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Discussion Starter #1
I am thinking about trying out Phil Rowley's slip indicators. I had some questions about them and was hoping someone already did some trial-and-error with them. For reference, I usually fish a single tungsten bead head fly under my current indicator in 4 to 20 feet of water. Might try deeper with Phil's indicators.

A) Which shape did you like the best? The round or egg shaped?
B) What size would you recommend? My current indicator starts going through the top of waves once the waves get about a foot tall. It makes it hard to detect strikes.
C) What color was the easiest to see? My current indicator is orange, which I like better than yellow. But I have never tried red, pink, or green.

Thanks!
 

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I've tried both and find the Plumbobbers to work far more reliably than these slip indicators. Well worth the price difference.
 

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Going to get into lake fishing more, so am not familiar with deep water fishing. Do you put the indicator up on the line 15 feet or so to be able to get down deep? And if so, do you have to slide these indicators over your line/leader attachment?
 

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If you are going to try to fish that deep you need to build a long leader. The bobbers never go onto the fly line. You cannot cast said setup. You just slop the line into the water and kick away in your tube.
 

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That's what I thought, but you don't use 20' leaders, do you? The plumbobber site talks about 4-20 feet deep.

Sure you do if you need to fish that deep. We're not talking about store bought tapered leaders though. You just tie a long, sturdy piece of mono to the fly line, maybe 10 feet of 8# or so. Then start to taper it down with 2 or 3 foot sections of thinner line connected by surgeon knots. A good rule of thumb is to not jump more than 2x's when tapering (ie 1x --> 3x --> 5x). Drastic changes in line diameter in surgeon knot connections can fail. The final pieces of tippet where your flies are being tied in should be fluoro.
 

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Sure you do if you need to fish that deep. We're not talking about store bought tapered leaders though. You just tie a long, sturdy piece of mono to the fly line, maybe 10 feet of 8# or so. Then start to taper it down with 2 or 3 foot sections of thinner line connected by surgeon knots. A good rule of thumb is to not jump more than 2x's when tapering (ie 1x --> 3x --> 5x). Drastic changes in line diameter in surgeon knot connections can fail. The final pieces of tippet where your flies are being tied in should be fluoro.
I just use a store bought 9ft 3x tapered leader on the flyline and then add as many feet of 4x tippet to that as it takes to get to the depth needed. That way there are fewer knots that can fail. You can cast it, although as pointed out earlier, it's ugly. I can't picture the hand-tied tapered leader you describe making that much difference in castability. And actually, since the Plumbobber tends to put kinks in nylon leader material where you set it, I've gone to making level leaders 12 ft long out of Amnesia and adding the needed amount of tippet to that. Doesn't kink up as bad as the nylon.
 

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It's not about casting; there is no casting. It's about strength.

The only part of the leader that needs to be thin is the part where the fish is looking at the fly. Assuming we're talking about fighting large fish for a whole day, I'd rather have the majority of my leader be more than strong enough to get the job done. Stressing a long section of 4x for a long period of time is too risky for my taste. Just tie good knots.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
I've tried both and find the Plumbobbers to work far more reliably than these slip indicators. Well worth the price difference.
I looked at the Plumbobber website and the How-To, Demo, and FAQ pages are “Under Construction”. I am not sure I understand how the line gets pinched and then released. Is that a piece of tubing I see on the bottom shaft? And is there a hole in the bottom of the bottom shaft that the line goes through?

If the line is pinched by the piece of tubing, how hard can you push on the tubing to keep the line from slipping out? For example, can you get the pinch tight enough to not come undone when casting? How about when setting the hook and nothing is there?
 

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I looked at the Plumbobber website and the How-To, Demo, and FAQ pages are “Under Construction”. I am not sure I understand how the line gets pinched and then released. Is that a piece of tubing I see on the bottom shaft? And is there a hole in the bottom of the bottom shaft that the line goes through?

If the line is pinched by the piece of tubing, how hard can you push on the tubing to keep the line from slipping out? For example, can you get the pinch tight enough to not come undone when casting? How about when setting the hook and nothing is there?
Yes, the line goes through the little hole right in the end of the shaft. Then you pull the tubing off over the line and then push it back on the shaft trapping the line under it. It sounds complicated, but it's not. And there is a good instruction page that comes with the Plumbobbers.

The advantage of the Plumbobber, compared to other systems, is that you don't have to push on the tube to "set" the release pressure. All the pressure is exerted by the tube on the leader which is caught between the shaft and the tube. So it's very consistent and reliable. It will release on missed strikes, though.
 

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Hi RD3,

If you are fishing 20' deep, I would suggest forgoing the indicator, get an extra spool for your reel, and load it with sinking tip line. Putting enough weight on to sink 20' of leader efficiently will be difficult and will be near impossible to cast. With the sinktip you can still cast, get line down quickly to the fish. I have found that 10' - 12' is about as deep as is practical to go with an indicator - and with that length it is a chuck-n-duck method of casting.
 

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Yes, the line goes through the little hole right in the end of the shaft. Then you pull the tubing off over the line and then push it back on the shaft trapping the line under it. It sounds complicated, but it's not. And there is a good instruction page that comes with the Plumbobbers.

The advantage of the Plumbobber, compared to other systems, is that you don't have to push on the tube to "set" the release pressure. All the pressure is exerted by the tube on the leader which is caught between the shaft and the tube. So it's very consistent and reliable. It will release on missed strikes, though.
What she said^

...with a few things to add.

1. Missed strikes are not usually a huge concern if you're paying attention. Often times fish drag the damn thing underwater. The hits can be vicious.

2. Forget the notion of casting when bunker busting. It serves no purpose. I will clip my forceps to my bottom fly's hook bend and then sink them straight down to the bottom. Once I mark where bottom is, I lift 12-18 inches and affix the plum bobber to that point on my line. Then pull the line up with my hands and take the forceps off, drop the rig back down in that exact spot and paddle away a little bit.

If you are casting then you don't know what depth you are fishing. It's important to be in that perfect zone just off bottom.
 

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Sink rates

Selecting a sink tip line is tied (no pun) to the depth you are fishing and to some degree the temperature of the water. Sink rates are slightly less in colder water and salt water and are slightly higher in warmer water. But in general, if you are fishing in 4' to 20' of water you would use a line with a sink rate of 4" to 5" per sec. for 4-10 weight lines. Here is a sink rate table to help choose your line.
 
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