These days, it is the rare individual who does not bring a lasting ambition to cast a long line when he first picks up a fly rod. As a tool designed specifically for this purpose, a weight forward line is generally the first choice of a beginner, and many will never try anything different.
Like anyone else, I appreciate the ease in which a weight forward taper can be applied in situations where a long, straight line cast is the foremost objective. This especially applies to still water fishing where a floating line is not subject to the same factors found on moving water.
With a lifelong fondness for fishing dry flies on the predominantly larger rivers of the Rocky Mountain west, my preference lies in a much different line configuration when compared to the popular weight forward taper.
On moving water, inducing a natural presentation of an artificial is often almost equally dependent upon casting and mending. With maximum control both in the air and on the water as requirements more important than easily attained distance, my choice is a double taper floating line.
Even on big waters, I try to wade within 30 feet of a feeding trout. At this range and anything less, the performance of a weight forward and double taper line are essentially equal. It is beyond this distance that I begin to struggle with line control when fishing a weight forward taper.
Unlike a weight forward, there is no hinge point with a double taper because the weight of the line is distributed throughout its length rather than being concentrated in the first 30 feet. With consistent flex and contact with the rod tip, a double taper permits superior line control while also making it easier to regulate the velocity of fly delivery. And while there are exceptions, shooting slack line into the cast is not something I generally apply when presenting a dry fly. Additionally, I find it difficult if not impossible to make certain casts that rely on controlled line speed or consistent response to the rod tip when fishing a weight forward beyond 30 feet. Curve casting, aerial mending, and a long reach cast are much more easily accomplished with a double taper.
Precise mending techniques are vital to managing the drift once the fly is on the water. With the thinner running line in the guides, it is virtually impossible to reposition the heavier front portion of a weight forward taper as a means of overcoming problematic currents that can disrupt a natural drift by causing the fly to drag.
Refined nymphing methods involving submerged flies in moving water can require precise casting and deft mending techniques that are quite similar to fishing a floating imitation. Whether maintaining a natural drift or inducing controlled action to the fly, it is not unusual to experience some difficulty when fishing beyond 30 feet with a weight forward line. For the same reasons that apply to dry fly fishing, I generally prefer a double taper when presenting a subsurface pattern to a big, nymphing trout in moving water.
In keeping with the example of old time steel-headers prior to the popularity of two handed fly casting, I rely on a double taper floating line for spring and fall streamer fishing for trout when the water is low and often quite cold.
Swimming the fly mostly with the current or on a slow, pulsating swing often involves long, looping mends that may require some serious roll casting to execute correctly. And while a long cast on big water may require significantly more effort, I find 60-70 feet to be a reasonable distance for a 6 or 7 wt. double taper. Again, as in other situations discussed herein, I value line control above ease in gaining distance for low water streamer fishing where presenting the fly means considerably more than simply stripping it quickly through the water.
I have many highly accomplished friends and acquaintances who will stick with a weight forward line for virtually all of their trout fishing, and many will disagree with my comments and personal opinion regarding a double taper. This I accept without argument because fly tackle performance is an entirely individual matter, and I would never try to convince anyone that my way is best.
In general, I believe a double taper to be a specialized line best suited for refined presentation of dry flies on moving water. But failing to understand its versatility is a common oversight by many who might benefit by simply giving it a try.
The Bung is a very controversial method of fly fishing, but, who am I to judge what anglers use to catch fish? In my eyes it’s a method used to catch fish. It’s also a method I use on small-waters and occasionally the river when conditions dictate.
This method is basically a float which suspends a fly beneath, giving the angler immediate indication when a fish has then their fly. It’s a superb method on small-waters where fish are heavily pressured. Suspending a fly top, mid or bottom of the water column to intercept fish is an ingenious idea – especially when it’s fished properly – and accounts for many of the larger fish which are captured on small-waters.
A typical bung would be an indicator made out of foam, polystyrene or yarn, just like these fulling mill fish pimps. All these materials have great floating properties to suspend un-weighted or weighted flies. Another alternative would be Airflo Float-Do, a floating ‘dough’ like material which can be easily moved along the leader section to alter the depths.
As you can see from the illustration above, there is a fairly steep angle between your fly line and fly, if a fish takes that fly, there is a lot of slack between the fly line, so a decent strike is needed to set the hook firmly. When using the bung you will see some anglers strike and not register a pull or feel the fish at all. This is due to the depth of the fly and the angle between the fly line.
