Small stillwater expert Stuart Smitham gives a new fly line a very thorough work out on his local Ellerdine lakes trout fishery. Find out what he makes of the new Airflo G-Shock floating line, and if he manages to successfully land any fish with it.
For a fly fishing line manufacturer like Airflo, to introduce a line that has an increased level of stretch, is something I thought I would never see? Being a low stretch addict for so long, you know that there is nothing like hooking up at distance and feel is everything for me. Though I think there’s always scope to add another dimension to the mix!
For years Airflo have been hitting the sounding boards with lower stretch lines. We’ve seen stretch points taken down to a very remarkable 6%. These fly lines offering a radical perception on take detection, right down their line length, no matter how much line you have out. The take and that first run, feeling like a pulse coursing up the fly line and bucking the rod tip. With this characteristic, Airflo have gained a worldwide following, with nothing to match it.
New for 2015 are Super Dri G Shock. The latest addition, to the massive Airflo fly line range. G Shock have a controlled stretch of around 15%, compared to the 20 – 25% on offer with some competitor manufacturers lines. There really is something to be said in looking for the “HolyGrail”, in fly line technology. So how could this line be a game changer for you? Especially if your an Airflo line addict like me, and now have the chance to experience twice the level of stretch that you’re used to?
Well for a start, many anglers now use lighter, thinner tippet diameters in lower strengths. Realising that these finer leaders, can often out perform others,when pitched against a thicker material. There is also a trend for stiffer faster action fly rods, designed for purely distance casting, which of course have less shock absorption capability. You need something to balance this out or suffer a break off from some very violent takes. Having something that offers a little more in protecting these light tippets is always a bonus for me.
Let’s face it, some of us have been there, when a hard hit can bend a hook out of shape, or worse break off a leader. When a true water horse, has just powered away on the take and left you wondering, what’s gone on? I went through a phase of this last year, at Ellerdine Lakes. Hits from large stocked rainbow trout in the 5-7lb range were just mind blowingly hard. Upwind runners that were looking for food in the upper layers and they’d rush onto the flies and continue on track. Sometimes pulling the line, out of your hand on the take, Just an amazing show of raw power in a fish!
Talking this over with Gareth Jones at Airflo, in the Autumn of 2014, I found I wasn’t alone. Others had been treated to the same “trout abuse” on UK stillwaters. Fishing with lower stretch lines and using finer tippet with a fast action fly fishing rod, you will always come to a decision point, where you have to take a closer look at your rig make up. My answer to this, was having a little buffer that acted like a shock absorber, I custom made one of these out of pole Elastic and micro poly backing and this worked a treat. Positioning this about 4ft from the line tip, I could maintain contact with these hard runners, but the absorber pulled the leader length under too quickly.
Gareth who designed this line, had this to add, on why G Shock came into being. “Having stayed out of the stretchy line arena for many years, we decided to offer SUPER DRI technology to those that actually prefer a stretchy type line. Most PVC lines have a core that elongates over 20%, but keeping the line to a stretch level of around 15% actually gave a nice balance and will help on those days, when fish are feeding quickly on the move and are ripping the line out of your hand on the take”
Constructed on the Super Dri Elite taper. This already has a huge following, as a great ”all round” taper for both distance and presentation. Making long controlled casts a breeze. It’s probably the most widely used line of the Super Dri range. Also remember as with all the Super Dri lines, the G-shock is UV, DEET and Sunscreen resistant. So you can apply whatever you want to your hands, knowing it won’t affect the lines performance.
Opening the box on the fly line, the spooled line needs very little attention, apart from a piercing in the centre of the spool with a pencil or screwdriver. Once I’ve attached the backing to the “Reel end”, all I need do now is take a pew and place the spool between my knees. Just a case of reeling in and watching the line fill the spool. Always consider your backing requirements when spooling up. Floating lines need less backing, because of their bulk. Sinkers need more because they tend to be thinner in diameter. The specification on your spools, are available from your reel manufacturer.
