I really haven't gave it much thought until recently while looking through both the Rio and SA websites, but I started thinking about the species specific fly lines. They have line labeled for just about every game fish that a person could think of. For the most part I have always went with something along the lines of Rio Gold, SA GPX, or Cortland Sylk and have been pretty happy with them. Is this the next big marketing ploy, or have I been missing out on some really great lines? I'm a carp nut, so naturally the Carp, Bonefish, and Redfish line sounded pretty good. Have you tried any of these lines like Rio/SA Carp, Bonefish, or Redfish? If so, how did you like it?
My buddy uses the carp line on his 6wt just because we got a really good deal on it. It casts well, the taper looks about the same as the outbound line. I think alot of the species specific stuff is just marketing to get us to buy stuff, which probably helps some.
Too much emphasis, hence miss-information, is placed on fly lines names. A favorite example is SA's "Expert Distance Taper", a line that is not a big seller because the consumer says; a. I'm no expert, b. I rarely cast more than 50'...I don't need that line. In reality it is an extended head, long rear taper line ideal for accurate presentations and controlled in air and on water mending. The new owners should rename it, "Presentation Taper". I like both SA's and RIO's Bonefish line and I use it bonefishing but also for stripped bass on the flats and albies in autumn when the air and water are still warm. I love RIO's Tarpon line in smaller #8 and 9 sizes as a flats line too...even when no tarpon are being fished for.
Go by taper design and weight distribution in lines to match casting and fly size applications and forget the names the marketers dream up.
IMO, it's primarily a marketing ploy, however it's not a bad idea either as it allows newer folks in the sport to select lines based on the species they may be interested in chasing most. It would not surprise me if some lines, labelled for specific species, are not the same tapers, for different labels, since there are many species that will take similar flies of similar size/wind resistance & in similar conditions. How many different tapers can they design into a fly line anyway? Would slight differences in the tapers really make that much difference?
I've got a couple of species specific lines, purchased primarily because I got them at a very good price, and frankly for the fishing I do, cannot see much difference in them in how they cast. But, I rarely cast further than 50 ft, so may not be taking full advantage of each line. That's fine with me, as I rarely need to cast any further & still catch some fish. There are many variables that we encounter, so perhaps a species specific line is better for some folks, but not for others.
Again, IMO, the majority of us probably don't really need lines for specific species, as many of us fish for multiple species, and likely can't afford to have a single line for each species we target. It's highly likely, that most of us have general purpose lines rather than specialized, and they work fine for the fishing we do. I fished for many years with a level line, then eventually tried a DT, and settled on a single WF line, which I used for all the fishing I did. I'm primarily a bass, Striped Bass & panfish angler. Would a specialized line have improved my fishing? I really can't answer that!
If I really felt I needed a specialized line, then sure I would look into it, but as yet that has not been the case I don't believe.
This was some years ago before they had a line for every species, but I remember somebody asking Dave Whitlock if they really needed to use a bass taper line for bass fishing.
His reply was something like that if they needed one to make the cast, sure go ahead, but most fly fisherman would be far better off if they were able to make the same cast with a normal weight forward line
If all the salmon, Dolly Varden Char, and Arctic Grayling I caught using Scientific Anglers Mastery Trout lines over years only knew..............
I don't want folks in the tackle industry upset with me but I believe there is way too much hair splitting going on these days. The rods, lines, reels, almost all 'species specific' Jeez
I concur with other posters in that if you get a great buy, any line is worth having but to consider a line because it is called "Steelhead" for instance, I would just use the line I have. Those old DT lines of mine that didn't even have a fishes name in their titles; I caught everything from Channel Cats to Kings on them and never skipped a beat.
Ard, that's exactly how I feel about it. I have a "Steelhead & Salmon" line, a "Striped Bass" line & a "Bass Bug Taper" line. All WF in 9 wt. The only difference I can see in them, again for the fishing I do, is they're all 3 different colors. They all seem to cast the same.
I can see the value (and marketing value) in the naming for someone looking to get into a different type of fishing, for example someone who fishes for trout in small streams who wants to expand & chase Striped bass on the coast, but fact is there are other lines that can do the same duty.
Location: White City (tad north of Medford) Oar-E-Gone
Re: Species specific fly lines
I think Ard's pretty much nailed this one.
But do I use 'specific lines for a specific rod for a specific application?'
You betcha! But all most all were custom lines done by Steve Godshall here in the Valley. For context, 95% of my fishing is with a 2hander rod and all are/were designed/cut/built for a specific purpose and rod.
First time out with a totally new set up on a Sage 8136-4. Two flicks and the whole thing is a Cannon! Price of the line? Not a penny more than something off the shelf. Only issue I had with the set up is my young fishing Buddy Nate Bailey reels in and walks up and does a "WOW can I try that?"
Damned guy could cast further than I could ... and I taught him how to cast a 2hander.