Orvis Clearwater Sink Tip Type III fly line review

The Orvis Clearwater Sink Tip Type III fly line lets you fish your flies in the top few feet making it great for nymphs and lures. It's a good quality fly line but isn't the smoothest to cast.

Orvis Clearwater Sink Tip Type III fly line review
© Fly and Lure
Orvis Clearwater Sink Tip Type III fly line review
Picture copyright © Fly and Lure
Orvis Clearwater Sink Tip Type III fly line review
Fly lines Estimated reading time 4 - 6 minutes

What is the Orvis Clearwater Sink Tip Type III?

The Clearwater Sink Tip Type III is a mid-priced sink tip fly line from Orvis designed primarily for new and intermediate fly casters. The bulk of the line is a floating line, but the short dark brown tip section is made from sinking line to help you get your flies down deeper without the need to count them down for ages.

Sink tip lines are great for fishing lures on small stillwaters, but also work well from the boat and the river in some situations. Their benefit over a full sinking line is that you still get the benefits of the floating portion of the line to act as an indicator and you'll keep your flies only in the top few feet.

This line has a short sinking section attached to an orange floating line.

What's special about this fly line?

The Clearwater Sink Tip has a weight forward profile and a 10' sink tip and is rated as a Type III. It has a sink rate of around 3.5-4.5 inches per second, so if you count to ten after casting your fly should be about 35-45" below the surface. A longer countdown will see your fly go a bit deeper, while no countdown will let you retrieve your fly just below the surface, making this a versatile fishing line, especially for lures and nymphs.

This one comes with a welded loop at the front end to make attaching a leader easier and, very helpfully, the name and specifications of the line are printed clearly on the side. If you have lots of fly lines in various weights this can be a really helpful feature to ensure you select the right one for your rod.

Handy markings let you know which line you've picked up.

Is this fly line true to weight?

I'm not sure. Other Orvis Clearwater lines I've used have been deliberately designed half a size heavy to help them load the rod for novice casters, however, there's no mention of this on the packaging and Orvis tends to be more up-front about this than other makers so I am guessing it's fairly true-to-weight.

What's it like to use?

The line is fairly supple in the hand and has a braided core with minimal stretch. The coating used is quite hard which makes it quite slick when wet and helps it shoot better. The tip section sinks very quickly leaving the floating orange line clearly visible, which really helps with the detection of subtle takes.

Casting wise, it's OK, but it's not on par with other Orvis fly lines we've used. To be fair, this is pretty common in sink tip lines, especially when they have a fast sinking tip like this one. The problem is that the heavier sinking portion of the line can "hinge" when casting and make it harder to throw a perfect loop, especially in windy weather. 

We thought the line had some good properties but we felt the sink tip was "hinging" a bit on the backcast resulting in our loops collapsing and making it hard for us to carry our usual amount of line. It worked better after a lot more practice to try and prevent the hinging, and we did catch lots of fishing using it, but there are easier lines to use.

Works well, but casting takes some practice.

How much does this fly line cost?

These usually sell for around £39, but we picked up ours at the local Orvis store for just over £20. While not a bad line, newcomers may wish to consider a full sinking line or intermediate instead as these are typically easier to handle than a heavy sink tip.

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