Pay close attention to your fly reel backing knot too. Over the last few months several fishers here have had all their fly line pulled on the water. Then the inevitable happens and the backing parts company with the fly line. Not the best of outcomes on the fish of a lifetime, but it happens! Factory welded loops are standard on G Shock so in the case of attaching backing a simple tucked blood knot gives you an ultra secure join. If your not a big fan, then simply snip the loop off and seal the end of the line with a dab of superglue. You can then fit a braided loop if you prefer. With two colour choices in Hot Coral or Peach on this line. I’ve chosen the Hi-Vis element, for a better focus point when marked up. I personally add black bands with a permanent marker on this colour line, offers me much more scope in spotting those subtle takes.
Peeling off the first 30ft I get to see the grey ”hauling zone” which is a good contrast point, for a great visual at distance. The plastic polymer is also slightly stiffer in the zone, like all Super dri lines. This low compression compound is in the part of the line exposed to the most stress, and ensures the line doesn’t stick to the rod guides when hauling and shooting. What also strikes me is the line is totally free of any memory, and feels extremely supple and ultra smooth in the hand. From the line tip to the 30ft point is this shocking Hot Coral colour, which certainly stands out. I’ve peeled this and all the 20ft hauling zone out off the reel. For the moment, I just want to get a feel for the this line, so fishing is secondary. I’ve about 10ft on line on the surface, so a quickly lift and I just want to do some small casts. I want to feel this line load the rod tip. It’s on the backcast, that I can feel more of increased stretch in the line, which although is quite fractional, does indeed make a difference. Another thing I notice is the welded tip of the fly line is extremely buoyant, in fact it floats like a cork!
Extending my line length with 30ft of line out, my rod reacts a little more, to the added line weight on the rod tip. As I introduce more line, I can use the hauling zone as intended. Being a harder compound than the rest of the line, this is where you can really build up some line speed. You just have to remember, to slow your casting stroke, so that you allow for the line to extend out normally. Even though this is fractionally slower, when you get it right the line just flies.
This is a 30yd line, so getting all this out is do able, but I don’t need to. I’m just finding as I cast more with G Shock, I like the way it handles. You can create neat loops and the line reacts well to speed changes. Roll casting is really nice with this taper too. It just lends itself to so much more. If you want to punch this out, beyond the running line, then build up your speed slowly. Use the hauling zone for this. It’s what it’s intended for and works extremely well.
I’ve attached just two skinny buzzer, that are a firm favourite of mine now. I’ve got 12ft of G3 fluorocarbon on, and this is more than enough for the 5 – 7lb ”boomers”, that Ellerdine Lakes is famous for. Wth a steady retrieve, bunched as a figure of eight into my palm I once again notice that there is zero line memory- I can honestly say this must be one of the straightest fly lines I have ever used right out of the packet! The first hit on this line, feels a little strange. I saw a boil and just caught the line banding jag forward. When I chopped my line hand down, I just felt the slightest of pulls on the line. So drawing the rod sideways, was when I really felt the pressure on the take and then the ”thud thud”. Having used low stretch, then changing to double what I’m used to is something that I can get the hang of. Moving from Marsh to Meadow, there are some big fish running here. I’m soon feeling a boomer hit the fly, slamming sideways then a hard run for about 20ft. It’s this initial hard run, that was breaking me before and it’s why G Shock works so well. You feel the head shakes and the lunges yes, but the stretch absorbs so many hard pulls and turns. It makes staying connected to one of these bruisers so much fun!
To cut this short, finishing on 15 fish and landing all of them is just a superb plus for me. True I did miss several fast hits, but those that were hooked stayed attached and that’s what this test was all about. No more hand made shock absorbers and worrying about break offs! When you try the line, you’ll understand everything about hard hits and remaining connected after it. That’s why G Shock now has a permanent spot in my fishing tackle. Because it works!
Now if Gareth would make me a Mini tip with G Shock, then that would be enough for me….. Thanks for taking the time to read this.
Best regards, Stuart