In the midst of my recent trip to an alpine spring creek, I realized I'd more or less settled on fishing small streams with the RIO Gold WF fly line
I was given a couple years ago.
Reasoning that three years offered enough testing time to arrive at some conclusions, I sat down to do two things:
- Write a review for the Trout Underground
- Order RIO Gold lines in DT4 && DT5 for my "everyday" reels
Which is when I made a revolting discovery; the RIO Gold
line isn't available in a double taper.
Which means I'm recommending a fly line to my readers, yet can't buy one for my own use.
Life, it seems, is rarely simple.
I was given the RIO Gold
line for testing about the same time SA gave me one of their then-new Sharkskin lines.
The Sharkskin floated nice and high (just as claimed) and cast nicely, but it made a lot of noise in the guides (I'd have gotten used to it) and over the course of a day, tried to saw my index finger off (I couldn't get used to that
The RIO Gold fished wonderfully too (it's the current choice of noted fly line & leader crank [Name Redacted
]), and did so without delivering third-degree rug burns. I even liked the moss/gold color scheme.
We had a winner. Or so I thought.
It turns out my beloved double-taper fly lines are slowly fading from the mainstream.
And in the style of bewildered geezers everywhere, I'm certain
it's not because I'm obsolete.
It's because everyone else doesn't know what the hell they're doing.
Like RIO, who makes a fine fly line, then mucks everything up by only offering it in a WF design.
The only high-end DT actually available from RIO is a "delicate presentation" line whose taper charts suggests it would run (screaming like a little girl) if you tied on a stonefly or streamer.
The Case For The DT
Fishing the 5wt RIO Gold WF on small streams renders its WF flaws a non-issue; I rarely get past the shooting head, so life is good.
On bigger rivers and lakes
, I often
get past the shooting head and into the running line, and that is
a problem, especially when long roll casts are in the mix (a reality more often that you'd think).
In fact I'm going to firmly entrench myself in Cranky Geezer Land; I can't fathom the popularity of the short-belly WF lines which seem to dominate the fly fishing world.
Much is made of their ability to "shoot" more line, but frankly, you can "shoot" plenty of DT line too. What's the real difference in distance?
And how often does it really matter?
Meanwhile, the DT line offers us a powerful pair of reasons to buy:
The beauty of a DT (besides its ability to roll cast to great distances) is this: you can reverse a DT line on your reel after you've worn it out (or stepped on it or cut it or accidentally sucked it up in a vacuum cleaner, or...).
It's basically two lines in one, which should mean a lot to fly fishermen paying $70-$100 for fly lines.
Cynics might suggest that's precisely why DT lines aren't
pushed by manufacturers, but when confronted by a cranky, delusional blogger, the manufacturers simply blame "market forces."
In fact, an industry marketing exec once happily told me the availability of a "delicate" tapers in WF formats meant DT lines no longer had a reason to exist
I wrote back and suggested that specialty distance and stillwater lines had rendered the general purpose, trout-weight WF obsolete - unless you were a line manufacturer interested in selling 2x as many fly lines as necessary.
Oddly, I never heard from him again.
So why, I ask, are manufacturers - and anglers - so unwilling to make or buy DT lines?
A Quick Look At The Market
While RIO doesn't offer a single "general purpose" DT fly line, Scientific Anglers does a little better, though their newest "textured" Mastery lines aren't available in a DT taper. (The Textured Mastery lines are likely a response to complaints about abrasive Sharkskin lines leveled by sore-fingered anglers, and the dimpled lines received all sorts of fly gear love
from the notoriously cranky and wanted in seven states
In total, SA offers six different series of fly lines, three of which are available in a "standard" DT format (including the regular "Mastery" series).
Meanwhile, Orvis offers their highest-end Wonderlines
in a DT format, though I've never tested one (the Olive Dun color looks nice) and can't give it a thumbs up or down.
Sadly, Cortland's lineup - which includes "Premium" fly lines and a whole wad of "species specific" fly lines - relegates the all-around DT to the same product lines you'd have bought 30 years ago.
I'm not much of a fan of technology developed solely to sell
fly lines - and never bought into what appears to be rampant over-specialization of the fly line industry - but I do like fly lines that float high and pop off the water nicely.
The Sharkskin and RIO Gold lines both did that better than my aging peach lines, and I was interested.
It's a shame the fly line manufacturers can't find their way to sell the two-ended version commonly used by cranky geezer types holding low-modulus fly rods.
See you on the river (and hey, you kids get off my lawn
), Tom Chandler.Read More Fly Fishing Tips: Dropper or No Dropper