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Scientific Anglers Sharkskin
Published by plland
06-23-2008
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Default Scientific Anglers Sharkskin

The Sharkskin fly line is touted as being the latest and greatest by a lot of people. It gets its name from the micro-textured surface of the line, which supposedly reduces friction through the guides due to the fact that the line, though it actually has a much greater total surface area than a smooth line, exposes much less of its surface area to a rod's guides than a smooth line. The micro textured surface also helps with line buoyancy noticeably because the microscopic invaginations (yes, it's a word) in the line surface trap microscopic air bubbles and thus keep the a little line higher on the water.

I bought one of these lines for my Winston BIIX because on the Winston rod forums, people were recommending that line for that rod. A week later I finally got a chance to get it out on the water. The first thing I noticed was that shootability is really increased. I could shoot 10 -15 extra feet of line than by any means I should have, even with a so-so cast. In my mind, that alone makes the line worth the extra $35. The taper is SA's idea of the most effective, general purpose weight forward taper. I found it effective at both turning over heavier flies and at relatively delicate presentations. It seems like a triangle taper/weight-forward hybrid in that regard and that's a good thing. The line has extremely low memory and is very supple. I never saw a coil the entire time I fished with it.. which is A Very Good Thing!

Here's the negatives: 1) the line digs into my stripping finger and causes unwanted friction there. It reminds me of playing a stringed instrument. When I played guitar, I had callouses on the finger tips of my left hand, and playing now, after I've fallen out of practice, I get raw fingers if I play too long. For the fly line, I could probably build up a callous if I fished every day, but I don't fish every day, so at the end of a day of managing line with a Sharkskin line, I have a "cutt mark" and rawness in the crook of my stripping finger. Keep in mind this is not from streamer fishing, just managing line for most of a day. I didn't catch any sizeable fish on it, but I can imagine a large fish pulling out line, and causing serious damage unexpectedly. 2) the line, being textured, could potentially cause abrasion to the guide wraps. I DID NOT notice this happening, but looking at my finger and reading a secondhand account in an online forum of steelhead fishermen having to re-wrap their guides (granted, that's not a very reliable source), nevertheless, that was enough to make me sell the line. I just bought a $600 fly rod and I'm not interested in doing damage to it with a fly line.

A couple slight negative aspects: 1) the line floats high, but when you pick it up, it causes more of a splash than it needs to. 2) when it gets into a riffle, it quickly starts sinking. 3) with only two color choices, chartreuse and blue heron (dark, dark blue), it would be nice if there were an intermediate color between invisible and blinding. Perhaps a light blue or a muted orange? 4) expose the line to sand, and the sand grains will get into the micro-texturing of the fly line, and sand flying across guide wraps can't be a good thing. Perhaps that would be how the line abrades guide wraps? I don't know, and I don't want to find out the hard way.

Anyway, if you have tough fingers and an extra $100, like shooting fly line ridiculous long distances without much effort, and want to risk damaging your rod guide wraps, the fly line might be for you. As for me, I sold it and bought a non textured line.
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