CaryGreene

Fly Line Manufacurer Review

Rate this topic

294 posts in this topic

Posted (edited)

15 hours ago, evancanalrat said:

I had a question, I’m looking for a similar line to the Royal Wulff 10wt saltwater floating, with better big fly/distance casting characteristics. I use a TFO Clouser fly rod. Could you recommend a line? 

Hi Evan,

 

Nice to see in the thread! Welcome aboard!! I saw your question last night but I was doing a "Bronx Beat" podcast on Baseball Perspectus so couldn't answer until today. 

 

https://www.baseballprospectus.com/podcasts/episode-337-60-home-runs-for-judge-best-record-every-for-the-yankees/

 

Couple of questions.

  • What weight TFO Clouser do you use? 
    • Are you matching a 10wt line to a 10wt rod?
  • You're looking for a line similar to the Royal Wulff 10wt WF-Floating line but that has better distance characteristics and better ability to turn over larger flies. 
    • What Leader do you use on the Royal Wulff (what's your specific formula or are you useing commercially made?)
    • You want a line that has a 30' head that casts further? Or are you open to a line with a longer head?

My Intitial Thoughts: It's often the Leader that plays the biggest part in turning over a large fly. Granted, some lines help dramatically with this, but a Leader can be a total game changer - one way or another.

 

That said, is one fly-line with a 30' Head really going to out-cast another brand that also has a 30' Head? Depends on the grain weight and whether you're hitting the rod's sweet spot or not >> in your hands (not mine or someone elses) with you casting! That said, a different line with a 30' Head (or longer) and a different Taper may help do some of the things you want done - such as moving a larger fly >> providing you're on point with your Leader. 

 

Zeroing in on your question: The manufacturer - in this case, Royal Wulff, recomends cutting back the tip of the fly line - if you're consistently throwing larger flies and aren't getting the results you want. This means that your already short head (30" will become only 25' feet long very quickly). Their fly line taper is depicted in the diagram below.

 

There are three Triangles used in the taper of this line. The entire front part of the head is a continuous Triangle that gets thinner and thinner towards the line's Tip. The Rear Taper is another rapidly tapering Triangle (short) and the the last Triangle is where the handling line transitions to the running line.

 

When this line unrolls, wave-energy moves forward rapidly but the line's mass also decreases, which makes it difficult for this line to turn over large, bulky fly. However, if you snip off up to 1/3 of the front part of the Head, the line will be a lot ticker and it will support a much beefier Leader, which in turn will move a large, bulky fly.

 

This line will make it easy for the fly-caster to form loops and throwing small to medium sized flies will be easily possible. As the flies land, the line will not disturb the water very much, so this is a Tactical advantage in situations where presentations are important. Conversely, this line is a Tactical disadvantage if the fly-caster is throwing larger flies - unless the flies are "counter-weighted" but that's another conversation for a dfifferent day (which I'm happy to explain if anyone has quesitons). 

 

This line shoots 60 to 70 feet with ease. A skilled caster might wish this line had a longer head, so they could hold much more line in the air prior to shooting - in order to easily achieve distances beyond 100'. The line can travel further than 70' but it lands in a piled up mess becasue once it unrolls, its merely snaking through the air. This line will feel distincly less powerful if casting only 20' or 30', compared to if casting 40'. 

62b092e445435_Screenshot2022-06-2011_31_30AM.png.2d508ea4e60cd87be665f870733a1229.png

 

Most fly line's use Triangles at some point in their tapers, usually from the Head to Tip transition. Here's a picture of a very oppoiste line Taper (deliberately not stating which one because it's irrelevent to the point of the discussion). This line features two Triangles. One at the rear of the line's Head (the Back Taper) and one at the line's Tip (Front Taper).

 

The Head is uniform - it doesn't swell towards the front or decrease.  As this line forms a loop, the 21' section of head is not thicker or thinner at any point - it's uniform. As it unrolls, thicker line is NOT behind it. Therefore, the wave energy is simply maintained, at which point, the line rapidly transitions to the Tip in a matter of 4' - at which point, a proper Leader will accept all that energy and move it rapidly to a fly.

 

There is no need to cut back the Head of a line that has a uniform taper, there is plenty of mass to accept a beefy Leader and the 4' rapid, front taper is Triangular - which ensures Heavier line is behind thinner line - wich provides lightning fast transfer of the wave-energy that has built up in the fly-line. This line will throw small to medium sized flies easily an it will do far better with larger flies - when compared to the Wulff line above. 

 

This line shoots 60 to 70 feet with ease. As with the Wull fline above, a skilled caster might wish this line had a longer head, so they could hold much more line in the air prior to shooting - in order to easily achieve distances beyond 100'. The line can travel further than 70' but it lands in a piled up mess becasue once it unrolls, its merely snaking through the air. If casting 20' or 30', this line will feel exactly the same as if casting 40', due to the uniform Head. 

62b09469b71d6_Screenshot2022-06-2011_38_00AM.png.cedaee13b79954b5732020b49d5694fc.png

 

Now, here's a  third line taper, again - who makes it is irrelevant. This line features a very long, gradual rear Triangle that transitions the Head to the Running-Line and then, it has another gradual Traingle that gradually swells as it moves forward (so it would called an "Inverted" Triangle). Lastly, it has a thrid Triangle that transitons the Head to the Tip.

 

This Head is extremely long in total length (twice as long as the two lines we just looked at). This line is designed to form a nearly perfect loop that will roll and unroll as the fly caster holds the head in the air some 60' to 70' out in front of and behind his casting position.

 

When the fly-caster goes to shoot this line, the tip of the line will be twice as far away from his casting position as with other lines. Granted, he will need to make several more back-casts to get into position to shoot line and this means he needs at least 100'  behind him for back-cast clearance (accounting for a Leader and for shooting line backwards prior to the final forward cast).

 

This line travels 120' feet with skill. If a caster can't hold at least 70 feet of line in the air, it will be very hard for them to make this line work and they'll wish the head was shorter. This line would be classified as a distance casting line and the loop unrolls smoothly and evenly. Very tight well formed loops can be achieved with this line taper. A good caster would describe this line as a joy to cast. 

