In asia it no trouble finding flysfishing lines for approx. $5 pr.each.
If they are good....yes,at least as beginner lines, they perform as good as the "western" branded ones. Tapers are similar,etc. mainly delivered in a plastic bag is the difference. I tested some, also "copyed"(?) known lines, and quite good, difference is the slickness. They lays great & straighten out good, keps the weight standards, etc.... but a "western" expencives line feels more slick than cheapy ones. Some treatment with some specialstuff....but fabricated in Asia?
Not sure, but a lot of "special - developed - tested",etc. lines called Made in UK,US,etc. seems to be Asia made.....Also got a cheapy line, with original known brand box from a retailer over there......
And an offer at $6,20 each on by of 50 pieces, the taper,colors,packing,label,etc. could be made as you wanted.....
Location: South Florida & the White Mountains of New Hampshire
Re: Are high end fly lines worth the expense?
I find Rio Mainstream lines to be great performers, even compared to other premium lines. I keep buying other lines when they are on sale but they don't seem any better than Mainstream. However, it's likely that an expert caster could tell the difference, but that's not me!
I just gave a brand new S.A. GPX 6 wt. line to my son after comparing it to my old Mainstream line. I preferred the Mainstream after I spooled up two reels and casted them back to back on the same rod. I was really surprised having seen a lot of hype about GPX.
I do like Rio lines, and have several. I also have no doubt that a high quality line will out perform a cheaper alternative when all the other factors equate.
If the choice came down to a cheaper line that just somehow ended up to magically fit my casting stroke and the rod I have in hand....... I have and will pick the line that feels best on the rod in question, even though its not the one I hope will win.
As long as a line is still limp, and casts well, I'll personally pick the one that matches my tendencies, the rod, and the circumstances.
Many times the line that wins is indeed a Rio, other times its not. Sometimes the line that works best, is that cheap unknown brand, that I have no clue of its origins. It can be a line that came into hand on a aftermarket reel. Sometimes the unknown line, is the one that wins regardless of taper.
When you find one that matches, it just does.
Ive given up the urge to fight my psychological preferences a few years back, and now just go with the flow. If something works well for me, I'll cast it!
When searching for a new line, I do target bargain prices on well known respected lines... This way I do increase my chances of finding a nice fit, but they do not always make it onto the final setup.
I do not have much of a ego in this hobby, and cast new and old rods / reels / and lines.... Its all fun, when things match up. When they don't, its not very fun to try and match your tenancies to a setup that is not ment for you, regardless of the positive reviews.
I believe that when it comes to casting fly lines, give or take a few grains in actual casting weight, this is what makes more of a difference than anything else!
A stud rod matched up with a mismatched stud line, ends up being a dud! A Dud rod matched up with a perfectly matched line, can be quite enjoyable.
I hover somewhere in the middle, and try my best to squeeze out the best performance from the equipment I have available.
What Charged is saying makes a lot of good sense. It is the rod/line match-up more than the "Premium" aspects of the line itself. Somewhere above I wrote that I wound up using a line I don't like the taper and casting properties of, a GPX, on a particular rod because, my design preferences aside, it was the line that worked best.
The problem we have not addressed is: How does one TRY various lines on a rod to determine the best match? One could easily waste money on bargain priced lines that don't match a rod that well requiring the acquisition of additional lines or, worse, settle for a line that diminishes the casting feel of one's new rod. "High Performance" is not always, even frequently, required. Really only where long or very precise presentations are the norm. Most of our modest sized trout stream angling is enjoyed with more relaxed, 20 to 40 foot casts without compound presentation techniques. Never-the -less, an ill matched line diminishes casting pleasure and short changes the rods potential. Most fly shops do not hade a range of lines in specific line weights rigged for trial.
What I strive to do is get a bunch of anglers together, be they your friends, members of a fly fishing club or whatever, and switch rod/line combinations around on a lawn...I do this once a year with 5-weight outfits and it is amazing what everyone learns about their outfits. I have wound up fishing lines from SA, RIO and Airflo based on how they optimally match different rods I own. Some of my lines are the newest high priced versions some are older discontinued tapers or colors, some of my rods can cast near anything in their line weight well others are very temperamental. What is clear though is the line makes the rod perform and is a crucial component of a correctly balanced outfit.
High end may not always be worth the expense, high quality usually is. Sometimes we can't afford the best and have to make do with what we can obtain. I don't think it is worth it if you don't have enough money left to go fishing. It's all relative to an individual's situation.
I think lining a rod is paramount, some may disagree, in my experience however improperly lining a rod (if there is such a thing) can really take away from the performance and fun factor. Although, my preferred line on a given rod may not fit the stroke of the next angler, so ultimately I think line matching is subjective and unique to each angler.
