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Old 09-07-2011, 10:53 AM
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Default A Case for Half-Weight Lines

With Catskill trout streams in spate and swelling higher, may wife and I did not venture forth this past holiday weekend. In substitute we took two “problem” rods to the cropped-grass centerfield of a baseball diamond with a bag of reels. Both American designed, Korean built rods from two well established brands; one is rated 8’9”/#5 and the other 8’6”/#4. Neither casts particularly well. We cast each with their rated line size using RIO Gold and SA Expert Distance Taper. The 5-weight, a medium to medium fast taper, was dull and wimpy with wobbly tracking, ewww. Rigging it with the 4 line, it was clearly under lined and needed lots of line out the tip-top to load. Similarly, the 4-weight, a stiffer rod, was lifeless with the #4 line but its tip was collapsing under the too great mass of a #5 line. Other proper 4 and 5 weight lines produced similar results with minor variations. Drum roll please: A reel rigged with a #4 SA GPX was then mounted on each rod in turn. As all who have read the back of the box know, SA’s popular GPX (available now in the new “Textured” series as well) is a half-size heavier than standard line of the same designation; a #4.5 weight in this instance. The slower 5-weight rod now cast smoothly and with suitable line feel to deliver a fly with a delicate presentation and the quick 4-weight loaded well without the dreaded tracking killing character of an over-lined little trout rod. Neither is threatening to become a favorite but both now are eminently usable under specialized circumstances and will definitely see some water time, I hope, soon.

So, GPX saved the day, right? Well, yes and no. Yes, it’s ˝ weight heavy trait allows advantageous tuning up and down of these two rods but its taper design is not optimized to my fishing style. As a reach caster and mender of dry fly drifts, a conventional weight forward line, like GPX, with regular head and abrupt transition to running line does not work as well as line with an extended head and a long, attenuated rear taper which eliminates hinging and improves both casting and mending energy transfer. RIO Gold and SA Mastery Distance Taper are my preferred lines as both are variations on this design concept. I have yet to see one but SA’s recently introduced Mastery Textured “Trout Stalker” is the newest exciting entry into this presentation specialist design arena.

What I want to see is a new, modernized line weight designation standard that includes ˝ weight nomenclature – especially in the fine tunable light line category from 3.5 – 5.5 weights. Not in small print on the back of the box but right up there where it counts in bold fonts: WF 4.5 F. In this way a new line like “Trout Stalker” could be the line of choice regardless the accuracy of the rod design/manufacturing process instead of “only” on rods accurately designated and agreed upon by you, their caster.
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Old 09-07-2011, 03:35 PM
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Default Re: A Case for Half-Weight Lines

I wish the manufactures would give us the actual grain wt. This would make line selection much easier. Look up The AFTMA table for line weights, and you will get a scale of what the AFTMA table says the lines weights should be. I weighed several lines, and found many of them were over a whole weight off from there listed weights. Lots of lines actually are 1/2 weighted lines, we as consumers just don't have this information provided to us. Look at my own results in the table below.

Click the image to open in full size.

In this spreadsheet, I divided the line weights of the Aftma table into a more precise chart, and this allowed me to assign the decimal points.

I don't even list the lines in my chart according to what is on the box, (The variance between manufactures is just to large). I weigh the lines in grains, and then record there actual weight in a spreadsheet that I keep. Then when I choose a line to match up with a rod, I know if one is slightly heavier/lighter than another. I've found that you cant trust the weight that is listed by the manufacturer of a line.

We also had a discussion on another board, and found that Sage 0, 00, 000wt lines all fall into the Aftma table within the allowable limits of a AFTMA defined "1" weight. So the "O" weight lines are just a precision variation of a typical 1 weight line.

If the manufactures did start listing all lines with a grain weight, I assume that their quality control measures would also need to be re-defined, and that would unintentionally raise the sale costs for the consumer.

Last edited by charged; 09-07-2011 at 10:46 PM.
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Old 09-07-2011, 04:21 PM
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Default Re: A Case for Half-Weight Lines

Can anyone tell me which Rio WF line is 1/2 over stated weight such as the SA GPX series?
Thanks,
barham
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Old 09-07-2011, 04:35 PM
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Default Re: A Case for Half-Weight Lines

Quote:
Originally Posted by barham View Post
Can anyone tell me which Rio WF line is 1/2 over stated weight such as the SA GPX series?
Thanks,
barham
Boxes for the 4 Rio lines in my chart.

Click the image to open in full size.

My findings found Rio lines (at least the WF lines) in general to be heavier than specified.