62b096959a5c1_Screenshot2022-06-2011_47_20AM.png.8f5c854853aa109d6add70ebf6289982.png

 

Now here's a final Taper to look at. This line also has three Triangles in play. It has a rear Triangle to help transition the rear part of the uniformly tapered Head into the Running line. Then, it' has a short, stubby Triangle that transitions the rear part of the Head into a greatly swelled front part of the Head and then, another sharp, short Triangle that tapers the swelled front part of the Head to the Tip. 

 

This line has Head that is 10' longer than the first two lines we looked at and yes, the Head is 30' shorter than the orange line above. This line will easily travel 70 to 80 feet and as it unrolls, it gets massively thicker. This will help it move a even a large, bulky fly that is trailing along behind the line's Tip, and working in conjunction with a proper Leader, it will turn the fly over and it will land out in front of the Tip of the line. 

 

Therefore, this line would be a tactical disadvantage if delicate presentations were needed but it would represent a tactical advantage if we were fishing with larger flies. This line would be characterized as a all-purpose taper length and it would also be exellent when punching a cast into the wind. 

 

If casting 20' or 30' of line, this line will feel weird because the taper is not smooth nor is it uniform. The weight in the line is very much positioned towards the Tip. This is a specialy "big fly" line. 

62b0971ac7c7a_Screenshot2022-06-2011_49_30AM.png.0b1f19aad90d8937fbc07a82c341d8f7.png

 

When we select a fly line, it is imporant to consider the overall weight of the entiriety of the line's Head - which is the "castable portion" of the line. There will be a corresponding weight, as measured in "grains." 

 

It's also important to consider the Taper of the line and how long we want the Head to be. Fast-Shooting heads are 24' to 35', All-purpose Heads are 36' to 40' and Distance Heads are 50' to 70' 

 

Final Observations: Depending on your anwers to my questions above Evan, we can get you some feedback as to what you're looking for okay!? In the meantime, consider what you really want out of your next line. How will you use it? 

 

Any time we're casting a line, we need to account for the weather conditions. In this example, I'm practicing with a head wind, blowing towards me and also swirling, 10 to 30 mph. Assessing the situation, I realize high-line speed and minimal false casting is necessary. Do I need a shorter head? No. But I need to adjust and keep more of the Head inside the Tip of the Rod. Would a shorter head of say, 30' cast better in this sitation? Yes, it would cast a bit better, but I can still easily cast a more all-purpose Head of 40', if I can make it move fast and if I can generate casting power. 

 

 

The power will come 70% from my casting stroke, then I'll add a double haul which will increase my line speed even more. Notice how the stroke generates power. 

 

How many back-casts, in a real fishing situation, do I need to move a 40' head into a 30 mph wind? Same as any other situation. I need only two or maybe three back-casts. I often strip the line all the way back to my casting position. Many strikes occur only after a predator has followed the fly for a bit.

 

If I see a bust in a place ohther than where my fly is, I may break this general rule in an attempt to move my fly quickly to where it needs to be. Therefore, do I care if a line has a 40' or a 30' Head? No. Not in the least. I can cast either with two to three back-casts. 

 

Not all casters will agree with me. Some may find it it harder to operate a longer head and they will perceive a difference between a 30' Head and a 40' head. The reason I don't is that I'm obviously building high line speed, but I'm also feeding line out on the back-cast, therefore, when actually fishing, I don't make a lot of back-casts, even with lines that have heads significantly longer than 30'. With a 50' head, I would still make 3 back-casts usually, but sometimes, 4th one might be needed as I'm aiming from one spot to another, simply holding line in the air. 

 

When I'm dry fly fishing, I make 5 to 10 fast, short casts with only 10' of line in the air, to try the fly off. Does this tire me out after an 8 hour day of casting? Not at all. Notice my casting stroke. My hand is under my chin and I'm relaxed and comortable. When casting further, I pull and I extend my hand (arm) a further distance so that I can drift further. This helps with building line speed. 

 

Edited by CaryGreene
Added Video Links

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
  • What weight TFO Clouser do you use? 
    • Are you matching a 10wt line to a 10wt rod? Yes, I’m matching a 10wt line to a 10wt rod.
  • You're looking for a line similar to the Royal Wulff 10wt WF-Floating line but that has better distance characteristics and better ability to turn over larger flies. Yes 
    • What Leader do you use on the Royal Wulff (what's your specific formula or are you useing commercially made?) I’ve been using a straight shot of 20lb mono or self made tapered leaders(first half 30lb butt/second half 15lb floro). About 7 or 8 feet.
    • You want a line that has a 30' head that casts further? Or are you open to a line with a longer head? I would be open to a longer head. In fresh water, my favorite trout line is the Cortland 444 floating and it casts well for me. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2 hours ago, evancanalrat said:

I’ve been using a straight shot of 20lb mono or self made tapered leaders(first half 30lb butt/second half 15lb floro). About 7 or 8 feet.

Okay, leaders like this really hurt your turnover. You're essentially taking a fly line that is meant for delicate presentations and putting an extremely wimpy leader on it, which is further causing problems. Rather than cutting back the head, try making a Lightning Leader that is designed to straighten out like a rope and turn over even the largest of flies. 

 

Excerpt from my Leader Thread - pertaining to Saltwater Leaders:

 

With most saltwater casts, our objective is to deliver a fly with high line speed but there are times when fish are very close to us and line speed isn’t that important. We often cast off-the-tip of the rod when making a quick, short cast and even a very stiff rod is often able to do an okay job of this. 

 

However, when we begin casting at mid-range distances of 30 feet to 80 feet, higher line speed is needed to make the cast. It’s also very nice to be able to generate the line speed quickly and “turnover” becomes quite important because we’d like the line and the leader to lay out in a “slackless” presentation. 

 

Trout anglers often build leaders to create slack, which helps absorb drag created by swirling currents in a river. >> This helps the angler achieve more drad-free-drifts. Exceptionally good performing freshwater leaders are made with Butt-Sections that are stiff and more supple material is often used to create the Mid-Sections and Tippets. The benefit to doing this is that a supple Mid-Section and Tippet can absorb Drag caused by water. This allows for Drag-Free drifts. If a Leader were too stiff, it wouldn’t move easily when swirling-currents push against it and therefore, the fly will “skate” across the surface, behaving in an unnatural way. 

 

Soft, supple material on the other hand, moves when the swirling-currents push against it >> but the fly remains still for longer as the soft, supple leader absorbs the Drag caused by the currents. 