Regarding your question about the difference between an orvis clearwater line priced at $40 compared against a high performance line such as an airflo super-dri line priced at $75. I believe there is a big difference, the clearwater line will have much more line memory and coils in the line over time as it sits on the reel, also more prone to coils than the airflo line. The core of the clearwater line is high stretch and therefore is difficult to feel subtle takes while nymphing, the airflo line has a low stretch core with allows the user to feel every bump and subtle take, also the line responds much better in the air with this core. The coating on the clearwater line is not going to hold up to much abuse or extreme temperatures and eventually will crack up and fall apart. The airflo line will last much longer given the toughness of the polyurethane coating, and will maintain its shape and consistancy well in extreme conditions and temperatures.
Also, the taper on the clearwater line is very clunky--> 3.5' front taper, 22.5' belly, 4' rear taper. This taper is very underwhelming, in fact it's designed simply to help beginners load a rod properly, performance is not a concern with this line. Moral of the story is, yes there is absolutely a difference between the cheapest lines and the most expensive lines. The question is how much is marketing hype, and how much does it matter to you to have an expensive line or a cheap line? If the expensive line makes you fish better, use it! I think for a beginner caster, the expensive lines won't give them much of an edge. However, for an expert caster, I believe the high performance lines give you an edge, thats my opinion on the matter.
I also have to agree with sweetnsalt, trying different lines is probably the best way to get you to a good line for YOU. Nothing beats experience, so getting to a local fly shop to try demo lines is vital for those who have limited experience with fly lines. Only you can decide which line is best suited for your fishing and casting style.
The problem we have not addressed is: How does one TRY various lines on a rod to determine the best match?
Yes, I believe this is a huge problem, especially for someone who is initially gaining interest in this hobby. As a beginner one has very few resources to really on, and is often stuck in obtaining suggestions from a limited community, of various posters / and friends.
From past experience, It does take an initial investment, some trial and error, and a little bit of dabbling in the hobby to build a solid foundation to build upon. This process gets Much easier with time. Starting out, it can be a very frustrating experience for us all.
I believe it takes a few good years in this hobby, before one gains an appreciation of what they wish to accomplish, and then maybe a few more to gain a perspective on how these wishes might be best realized. For many of us who get hooked, I don't think the learning curve will ever stop.
If it ever does for me, I think It's probably time for me to pick up a new hobby. As these sorts of questions posted here, are also often questions of my own, and they keep me coming back for information.
I have fished a lot of fly lines over the years. Starting out from the wonderful Shakespeare level line, to the fancy Sharkskin, and many in between.
I have on my rods right now, SA Mastery Textured Magnum Taper, Rio Clouser, SA Supra, Rio Mainstream, Cortland, and a couple others.
To be honest, I never felt much of a difference between lower end lines. I use Rio Mainstream, Cortland 333, and SA Supra lines and I get about the same performance out of all of them. They all fish nicely and cast great.
I have used almost all of the new generations of line out there. They never made me cast farther, better, or catch more fish by means of better presentation. For me, they all cast the same and are worth about the same. A fly line is a fly line, no matter how you cut it. Fly lines wear out, loops give out, floating tips sink, fly lines get old and I have not had one outlast the other by a miraculous amount of time. I clean my lines and take good care of them, but I will admit that the type of fly fishing I do is not easy on any line.
There are subtle differences though. Yes, I can cast for carp and other muddy water giants all day and can easily get by with an old Cortland 333 line. I've done it. Often. Take the same scenario with those heavy little flies and use a Rio Clouser line. The differences while subtle, can be noticed after a long day on the water.
I guess to answer the original question, my answer is no. Not really. I have paid $70 for my fancy Rio Clouser line. A Cortland 333 would have done the same thing. It's only worth it because that's how I made it to be. It hasn't made me cast better, it hasn't made me catch more fish, it hasn't made me cast like Lefty. In the end, it's the marketing of these super-lines that make the angler believe it's worth it. We're the ones being caught.
Don't get me wrong, a high-end fly line is nice and does have some advantages. I just like the pretty boxes lol!
I have not posted to this thread but believe I can say something based on experience. High end lines; I believe I've had a few. There was a time when a Cortland 444 was high end, then came the Orvis SSS lines followed by the Scientific Angler Mastery Series lines. I've used them all and have no complaints on any of them, I guess that means they were worth the prices paid. My most recent high end was a Carron Jetstream Spey line bought last November. I have Ian Gordon _ Scientific Angler - Rio and Air Flow lines, The Carron cost 60 dollars more than any of the others, I think it was a 125 dollar line. I've been using it this year and do think it casts better than any of the other lines.
So all of that puts me into the 'yes they are worth it' category.