Thinking about a little “Spring Cleaning” of your fly gear? Upgrading fly line and leader material is often the first order of business. Today’s fly line market is larger than ever and the 2014 spring season brings more options to the table.
Some may remember the days when there was a choice of two maybe three fly lines at your local fly shop. Cortland owned the market with the 444 and 444SL lines. Peach? or Green? Was often the decision one had to make when selecting a floating trout line. Some shops even offered the “Ivory” Scientific Anglers Air Cel Supreme as well. Wow do we ever have choices today. There are many many excellent options for floating fly lines within the fly fishing market today.
Fly line manufactures have adjusted tapers, coatings, specific gravities, leader connections and colors immensely since the old days when we had just a few choices. Technology in fly line manufacturing has advanced greatly, and so has the desire to match fly line type with rod action and fishing situation. When the consumer shops for a line today they have an opportunity to get very use specific. For example line manufacturers like Rio, Scientific Anglers and Airflo all have specific nymph fishing tapers. We often ask our customers what they will be fishing for? What rod are you using? And even what size flies do you fish most often? While it may seem like there are to many choices at times, in the end the choices are really good in the sense that you can optimize the performance of your fly rod, leader and fly. Having the right line does make a difference to how your rod casts, and ultimately how your fly is presented. Below you will find an overview of some of the newest fly lines available today.
We start with a completely new series of lines from Airflo.
Airflo Super Dri Lines are a series of floating lines co-engineered with Airflo and Tim Rajeff of Rajeff Sports, Echo rods, reels and more. They are the only major manufacture who uses polyurethane, most others use PVC. Airflo and Rajeff firmly believe that polyurethane is a better plastic to use for fly line manufacturing. They believe that polyurethane offers greater durability and is a more Eco-friendly material. The creation of the Super Dri series of floating lines adds to the polyurethane story. Super dry lines employ ZONE technology as explained by Rajeff below:
The idea behind Zone is simple—supple lines rock out with their socks out and have many benefits, except when it comes to the haul zone. The suppler the line is, the more resistant it is to the double haul through the guides, especially when it gets warm outside. By changing the hardness of the coating in the Zone area, compression is reduced during the haul resulting in superior line speed and greater shoot-ability across a wide temperature range.
The Airflo Super Dry Exceed is designed for fast rods or for anglers who are looking to load their rod at a shorter distance. You can liken it a bit to the Rio Grand line, a bumped up 1/2 to a full line size in terms of grain weight. If you cast larger dries a lot and need a line to cope with wind the Exceed is excellent. We have found the Exceed to match modern rods like the Winston B3x, Sage ONE, Sage Method, Echo 3 and Scott Radian really well.
The Airflo Super Dry Elite is an all around trout presentation line. You can liken it to the Rio Gold from Rio. A standard taper ideal for most rods. Experienced casters will like the Elite on fast rods as fast line speeds with superb accuracy can be achieved. Moderate action rods like the Winston B2x, Sage SLT, Winston GVX and even Sage Z-Axis are great matches for the Elite line.
The Airflo Mend is the Super Dry nymph specific taper. I used this line a bunch last spring and it casts great. The Mend has a healthy running line in terms of length and diameter to facilitate mending. The slick coating on the line aids feeding line to lengthen those indicator dead drifts. The Mend is one of the brightest colored lines on the market.
Scientific Anglers has a completely new offering of floating lines as well. Sharkwave fly lines are a blend of the original Sharkskin line and Mastery Textured lines. The Sharkwave line has three different textures and three different colors within one line. The front tip is made of Sharkskin and Dry Tip for super floatation. The head of the line is made from Sharkskin as well for easy line shooting and mending. There is a small “tactile reference point” section that indicates the transition between head and and running line. The running line is made of “mastery textured” which is easier on the hands and not as “loud” through the guides compared to conventional Sharkskin lines. I really like the “SA/ID feature on the lines, the line weight and model are printed on the front section of the line so you can always identify what line weight and model is on your reel.
I have the Sharkwave Ultimate Trout model on a Scott Radian 9ft 5wt now and it is working really well. The Sharkwave shoots and feeds line downstream as well as the original Sharkskin but so far seems to float better. The tactile section is quite short and for me hasn’t been as noticeable as expected. The front taper on the Trout Taper model of the Sharkwave is longer than most standard trout lines these days, around 50 feet. This longer front taper is nice for a longer stable presentation casts.
The GPX Sharkwave taper is a 1/2 line size up and a shorter compact front taper. It utilizes all the three textures and three colors in the same way as the Trout Taper Sharkwave.
SA has also introduced a Saltwater Taper Sharkwave fly line. The Mastery Textured running line is going to be a huge advantage in this line as it will save your stripping fingers considerably compared to original Sharkskin lines.
Rio fly lines have largely dominated the market of late. The Rio Gold has become the “Gold” standard easy choice for consumers purchasing floating trout lines. No doubt the Rio Gold’s appeal is legit. The lines all around floating, casting and rod matching capabilities are fantastic. Rio has developed numerous lines that are holding up and performing on modern fly rod designs as well as any. Combine performance with great marketing and you can see why when you go to most fly shops the shelves are jammed with Rio lines.
The Perception fly line is the latest introduction for Rio in the trout realm. The key difference in terms of construction is the use of “Connectcore”. Connectcore and the Perception are described by Rio below:
Built with ultra-low stretch ConnectCore Technology, Perception lines provide groundbreaking levels of sensitivity for intuitively better cast timing, easier line lift and sharp, precise mends. Lack of stretch also means enhanced detection of subtle takes and faster reaction time when setting the hook.
The Perception is tri-colored like the SA Sharkwave, Rio calls it SureFire color system. Front taper, body and back taper, and running line are all different colors. The color delineations are nice for identifying ideal pick up points in the line. I have found the line to cast well on most rods. It’s shorter front taper 35′ on A 5wt is a realistic head length for most trout fishing situations. The no stretch core feature is great for swinging wets and when you need to set the hook at distance. I used the Perception on a Redington Butter Stick and you do notice the sensitivity in the line despite the full flexing fiberglass rod. Rio employs an EasyID (line weight and type printed on the front of the line) tag on the lines as well.
Now Leon Chandler would roll over on in his grave if he was around for this one. RIO has developed a Euro Nymph specific line. The Euro Nymph is competition legal, matches lines sizes 2-5, has a low stretch core and a highly visible tip. It’s looped end is micro and the entire line is super thin. If you want to give Euro Nymphing a shot then this line is the real deal.
There are many choices out there for the angler looking for a new line the above are just the newest of the new.