Sweep Sinking Lines

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Currently, at the time of writing the fish are hard on the fry and most of the fish coming out are coughing up Perch into the net or showing great numbers in their stomach contents on gutting. An angler took 3 fish home for the pot last week, reported post gutting that he found 63 Perch inside them. With the fish hitting the fry so hard, the go to tactics has been to match the hatch with large snakes and other lures. As a result, the fish can often become pressured by seeing so many large lure and this is when maybe a subtle change in approach can prove deadly. Recently on Draycote simply swapping to a sweep line, rather than traditional sinking lines, has proven to be the deadly change.

A cracking fish taken on the Sweep!

But what is a ‘Sweep’ sinking line? Well, a Sweep sinking line is a line that the belly of the line (main section of the line) sinks quicker than then the tip. This gives a U shaped profile as it sinks through the water column. This makes it a fantastic line for searching the water, as the flies will be pulled in an elongated U shape through the water. Rather than a standard density compensated line that will stay on straight level profile all the way back meaning the flies will stay on the same level.

There are a number of reasons that these lines are currently so effective. Firstly, as previously mentioned the fish at this time of year can see a lot of large flies and angling pressure and can result in the fish often being interested in the fly but due to angling pressure they won’t “eat” the fly; resulting in number of follows. This is more than likely the case when they see a lot of flies presented in the same manner. This may be because 95% of the anglers are using a standard Di 5, retrieving in the same manner, therefore keeping the flies on roughly the same straight retrieve profile. This causes the fish to get used to the action and may ignore or just follow the flies…. Very frustrating. However, if you simply change to a sweep, giving the fly a slightly different retrieve profile and action, the results have been devastating; suddenly there is a lot more lock-ups rather than follows. Often as the flies gets about halfway back in the retrieve and it just sweeps down to its deepest point. Alternatively as it starts to sweep up towards the boat approaching the end of the retrieve this sudden whip as the angle of the line change means they cannot resist but grabbing a hold.

A cracking fish taken on the hang using a Di 5 Sweep.

The main manufacturer of “Sweep” lines are Airflo and have been so for a number of years. Additionally, new this year, RIO have introduced their range of sweep lines the Fathom Cleansweep. The most effective line that myself and the other fishery guides have found for the current conditions has been the Airflo Di 5 Sweep, with a belly that sinks at 5 inch per second and a tip that sinks at 3 inch per second.

I hope that by explaining how and why these sweep lines work so well it might make a few more anglers understand why and when to use them and give them a go in the coming weeks to help improve your catch rate.

Tom Bird