What is the Airflo Sixth Sense line designed for?
The Airflo Sixth Sense is a sinking fly line designed for targeting trout that are feeding beneath the surface layers of the water. Whether the fish have gone down deep because it's hot, sunny or cold, using a sinking line like the Sixth Sense will allow you to reach them quickly and pull your fly through the feeding zone at the retrieve speed of your choice, which increases your chances of catching.
When it comes to sinking fly lines, few would dispute that Airflo are the market leaders. The fact that their sinking lines are used by nearly every competition fly angler going only helps demonstrate how well respected these lines are.
What sink rate does the Sixth Sense have?
There are four sink rates in the Sixth Sense sinking line range: Sink 3 (or Di3), which sinks at three inches per second; Sink 5 (or Di5), which sinks at five inches per second; Sink 7 (or Di7), which sinks at seven inches per second, and a really fast sinking Sink 8 (or Di8) line, which sinks at eight inches per second.
|Sink rate||Line ratings|
|Di3||5/6, 6/7, 7/8 and 8/9|
|Di5||5/6, 6/7, 7/8 and 8/9|
|Di7||6/7, 7/8 and 8/9|
|Di8||6/7, 7/8 and 8/9|
What construction do these have?
These are polyurethane fly lines and have a low stretch braided core, called PowerCore, rather than a stretchy one made from monofilament. The bite detection you get from a braided core is significantly better than that from a monofilament core, so you'll feel more takes and should hook more fish.
This is particularly helpful when you're fishing a sinking line because it's often harder to detect bites due to the bow that typically forms within the line. The only real downside of braided cores is that there's a little less cushioning if you get a smash-take, but snap offs aren't noticeably higher.
Although it's low stretch, the PowerCore still gives you about 6% stretch, which is enough to give better bite detection without causing you to bump fish off when they take. Plus, you do get some cushioning from your tippet and rod too
What colour are Sixth Sense sinking fly lines?
The line itself is a very dark green colour, so isn't too garish when under the water surface.
Most sinking fly lines are just a solid colour, so it can often be a bit tricky to tell when you're nearing the end of your retrieve, particularly as these thinner lines don't change in diameter to the same degree as floating lines. However, the Sixth Sense sinking lines has several orangey brown coloured sections which serve as hang markers, with a longer section indicating the position of the end of the head.
As you retrieve you should look for the first two hang markers, then wait until the final single hang marker is at the rod tip. You then slowly raise the rod and pause for five or ten seconds. This will cause your fly to change its path and drop back down through the depths at the end of your retrieve.
This can be deadly for catching any trout which followed the flies in, and works nearly as well from the bank as it does from a boat.Airflo's Gareth Jones explains the Sixth Sense range.
What is the taper like?
The Sixth Sense is based on Airflo's Delta taper. At 105 feet in length it's 15 feet longer than a typical fly line - which is handy, as it shoots through the rings rather well. However, the taper diagram shown on the box is a little tricky to decipher, as the numbers shown don't seem to add up to what you'd expect.
It says the head length is 46 feet, which is fairly long, as most weight forward floating lines come in around 30-35 feet. The long head and belly means you can create quite a stable loop and cast it without fear of it collapsing on itself, as you can find with short-headed fly lines. This means it's good for reaching greater distances as you can aerialise lots of line.
What's it like to cast?
I've been using the Sixth Sense WF6/7 line in Sink 3 rating and have found it very effective. It's a very supple line. There's a tiny amount of memory, mainly towards the tip end, but a stretch gets rid of this when you pull the line off the reel.
The coating is hard and slick, so it shoots well. The long taper also lets you carry lots of line in the air and it throws nice loops and goes a long way with the right technique. It's pretty effortless to make small casts as it loads very quickly without much line outside the tip.
I've been using it on a fast #6 Orvis Helios rod, and the #6/7 rating of the line is about right. As you'd expect, it feels a bit on the heavy side on this #6 rod, as it's heavier than a regular #6 line, but it's not ridiculously so and the Helios easily handles it.
However, if you prefer to have a crisper action, rather than having a line which loads your rod more deeply, you might want to try a lower line rating one, like the #5/6 rating one on a #6 rod.
Get the longer orange section marking the end of the head inside the rod and shoot the rest and the line just goes miles. My 10 year old son George loves using the line and can easily wang it a good 80 feet! It turns over big flies too.
How do I know the depth I'm fishing at?
The easiest way is to use the countdown method. Arguably, this should be called the count-up method, as you count upwards to work out how far your flies have fallen. With a sinking line I count upwards in a value which matches the Di rating of the line.
With an intermediate line that sinks at a couple of inches per second, counting upwards in twos every second will tell you how many inches deep you are, i.e. 2, 4, 6, 8, 10, 12, 14, 16, 18, 20, 22, 24 - means you're two feet down in 12 seconds of counting.
If you're fishing a Di7 line, simply increment by seven every second - 7, 14, 21, 28, 35 etc. You'll know what depth you're fishing at, and you'll give your brain a workout that will be nearly as good as Countdown. Minus Rachel Riley, unfortunately.
Alternatively, if you're rubbish at maths, just remember the key depth counts for your line. On a Di3, if I count up one every second from 1 to 10, I'll be 30" down, if I count to 20 I'll be 60" or five feet down.
Where can I get one?
Airflo Sixth Sense sinking fly lines are readily available in fly fishing shops and online and sell for around £44.99. They're sensible choice if you need a sinking line, and the hang markers alone make them so much more practical to use than a conventional line.
Available from: FishTec