One little tip I can give is use one of the new Airflo Super-Dri fly lines. The advantages of using one of these new floating lines from Airflo is the ability to lift so much more line off the water, this is due to the revolutionary Super-Dri coating. It repels water and sits extremely high on the surface, allowing less tension when lifting the line off the water than all other fly lines. This, in turn, allows for better hook up rates when compared to standard floating lines, from any manufacturer.
On my recent trip to Garnffrwd Trout Fishery it became apparent to me how good the Distance Pro from the Super-Dri family actually was. It’s a line I’ve been playing around with for a while, but it hasn’t really set itself apart from any other Super-Dri line I have used. Not until this trip anyway. For those of you who have been to Garnffrwd you may know of the ‘weed patch’ out on the far right of the lake – A submerged patch of weed, which sits just 3ft below the surface – just out of reach of most decent casters. This line has a 45ft head, and an extremely supple running line, which lets the line be cast an impressively long way.
Casting big distances with a bung is not only tough because of it’s mass, but it hinders hook up rates at distance because of the amount of line needed to lift from the surface to actually hook the fish. The Super-Dri coating eliminated this problem and hooking into fish at range becomes child’s play. The ability to throw such long distances and fish basically ‘un-fished’ water can change your day drastically, fishing over the top of this island I was lucky enough to hook and land a double figure rainbow trout on a bloodworm pattern! Check out the video footage below:
There’s plenty of article on ‘how to catch more fish’ and ‘top 5 fishing tips’ out there on the internet, but what about the simple tips to look after your fly line? These three great tips will give you an extra advantage when out on the bank.
What weight is my fly line?
First of all, let’s look at how we can determine what weight fly line you have on your fly fishing reel. We’ve all been there, wondering “Is it a 6 weight? It looks like a 7…”, this quick and simple tip allows you to easily identify what weight lines are on your reels. All you need is a waterproof pen.
Welded loops on fly lines
If you’re anything like us you hate the plastic sleeve which comes in a packet of braided loops. It’s big, clunky and get’s stuck in the rod guides. What you’ll find with this sleeve is your fly line can crack due to hinging which in time, forces you to replace the whole loop. The below method of welding loops, or lines which have factory manufactured loops pro-long the life of your fly line.
Whipping on a braided loop
If you don’t have the facilities to weld your own loops, try whipping an Airflo braided loop to your line. By using thread you can create an almost seamless joint to your fly line. The smooth joint lets your fly line be retrieved with no bumping or clunking through the guides and stops hinging and cracking near the tip of the line. As Hywel says, it’s the best way for fitting a loop to sinking lines, and it’s is also a great way of marking fly lines at specific lengths to fish the ‘hang’ more effectively!
The Super-Dri Lake Pro has been designed for the serious lake angler, utilising Airflo’s standard DELTA taper, the line casts effortlessly, turns over extremely well and shoots to the distance will little effort. The most serious casters will benefit immensely for the taper design of this line, a medium to long front taper lets for great stability through the cast, keeping your line speed high with extremely tight loops. The Super-dri Lake pro also lends itself to the lesser casts, giving the novice angler a great, easy casting line, a great addition to our fly fishing tackle.
Complete with Airflo’s patented ridge design and legendary PU coatings, you can expect these Airflo Super-Dri range to last longer than any other line you have and to perform as well as any fly line you will cast.
What are the key benefits of Super-Dri?
- High riding – Superb float-ability.v
- Zone Technology – Low compression hauling zone
- Ultra supple coating for improved handling
- Micro loops both ends
Learn more about the Super-dri Lake Pro fly line here
With many Super-Dri fly lines back in stock, anglers all around the country are spooling up their fly fishing reels and trying out these new floating lines. Lindsay Cargill has put both the Xceed and the Elite through their paces. See here for Lindsay’s previous Xceed fly line review.
Lindsay recently purchased a WF5 Super-Dri Elite from the range, here’s what he has to say about our go to trout line.
Out of the box I loved the colour of this line, a pale Olive – easy to see on the water but still had that element of stealth. The ‘hauling zone’ is a yellow colour with the running line back to Olive, all very visible and I find it useful for knowing where the head is in relation to the rod tip as well as for judging distance. Like the Xceed, thin welded loops provide practicality without bulk. The line has no noticeable memory that I can detect.