 

In Saltwater fishing, we want exactly the opposite to occur. >> We want a ruler-straight presentation without slack and one that’s right on target, so when we start stripping line, we immediately also start moving the fly the way we intend. 

 

Saltwater Leaders don’t need to be very technical. >> A school of thought has persisted for years among many saltwater fly-fishermen, that it’s not necessary to get overly technical with saltwater leaders and I agree. Saltwater leaders aren’t technical at all. They’re simple three-piece "doohickies” that deliver flies that can be pretty big at times to a target and they should absolutely have characteristics that turn wind-resistant flies over easily and cause them to straighten out easily, ahead of the tip of the fly-line. If this doesn’t happen then results suffer. We shouldn’t over-think them - for sure! But we also shouldn’t under-think them because if we do, results suffer badly. 

 

Using the right leader is actually super easy and it’s also very affordable. >> It will be the least expensive part of your investment in fly-fishing tackle so these are two good reasons to ensure you’ve got the bases covered. 

 

Casting practice is very important - even vital, but if you practice until you fall over dead, if your line and Leader setup is working against you, your outcome can be dramatically impared. When you fish constantly and spend time in various conditions on an almost daily basis, this becomes very obvious. The Leader should help the caster, not hinder them.

 

Fly-casters select the size of the rod based on the fish they’re targeting but also, it can help deliver the flies they’re going to be using too. >> The fly-line also plays a huge part in this endeavor and the leader helps tremendously as well. When fly-casters go to bigger and heavier flies, it’s always a good idea to move up to a heavier fly rod outfitted with a beefier fly-line. (Like a 10wt!)

 

For example, tossing heavily weighted crab patterns to tailing Permit on a 7wt rod isn’t very comfortable or effective. Heavier, more wind-resistant flies create a lot of Drag.  But a heavier fly line like, a 10wt, gives the caster more mass and more power to roll that heavy crab fly straight out and that allows them to cast very accurately - which is a big benefit because now, they can cast from further away from the fish and this means ultimately, the fish has less of a chance of getting spooked. 

 

Leaders work the same way and similarly to the fly-line, the more diameter or mass that’s in the leader’s Butt-Section and Mid-Section, the greater its ability is to transfer more energy. A properly constructed leader loses much less energy than one that’s too thin. 

 

Constructing a proper Saltwater Leader involves knowing the diameter of the tip of your fly-line. >> A digital micrometer is the best way to get an accurate reading. Once we know the measurement, we can construct a proper Saltwater Leader very easily. The goal is to very nearly match the Butt-Section of our Leader with Tip of the Fly-Line. We want the Leader-Butt to be approximately .010” thinner. 

E9eDb_jFkhQUfgQRSG7-onh51HakDVTpzFw6ceMp0c5y422aDCa0w9snQ-m6uXlAAI8XHOqGI-dSM5aJ0RSvXuNrbJgz6B_PP84xNn3jCYoY1fkx4E6UHVdwMGeaA9kFI_LkYCf__1HkgbLIcw

If we ignore this concept and use a material that is too thin, the Leader can hinge or even collapse and it’s very difficult to notice this happening at distances beyond even 30 feet. This happens because the Butt-Section lets too much of the wave-energy coming from the tip of the fly line dissipate, instead of capturing a far greater amount of this energy and being able to transfer it to the Mid Section of the Leader. 

 

Once all that energy that a well designed Leader-Butt captured and successfully transferred to the Mid-Section, the cast is all but complete. A short length of Tippet will easily be moved by it and the fly will miraculously turn over and straighten out. A good cast even pulls once it straightens out in the air. 

 

My general observations on fly-line “Tip-Diameters over the Years. >> Most Fly-LInes that I’ve used - from line-manufacturers like Airflo, Scientific Anglers, Rio Wulff and Cortland, will fall in the below categories, which you can use as a loose guide that is by no means always right. I find most 8wt to 12 wt lines will have Tips that measure between .040” and .050”

62b0fe7846040_Screenshot2022-06-207_10_30PM.png.a2d1b6f0b3924ff1df3ad0a6b20a8a09.png

 

Should a saltwater leader be made out of LIMP or STIFF material? >> Soft leader material is supple and it forms tighter loops because it’s easier to bend and it helps to introduce slack into the leader for “Drag-Free” Drifts, but soft material is less efficient at transferring energy to lay out a long leader with a heavy fly, straight into the wind. This is because air pushes against the leader as it tries to un-roll. 

 

Stiffer leader material better supports the weight of heavier flies while casting and it tends to lay out straight, with far less slack. In Saltwater fly-casting, stiffer is always better because it gives the fly-caster straight presentations. Its harder exterior is also more abrasion-resistant, which helps when dealing with a fish with a rough mouth or teeth and also, it helps tremendously when there’s Coral present or other rough surfaces like barnacle encrusted rocks or substrates that have mixed gravel bottoms. 

 

How many pieces should a proper Leader have? >> The answer to this question varies depending on the performance characteristics required by a given application. 

 

For example, Dry Fly Leaders may have many pieces. The more pieces a leader has, the more energy it loses as it unrolls. If the goal is to cause a very slow, deliberate, open casting- loop then we would use many sections to gradually transition from the Leader’s Butt section to its Tippet but the real reason for doing this is not to achieve such a loop. 

 

The open loop is a byproduct of constructing a Leader with many sections. The reason for doing this is to create a gradually tapering leader that is soft and supple and able to absorb drag when swirling currents in the water push against it. 

 

To compensate for the fairly poor casting characteristics of a Leader that is outstanding at absorbing Drag and creating “Slack,” the fly-caster slows the timing of the casting-stroke down, to allow extra time for this leader to turn over. 

 

Conversely, if the goal is to cast at distance, we want as few Leader sections as possible to do the job, which in Streamer fishing or Saltwater-casting, would always be three pieces. 

 

Thin, one-piece Leaders lose a ton of energy at the Tip-to-Leader connection point. This translates into terrible turnover. Upwards of 95% of the Fly-Line’s energy is lost by using a one-piece Leader that is too thin. Two piece Leaders consisting of a Tippet and a Butt-Section also lose way too much energy and they turn over poorly. 

