I recommended an 8-weight rod to a friend going Atlantic salmon fishing for the first time. He bought the same rod I had but told me that he did not care for the way it cast. Lets try it out in the Park. Sure enough, it didn't load very well. What is this piece of excrement line you have on here? Oh, I didn't want to spend too much on a line I might use but once a year. We put my reel with a SA Salmon-Steelhead Taper on his rod and, voila, it cast great! Often it is the case that the line enables the rod to reveal its capabilities, it is a false economy to buy crummy lines.
My friend was traveling to New Brunswick to fish, staying in a nice lodge, he bought a Sage rod but saved $25 on a fly line. Wow, that sure ameliorated the cost of a week long trip! And he had to replace it with the full priced Mastery line anyway.
I prefer Rio fly lines these days. But are they becoming too expensive? The new Rio Perception fly line retails at 89.95! How soon will it be, before the other manufacturers come out with a new line, and meet that price? I buy my lines on sale as it is. But 90 bucks for a plastic fly line? At least with a silk line, it will last forever if you take care of it. Most people who fish a lot will need to replace their line in 2-3 years. The high end lines are nice, but not necessary to make a decent cast. Last year's fly line was great, and it still casts great. New line from a good company like Rio still casts great, and you probably couldn't even tell the difference, with the new and improved line. The older Rio Bass line vs the Smallmouth line...is it really worth that jump in the price? I have not tried the Rio economy type lines. So I cannot comment on them.
Fly lines are getting exceptionally expensive. I'm fortunate to have a nice stock and picked up some lines on closeout. Prices approaching $100 for fly lines is really getting out of hand. I spend plenty on good quality gear, and fly lines are no exception. The trick for me is cleaning them religiously, dressing them when necessary, and trying to keep 'em out of the $#$%. But they do get damaged on occasion, and replacing them when they do get damaged or simply end their useful life, well paying $100 is gonna hurt. I will always look for deals, coupons, etc. to find some way to keep from breaking that barrier.
Back to the original question, I think the best new lines are worth it. There are some great tapers, materials and coatings out there now. Unlike rods, I don't see that technology making it's way into a lower cost alternative yet. I wish it would. Seems that "cheaper" fly rods have progressed, not sure about lines.
Location: White City (tad north of Medford) Oar-E-Gone
Re: Are high end fly lines worth the expense?
Depends on what you think all the R & D are worth. Manufacture, distribute, the fly shops 'cut,' etc. And how many years might you use that line without replacement? For Jollies, you use the line for 5 years and fished every day (wouldn't that be cool!) What's your day to day investment?
You'll spend more money on spools of leader would be my guess? Well, truth be told you'll spend more money to feed the 'Old Yellow Lab.' But a very good trade off in my humble opin.
Sandy's flaked out on top of the bed doing 'snuffs and snorts' and wiggles. Dog's do dream I think?
I think so, just wish I knew where he was in his memory. Rogue? Deschutes, Chetco, Sitting by a large pond across Hwy 140 from me watching Ducks or kids on their Mo-Peds race around?
There are some really good fly lines that I've tried. (I have way more than most people that I know do) Some new lines are just good, not great. Everyone has a preference in the type they enjoy, the most. I will say that I don't spend much on leaders, because I use furled leaders. I started out with regular leaders, but then I was introduced to furled leaders, and I never went back. Furled leaders are great, and they last a long time. I have both thread furled leaders, and mono furled leaders. If you want to save even more money, buy good mono, and wind it on a tippet spool yourself. Yes, I have done that too. I even tie my own flies. Now that is not cheaper, but you get to make the flies you want, on the hooks you want, and it makes it all that much more fun to fish. Initially that is much more expensive to buy materials. But one cape will make loads of flies. Just my opinion. The original question, high end lines are great, but only on sale, for me.
A lot of the cost for anything is testing/marketing- agreed.
There's a lot of hype in all these various tapers- agreed.
Different rods will like different lines- yeah, I can see that.
Like Fred, I'll probably spend more money on feeeding my dog- all 18lbs. of her. And like Mr. Evans, I won't regret a penny.
I've found that when I cast properly, the fly and line behave. Good form is paramount here, folks.
I tried a buncha lines, and couldn't find where one taper or another really made much difference. To read the boxes, one would believe you could lose belly fat, grow hair,and attract wimmin with this stuff. I went with a good brand (Rio, I think) hoping it would last, and a simple DT on my 9'#5. It's been on there for 3 or 4 years, and has life left.
I don't mind spending money, I just hate getting ripped off. I'll gladly pay 90-100 bucks for line, it better LAST. 3-5 years is reasonable, IMO.
I also think too many people put too much stock in how something casts in the flyshop parking lot. Distance in particular. I have an expensive (at the time) rod that I could throw a mile, but couldn't fish it worth a dern. It's not how far it casts, the question is can I control the fly? How accurate can I cast? Mend? Roll cast? A quality line could make a difference here, folks.
Again, no piece of equipment will make up for bad form.