It is soon going to be time to get rid of the old floating fly line that you have been patiently fishing. Watching your #22 Griffith’s Gnat slowly pulled under the surface by a line that has become an intermediate sinking line can be frustrating. So here are a few suggestions for new floating lines that cast, float and fish exceptionally well.
Sharkwave Ultimate Trout Taper
Scientific Angler’s Mastery Series Fly line was my first high quality fly line purchase years ago which l loved like a baby. Replacing that Mastery line I thought would never happen but now the Sharkwave Ultimate Trout Taper has become one of my favorite dry fly lines. Every time I fish this uniquely designed fly line the first thing I notice is the lack of memory this line has when I strip it off of my reel. This makes shooting a long cast without a ball of line rifling into the stripper guide and jerking your fly to a halt halfway to the target. Speaking of long casts, the micro-repeating structures that make up the outer line coating make a huge difference when casting and fishing this line. Reducing the amount of resistance as the line shoots through the rod guides is first noticeable difference. I immediately noticed this because I over-powered the line on the first cast. Literally I had to concentrate on reducing the acceleration of my double-haul or I would over power the cast.
Casting characteristics of fly lines often overshadow the line-on-water fishing performance by many anglers. I have tested many lines that cast a mile but have limited fishability.
The Sharkwave Ultimate Trout Taper succeeds on the water where others fail because the Sharkskin finish. The line lands delicately and floats high with no coiling. Mending and line control are surprisingly simple with subtle rod movements since the finish breaks the water’s surface tension so deftly. On retrieval line speed is generated almost instantly because of the surface tension breaking design of the line finish. This allows anglers to initiate casts without having to retrieve as much line, allowing for more time on the water for your fly.
The taper is supreme for all sizes of dry flies. The Ultimate Trout Taper will lay out most flies perfectly and delicately. I prefer the Stealth, Dark Willow tip version which you might think would be difficult to see. The non-glare coating coupled with how high the line floats makes the line surprisingly easy to see on sunny days or in fast moving currents. This fly line stays clean and is exceptional tough, does NOT tear at your fingers or damage guides(a favorite myth of textured line detractors) and still looks new after being fished hard for a year. If you are looking for an easy to cast, all-purpose trout line then the SA Ultimate Trout Taper should be on your shopping list.
Joan Wulff Signature Fly Line
The Joan Wulff Signature Fly Line is simple to cast for almost every fly fisherman. The compact head of this weight forward line loads so easily that beginning anglers can feel this line load without looking up at the rod tip. Designed with the Triangle Taper that defines most Wulff lines the Joan Wulff Signature Fly Line has two features that make this line almost fool proof to cast.
The first feature that I was a bit suspect of is the 8’ of thicker, different colored handling line behind the head. Honestly, I don’t notice the color but I do notice the feel.
I love having the extra diameter of the line when double hauling. Does it make a difference? I am not sure but I like the feel. I also like the visual and tactile casting point of this line for beginning and intermediate fly fishermen. This makes the optimum loading point of this line impossible to miss.
On the water, this line lands a tad heavier than a double taper or other specialty trout taper lines. However, this is a weight forward line fishes better than mostf fly lines with a compact heads. Presentation within 60’ for this line is very simple and somewhat delicate because of the taper and handling line design. Reaching beyond 60’ with a cast is easy but presentation is sacrificed for the ease of casting a compact weight forward line.
The J3 coating ensures the line does two things, float high and shoot exceptionally well. The J3 “coating” isn’t really a coating, but a unified component that is anchored into the structure of the entire line. This innovative design makes this line last a long, long time. Mine has been used a lot on lakes with large algae blooms without ever being cleaned. My Wulff line looks and casts like new after a couple of seasons.
Joan Wulff created a line that everyone can overhand cast and roll-cast so easily that I almost feel guilty using it. I recommend it highly for new anglers and for the accomplished fly fisherman who values a line that has a great feel. Truly a joy to cast all day long. Whether roll casting large nymphs in technical pocket water or shooting dry flies across the lake the Wulff Signature Fly Line is a great choice for an all-around fly line.
The Airflo Super-Dri Elite DT(Double Taper)
I don’t clean things. I torture stuff. I don’t use double taper lines often. These three things make the Airflo Super-Dri Elite DT line the one I use. When Airflo made this line they solved some issues that had plagued them, whether real or imagined, among die hard trout anglers. This discerning cohort included myself.
I could go on about Airflo Spey lines and how great they fish. I won’t because I like being able to sing the praises of one of their trout lines. This iteration has solved the problem of AirFlo’s floating lines that were almost more sink tip than floating. Ok, it wasn’t that bad but it seemed like the old AirFlo floating lines would sink after not too long in the water. This problem has been addressed and a great solution was found.
The great thing about this line is the coating. The coating works so well that I can hardly tell mine is almost three years old. It is still super slick without cracks(except for one cleat scar that would have cut most lines in the middle), the line still looks pristine.
The line casts like a dream too. Initiating a cast or mending is exceptionally drag free with the SuperDri Elite DT. Lifting the line off of the water without making a ripple is a possibility that I wouldn’t even consider with most other lines. But I think it may be possible with this fly line.
Double taper lines have been always seen as the choice for multi-use lines. Personally, I tend to like weight forward lines. However; I was forced to use the SuperDri Elite the other day when I hadn’t planned on it. Yes, I forgot my Nautilus on the coffee table. When I arrived at the river all I had was my little Brookie with the Airflo line on it. I nymphed big bugs and threw tiny dries that day. The line performed so well that I forgot that it was a double taper. I shot line up to 60’ and roll-cast probably in the 50’ range with no issues. This was because AirFlo’s Zone technology really works. Simply stated, Zone tech is the ability to make the front of the line softer for presentation and the running portion of the fly line stiffer for more distance. This little innovation made what I had envisioned as a long day with the wrong line into an eye-opening experience.
Line It Up!
Don’t start your year fishing with a sinking floating fly line. It’s a frustrating situation when your line doesn’t perform in the air or on the water. Particularly on those days when fish are finicky or hard to find you need to be able to present the flies where you want them and the way the fish will eat them. The right line can make or break your fishing experience. One of these fly lines will make your day of fishing better.
Stillwater Fly Shop carries one of the largest selections of fly lines in the U.S. Please contact us if you have questions on these or any other fly lines.