 

However, a three-piece Leader with a long butt-section and a short mid-section actually holds the most energy as is possible and transmits this energy directly to the fly. 

 

Meanwhile, a four piece leader with two longer Mid-Sections loses twice as much energy in the Mid-Section as compared to the three piece leader. There is zero benefit for making a leader like this for Saltwater fly-casting. 

 

What is the best Saltwater Leader Length? >> The answer to this question depends on the size of the fly and ease in which you can turn the fly over with your cast. The goal is to fish comfortably and be as stealthy as possible when needed. Longer leaders are generally stealthier than shorter ones. Bulkier or heavier Flies tend to turn over better with shorter Leaders, in the 6’ to 7 ½’ range in length. Average sized Flies tend to turnover fine with 9’ to 10’ Leaders. 

 

What is the optimal Saltwater Leader formula to achieve a desired Leader-length? >> For normal sized Flies, Begin with a Butt-Diameter approximately .010 Thinner than the Tip of your Fly-Line. 60% of your leader should be made of whatever diameter this material winds up being. 

 

Then, 30% of your Leader should comprise the Mid-Section, which in turn should be as thick as possible to hold maximum energy while also providing a sharp taper to your Tippet. A general rule of thumb here is simply “halve” your Butt-Section and use a Mid-Section of that Diameter. For example, If you’re using a Butt Section that’s .040, your Mid-Section could be .025 or so. There’s no need to be on the thinner side of “half.” Air on the thicker side. 

 

Finally, your Tippet should be 10% of the Leader’s length, whatever Test# the situation calls for. The basic all-around formula is 60% - 30% - 10%. A very good caster who generates high-line speeds can even add a bonus 10% to the Tippet section, but be careful doing this because you can easily negate the benefit of the leader if the Tippet is more than say 20” long. 

 

For larger, bulky flies, the Leader formula can be tweaked even further to max- performance which can be 70% - 20% - 10%. 

 

>> Try building one of these "Lightning Leaders and watch what happens Evan, the difference in turnover will be night and day better. 

 

3 hours ago, evancanalrat said:

I would be open to a longer head. In fresh water, my favorite trout line is the Cortland 444 floating and it casts well for me. 

 

Cortland 444 Classic Series lines have a 32' Head so they're only 2' longer than a Wulff Triangle-Taper Saltwater Floating line. Their taper is much different though, more uniform and powerful. 

62b10274e4a79_Screenshot2022-06-207_27_33PM.png.e3c364e3ffdad863138d26fb4667cd79.png

 

444 lines feature a gentle, 8'  triangular front transition to the Tip of the line, from the 20' Head (actually, it's 24' if we count the 4' Triangular rear taper. Essentially this is an easy to cast, quick loading Compact-Head type fly-line. It will shoot 60' to 70' feet fairly easily, though presentations will suffer beyond 45' or so depending on the length of your Leader. 

62b102ba236e1_Screenshot2022-06-207_28_12PM.png.e3179777323b3b04dfce6e12536a6c38.png

 

If you like this line, first try a proper Leader on your Wulff 10wt and if you still have trouble, we can look at some lines taht might be similar to the 444 but a bit more powerful with slightly longer heads, uniformly tapered heads and shorter, more rapid triangular front tapers. I have a few in mind but let me know how you do with the proper Leader first okay. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks for the Detailed responses! I have been very pleased with the SA bonefish and redfish lines. I am mainly a warm water fisher except for excursions for mountain trout.
 

I will admit to looking at the Cortland Hi-Viz tropic line as the peepers don’t work like they used to, 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Posted (edited)

5 hours ago, G8trwood said:

Thanks for the Detailed responses! I have been very pleased with the SA bonefish and redfish lines. I am mainly a warm water fisher except for excursions for mountain trout.
 

I will admit to looking at the Cortland Hi-Viz tropic line as the peepers don’t work like they used to, 

My pleasure G8trwood!

 

I haven't reviewd Tropical fly-lines yet but when we look at those, Cortland will be covered! Wondering if you meant the Hi-Viz Flip line?

62b23ad46f4f9_Screenshot2022-06-215_37_53PM.png.8adfe2e985b599adc815bbc53c3431d8.png

 

I don't see a Hi-Viz "Bonefish" line in Cortland's lineup. 

62b23ad270f42_Screenshot2022-06-215_38_38PM.png.2470aceb3d23091d1315c00be0b0d4b7.png

 

 

Edited by CaryGreene

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
29 mins ago, G8trwood said:

Yes the high viz Flip.  Damn Old timers;) 

I'll make sure to give the Fip a full review when I get to the Tropical lines. This thread has a massive amount of topics to cover!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 6/20/2022 at 7:36 PM, CaryGreene said:

Okay, leaders like this really hurt your turnover. You're essentially taking a fly line that is meant for delicate presentations and putting an extremely wimpy leader on it, which is further causing problems. Rather than cutting back the head, try making a Lightning Leader that is designed to straighten out like a rope and turn over even the largest of flies. 

 

Excerpt from my Leader Thread - pertaining to Saltwater Leaders:

 

With most saltwater casts, our objective is to deliver a fly with high line speed but there are times when fish are very close to us and line speed isn’t that important. We often cast off-the-tip of the rod when making a quick, short cast and even a very stiff rod is often able to do an okay job of this. 

 

However, when we begin casting at mid-range distances of 30 feet to 80 feet, higher line speed is needed to make the cast. It’s also very nice to be able to generate the line speed quickly and “turnover” becomes quite important because we’d like the line and the leader to lay out in a “slackless” presentation. 

 

Trout anglers often build leaders to create slack, which helps absorb drag created by swirling currents in a river. >> This helps the angler achieve more drad-free-drifts. Exceptionally good performing freshwater leaders are made with Butt-Sections that are stiff and more supple material is often used to create the Mid-Sections and Tippets. The benefit to doing this is that a supple Mid-Section and Tippet can absorb Drag caused by water. This allows for Drag-Free drifts. If a Leader were too stiff, it wouldn’t move easily when swirling-currents push against it and therefore, the fly will “skate” across the surface, behaving in an unnatural way. 

 

Soft, supple material on the other hand, moves when the swirling-currents push against it >> but the fly remains still for longer as the soft, supple leader absorbs the Drag caused by the currents. 