Unusually for me my first outing with this line saw me fishing upstream nymphs instead of my usual dry fly due to unfavourable conditions. The line cast beautifully on my Helios 2 905 Tip Flex and the weighted nymphs turned over with ease. The high floatability of the line at the tip meant I could see takes and lift straight in to fish lying in 3 to 4 feet of water. However, fishing a single dry fly, my preferred method, this line is the best line I have used, enabling me to get consistently tight loops and good line control in the air and mending on the water. You can lay back, push it and it responds. I absolutely love it.
This will be my ‘go to’ line in 2014 and I can envisage me fishing with it 90% of the time in either a #4 and #5 depending on conditions. At the introductory price I paid it was cheaper than some so called budget ‘good value’ lines which in my experience don’t even come close to matching the Airflo Elite in either quality or features, not to mention floatability. Don’t believe the hype ? That’s your choice, but also your loss!
As new stock of the Super-Dry fly line range finally rolls out of the warehouse and anglers are putting them to the test, it’s great to see that the technology behind these lines are performing as we expected and the Super-Dri family is gaining some respect among floating line fishermen.
Kieron Jenkins, our Online Marketing Manager spent two days fishing at Rutland Water testing our floating fly lines in search of some of Rutland’s specimen trout.
Reports have been saying Rutland Water has been fishing it’s socks off with plenty of good size fish being stocked, caught and returned back to the water – practically throughout the whole lake. Most fly fishermen would have seen by various sources that large brown trout caught from Rutlands north arm just a few weeks ago, if that alone wasn’t enough to tempt me im unsure what is!
I arrived at Rutland water around 9am Saturday morning to a gentle ripple and high, thick cloud. “Ideal conditions for surface feeding fish!” said one of the rangers. The temperature was fairly high after a few days of standard Autumn weather, so I chose to fish a team of dry flies from the off. From past experience it can take some time for fish to switch onto dries, especially now we enter the cooler months of the year.
My line of choice for this particular session was a WF7 Super-Dri Xceed, a fly line which has been developed to create high line speed, perfect for quickly covering rising fish or casting into a strong headwind, keeping your loops razor sharp and your flies turning over each cast.
Motoring from the jetty to the top of the north arm it was like driving into dry fly heaven. A gentle ripple and perfect light to spot your dry flies, the kind of thing anglers dreams are made of. This time of year you would be silly not to tie on a daddy long legs pattern, any sort of heat and a gentle wind will always get the daddies tumbling along the water surface.My cast consisted of two amber dry flies, one a sedge pattern and a bits pattern on the middle dropper, with a foam daddy on the point. For dries, tippet materal is always Airflo’s Ultra Strong Co-polymer, it sits low in the surface film but isn’t so heavy to drag the flies beneath the surface.
Due to the lake being low for bank-side maintenance, the top of the north arm is choked with weed – most, a foot or so below the surface. As we motored close to the bank in the shallow water the motion and sound of the boat spooked three or four fish sitting close to the surface, one, we actually watched swim along side of the boat as it tried to bolt away. A good sign for a dry fly fisherman!
Parking the boat on the edge of the weed beds with some visible weed below the boat I took the time to degrees my leader to ensure there was zero flash from the nylon. Second cast I spotted a fish push water, not even breaking the surface around 20 yards down wind, the perfect opportunity to test the casting ability of the Xceed. Stripping a few extra yards of line from my fishing reel, I cast the flies with perfect turn over at the fish now around 2 yards closer than previous. As the flies landed gently on the water, a head emerged and engulfed my middle dropper. With a standard floating line it’s a challenge to hook a fish at distance, the drag from the surface slows down your reaction time and can sometimes lead to missed fish, but the way the Super-Dri range seems to repel water, I could set the hook almost instantaneously to the strike.
The fish took off well in the shallow water, lunging for the submerged weed and getting the nylon caught in the string like matter. Some side-strain was all it took to drag it free from the weed and the fight continued. What I love about Rutland and especially the north arm, is that you never know what you’re going to hook into, it could be a run of the mill stocky, or a fully overwintered torpedo. I was fortunate enough to slip the net under this fish, a beautiful mended stocked fish of which I estimated just over three pounds in weight and in perfect condition for this time of year, a great start to the day and the ideal opportunity to test the Super-dri Xceed.
Genuine customer reviews on any fishing products are the best way to get a ‘true feel’ or insight for a product without the reviewers thoughts being clouded by affiliation to a company. With the new Airflo Super-Dri fly lines we thought it would be best for anglers to get the full lowdown straight from the horses mouth.
Lindsay Cargill purchased a WF5F Super-Dri Xceed from the Fishtec online shop and was kind enough to write a review from an anglers perspective with no link or affiliation to the company.
