Scientific Anglers Sonar Fly Lines – Nicholas’ 2018 Review

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The SA Sonar series of fly lines are all sinking lines. Most of these lines are designed for specific angling environments. For example, each line in the series will indicate whether the fly line will be suited to cold or hot climate, if it has a super strong line cores to handle the largest fish, and relevant unique sink rate qualities.

I’ve fished SA fly lines since roughly 1962, in an era when the range of lines available was scant compared to the choices we are faced with today. I remember fishing a level, brown, floating line for several years and eventually purchasing an Ivory Air Cell Supreme Double Taper line. Scientific Angler current catalog lists something over 70 different fly line styles. While the diversity and specialty features are good on one hand, the huge variety of lines also generates confusion on the angler’s part.

I hope that this post helps bring a little order into the process of recognizing the features of the Sonar series of sinking fly lines. I’m going to limit this review to SA Sonar fly lines most useful in estuarine and saltwater environments. There are at least 5 Sonar lines best suited to freshwater that I will not mention here.

My personal experience in recent years includes fishing the Sonar Titan Intermediate, Sonar Titan Intermediate Clear Tip, Sonar Sink 30 Cold, Sonar Sink 25 Cold, and Sonar Sink 30 warm. From Pacific City Oregon to La Ventana Mexico, these lines performed in recent line improvements. In years past I added my own braided loops to front and rear of these lines—so the factory loops are a small but important improvement. Of course, there have been technological advances along the way also. Line coatings. Line Cores. Slippery stuff added to make the line shoot. Bubbles to keep lines floating and depleted uranium bullets to make the lines sink. Frankly, I understand little of this technical babble. I go fishing and decide if I like the line or not. There have been fly line disappointments over the years. But I move on and find lines that do work and do please me when I’m fishing. These here SA Lines have NEVER disappointed, and I am enthused, genuinely, with the specificity some of these lines offer the avid fly angler

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Generally, with SA Sonar fly lines:
• Titan lines are very assertive, two weights higher front-loaded taper.
• Most Sonar lines are identified by a Line ID label, but not all are.
• Most have front and rear welded loops.
• Clear tip lines are generally on a mono core, the rest are on a multifilament core.
• The suitable temperature climate for all lines is indicated – sometimes in the name.
• Two lines have 100-pound cores.
• Most of the lines will have a core of 30 pounds or more if line class 8 or higher. Lower line classes generally will have a core in the 20-pound range.
• SA offers a warm and cold climate custom cut line analogous to lines offered by RIO and Airflo. These allow the angler to shorten the tip to reduce the head weight and match a specific rod weight.
•SA fly lines have performed for me in various configurations for over fifty years. I have never had a SA line fail on me.

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Temperate/cold climate Lines

sonar-full-intermediate

 

Sonar Titan Full Intermediate
Line range WF-6 I to WF-12 I
AFFTA note line is two sizes heavier than labeled
Sink rates 1.25 IPS
Climate temperate to cold climate
Clear head/tip no
Head length 33.5 ft
Running line intermediate
Line loops front and rear
Line ID yes
Core braided multifilament
Remarks: powerful front-loaded taper for wind and large flies

 

 

sonar-titan-clear-tip

Sonar Titan Clear Tip
Line range WF-6 I to WF-12 I
AFFTA note line is two sizes heavier than labeled
Sink rates 1.25 IPS
Climate temperate climate
Clear head/tip 15 ft tip
Head length 33.5 ft
Running line intermediate
Line loops front and rear
Line ID yes
Core braided multifilament
Remarks:  powerful front-loaded taper for wind and large flies

sonar-sink-25-cold

Sonar Sink 25 Cold
Line range 150, 200, 250, 300, 350, 400, 450 gr
AFFTA note head is as labeled
Sink rates 4-8 IPS depending on head wt
Climate temperate climate
Clear head/tip – no
Head length 25 ft super fast sink
Running line floating (well suited to line mending)
Line loops front and rear
Line ID yes
Core braided multifilament
Remarks:  streamer and salmon steelhead long sink tip

sonar-sink-30-cold

Sonar Sink 30 cold
Line range 150, 200, 250, 300, 350, 400, 450 gr
AFFTA note head is as labeled
Sink rates 4-8 IPS
Climate temperate climate
Clear head/tip no
Head length 30 ft
Running line intermediate
Line loops front and rear
Line ID yes
Core braided multifilament
Remarks:  powerful front-loaded taper for wind and large flies

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Titan Taper Triple Density Sinking lines

sonar-titan-hover-s2-s4

 