 

In Saltwater fishing, we want exactly the opposite to occur. >> We want a ruler-straight presentation without slack and one that’s right on target, so when we start stripping line, we immediately also start moving the fly the way we intend. 

 

Saltwater Leaders don’t need to be very technical. >> A school of thought has persisted for years among many saltwater fly-fishermen, that it’s not necessary to get overly technical with saltwater leaders and I agree. Saltwater leaders aren’t technical at all. They’re simple three-piece "doohickies” that deliver flies that can be pretty big at times to a target and they should absolutely have characteristics that turn wind-resistant flies over easily and cause them to straighten out easily, ahead of the tip of the fly-line. If this doesn’t happen then results suffer. We shouldn’t over-think them - for sure! But we also shouldn’t under-think them because if we do, results suffer badly. 

 

Using the right leader is actually super easy and it’s also very affordable. >> It will be the least expensive part of your investment in fly-fishing tackle so these are two good reasons to ensure you’ve got the bases covered. 

 

Casting practice is very important - even vital, but if you practice until you fall over dead, if your line and Leader setup is working against you, your outcome can be dramatically impared. When you fish constantly and spend time in various conditions on an almost daily basis, this becomes very obvious. The Leader should help the caster, not hinder them.

 

Fly-casters select the size of the rod based on the fish they’re targeting but also, it can help deliver the flies they’re going to be using too. >> The fly-line also plays a huge part in this endeavor and the leader helps tremendously as well. When fly-casters go to bigger and heavier flies, it’s always a good idea to move up to a heavier fly rod outfitted with a beefier fly-line. (Like a 10wt!)

 

For example, tossing heavily weighted crab patterns to tailing Permit on a 7wt rod isn’t very comfortable or effective. Heavier, more wind-resistant flies create a lot of Drag.  But a heavier fly line like, a 10wt, gives the caster more mass and more power to roll that heavy crab fly straight out and that allows them to cast very accurately - which is a big benefit because now, they can cast from further away from the fish and this means ultimately, the fish has less of a chance of getting spooked. 

 

Leaders work the same way and similarly to the fly-line, the more diameter or mass that’s in the leader’s Butt-Section and Mid-Section, the greater its ability is to transfer more energy. A properly constructed leader loses much less energy than one that’s too thin. 

 

Constructing a proper Saltwater Leader involves knowing the diameter of the tip of your fly-line. >> A digital micrometer is the best way to get an accurate reading. Once we know the measurement, we can construct a proper Saltwater Leader very easily. The goal is to very nearly match the Butt-Section of our Leader with Tip of the Fly-Line. We want the Leader-Butt to be approximately .010” thinner. 

E9eDb_jFkhQUfgQRSG7-onh51HakDVTpzFw6ceMp0c5y422aDCa0w9snQ-m6uXlAAI8XHOqGI-dSM5aJ0RSvXuNrbJgz6B_PP84xNn3jCYoY1fkx4E6UHVdwMGeaA9kFI_LkYCf__1HkgbLIcw

If we ignore this concept and use a material that is too thin, the Leader can hinge or even collapse and it’s very difficult to notice this happening at distances beyond even 30 feet. This happens because the Butt-Section lets too much of the wave-energy coming from the tip of the fly line dissipate, instead of capturing a far greater amount of this energy and being able to transfer it to the Mid Section of the Leader. 

 

Once all that energy that a well designed Leader-Butt captured and successfully transferred to the Mid-Section, the cast is all but complete. A short length of Tippet will easily be moved by it and the fly will miraculously turn over and straighten out. A good cast even pulls once it straightens out in the air. 

 

My general observations on fly-line “Tip-Diameters over the Years. >> Most Fly-LInes that I’ve used - from line-manufacturers like Airflo, Scientific Anglers, Rio Wulff and Cortland, will fall in the below categories, which you can use as a loose guide that is by no means always right. I find most 8wt to 12 wt lines will have Tips that measure between .040” and .050”

62b0fe7846040_Screenshot2022-06-207_10_30PM.png.a2d1b6f0b3924ff1df3ad0a6b20a8a09.png

 

Should a saltwater leader be made out of LIMP or STIFF material? >> Soft leader material is supple and it forms tighter loops because it’s easier to bend and it helps to introduce slack into the leader for “Drag-Free” Drifts, but soft material is less efficient at transferring energy to lay out a long leader with a heavy fly, straight into the wind. This is because air pushes against the leader as it tries to un-roll. 

 

Stiffer leader material better supports the weight of heavier flies while casting and it tends to lay out straight, with far less slack. In Saltwater fly-casting, stiffer is always better because it gives the fly-caster straight presentations. Its harder exterior is also more abrasion-resistant, which helps when dealing with a fish with a rough mouth or teeth and also, it helps tremendously when there’s Coral present or other rough surfaces like barnacle encrusted rocks or substrates that have mixed gravel bottoms. 

 

How many pieces should a proper Leader have? >> The answer to this question varies depending on the performance characteristics required by a given application. 

 

For example, Dry Fly Leaders may have many pieces. The more pieces a leader has, the more energy it loses as it unrolls. If the goal is to cause a very slow, deliberate, open casting- loop then we would use many sections to gradually transition from the Leader’s Butt section to its Tippet but the real reason for doing this is not to achieve such a loop. 

 

The open loop is a byproduct of constructing a Leader with many sections. The reason for doing this is to create a gradually tapering leader that is soft and supple and able to absorb drag when swirling currents in the water push against it. 

 

To compensate for the fairly poor casting characteristics of a Leader that is outstanding at absorbing Drag and creating “Slack,” the fly-caster slows the timing of the casting-stroke down, to allow extra time for this leader to turn over. 

 

Conversely, if the goal is to cast at distance, we want as few Leader sections as possible to do the job, which in Streamer fishing or Saltwater-casting, would always be three pieces. 

 

Thin, one-piece Leaders lose a ton of energy at the Tip-to-Leader connection point. This translates into terrible turnover. Upwards of 95% of the Fly-Line’s energy is lost by using a one-piece Leader that is too thin. Two piece Leaders consisting of a Tippet and a Butt-Section also lose way too much energy and they turn over poorly. 

 

However, a three-piece Leader with a long butt-section and a short mid-section actually holds the most energy as is possible and transmits this energy directly to the fly. 