Here’s what Lindsay had to say about our new floating lines…
The line has a slick but decidedly dry feel to and is very supple. Loops are present on both the head and running line are well formed and thin welded unlike those on other manufactures lines. The line has a ‘hauling zone’ section and this is light olive green colour and is designed to be harder wearing from the stress given by the eyes, ground and hinging.
Putting the line on a Orvis Hydros III spool that previously held a Rio Gold line I discovered I had to remove about a third of my backing line to accommodate the Xceed – not a problem but surprising, possibly due to being slightly heavier and the few added yards extra.
I predominantly fish dry fly on the Aberdeenshire Don, typically from ‘under the rod’ to 50 feet. Casting the line on my 9ft 5# Helios Tip Flex the line loads the rod effectively at close range, an extremely important point consideration for my fishing, but good distance was easily achieved when needed though it was important not to force it on the forward cast. Within the first few casts I could see that the line, including the tip, appeared to be above the water surface almost as if it was repelling water! As a result of this high float feature, pick up even at range was smooth and instantaneous – the Super-Dri Xceed certainly does what it says ‘on the tin’ in this respect. Line memory is non-existent which im very, very impressed about.
The different colour of the head from the hauling zone helps judge distance and facilitate control of line during casting. I was happy with the line in relation to my casting ability and requirements and the Pumpkin colour is nicely visible on the water. Over the course of the summer of 2013 I have had the opportunity to use the Xceed in windy conditions and its performance (on the Helios) has given me an early season outfit for Spring 2014 when conditions on the Don are often far from favourable.
Looking after the fly line
I like to look after my lines, though I do fish them hard, and one of the things I love about the Super-Dri is that they are low maintenance – simply soak the line in some warm water with a sprinkling of washing up liquid, rinse and wipe dry, job done! The ‘treatment’ to make this line float as well as it does is built into the line, so no more liquid preparations – It just floats.
Other manufacturers produce very good ‘one size heavier’ lines to load faster action rods so what set’s the Xceed apart ? For me, it floats like no line I have everseen – I would have to be constantly using Mucilin on my other lines to get this level of floatability! Line pick-up and hook setting are definitely improved with this line. The taper also seems less ‘aggressive’ and more useful for when I need finesse with dries. The robustness and low maintenance of this line has also been impressive. At full price this line sits shoulder to shoulder with established lines by other manufacturers and certainly has the features to contend with any line – in my opinion. At the introductory price it is an absolute no brainer and clear winner.
Airflo’s ability to create a fly line that floats higher, shoots better and lasts longer than any other on the market has deemed the Super-Dri range one of the best money can buy. Using a Super-Teflon material, these lines almost repel water and sit 10% higher than other floating line.
The Airflo Super-Dri Elite fly line is our ‘go-to’ trout taper. The ideal line for anglers at any level looking for their next floating line. The Elite boasts a modest overall belly length of 40 feet with both short front and rear tapers, this line basically does it all from delicate presentation with micro dries through to nymph fishing at range. Also available in a technical double taper where the line can be reversed for varying tapers.
Click here to view the Ridge Super-Dri Elite on the Fishtec Website
With new fly line technology here at Airflo, we are able to create fly fishing lines like no other in history. With ‘Zone Technology’ we has hardened certain sections of our Super-Dri range to give better shootability to maximize distance with minimal effort.
The Super-Dri Mend from Airflo utilises these advancements perfectly, allowing us to create a fly line which mends beautifully, even in the most turbulent currents, and turn over large indicators or dry flies with ease as you so often need to do whilst river fishing. The Airflo Super-Dri Mend makes the ultimate nymph fishing line for both rivers and lakes. With a short tip taper – 0.5ft – and a head length of just 36 feet, it’s design allows large flies to be turned over with excellence.
Click here to view the Ridge Super-Dri Mend on the Fishtec Website
The Super-Dri range from Airflo is set to be the best selling Airflo floating line. Specifically designed for the serious floating line fisherman, this range of Airflo fly lines has outperformed many of the competitors already.
A great bank fishing line for UK anglers, the Super-Dri Distance Pro fly line is the only floating line you will need to power some tight loops towards the horizon. The extremely long head and belly – 57 feet – is not ideally suited to the beginner. But those who can handle such a head length will create some monster casts with perfect turnover, even with a team of two or three flies!
Click here to view the Ridge Super-Dri Distance Pro on the Fishtec Website