Sink Tip Lines

Sink Tip lines are a combination of a floating running line and a 6' to 20' tip that sinks. The tips vary according to the sink rate classification. The advantages of the Sink Tip is that you can easily pick up the line after casting and you have more line control once the cast is made. The Sink Tip lines are primarily used in large stream applications. Currents and the length of your sink tip will vary the depth at which the sink tip can reach. In most of our Sierran waters, an Intermediate Sink Tip will suffice. However, if you are handling some larger waters with Spring run-off you will want to use a type 3 with a 3.5 to 4 ips. The line taper is also an important consideration for casting. With aggressive tapers, the line is easier to load with fast action rods. Some sink tips will have a flat taper until the floating section begins, others may have the taper built into the sink tip section which can be a benefit on smaller waters demanding a shorter cast.

A guide to this sink rate classification is as follows:

TYPE CHARACTER SINK RATE (inch/second) Effective Depth
1 slow (intermediate) 1/2 - 2.0 ips 1' to 4'
2 fast 1 3/4 - 2 3/4 ips 1'-4'
3 extra fast 3 1/2 - 4 ips 5'-8'
4 super sinker 4 - 5 ips 5'-8'
5 super fast 4 1/2 - 6 ips 8'-15'
6 extra super sinker 6 1/4 - 7 ips 10'-20'

Sink Tip Lines

Model Weight Color Sink Tip Length Body Rear Taper Head Length Run Length Sink Rate/Depth
S.A. Sonar Sink Tip WF4-WF8, Class III, IV, V Sand/Chartreuse w/Green Tip 8.0 to 16'' 29.0' 6.0' 40.0' 60.0' 2.5-4.25 ips / 5-8'
3.75 – 5.25 ips / 6-10'
5.50 – 6.50 ips / 8-15'
S.A. Frequency Sink Tip WF5-WF9, Class III Optic Yellow w/Green Tip 10.0' 31.0' 4.0' 45.0' 40.0' 2.5-4.0 ips / 5-8'
S.A.Sonar Clear Tip WF6-WF12, Class I Grass/Sky Blue w/ Clear Tip 15.0' 17.5' 1.0' 33.5' 71.5' 1.25 ips / 1-4'
S.A. Stillwater Emerger Tip WF6-WF8, Class I Orange/Lt. Olive w/ Clear Tip 5.0' 28.5' 6.0' 39.5' 65.5' 1.25 ips / 1-4'
Cortland 444 Sink Tip WF4-WF9, Class VI Mint Green w/Black Tip 10' 20.0' 4.0' 34.0' 57.5' 6.0-7.0 ips / 10-20'
Cortland Ghost Tip 15 WF5-WF10, Class I Mint Green w/Clear Tip 15' 27.0' 5.0' 47.0' 53.0' 1.25 ips / 1-4'
Cortland 444 Sink Tip 3 WF4-WF9, Class III Peach w/Brown Tip 10' 20.0' 4.0' 20' 57.5' 3.5-4.0 ips / 5-8'
Cortland Camo Tip 7 WF5-WF7, Class I Olive w/Camo Tip 7' 20.0' 4.0' 31.0' 59.0'' 1.25 ips / 1-4'
Teeny T Series
JT 130
WF4-WF6 Class IV Green/Black (130 grain) 24.0' 0.0' 0.0' 24.0' 66.0' 4.0 ips / 5-8'
Teeny T Series
JT 200
WF6-WF8 Class IV White/Black (200 grain) 24.0' 0.0' 0.0' 24.0' 66.0' 5.5 ips / 8-15'
Teeny T Series
JT 300
WF7-WF10 Class IV Orange/Black (300 grain) 24.0' 0.0' 0.0' 24.0' 66.0' 6.5 ips/ 8-15'
24' Sink Tip
WF5-WF6 Class IV Blue/Black (150 grain) 24.0' 6.0' 4.0' 34.0' 66.0' 4.7 ips / 5-8'
24' Sink Tip
WF6-WF7 Class V Yellow/Black (200 grain) 24.0' 6.0' 4.0' 34.0' 66.0' 5.5 ips / 8-15'
24' Sink Tip
WF7-WF8 Class VI Hot Orange/Black (250 grain) 24.0' 6.0' 4.0' 34.0' 66.0' 6.4 ips / 10-20'
24' Sink Tip
WF8-WF9 Class V1 White/Black (300 grain) 24.0' 6.0' 4.0' 34.0' 66.0' 7.3 ips / 10-20'
Streamer Max
WF6-WF8 Class VI Light Mint Green,Light Peach, and Lichen Brown/Black (200 grain) 30.0' 0.0' 10.0' 40.0' 60.0' 7-8 ips / 10-20'

Links to Sink-Tip Manufacturers

SA Logo
Sonar Sink Tip Frequency Sink Tip Sonar Clear Tip Stillwater Emerger Tip
Sonar Sink Tip Frequency Sink Tip Sonar Clear Tip Stillwater Emerger Tip

The Sonar Sink Tip is ideal for streamers and wet flies for trout, steelhead, salmon, and bass in moving water. It has a longer taper providing easy turnover, better presentation. The sink tips are 8-16 feet long depending on line wt. A braided multifilament core and sink tip rates of Sink 3 (2.50 – 4.25 ips) in 4-8 wt. and Sink 4 (3.75 – 5.25 ips) and Sink 5 (5.50 – 6.50 ips) in 5-8 wt. The Frequency Sink Tip is a less expensive selection, also ideal for streamers and wet flies for trout, steelhead, salmon, and smallmouth bass in moving water, it has a fast-sinking 10’ tip that sinks flies through the water column and a mid-length head that enhances control. Only one Sink Rate available, 2.5 – 4.0 ips (Type III). The Sonar Clear Tip loads quickly and delivers the biggest flies to the furthest targets with a 15' clear tip for stealthy presentations and an excellent turnover due to the short, powerful head and short front taper. Slow sink rate gets flies just below the surface, Sink Rate: 1.25 ips (Intermediate). The Stillwater Emerger Tip is designed specifically for the demands of stillwater anglers based on popular MPX taper. Overweighted by a full line weight for multiple flies and long leaders, it has a 5-foot clear intermediate tip (1.25 ips) with floating running line and head for fishing flies just below the surface. Features all-new supple clear material for reduced memory.

