Mainly Misunderstood: five myths and realities about using floating lines for striped bass

No line application in fly fishing is more misunderstood than the floating line for striped bass. Well, maybe not. Maybe it’s the intermediate line. Tell you what — read this, then go forth with your floating line and be fruitful and multiply your striped bass catch. “Mainly Misunderstood: Five Myths and Realities About Using Floating Lines for Striped Bass” includes words of wisdom from striper grandmaster Ken Abrames. It first appeared in the May/June 2017 issue of American Angler.

Mainly Misunderstood-Five Myths and Realities About Using Floating Lines for Striped Bass

All good things to those who invest in the floating line. (Okay, we can add in the flatwing and the greased line swing.)

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13 comments on “Mainly Misunderstood: five myths and realities about using floating lines for striped bass

  1. David Ader says:

    We should go for stripers…another new experience for me to learn from you!

  2. Alton Blodgett says:

    Great article Steve.

  3. Rowan Lytle says:

    Great article. I’ve never owned an intermediate, and never find myself wishing I did.

  4. joseph ganun says:

    I only use floating lines in the salt. Most of the locations I fish are shallow to begin with so depth is less of an issue.I hate weight on the line but I will add a shot now and then. I cannot, in all honesty, claim that as a conscious choice. It’s how a buddy set me up with my 9 wt. a couple of years ago and I’m too cheap to buy a second spool. I have 8 rods and a second spool only for the 6 wt with a sink tip line on it. Great article.

  5. Pat Brennan says:

    Great article. Thanks for sending it out.

  6. Kevin Landolt says:

    Great article Steve. Thanks for posting . What would you say is the maximum depth you would / could fish with the floating line, like in a back bay creek or sod bank?

    • Steve Culton says:

      Hi Kevin. In theory, you could fish as deep as gravity, drift length, leader diameter/length, fly profile/materials, and any added weight allow. I can tell you that I routinely catch oyster shells in overhead deep water at the mouth of the Hous. I can also get to the bottom of the Block Island boat channel. That’s pretty deep.

      • Kevin Landolt says:

        Thanks Steve, I’m going to make the floating line my go to this year. I guess it’s going to be a learning curve, and playing with leader length and weight etc. One more question, if there are no visible signs of feeding fish, would you start deep and work your way up the water column , or would you start with no weight and gradually add weight to get deeper?

      • Steve Culton says:

        Kevin, there is no simple answer to your question, which is a good one. The majority of the time, my answer would be “neither.” It depends on when and where I’m fishing. For example, In late November I fished a river mouth with the floater. Cold air, cold water. There were no signs of feeding fish. I wasn’t catching, but others (spin anglers) were catching with jig heads. I concluded the fish were holding deep, so I used some sink tips and a split shot to get the fly down to the fish. Catching ensued. Cut to January. Colder air, colder water, no signs of feeding fish, but I used the floating line and a flatwing to catch stripers — in water over head high deep. Once spring establishes and we get into warmer weather and water, I almost never use weighted flies or sink tips — through late fall. The exception would be if I want to dredge the bottom of a deep breachway or boat channel. While it’s true that stripers will cruise the bottom looking for food like sand eels and crabs, they — like trout — are looking up for their next meal. Too often, the floating line and the unweighted fly are an overlooked solution.

  7. Kevin Landolt says:

    Thanks so much for taking the time to ask answer my questions. That really clears it up for me. Now it’s a matter of getting out there and putting it to work.

  8. Frank says:

    Steve, myself and those I fish with always use a floating line at night for stripers…occasionally use an intermediate in daylight. Like you also suggest, we often drift and swing small flies…trout style. If i was gonna fish a Clouser tied onto a gaff hook with dumbell eyes the size of something found in a gym, I’d probably just grab a bucktail jig and spinning rod! 😃 Cast on sir… Frank

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