Scientific Anglers new Sharkskin fly line does put a dent in the wallet but it is well worth it.
We started using this line in earnest this January for winter steelhead. Fishing the Umpqua I had ice in my guides yet the line remained perfectly straight, and lacked the memory of other lines.
Another great feature of this line is the way it facilitates feeding line out of the rod. Because of a micro-replicated surface, it feeds out of the guides with greater ease than any line I have ever used. When fishing down stream dry flies or nymphs, “micro drag” is eliminated if you can feed your line smoothly, the Sharkskin excels at the downstream feed tactic. In addition the line has a super small welded loop, making a looped leader connection easy, and the small size limits line/leader hang up in the guides.
The Chain Effect:
The micro-replicated surface in Sharkskin lines gives actual points where the line can bend or flex without cracking. An additional benefit is the structure also relaxes or relieves memory of the line to give an anti-tangle effect, which improves shootability and line control.
Wear on Guides?
According to extensive testing by 3M on fly lines and wear on guides, Sharkskin has shown to wear less on guides than other leading fly line manufactures. Furthermore, the material used to make guides matters more to the longevity of your line than anything.
Fly Line Stretch:
Over a 100 foot span of line, stretched with 500 grams of force the difference between Rio Gold, Cortland 555, SA Mastery Trout, SA Sharkskin was less than 1 foot of stretch. Interestingly, Aiflo was shown to stretch the most at 1.8 feet, with Cortland, Rio, Mastery trout, and Sharkskin stretching between just under 1 and 1.2 feet comparatively.
Current top end fly lines including, Rio, Airflo, and SA float half in and half out of the water. You can also think of this a percentage of fly line floating out of the water. In this case 50% of the line is out of the water. 3M has purchased a machine that can measure the angle of the line to the water, or contact angle. In the case of Sharkskin, when this contact angle is expressed as a percentage of line floating out of the water; it consistently tests out at a contact angle of 130, equating to 72% of the line out of the water. Micro replication is a phenomenon found in nature, such as the pad’s on Water Skipper’s feet (do Water Skippers have feet?), and has been emulated in the Sharkskin series of fly lines for supreme flotation.
Now for the contest: We will be drawing, at random, one winner from the comments on this post (and others) between now and May 1st to giveaway one of these Sharkskin lines. We’re going to put all the email addresses in a boot and pull one out. One comment will be counted per person. Saying something intelligent isn’t necessarily required, but it’d be nice.
Pick up your Sharkskin Fly Line at CaddisFlyShop.com.