 

sonar-titan-int-sink3-sink5

 

sonar-titan-s3-s5-s7

 

This series of triple density fly lines includes THREE different lines with the following configurations:

Sonar titan Hover/sink 2/sink 4
Sonar Titan Int/sink 3/sink 5
Sonar Titan sink 3/sink 5/sink 7
* Line range WF-8 S to WF-12 S
* Sink rates as specified from rear to front of fly-line head
* Climate temperate to cold climate
* Clear head/tip: no
* Head length 33.5 ft
* Running line the line sink rates is progressive toward the tip as specified for leach ine
* Line loops front and rear
* Line ID yes
* Core braided multifilament
* Remarks: minimum line hinge effect, superior sink performance

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Tropical/warm Climate Lines

 

sonar-saltwater-intermediate

Sonar Saltwater Intermediate
Line range WF-7 I to WF-12 I
Sink rates 1.25 IPS
Climate temperate to tropical
Clear head/tip yes
Head length 38 – 41 ft as the line class increases ft
Running line Intermediate sink
Line loops Front and rear
Line ID yes
Core Tropicore unspecified material
Remarks:  a generalist line with less assertive line taper than the Titan series

 

sonar-sink-30-warm

Sonar Sink 30 Warm
Line range 150, 200, 250, 300, 350, 400, 450 gr
AFFTA note head is as labeled
Sink rates 4 – 8 IPS as the head weight increases
Climate temperate to tropical climate
Clear head/tip no
Head length 30 ft
Running line intermediate
Line loops front and rear
Line ID yes
Core braided multifilament
Remarks: powerful front-loaded taper for wind and large flies

 

sonar-sink-30-clear

Sonar Sink 30 Clear
Line range 150, 200, 250, 300, 350, 400, 450 gr
AFFTA note head is as labeled
Sink rates 1.25 IPS
Climate temperate and hot climate
Clear head/tip yes the entire head is clear
Head length 30 ft
Running line intermediate
Line loops front and rear
Line ID yes
Core mono
Remarks: powerful front-loaded taper for wind and large flies

 

sonar-tropical-clear-tip

Sonar Titan Tropical Clear Tip
Line range WF-8 to WF-9 I
AFFTA note line is two sizes heavier than labeled
Sink rates 1.25 IPS
Climate hot tropical line
Clear head/tip 15 ft tip
Head length 33.5 ft
Running line floating
Line loops front and rear
Line ID yes
Core multifilament
Remarks: powerful front loaded taper for wind and large flies

sonar-titan-jungle-clear-tip

Sonar Titan Jungle Clear Tip
* New for 2019 line built on SA Tropicore foundation
* Performs in the demands of tropical heat
* The clear tip helps when fishing to shy quarry under the most demanding conditions
* Overweighted by two line sizes for delivery of the largest flies
* Targeting Golden Dorado and Peacock Bass

 

Sorry, I can’t find an image for this NEW SA Fly line! 

Sonar Titan Jungle Custom Tip
* New for 2019 line built on SA Tropicore foundation
* Performs in the demands of tropical heat
* The fast sinking tip can be cut shorter to match rod weight and caster’s preference
* helps when fishing to deep laying species where it is necessary to get fly down fast
* Can be Overweighted depending on how you do or do not cut the head
* Targeting Golden Dorado and Peacock Bass

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100-pound core lines

sonar-titan-big-water-taper

Sonar Big Water Taper

Line range two lines: 350 gr or 450 gr head
Sink rates 1.25 IPS
Climate tropical
Running line floating
Line loops no
Line ID yes
Core 100lb unspecified material
Remarks: tropical intermediate line for GT and similar species

 

 

sonar-titan-big-water-max

Sonar Big Water Taper Max Sink
Line range three lines: 500gr, 600 gr, or 700 gr head
Sink rates 6.0 IPS
Climate tropical
Running line intermediate
Line loops no
Line ID yes
Core 100lb unspecified material
Remarks: tropical line for any species requiring deep fly presentation

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Custom Tip lines

sonar-custom-tip

 

sonar-tropical-custom-tip

Sonar Custom Tip and Sonar Tropical Custom Tip 

* One line for cold/temperate climates, the other is for use in tropical climate
* Line range this is a single line with 462 gr 35 ft level head
* Sink rates 7.5 IPS
* limate cold/temperate
* Running line Intermediate sink
* Line loops front and rear
* Line label no
* Core braided multifilament
* Remarks: cut the 35 ft sinking head back to suit rod class

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I know this is a lot to digest. Hopefully the information will be helpful to the fly line researcher.

Jay Nicholas – 2018

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