I’m guilty of being a little opinionated. When I'm guiding its not a my way or the highway thing just confidence in what works and it can make everything else seem fruitless. Sinktips are no exception.
When I started swinging for steelhead, like most people I learned with “those RIO tips” and the system was so ingrained in me water was often referred to as a “type 3 spot” or a “type 8 bucket.” From slow to quick sinking these 15 foot tips covered just about every situation. Just about.
Its just another sink tip…
When I first heard about MOW tips I couldn’t help but wonder how many times the industry would reinvent the wheel. I’ve often heard the phrase “fishing tackle doesn’t have to catch fish, just fisherman.” I couldn’t help but see this as the same. I didn’t bite and regularly grumbled at clients who brought them. They were shorter than most people were used to at 10 feet which often meant afternoons of broken anchors. Huff…..
So what exactly is a MOW tip?
Mow tips are the result of a collaboration between a few industry heavy weights Mike McCune, Scott O’Donnell and Ed Ward. They combined sections of tungsten with sections of floating line into one sink tip. The idea was that while people like to use different length pieces of Tungsten anything shorter than 10 feet became hard to cast. By adding floating line to make up for the lack of length you could consistently have 10 foot sink tips with varying amounts of tungsten on the end.
The first ones I noticed coming into lodges were the T-14 MOWs (but available in T-17, T-14, T-11 and T-8). A kit included a full floating line tip; a light tip with 2.5 feet of T-14 and 7.5 feet of floating; 5 T-14 and 5 floating; 7.5 T-14 and 2.5 floating and full 10 feet of T-14 and 12.5 feet of T-14 for those extra deep situations. In one of these wallets you got it all covered.
MOWs had instant success because they had the ability to suspend in the water column. Shorter lengths sink quickly but are limited in depth by the floating portion. This means you can get into buckets quickly but without snagging. For those drift fisherman out there the similarity is the floating portion of the MOW like a bobber and the chunk of T-14 like a short leader weighed down by split shot. Less sunk material means less opportunity to get snagged and more time in the zone.
How is MOW different than Type?
The “T” in T-14 means tungsten while the type system works on a different principle. Type tips, often incorrectly reffered to as t-3, t-6 or t-8 aren’t tungsten at all. They sink based on thickness and water resistance and are sold according to line weight you will use them with. MOW tips don’t take line weight into account and it is important to understand that while a lot of tungsten might be too much for a light switch rod there is a range of type tips that might get you deep but handle well.
Where I eat my words…
So I had some experience using the MOW tips and was starting to realize they were here to stay but still couldn’t find that situation where they were vital. After all, summer steelhead rarely need a smack in the nose to react so where was the importance of another 6 inches? Ladies?
Well I got my answer the first year I spent in Haida Gwaii working at Copper Bay Lodge. The slots are often quite deep, fast and maybe only a few feet wide. A full sinking tip would never do the job because of all the woody debris in the river. A 5 and 5 T-17 still remains my favorite tip for those conditions because I can quickly sink into the bucket while floating over the debris. I can honestly say that MOW tips mean more fish over a season.
So there… foot placed firmly in mouth…