Farted around with "making" your own lines?
I've been on a quest to figure out which line would be the best for my little switch rod (Echo SR 4106-4) - as there's a bit of contention even in Echo's printed literature concerning this rod.
The blank is labelled a "4 weight" - Echo recommends a Speydicator #4, a WF6F (an Airflo Ridge 40+ #6 was the suggested line in some of the literature), a 240 grain Compact Scandi, or they give a general grain window of 210 to 270 grains for this rod.
The fly shop I bought it from gave me an Airflo Ridge Tactical Trout WF6F that worked very well for single hand casting, and reasonably well for close in double handed casting. The more I play around with this rod though - the more I noticed that I was having trouble reaching beyond about 60' on a regular basis.
It occurred to me, that a WF6 line, according to AFTMA standards at least, has a 30' tip that is only equal to 160 grains, give or take, and even the "weight and a half" lines that are so popular would only be about 170 grains for 30' of line. (I've not been able to dig up exact total-head weight info for this line) - but I have a hard time believing that the first 30' weigh in at 160, then the line jumps up to 200+ grains for just 10 more feet of line.
So I decided to play around a bit with some lines I had laying around (mostly Cortland 333 lines that wouldn't have tears shed over their demise if I @$!(*&U'd things up).
I had a #9 WF floating line left over from a couple years back, along with a Cortland Fairplay #4 line that wasn't going to be seeing much use ever again. Taking the 210-270 grain weight window - that would put the line at an AFTMA #8 to a #10 - so that good ol' 9 weight was smack dab in the middle of the weight range. I lopped off the first 30' of the 333 line, and whipped loops onto both ends.
Then I had a decision to make - do I opt for mono running/shooting line, or do I opt for a coated running line? So I tried both. First up, I tried mono. Mono is cheap, and I have a few large spools sitting around for use with my heavier gear rods. 100' of mono won't be missed either.
I liked the way the mono shoots - but I ran into a couple problems with my "ghetto head" setup - the mono-to-fly line loop connection wasn't very smooth. Given the drastic diameter difference, it would cause the connection to catch on the guides when retrieving line (that'd suck if I were actually fishing and trying to land a fish with that setup). The other problem - the mono, even when stretched, had a tendency to want to twist together or coil up by my feet. This wouldn't do.
So I looked at the running line on that Fairplay 4 weight. Yeah, it wouldn't be 100' of running line - but 60' of running line plus the 30' of "ghetto head" would be plenty for the waters I'm using this setup on, so it was "off with her head" as it was. Whipped a loop connection onto the running section and tried it out. The new connection slips through the guides much more nicely, especially since I left about 10" of taper on the head end of the running line.
This setup seems to cast fairly well - at least as well as I can do on the lawn using a "grass leader". I need to get it to a casting pond to give it a real test.
It does load the rod more easily than the WF6 line does, almost to the point of over-loading (if I had an 8 weight to chop up, I'd try it too) if I put too much oomph into the casting stroke.
Single hand casting this setup was interesting - it was actually hard to not let line shoot on the first haul of my double haul. Seems like this would be great for turning over heavier nymph rigs or a large indicator.
As one final bit of experiment, I lopped off the front tapered section of that Fairplay #4 and whipped loops onto it's ends - effectively lengthening the taper of heavier 333 line. It probably won't turn over heavier flies or teams of flies the same as just that 9 weight head would - but it might make for more delicate casts.
It's not a terribly serious experiment - but it was kind of fun to play around a bit. I think at this point, I'm going to order Airflo's Compact Scandi 240 or 270 grain line come spring (when I'll actually be able to seriously use this rod again) and call it good.
I'm not fishing huge flies on this rod - as I've mentioned before, it's primary use is swinging soft hackled wets to trout on coastal rivers, although I've done some indicator and tight line nymphing with it also - and letting me learn the whole two-handed casting thing
Cabela's is running a sale on their LSI switch and spey rods right now, and I'm seriously considering picking up the 12'6" 7 weight spey for steelhead fishing and "proper" spey/switch (or skagit/scandi) use, since some NW residents scoff at using two handed rods for lowly trout.
The LSI rods are nice, and at $143 for the most expensive rods right now (which normally run $250 ish) they're looking even more attractive. I've wiggled and jiggled the rods in person at a couple of their stores, and they seem to be as well built as the LSI single handers - one of which I own and really enjoy fishing.