 

Meanwhile, a four piece leader with two longer Mid-Sections loses twice as much energy in the Mid-Section as compared to the three piece leader. There is zero benefit for making a leader like this for Saltwater fly-casting. 

 

What is the best Saltwater Leader Length? >> The answer to this question depends on the size of the fly and ease in which you can turn the fly over with your cast. The goal is to fish comfortably and be as stealthy as possible when needed. Longer leaders are generally stealthier than shorter ones. Bulkier or heavier Flies tend to turn over better with shorter Leaders, in the 6’ to 7 ½’ range in length. Average sized Flies tend to turnover fine with 9’ to 10’ Leaders. 

 

What is the optimal Saltwater Leader formula to achieve a desired Leader-length? >> For normal sized Flies, Begin with a Butt-Diameter approximately .010 Thinner than the Tip of your Fly-Line. 60% of your leader should be made of whatever diameter this material winds up being. 

 

Then, 30% of your Leader should comprise the Mid-Section, which in turn should be as thick as possible to hold maximum energy while also providing a sharp taper to your Tippet. A general rule of thumb here is simply “halve” your Butt-Section and use a Mid-Section of that Diameter. For example, If you’re using a Butt Section that’s .040, your Mid-Section could be .025 or so. There’s no need to be on the thinner side of “half.” Air on the thicker side. 

 

Finally, your Tippet should be 10% of the Leader’s length, whatever Test# the situation calls for. The basic all-around formula is 60% - 30% - 10%. A very good caster who generates high-line speeds can even add a bonus 10% to the Tippet section, but be careful doing this because you can easily negate the benefit of the leader if the Tippet is more than say 20” long. 

 

For larger, bulky flies, the Leader formula can be tweaked even further to max- performance which can be 70% - 20% - 10%. 

 

>> Try building one of these "Lightning Leaders and watch what happens Evan, the difference in turnover will be night and day better. 

 

 

Cortland 444 Classic Series lines have a 32' Head so they're only 2' longer than a Wulff Triangle-Taper Saltwater Floating line. Their taper is much different though, more uniform and powerful. 

62b10274e4a79_Screenshot2022-06-207_27_33PM.png.e3c364e3ffdad863138d26fb4667cd79.png

 

444 lines feature a gentle, 8'  triangular front transition to the Tip of the line, from the 20' Head (actually, it's 24' if we count the 4' Triangular rear taper. Essentially this is an easy to cast, quick loading Compact-Head type fly-line. It will shoot 60' to 70' feet fairly easily, though presentations will suffer beyond 45' or so depending on the length of your Leader. 

62b102ba236e1_Screenshot2022-06-207_28_12PM.png.e3179777323b3b04dfce6e12536a6c38.png

 

If you like this line, first try a proper Leader on your Wulff 10wt and if you still have trouble, we can look at some lines taht might be similar to the 444 but a bit more powerful with slightly longer heads, uniformly tapered heads and shorter, more rapid triangular front tapers. I have a few in mind but let me know how you do with the proper Leader first okay. 

My Wulff line needs to be replaced due to damage from jetty rocks. I tried looking around and they’re out of stock everywhere. What are some lines that are similar?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2 hours ago, evancanalrat said:

My Wulff line needs to be replaced due to damage from jetty rocks. I tried looking around and they’re out of stock everywhere. What are some lines that are similar?

The RIO Striper Fly-Line is simlar to a Wulff TT Saltwater line.

62b7b591c505c_Screenshot2022-06-259_22_52PM.png.3b7d8ac3331d64e4f2ee29a1fb8e0b00.png62b7b592e9d4b_Screenshot2022-06-259_20_44PM.png.69331fbfd4d5620a0339b4f5d82e415c.png

62b7b5d7627ec_Screenshot2022-06-259_26_26PM.png.b1e96ef0b674c45833cb29998ada9168.png

 

It has a similar temperature rating, with the main excption being that the Wulff TT line is much heavier. You're used to throwing 425 grains and the RIO Striper line is "only" 380 grains. 

62b7b605dce93_Screenshot2022-06-259_27_18PM.png.f75d2b318b6392513e4aad1188eb1f5e.png

 

You noted the Wulff line had poor turnover characteristics but your leader wasn't helping that. If you use a proper Leader, the RIO line should get the job done if you really want another Triangle type taper. 

 

Otherwise, you might try either AirFlo's 4-Season "Sniper" line (same weight as the Wulff TT - 425 grains in a 10wt) It has a uniform Head that's pretty powerful, but NOT front loaded, more balanced the RIO OBS below. The Sniper line has a better temperature range than the RIO OBS below also, meaning you can use in the Spring and Fall without excessive coiling and memory related issues in the running line. 

62b7b8d575155_Screenshot2022-06-259_38_20PM.png.042d55d4df17a9bc8f47e0bda98b43cb.png62b7b8d3de0f0_Screenshot2022-06-259_38_41PM.png.b95175ce301d3363c1a7a71076513f94.png62b7b8d23140e_Screenshot2022-06-259_39_06PM.png.bf9130755b43d62d1e372f8a233e3082.png

 

..or you could look at the RIO Outbound Short, though we've had some durability complaints on it in this and other related threads, but the people complaining never replied as to whether or not they were maintaining it properly or not. The OBS is also 425 grains in a 10wt, but with a front loaded Taper to help with fly-turover. 

62b7bad7764a1_Screenshot2022-06-259_45_07PM.png.c1a45036e11516508ef1f0d8010e7b19.png62b7ba417bf87_Screenshot2022-06-259_44_43PM.png.510d935b536474e878e3cb2e1505fc90.png62b7ba42786b8_Screenshot2022-06-259_42_17PM.png.2551fedbb6148226580d36ca264ee010.png

 

 

Screenshot 2022-06-25 9.45.07 PM.png

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Posted (edited)

Anybody know the specs (grain weight of the total head) for the Rio Pike-Musky line in 11wt?  The head is supposed to be 29ft and "heavier than standard AFTMA (or AFFTA)" but I don't know by how much.

 

Is it any different from the 11wt Rio OBS (which is 465g for 11wt @30ft)?

 

Seems like the head is not only shorter than the OBS but also more weight forward but I could be wrong.

Edited by Killiefish

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Posted (edited)

1 hour ago, Killiefish said:

Anybody know the specs (grain weight of the total head) for the Rio Pike-Musky line in 11wt?  The head is supposed to be 29ft and "heavier than standard AFTMA (or AFFTA)" but I don't know by how much.

