quality and easy to cast. I like the 2 foot sections, but 1 foot may be plenty in most situations.
Ratings by grabs gives these a 10 out of 10 grabs and are a wonderful tool to have for a quick on the fly adjustment.
REMEMBER, YOU CAN CATCH A FISH WITH A BAD CAST, BUT YOU WILL CATCH MORE WITH A GOOD ONE!
See all of Dave Robinson's gear review articles (click here)
Learn more about Dave, and see some of the fish he catches (click here) - Jeff Layton/Grabflies