WF-3-I Rio lake to be a AFTMA 4.2 wt
WF-6-F Rio Selective Trout to be a AFTMA 7.6 wt
WF-7-F Rio Grand to be a AFTMA 8.8 wt
WF-9-F Saltwater Taper to be a AFTMA 9.8 wt


Note my numbering system could be misleading, because if you shoot for the middle of the accepted AFTMA range, you will get a .5 measurement. So in reality a 7.5 would be right in the middle of the acceptable range for a 7wt. While a 6.9 or a 7.0 number in this chart would actually be approximately 1/2 way between the Aftma medium range of both a 6wt and a 7wt line. The chart was made primarily for my own purposes.

Keeping this in mind, my findings show that the Rio Lake, and the Saltwater Taper series are both approximately 1/2 a weight heavier than a true Aftma defined 3, and 9wt line. Let me know if what I posted makes any sense.

Last edited by charged; 09-07-2011 at 05:17 PM.
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Old 09-07-2011, 05:13 PM
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Default Re: A Case for Half-Weight Lines

Barham, The RIO equivilant to GPX is RIO Grand. A bit different though as GPX is a conventional WF taper and Grand features a compound head with a weight bias toward the front.

Charged, Have you measured the RIO Gold for accuracy?
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Old 09-07-2011, 10:29 PM
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Default Re: A Case for Half-Weight Lines

Quote:
Originally Posted by sweetandsalt View Post
Charged, Have you measured the RIO Gold for accuracy?
No, just the ones I have listed. (I just modified the chart, and took out the unknown lines to make it easier to read).

Last edited by charged; 09-07-2011 at 10:47 PM.
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Old 09-10-2011, 07:58 PM
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Default Re: A Case for Half-Weight Lines

Quote:
Originally Posted by charged View Post
Boxes for the 4 Rio lines in my chart.

Click the image to open in full size.

My findings found Rio lines (at least the WF lines) in general to be heavier than specified.

WF-3-I Rio lake to be a AFTMA 4.2 wt
WF-6-F Rio Selective Trout to be a AFTMA 7.6 wt
WF-7-F Rio Grand to be a AFTMA 8.8 wt
WF-9-F Saltwater Taper to be a AFTMA 9.8 wt


Note my numbering system could be misleading, because if you shoot for the middle of the accepted AFTMA range, you will get a .5 measurement. So in reality a 7.5 would be right in the middle of the acceptable range for a 7wt. While a 6.9 or a 7.0 number in this chart would actually be approximately 1/2 way between the Aftma medium range of both a 6wt and a 7wt line. The chart was made primarily for my own purposes.

Keeping this in mind, my findings show that the Rio Lake, and the Saltwater Taper series are both approximately 1/2 a weight heavier than a true Aftma defined 3, and 9wt line. Let me know if what I posted makes any sense.
Looking at the lines in this smaller chart, and allowing for the Rio Grand being stated as 1/2 weight heavier, it appears that all your measured weights are at least one full Aftma weight heavier than what they are being sold as (exception the 9wt was weighed at ONLY 9.8wt). Is it possible that there is some type of issue with the weighing process/formula you are using? I am not criticizing, and I agree that there will be some level of variation in line weights based on manufacturing processes; but it seems that your results are all skewed way toward the extra heavy side of the equation. I would expect them to be more distributed, with some a little light, some near advertised weight, and of course, a bunch heavier than advertised (especially since heavier helps the average fly fisherman to cast easier when using the very common fast rods). Has anyone asked the line manufacturers?
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Old 09-10-2011, 11:08 PM
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Default Re: A Case for Half-Weight Lines

Just a thought, but have you tested those rods to see what they should be rated at? It has been my experience that rods are less accurately rated than lines are. Some are more than two rates off what they say they are. I'd check the rods and then go from there.
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Old 09-11-2011, 06:43 AM
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Default Re: A Case for Half-Weight Lines

The lines were all measured the same way on scale that measures grain wt. I was able to verify the accuracy of the scale with oz weights that I have. The Rio lines I have consistently weighed heavier than the other lines tested.

In the chart that I provided, you will see that I also have several cabelas lines, and they tested consistently within the range of where Aftma indicates they should be. The white river, cortland, and orvis lines are also right near the mark. I also tested my rods with the CCS method, and like you have found some of them to be up to two weights off. (I found that the less expensive rods I have were more likely to be off, and as priced increased, so did the accuracy of the rods label) I don't consider any of these measurements of mine to be the final jury to end all discussion, my sample size is way too small to make any general conclusions from. I just posted the results that I gathered, and I use these results to help me setup my own equipment.

Last edited by charged; 09-11-2011 at 07:26 AM.
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