 

Is it any different from the 11wt Rio OBS (which is 465g for 11wt @30ft)?

 

Seems like the head is not only shorter than the OBS but also more weight forward but I could be wrong.

Hi Killiefish,

 

RIO "rebranded" the Pike/Musky line and they now call it the "Predator" line.

62b8aab2c1bfd_Screenshot2022-06-262_51_07PM.png.1b92699736337ebb2864f4e582c482c8.png

 

It has a compound "Triangular" Head taper that actually has a head that's 32'  long in the heavier line sizes and 34' to 36' long in the lighter sizes, depending. 

62b8a937c4672_Screenshot2022-06-262_44_21PM.png.436c7a9c828ad184e63757c93e68ded3.png

 

RIO makes the Predator line in a staggering array of no less than four different line types to cover all the bases from Floating to Full Sinking. 

62b8a9ae7d7e3_Screenshot2022-06-262_46_49PM.png.2e7fa6a7a1e24a729148f4ad52c1be8f.png

 

Grain weights for the full Heads are listed below. The 11wt Head is 32' and weights a total of 475 grains - making this line technically 13++wt (10 grains short of a 14wt). Basically, you'd be overlining 3 line-sizes if you go with what's marked on the box, which of course isn't nearly accurate to standard. 

62b8ab485dd13_Screenshot2022-06-262_53_13PM.png.ed0aeb45ee5f79a5c3f15a22bc96e2c7.png

 

**For our Readers: A lot of folks are now following the thread and many may be wondering, why is a line that's labled an 11wt actually a 13wt? The reason is becuse RIO, like all manufacturers, builds compact lines as if they were Shooting Heads. Back in the day, we used make a floating Head out of a Double-Taper line. We'd weigh out whatever grain weight we wanted and then cut the DT line off at that point and loop it to a running line. This is how Shooting Heads first "came to be." Sheot, do I feel old! How do I even know this crap!?

 

DT lines were one, long, continuous, uniform Taper throughout the length of their bellies. On each end, there would be a gradual, progressive, triangular taper from the line's belly to it's Tip. The entire belly of these DT lines had castable weight present, so the more belly you held in the air while casting, the more weight you were carrying. The drawback was you couldn't shoot a DT line, but the advantage was that it far out-roll-casted a WF line and, another benefit was that it was far more economical because it was reversible. 

 

Alright, that said, manufacturers began making Shooting-Heads that you could loop onto Running-Lines. Most people who purchased these Shooting-Heads wanted maximum distance, so they bumped up a number of line-sizes from the rod they intended to use the Head with. The concept of overlining was thus born. 

 

RIO figures most fly-fishermen today will want to overline a product that is an "Integrated Shooting Head" - meaning, there is no loop as the Head is instead fused directly to the running line. Not having to deal with a loop-to-loop connection between your Running-Line and your Head makes fishing easier. You can strip a line all the way back to yourself, then shoot it without the Loop-to-Loop connection getting caught up in the guides. Plus, you don't have to deal with the constand clickity-clacking annoyance as the Head advances in and out of the rod tip with ease. 

 

It's not that RIO is trying to deceive anyone, it's just that they think most fly-fisherman are unaware of the concept of overlining, so they take care of that for you when they lable the box. 

 

To an advanced angler, this isn't really all that annoying -- as long as we know the full Head's castable weight. Unfortunately, RIO witholds this information from the public (as all companies today seem to do). They probably don't want to confuse beginner anglers, who might otherwise hold off on purchases until they figure out what Grain Weight they like to throw on a given rod. 

 

 

Edited by CaryGreene

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
19 hours ago, CaryGreene said:

The RIO Striper Fly-Line is simlar to a Wulff TT Saltwater line.

62b7b591c505c_Screenshot2022-06-259_22_52PM.png.3b7d8ac3331d64e4f2ee29a1fb8e0b00.png62b7b592e9d4b_Screenshot2022-06-259_20_44PM.png.69331fbfd4d5620a0339b4f5d82e415c.png

62b7b5d7627ec_Screenshot2022-06-259_26_26PM.png.b1e96ef0b674c45833cb29998ada9168.png

 

It has a similar temperature rating, with the main excption being that the Wulff TT line is much heavier. You're used to throwing 425 grains and the RIO Striper line is "only" 380 grains. 

62b7b605dce93_Screenshot2022-06-259_27_18PM.png.f75d2b318b6392513e4aad1188eb1f5e.png

 

You noted the Wulff line had poor turnover characteristics but your leader wasn't helping that. If you use a proper Leader, the RIO line should get the job done if you really want another Triangle type taper. 

 

Otherwise, you might try either AirFlo's 4-Season "Sniper" line (same weight as the Wulff TT - 425 grains in a 10wt) It has a uniform Head that's pretty powerful, but NOT front loaded, more balanced the RIO OBS below. The Sniper line has a better temperature range than the RIO OBS below also, meaning you can use in the Spring and Fall without excessive coiling and memory related issues in the running line. 

62b7b8d575155_Screenshot2022-06-259_38_20PM.png.042d55d4df17a9bc8f47e0bda98b43cb.png62b7b8d3de0f0_Screenshot2022-06-259_38_41PM.png.b95175ce301d3363c1a7a71076513f94.png62b7b8d23140e_Screenshot2022-06-259_39_06PM.png.bf9130755b43d62d1e372f8a233e3082.png

 

..or you could look at the RIO Outbound Short, though we've had some durability complaints on it in this and other related threads, but the people complaining never replied as to whether or not they were maintaining it properly or not. The OBS is also 425 grains in a 10wt, but with a front loaded Taper to help with fly-turover. 

62b7bad7764a1_Screenshot2022-06-259_45_07PM.png.c1a45036e11516508ef1f0d8010e7b19.png62b7ba417bf87_Screenshot2022-06-259_44_43PM.png.510d935b536474e878e3cb2e1505fc90.png62b7ba42786b8_Screenshot2022-06-259_42_17PM.png.2551fedbb6148226580d36ca264ee010.png

 

 

Screenshot 2022-06-25 9.45.07 PM.png

I ordered the Airflo, seems like it would be similar to TT but better.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
23 mins ago, evancanalrat said:

I ordered the Airflo, seems like it would be similar to TT but better.

