If you took a pinch of Mud and drew your leader threw it the leader section would be wiped clean of any oils or other chemicals that would cause the leader to float. And monofilament left to its own devises will sink and a sunken leader tippet is just what I want most of the time. You see, I’ve got this mindset that tells me a floating tippet section is more visible to the fish and therefore a bad thing. I can’t prove it, wouldn’t want to try, but I believe it to be true.
Now plenty of people want just the opposite from a leader – especially the tippet section. Floating leaders are preferred by a lot of people who skate Caddis imitations along the surface or those fishing an emerger in the surface film.
If an emerger sinks a little deeper than desired people often apply dressing to the leader stopping about six-inches from the fly so that the fly can sink a little but is prevented from sinking deep. So why do I want my tippet section to sink?
Like I said I wouldn’t really argue hard for sinking tippet sections I just believe sunken tippet sections frighten fewer fish than floating ones. Just my perception of things but perception is reality.
But let me clarify a little. I don’t mean I want my tippet section to sound down to the bottom like a sulking fish taking my fly with it. No, I just want my tippet section to break the surface film and throw a little less shadow or make a little less apparent pointer tracing out the path to my fly. That’s where the Mud comes in because Mud removes any dressing that may be on the tippet allowing monofilament to break the surface tension.
I’ve been told that if a slowly sinking tippet section is what I want then Fluorocarbon must be my favorite tippet material because it has slightly more negative buoyancy than regular monofilament. But that’s not the case.
I don’t think Fluorocarbon sinks so fast that it pulls my fly under but I do think Fluorocarbon is too stiff for dead drifting dries or emergers. When it comes to floating dry flies I like long and supple tippets – give me a length of Super-Strong monofilament.
One argument against sinking tippet sections is that you throw spray when you pick them up. That’s not the case if you take the time to slowly draw the leader back towards you before lifting it off the water.
Drawing the leader towards you accomplishes two good things. First, it breaks the surface tension and allows the tippet to lift off with water with no clinging rooster tail. Second, if the current or eddies have pulled any section of the leader or the fly deep under the surface drawing the leader towards you before you lift it brings everything to the surface. This prevents the “popping” noise that so often accompanies the lifting of a sunken fly.
Wet flies and Soft Hackles are often fished with a floating line. Getting them down in the water column is considered a good thing. A leader that has been treated with a floating dressing doesn’t help achieve that. But if you had dressed your leader and had some Mud handy a quick application of the Mud would remove the dressing and help your leader and fly reach the desired depth. So will Gehrke’s Xink. If fact Gehrke’s Xink may well be what led to the demise of Mud.
Mud was the answer for a long time but it seems to have faded from favor. George Gehrke’s Gink has long been a floating fly dressing of choice for many fly fishermen. When Gehrke’s decided to offer an offsetting product to complement their floating dressing they called it Xink.
Gink worked so well many just assumed, rightly so, that Xink would work well and when they bought a bottle of one they bought a bottle of the other. You can’t really be expected to carry a set of floating leaders and a set of sinking leaders so your best bet is to use Gink and Xink to make your leader able to do both.
And that’s what I do I carry both Gink and Xink. If you intentionally treat a tippet section or contaminate it unintentionally with a floating dressing and want it to sink you don’t have to change it out. Xink (or Mud if you can find it) will do the trick and get your leader to sink. Gink, on the other hand will, if desired, will keep your leader and fly floating nicely. So sink that tippet unless you want it to float.
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