Cortland Logo
444SL Sink Tip Cortland 333+ Sink Tip Camo Tip 7
444 Sink Tip 6 Ghost Tip 15 444 Sink Tip 3 Camo Tip 7

Cortland’s 444 Classic Sink Tip 6 line features a 10-foot fast-sinking tip for fishing streamers, nymphs and other subsurface flies in deeper water and faster currents. It has a supple, super-smooth finish on floating section and a 10’ fast-sinking tip. Type 6 Sink Rate: 6-7 IP. The Ghost Tip 15 is a clear, 15ft intermediate tip line that’s ideal for fishing lake depths from 5 to 15 feet.It has a high floating running line with a tip that has a sink rate of 1.5 - 2 IPS .Cortland 444 Classic Sink Tip 3 Fly Line offers the added benefit of an integrated 10 foot type 3 sinking tip. The weight forward design is easy casting while the supple, glass smooth finish of the 444 Classic allows the angler to easily mend and pick up line quickly while still keeping your fly down where the fish are feeding. Cortland's 7ft Clear Camo Tip is designed to be fished in the top two feet of water over weed beds and along shorelines when pupa, emergers or actively swimming nymphs bring trout up.

Teeny  Logo
Teeny T series Sink Tip    
Teeny T Series Teeny Mini-Tip    

The Teeny T series is designed to get your fly down quickly. Developed in the early eighties, these were the first of the one-piece, fast-sinking, shooting-head-configuration weight-forward fly lines. The running lines are color coded for easy identification. Each line has a 24 ft. sink tip with a 66 ft. floating running line. There are four sink rates to choose depending upon the rod size: 4 ips (4-6 wt rods), 5.5 ips (6-8 wt. rods), 6.5 ips (7-10 wt rods), and 8 ips (8-12 wt rods). The Teeny Mini Tip line is a favorite fly line for most subsurface fishing, except for when you need to get down quickly in heavy currents or deep waters. In rivers, a leader length of 4 to 6 feet is usually the best. If fish are suspended in slow deep pools a 9 to 12 foot leader is best, as it makes a more natural presentation of your fly to the fish without motion or shadow from your line. A yellow floating line with a 5' Black Sink tip. Tip has a sink rating of 3.75-5.25 ips. Comes in 4 rod weights.

Teeny  Logo
Rio 24' Sink Tip Rio Mainstream Sink Tip Rio Avid Sink Tip  
24' Sink Tip Mainstream Sink Tip Avid Sink Tip  

The 24' Sink Tip by Rio is built with RIO’s ultra-low stretch ConnectCore Technology. These sinking tip lines are specifically built for anglers that like a balanced casting rig. A unique, fatter body section eliminates the “kick” usually associated with casting sink tip lines; while the longer front tapers ensure the line does not dump on the forward cast. The supple floating body section allows anglers to easily mend and control the way the fly fishes, making it ideal for river anglers. Each line has a welded loop on the front end for easy rigging. The lines are sold in "grain" weights, with the following conversion to appropriate rod sizes: 150gr = 5wt, 200gr = 6wt, 250gr = 7wt, 300gr = 8wt, 350gr = 9wt and 400gr = 10wt. Each line has a welded loop on the front end for easy rigging. The Mainstream Sink Tip is an entry level line designed for the novice and intermediate angler. It helps optimize rod performance with its slightly heavier, shorter head length. Rio's 12' weighted tip is precisely tuned to sink at a rate of 3" per second. With a supple, memory-free core with slick coating this fly line excels in coldwater. RIO's Avid Sink Tip was developed for the avid fly fisher with tapers and technology that enhance the fly fishing experience. The Avid Sink Tip is slightly heavier than standard lines for easy loading, supple core with a slick coldwater coating, and XS technology for the ultimate in performance. The Avid series of sink tip fly lines were developed for the keen fly fisher with tapers and technology that enhance the fly fishing experience. The lines have a 24ft long sink tip, and are designed for easy casting performance, with slightly heavier and shorter head lengths. Each line is built on a supple memory-free core, and has a super slick coating for easy distance. The lines are sold in grain weights, and we recommend the following conversion to appropriate rod sizes: 150gr = 5wt, 200gr = 6wt, 250gr = 7wt, 300gr = 8wt, 350gr = 9wt .

Airflo Logo
Airflo Streamer Max Airflo Sink Tip    
Streamer Max Sink Tip    

The Kelly Galloup Streamer Max Long line by AIRFLO is a great line choice for anglers who fish big streamers deep. The taper allows for good turnover of large streamers and the line is ridged to enhance casting distance. Color coded by line weight: 6/7: light mint green. 7/8: light peach. 8/9: lichen brown. The sink tip is black and has a sink rate of 7-8 ips. Superflo Sink Tips provide the broadest range of tip lengths (3', 6' and 12') and densities (Slow, Mid, and Fast) for ultimate versatility. Each employs Airflo's low stretch Power Core for detection of subtle takes and rock solid, hook sets - even at range. Features micro loops on both ends for easy connections and printed line identifier on front loop.

©2023 Steve Schalla
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