Well, you'll have to give your feedback here once you try it. Make sure to rinse it in cold water and sponge it down regularly. RIO Agent-X can also be used to revitalize it from time to time. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 6/26/2022 at 0:10 PM, CaryGreene said:

Hi Killiefish,

 

RIO "rebranded" the Pike/Musky line and they now call it the "Predator" line.

62b8aab2c1bfd_Screenshot2022-06-262_51_07PM.png.1b92699736337ebb2864f4e582c482c8.png

 

It has a compound "Triangular" Head taper that actually has a head that's 32'  long in the heavier line sizes and 34' to 36' long in the lighter sizes, depending. 

62b8a937c4672_Screenshot2022-06-262_44_21PM.png.436c7a9c828ad184e63757c93e68ded3.png

 

RIO makes the Predator line in a staggering array of no less than four different line types to cover all the bases from Floating to Full Sinking. 

62b8a9ae7d7e3_Screenshot2022-06-262_46_49PM.png.2e7fa6a7a1e24a729148f4ad52c1be8f.png

 

Grain weights for the full Heads are listed below. The 11wt Head is 32' and weights a total of 475 grains - making this line technically 13++wt (10 grains short of a 14wt). Basically, you'd be overlining 3 line-sizes if you go with what's marked on the box, which of course isn't nearly accurate to standard. 

62b8ab485dd13_Screenshot2022-06-262_53_13PM.png.ed0aeb45ee5f79a5c3f15a22bc96e2c7.png

 

 

Cary, the older Pike Musky Line in 11wt is 29ft head with a 12ft handling section (see below) I'm not really sure that the weight for 30ft would be the same as the newer Predator line.  I guess if they use the same formula for "up-lining" then perhaps the older line weighs a bit more than 475g at 30ft. But there is absolutely no information out there (online) on the older line, w.r.t. actual weight in grains. 

 

This is one of the other problems with line manufacturers:  they constantly tweak the designs of their lines to keep you guessing, or to make you think that the newer line with the different fancier name is better.  It isn't always better.  It may be the exact same line or it may be tweaked in ways that make it LESS suitable for one's particular use.  At $99.00 I would pass on the newer line.  The older one is on closeout for less than half that amount, which is why I asked the question about it.

 

muskyl.jpg

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
18 hours ago, Killiefish said:

Cary, the older Pike Musky Line in 11wt is 29ft head with a 12ft handling section (see below) I'm not really sure that the weight for 30ft would be the same as the newer Predator line.  I guess if they use the same formula for "up-lining" then perhaps the older line weighs a bit more than 475g at 30ft. But there is absolutely no information out there (online) on the older line, w.r.t. actual weight in grains. 

 

This is one of the other problems with line manufacturers:  they constantly tweak the designs of their lines to keep you guessing, or to make you think that the newer line with the different fancier name is better.  It isn't always better.  It may be the exact same line or it may be tweaked in ways that make it LESS suitable for one's particular use.  At $99.00 I would pass on the newer line.  The older one is on closeout for less than half that amount, which is why I asked the question about it.

 

muskyl.jpg

Hi Killiefish,

 

The step on both lines, the older Pike/Musky line and the newer Predator lines is unweighted. It's simply swelled running line (packed with air cells). The increased diameter is only for suporting the head a bit during the cast and it's really designed to help the caster haul more easily, opposed to trying to haul fine diameter running line. 

 

Therefore the older "Pike/Musky" line has only 29' of castable head. It's simply 475 grains in an 11wt. It has a weightless 12' rear step. 

 

The Newer "Predator" line has a 32' head, which weighs 475 grains total and 450 grains at 30'. It has a weightless 13' rear step. 

 

According to my postal scale, the newer Predator line weighs 435 grains at 29', which makes the older Pike/Musky line 15 grains heavier at 29'. Obviously, the newer Predator line is 25 grains heavier in all, becasue it has 3' more of castable, weighted head. 

 

Regarding the value proposition, clearly any premium line, manufactured in the last 20 years, is well worth paying half price for compared to a newer line at full pop. You could get two for the price of one. That's a no brainer!

 

As far as which is better, my assessment is they're basically the same thing. I doubt most casters would notice a 25 grain difference on an 11wt fly-rod. Personally, I'd like the slightly longer +3' of head, but with heads under 35', again it really doesn't matter. Pike flies are very large. They spawn in the spring and in flooded areas, you can target them from shore, often in spots that have significant brush and little room for back casting. If you go after them from a boat, you still might be navigating significant cover. A head under 35' if perfect for that sort of fishing. I see very little difference between the older line and the newer line.

 

If anything, RIO rebranded (as i said in my first post on this topic) this line and yes, they tweaked it slightly. It now has more pronounced Compound Tapers built into the Head, instead of a smoother, more progressive Compound Taper. Still, they're both basically a standard highly swelled Triangle concept - with the heavier line positioned behind the lighter line. 

 

**Note for our readers and for Killie: Other manufacturers approach this application (Pike and Musky fishing) differently. Instead of designing a line that has a Compound Triangle that starts off very swelled and tapers down in distinct sections, they do the opposite. They Swell the Taper towards the front of the Head, then use a sharp triangle to taper to the Tip. Which line casts better? 

 

The answer to that question is proably "Indvidual Preference." A dramatically swelled compound Triangle has no problem doing this job, neither does a reverse triangle which has a little extra power up front. It's basically just two differing ways to do a job. 

 

Pike flies are generally unweighted, but bulky. They aren't hard to turn over with the right 70%-20%-10% Lightnign Leader. In fact, they turn over fine on a 60%-30%-10% Lightning Leader also. For years, we would just use 11wt Double Taper lines to handle Pike fishing. We would cut back on the tip about 3'. This would give us a short, sharp triangular Front Taper with a smooth, very long uniform taper behind it. Worked fine, but we couldn't "shoot" a cast, we'd have to hold the Head in the air and inch our way out to the target.

 

With often limited back-cast space, this was a problem, we we began chopping the DT lines off at 35" and whipping loops into them, then connecting them to running lines. In effect, we made the exact same things as they're selling today, but unfortunately, it wasn't an integrated Head. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to register here in order to participate.

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!


Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.


Sign In Now

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.