WhatALeader - By Doug Macnair
By Doug Macnair
Sorry that I’ve been away for what must seem a long time. I had a great idea – I decided to upgrade my computers to faster speeds and the most recent programs to enhance what I could accomplish in writing this column. I had been one of those who enjoyed excellent success with Windows 3.11. Sad to say, it is increasingly difficult to obtain software for new items that will run on good old 3.11. On the other hand, I figured Windows 95 must be perfected by now. Holding firm to that thought, I set about to make my “good idea” a reality.
I ought to have known better. Plug and play really means curse and crash. My machines now flop much more frequently than under 3.11. Housekeeping the computer used to be a snap – just make a sub-directory on the tree and stuff it with the appropriate files. No more! Now I’ve got 95, a program that likes “folders” and makes trees impossible to read because of the links. I hate links. Besides, I don’t like programs that think I am too stupid to understand what the hell I’m doing. However, in the lost time of fixing this, that and the other, I stumbled across a few undocumented “execute” programs that enabled me to fix 95 more to my liking. It’s terrible to get old. I still like 3.11; of course, I also think the ’40 and ’41 Fords were great cars. Or how about Studebaker’s “Golden Hawk” of ’55 and ’56? Sometimes new “fangled gadgets” are not what they are cracked up to be. (I loaded ‘98 on my laptop – I dislike it even more than 95.)
While I was slowly bringing my computers back online, I became enraptured and entertained with the continuing adventures of Slick Willie and his fly. Slick Willie is my idea of a “real” man. In my mind’s eye, I can see him now atop his horse smoking a Marlboro (without inhaling, of course), as he hurries into the sunset. Yes, here is a man who certainly has my admiration. To appreciate just exactly what he is, one has only to review his distinguished record of military service in combat. He felt no pain – no pain at all . . ..
Before I talk about Airflo’s neat product, there were a couple of other things that captured my attention. Do you remember last fall when I had a few words to offer about the mutant frogs in Minnesota? I’ll bet you thought all that was behind us, didn’t you? The truth is, THEY’RE BACK! As quoted from Newsweek’s July 15, 1998 edition: “Early hopes that the deformities would turn out to be nothing have fizzled. [Herpetologist David] Hoppe reported recently that, in Minnesota, abnormalities were ‘more frequent, more varied and more severe.’” It seems Minnesota, Vermont, New York and Wisconsin lead the way with the most deformed frogs. (It’s hell to be a leader!) Said one expert: "I only hope we are not seeing the first signs of the unraveling of the biosphere.” Perhaps those extra legs aren’t so good after all.
While the update of deformed frogs may not be good, I know something that is . . . . Down here in Texas we’ve got a fast food chain called WhatABurger. They build a darned good hamburger. After throwing a couple of Airflo’s super leaders called the PolyTips, I was so impressed I thought to myself, “WhatALeader.” Just like the burger, Airflo builds a darned good leader. Thus, the title of this Update. (Airflo2.gif)
If you ever wondered why Airflo does not offer a sink tip fly line, the PolyTip is the reason. Airflo claims the PolyTip outperforms regular sink tip lines in every respect, offering seamless casting and a broad choice of density. Said another way, the PolyTip changes a normal floating line into a “fantastic" sink tip line in seconds!” Simply loop the leader to the fly line, loop on a tippet at the other end and you are ready to go.
Hard to believe? Not hardly! Most sink tips, as you know from my previous comments, tend to be awkward to cast and a bit difficult to control. Simply stated, the PolyTip is not. It throws like a dream, provided you stay within Airflo’s suggestion that maximum tippet strength not exceed 10-pounds. (Airflo3.gif) The PolyTips I evaluated were from the special Trout series of tips, all 10-feet in length. Because of the waters I fish, the intermediate and slow sink quickly became my favorites. Frankly, I was surprised with the ease of line recovery in preparation for the next cast. I particularly liked the way the PolyTip lifts from the water, breaking cleaning with relative ease. The PolyTip is very supple and feels good to the hand.
Maintaining a tight loop during the cast does not present a problem – clearly a strong point of the PolyTip. The secret I’m told is the continuous taper of SLM Polymer coating over a level monocore. The result is a leader with strength, zero memory and excellent turnover. It is also nice to note that surface splash is minimal when the leader touches down. One other point: I like the fact that this leader takes a shock and snaps back. Airflo suggests these leaders “last and last.” My experience suggests there is no reason to question the veracity of this claim.
Besides the special Trout series just discussed, the PolyTips are conveniently packaged in three other series, each 5-feet in length: light trout (2- to 5-weight lines), trout (6- to 9-weight lines), salmon/light salt (9-weight plus). There is bound to be one for you. Importantly, the price is right. The last time I checked, the PolyTips were $ 6.95 each except for the special trout which costs a whopping $ 9.95. Compare these prices to any sink tip line and I think you will be overjoyed.
If Airflo’s PolyTips sound like an economical way to go – they are. Lighter on the billfold and lighter to carry, the PolyTip offers a degree of flexibility few fly fishers enjoy. When the time comes to change tactics in attacking the water column, all the required tools could be in your pocket.
For more information regarding Airflo, contact: Iain Sorrell at Main Stream Angling LLC, USA Distributor of Airflo Fly Lines & Leaders, 65, New Litchfield Street, Torrington, CT 06790. Telephone: 1 (888) 489-6886; Fax: (860) 496-0267.
© Copyright: Douglas G. Macnair, 1998.